Video Fitness

Box 'n' Flow

Kimberley Spreen

My only complaint is that I wish the workout were longer! It's about 26 minutes of actual kickboxing workout. What's great about it is that it is virtually non-stop--no marching in place or drawn-out boxer shuffling. Kimberley and two background exercisers do simple combinations of moves that are quite effective. You basically do punches, side punches, hooks, a variation on the hook (where it kind of swerves upward) uppercuts, roundhouses and front kicks. No side kicks or back kicks. A typical combo is four punches, scissors, four front kicks, four jacks to the other side and repeat. The "breaks" really consist of fast squats and you never do them too long before going into the next move. I'd say you definitely should already be familiar with kickboxing moves before doing this tape--but that's what's great about it. Simple combos, basic moves, non-stop, you work every minute of that 26 minutes. Billy Blanks did a 15-minute cardio section in Taebo AL5 that went from one move to the next without stopping, and I've always wished he or someone else would do something like that again. Kimberley Spreen finally has. Fancy choreography fans might find this too basic in that sense, but if you want a straightforward, non-stop half-hour of kickboxing, this will do it!

Instructor comments: She's great--ever so slightly perky and not as polished as some, but very no-nonsense and a very good cuer. Excellent overall. She has sayings like, "Bye-bye upper body" when you stop doing punches and do only kicks, but it's not annoying to me.

acey

2/19/05

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it a number of times since receiving it several months ago.

General workout breakdown: This starts out with a fairly lengthy warm-up--about 7 minutes. It gets into the moves fairly quickly and has some dynamic stretching. The cardio portion is relatively short--about 26 minutes--but intense. Kimberly builds combinations and does little variations of them, then switches to the other side with the same progressions (when applicable; some combinations are done facing front and therefore don't have another "side"). She does a lot more upper body (i.e. punches) than lower body (i.e. kicks), which I personally like, but I know kick-lovers miss their kicks with this one. She does the standard jab, cross, upper cut, hook, and speed bag arms, although she does have a combination where she has you pretend to hit someone, working your way down their body, including rib jab (or whatever similar names she gives it). For kicks, she includes front, back, and round plus knee strikes and side chambers. There are some squats, jumping jacks, scissor jumps, etc., but the focus is primarily on kickboxing moves. The cool down is long--about 15 minutes--and is done entirely standing. You do some slowed down kickboxing moves (i.e. leg lifts), tai chi inspired moves, balance challenges, and stretches. Again, Kimberly repeats each progression evenly on each side where applicable.

Level: I'd say Box-N-Flow is best for at least solidly intermediate exercisers (not using hand weights) through low/mid-advanced (using hand weights). There’s some impact with the jumps, including some plyometric moves. Prior kickboxing or martial arts experience is necessary, as Kimberly offers little in the way of form instruction, although she has good form pointers

Class: 2 young women join Kimberly. One shows modifications during the cool down; otherwise there aren’t really any modifications given.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: This is a Sara City production, so the set's pretty boring (wood floor, blank walls, shelves with boxing gloves) and production values are decent but nothing special. The cool down music also appears in Karen Voight's Abs & Back, and the kickboxing workout is standard beat-driven stuff.

Equipment: sneakers. Kimberly and crew have on gloves, which appear to be weighted.

Comments: You’ll need some space for this. You should be able to step and kick to each side as well as to the front. There are some partial pivots and shuffles for those of you on carpet.

DVD Notes: From the main menu you can select “Intro/Warm Up,” “Activity,” and “Cooldown/Stretch.” You can’t skip the warnings & cautions and long (about 2 min.) Sara City introduction before the warm up. And the chapters within the activity dump you right in the middle of a combination or routine; there’s no obvious rhyme or reason to them.

Conclusion: I’m keeping this one. It’s not the most exciting kickboxing workout I own, but I like it for variety. I enjoy the upper body focus, and the short, intense cardio is good for a time crunch, although the long cool down throws a bit of a wrench into that plan. I definitely like Kimberly’s style of instruction. I haven’t tried her Triple Threat, so I can’t compare that one to this. I’m waiting for the (supposedly longer) kickboxing workout that rumor has it Kimberly is planning.

Instructor comments: I like Kimberly a lot in this video. She comes off as approachable, encouraging, and not at all hyper. She cues well, giving you enough warning of new moves (even too much in a couple of cases) and intending for you to mirror her moves. She addresses you, asking you if you’re willing to do a little more with her. She's like the gem of an aerobics instructor you stumble across at your local gym and don't want to tell anyone about because if you do her classes will be too crowded to move. I’m no expert on kickboxing, but her form looks good to me.

