Video Fitness

Strike Zone

Tracey Staehle

I was the lucky recipient of a preview copy of Strike Zone.

I did the workout today. I think I will do it tomorrow. And the day after. And the next day. After that I will have to rotate other stuff in my workout schedule, but Strike Zone will feature prominently. The music has been playing in my head all day and I've been practising the combos in my mind. It is a marvellous, addicting way to get seriously fit.

What makes it so HOT?

- It is a tough workout. I have no idea why collage rated this intermediate/advanced. I can concede their ratings of Circuit Zone and Core Blast, but this is advanced according to me. You could always not squat as low or punch as hard to modify and make it intermediate, but if you put your all into this workout, it is superb value for the time you spend. Unlike some tough workouts, it has no dread factor. I cant wait to do it again.
- The fun factor is sky high. There is a front traveling jump kick that makes you feel dangerous and strong. They mix double time, on beat and half time choreography in the same combo (like for instance shuffle forward double time, punch on beat, retreat by jumping back on the half-time beat). The stretch - I could write a page about the stretch. The music slows down but still has some fight in it. There are fun cool down moves that are very stylised martial arts and then a stretch that hits all the right spots. Very graceful without being girly. The spider web section is tough and a blast. Apart from the move in the clip there are fun plank variations and a cousin of the mountain climbers (dunno what it is called - if Tracey named it I missed hearing). The final fight is superb.
- The chemistry between the cast is top notch. Tracey and Josef do most of the talking and they are in incredible form - on kickboxing, cueing and cuteness. They left in a few mistakes - that enhance the "natural" feel. None of the mistakes are such that they interrupt your flow. There is a moment where Tracey loses it and then smiles like a three year old in a school play before she starts again. There is another where Josef does not follow her cue and does the wrong side and she exchanges a glance with the girls. The next time he does a wrong side, she says "I said left!" and he does an exaggerated left on the next repeat. In the stretch, Jill is hidden at one point behind Josef. You see her move to the right like Carol (Tracey's producer) cued her to from behind the camera. Her eyes ask ďIs this OK?Ē and then you see her take one more step to the right.
- The music makes you want to fight with all your might. Strong beat. Driving guitar.
- Some new moves and some fresh ways of putting punches and kicks together. This ups the fun significantly. The choreography is very smooth Ė nothing feels contrived. It isnít so complex that you curse, or are slowing down to learn. But it isnít mindless either. What Tracey says at her blog about it feeling like stuff you would do when you are really fighting (but very stylized) fits it best.
- Most advanced kickbox workouts have an interval feel to them. They have a kick-intense drill or combo to really get your heart rate sky high and then a punch-based combo or low-impact cardio to recover. This one has tough-tougher-tough pacing that makes you work hard throughout. You never quite get anaerobic to the point that your lungs scream, but there isnít any coast-along bits either. I loved how this felt.
- No time to get bored. The 11 segments give you no time to think. Even within a segment, the TIFTing factor is low. Just enough to work on improving your execution, and the combo changes.

This cast should work together on many, many sequels. Tracey is clearly having fun. She too gets serious at times when Josef is leading but her game face is not a patch on Jill's. Jill is the angry housewife personified. I aint fighting her anytime soon. Josef is amazing. If you were impressed by the promo-clips, wait to see the full workout. He is great for any vidiot who wants to seriously imrove kickbox skills. Barbie is WOW! She surprised me. She looks gentle and delicate in the previous workouts. She was born to fight! She is busy doing this workout, and concentrating intently, she is oblivious to the camera or anything else. All four look fabulously strong and fit.

I am nominating Strike Zone to the Kick Box Hall of fame, and I am betting serious money on it for the Workout Oscars for 2008.

Instructor comments: Tracey says her mission is to make fitness fun. In my opinion she does just that. Her workouts combine working hard with a uniquely Tracey ambience. She is vivacious and has a great sense of humor. Her demeanor is casual yet not flippant about the job at hand - working out. She shares the limelight with her cast, and her regular cast is excellent. She manages to strike a balance between being adorable and funny without sounding forced or seeming to try too hard to be entertaining.


May 28, 2008

Very good, but missed being great.
I enjoyed the length of combos of the strikes. Enough choreography, but not too much - taught add on style. The artsy, gritty, feel of the set seemed well suited to the workout. And I liked the music. Tracey is very relaxed in Strike Zone, something I found lacking until she released Walking Strong. The strikes are usually ended with a boxer's shuffle and I continue with that during the breaks between strikes. So keeping my heartrate up is not a problem. The spiderweb section is killer and I feel it should be at the end of the workout. Fortunately, the DVD is chaptered so I can skip it and go back to it. What does bug me is that about half the time, Tracey and crew are off-beat to the music. They are on time with each other, which is puzzling. I've adjusted by learning the move and doing it on beat while not looking at the screen. It's so important for a cardio workout to be on beat - it really pushes you through! I'd put this workout in the same class as Kick, Punch, Crunch or Powerstrike M2 if it were on beat. Alas, it's not. I hope future workouts by Tracey resolve this important issue.

Instructor comments:

Diane aka mtnmom


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