Sleek II is a follow-up to the original 3-DVD Sleek Essentials set. As with the original SE, Sleek II takes a "triple threat" approach by including cardio, strength training, and flexibility components, with the three combined here for one 50-minute workout. Equipment includes dumbbells and a foam roller, a physical therapy aid that is used to assist with balance and core work. This DVD offers each of the three components--Sweat, Strength, and Sleek--as separate 20-minute premixes, and there is also a 20-minute Foam Roller premix containing all of the roller sequences from the main workout.
The Complete Sleek Workout starts with a 3.5 minute warm-up. Holding the roller between the hands, Karen gets you moving right away with squats, lunges, side steps, and twists. Sweat is next, and you'll find that it's more intense and high impact (although low-impact modifications are shown) than the original SE Sweat DVD. The first part has a kickboxing flavor: Karen begins with twists and jabs, and she then builds a standing-in-place combo which includes elbow strikes, a twist and jab to the side, and knee lifts. She then does a front jab/uppercut sequence while traveling front, eventually adding a side-to-side hop. A hamstring curl/knee lift combination finishes out this first section. Karen then does more lateral movements (front-back, side-to-side) which incorporate knees, hops, and puddle jumps; she ends with bunny hops. In the final series, the choreography is a bit more tricky: Karen goes corner-to-corner with 3 knee lifts, but she then changes this to knee-lunge, adding a hop, and then knee-squat. There is another side-to-side movement with a two-footed hop, a jump squat from side-to-side, a side-to-side lunge with hop, and a twisting woodchop move, and then you're done with the cardio after an intense 16.5 minutes.
Sweat follows, and it's nicely chaptered into different segments. First, Arms & Legs with heavy weights includes standard moves such as squats, bent over rows, dead lifts, and bicep curls, although the bicep curls add a side twist at the end. Next is Arms & Legs with light weights. These moves are a bit more unique: standing flye, moving to overhead; a single front elbow raise moving to a double arm raise and an ironman in and out; a side delt raise with opposite side leg raise; triceps kickbacks; and finally, a bent over rotator cuff rotation. Following this, you lie on the foam roller for the Chest & Back segment. Karen uses heavy weights and starts by moving the arms side to side, challenging your balance; balance is also an issue in the alternating chest press which follows. Karen then performs skull crushers and pullovers. The next section is Abdominals, and it uses the roller in a variety of positions (under the knees, under the calves, under the feet) for various types of crunches; there is also a move where you roll the roller in and out under your feet. The core work continues with Abdominals & Back, which starts with the roller between the legs for c-curve roll backs and crunches. Lying face down, you will do some arm/leg lifts, eventually using the roller under the hands to arch your back. Core Legs uses the roller for some inner thigh work, side elbow plank, and plank with calves on the roller. Finally, the workout ends with a nice stretch which also utilizes the roller: seated straddle with the roller between the feet, hamstring stretch and seated twist with the roller under one foot, and lunge with one knee on the roller. The actual workout time is about 51.5 minutes.
The Sweat premix utilizes the warm-up from the full workout, but Strength and Sleek have their own warm-ups. Actual times for these premix workouts are Sweat, 20 minutes, Strength, 22 minutes, Sleek, 23 minutes, and Roller Basics, 18 minutes. Overall, this is a nice follow-up to the original SE set, especially for those looking to combine cardio, strength, and flexibility training all into one time efficient workout.
Karen is her usual pleasant, professional self here. As always, her cuing is excellent, although some of her cardio moves feel a bit "fussy" to me. She works out with four background exercisers (they change with the different workout components), one of whom always shows modifications. The set is very different from the original Sleek Essentials: there are no platforms, and it's much darker, so much show that you can see the shadows of the performers.
Beth C (aka toaster)
August 1, 2007