This is not a step workout, but a circuit-type workout containing some step. I felt cheated, because neither the Sara City description nor the back cover describe it accurately. I wanted a step workout, by golly! :) Although there is some step in here, it is rather basic and is there only for the purpose of breaking up the toning segments. The toning is not my style either. It uses “creative” moves, which, in my book, translate to weird. Even the warmup is “creative.” Just not my style at all, and a huge, huge disappointment, because I really like Helen.
This workout is about 48 minutes long (not the 54 minutes listed on the DVD cover) and is not really a step workout but a circuit workout, like Annie has already mentioned.
I have only done one other Sara City workout (Franny B's Block Party Step), so I can only comment based on that gym-style, lone-exerciser setting, but it does appear that the production values have improved. Helen does have 2 background exercises with her & they are no longer in that big empty gym. They are in a room with a wooden tiled floor and some large fake plants & blocks? in the background. The picture was clear, but the music was still soft.
The warm-up & cool-down are both yoga inspired & I'm not really a big yoga fan, but it was a small enough dose that I found it relaxing & not boring. The core of the workout is about 29 minutes long & consists of 2 toning segments that use the step & light handweights alternated with 2 cardio segments using the step.
Each toning segment is probably about 9-10 minutes long. You will do moves like lunging onto the step with overhead presses & lunges onto the step while raising your weights to the side & V-ing them in front of your body while leaning forward and balancing (hope that kind of makes sense). The weights they used were so light (maybe 3 pounds) that I didn't know that the moves would be too effective on some things, so I used heavier weights. But on other exercises you need the light weights, so I had to switch to 5 pound weights.
The cardio segments were about 5 minutes each and were pretty basic step choreography. I enjoyed them even though they were simple & really wish this workout had more step focus instead of the toning focus.
The corework & cool-down in this workout is 7 minutes long (althought the DVD cover states it's 14 minutes). As I said earlier in the review, the cool-down is yoga inspired. The corework consisted of planks, planks with side twists (not the right name, but I can't think of it right now), roll-ups & curl-downs on the step, and a slow bicycle movement. I did enjoy the corework, but wish it had been longer. I love abwork, so it may be enough for those who aren't fans of abwork.
Overall I'd say this is an intermediate workout with basic choreography, although it does have some great moves to help work your balance. I'm not sure if I'll be keeping it or not, but it does seem to be a good one to do on a day when I don't want to work too hard.
I like Helen's teaching style, she is laid-back & kind of soothing. Her cuing is good, but this workout is not complicated, so cuing was simple.
Dec. 28, 2004