KathAL79

August 15, 2005

Box-N-Flow

Kimberly Spreen

This is a short kickboxing workout (~26 min) flanked by a long warmup (~8 min) and long cooldown (~15 min). Although I prefer it over the kickbox routines in Kimberly’s other DVDs to date (Triple Threat, Kickbox Bootcamp), I still wouldn’t keep it at “boutique” prices.

The set looks like the same one used for Play Ball, except here it’s decorated in the style of a teenager’s birthday party in the basement, with cubbyholes for storing stuff and palm-tree-shaped lighting on the back wall. I kept thinking that the workout flooring would have been the dance area for the party.

The warmup (138 bpm) is surprisingly varied and fairly complete compared to Kimberly’s choreography for the body of her workouts. It includes standard aerobic-style moves (side touch, toe tap), plenty of core-focused movements (torso rotation, bob-and-weave, knee strike, shin block), and stretches (hamstring stretch, spinal roll, overhead reach), but it’s not quite as effective at warming up the lower body. Kimberly incorporates side leg lifts and roundhouse chambers and kicks a bit too early in the workout for my tastes. It puzzles me that she encourages us to kick “waist-high or lower” in order to maximize power, but she’s already kicking at waist level right off the bat, mere minutes into the warmup. She does a fair amount of moves that bring the legs to the side (side leg lifts, side lunges), but I personally need more forward and back movements (such as hamstring curls and front knee lifts) to really warm up my leg muscles.

The boxing segment (148 bpm) is slightly faster than in Triple Threat (TT) and consists of short drills rather than choreographed combinations, true to Kimberly’s style. It also contains lots of roundhouse kicks and the same sequence of alternating hooks, rib shots, and body shots as in TT, but this workout includes a greater variety of moves. There’s more high-impact here, with jumping jacks, scissors, and plyo squat jumps, as well as more front kicks. And there are those flurries that I dislike at the end. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the routine here more than in TT, despite still wishing that Kimberly’s choreography would flow better. For example, one sequence (R hook, L cross, R shin block, R roundhouse) didn’t work well for me because the shin block, roundhouse, and hook all come from the same side and require resetting one’s position in order to exert any meaningful force. Even though I appreciate that it’s worthwhile to practice quick recoveries as a kickboxer, I don’t think this workout is particularly focused on improving technique as much as it is on stringing together moves into a routine. For a workout routine of this type, I’d rather practice moves that flow well together.

The “flow” segment includes moves inspired by tai chi, but it lacks the flow of tai chi. To me, it felt like a series of tai chi and yoga poses strung together. Again (this is my common complaint about a lot of Kimberly’s choreography in general), the moves did not utilize full range of motion. We would go into a stretch, hold it, then return to the previous position, rather than extending the move through into a new direction. I kept feeling like my body was getting cheated out of the added extension and stretch that would result from completing the movements, and this was particularly disappointing given that tai chi (in my limited experience) incorporates many circular motions that can open up the body so well and feel so wonderful.

Instructor comments: Kimberly is helpful in giving lots of form pointers and comes across as very sincere as an instructor. However, her own kickboxing form is imperfect, in that she throws her punches somewhat wildly rather than executing a clean strike to a target. This workout includes lots of whooping, but none of the annoying call-outs that grated on me in Triple Threat and Kickbox Bootcamp. She does still slip into some uninspired “motivational” cueing, as in this example during the flurries at the end: “By the time you’re done with this, I want your biceps screaming. You know what I want them saying? I want them saying, ‘Ow.’” Otherwise, however, I enjoy Kimberly’s well-timed and often rhythmic cueing.

KickDancer

6/11/05

I tend to prefer step and hi/lo to kickboxing, but I keep a few kickboxing workouts for those times when I feel I need the variety and/or the opportunity to get some aggression out.

Kimberley leads the workout with two background exercisers. She doesn’t interact with them much, but I felt she interacted with the home exerciser well. I felt engaged by her. I stopped the workout at the 25-minute mark and added on a bit more cardio. There is a fairly long cool down I didn’t do. The set is fairly plain – a workout studio with some shelves behind the exercisers. There was music, but I don’t remember anything about it. You do need enough space to move a few feet side to side and front to back, but could modify if you don’t have that much room.

The workout ended up being fun – but, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it through part of the workout. Kimberley gives good form pointers, but does not teach how to do the moves, so this is not a good workout for kickboxing beginners to start with. I found her really motivating – partially because I liked her personality and partially because she cues well. This workout stresses punches more than kicks, although there is a mix of both throughout the workout.

This is a workout I decided to keep for now because I like having some shorter workouts for those time-crunched periods. We’ll see if I do it over time.

Instructor comments: I really like her in this workout. She is motivating and is a good instructor.

Laura S.

March 15, 2006



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