I clicked on Karen's website the other day and surprised that this video was ready since it was set for a December release. Since it was available, and you can order online, I just had to go ahead and try it. To give you some background, I am 43 and an intermediate exerciser that uses mostly Firms and Cathe videos along with some of Karen's.
This tape starts with an active warm-up and stretch done by Karen and two background exercisers. The video does require a step and two sets of weights- a "light" and "heavy" set. I used 5 and 10lbs, although I may experiment a little more with some heavier weights.
After the warm up, Karen takes you through a cardio segment lasting a little over 9 mins. The choreography for this section is pretty easy to follow if you are experienced with step, but it is fast paced.
After this section you move into a "heavy" weight training session working both upper and lower body. This segment includes:
squats, lat rows, bicep curls with calf raises, dead lifts, push ups, pec flys and triceps. The movement for the most part, is slow and controlled and includes some work in the mid range, keeping the muscles contracted the entire time on the dead lifts and pec flys.
Then the next cardio session, lasting almost 7 mins begins. This is followed by a "lighter" weight session with weights. This time, you get triceps and biceps in a combo move, some lunges using the step, rhomboids(sp) and a shoulder segment where you combine rear delt lifts, lateral lifts, front lifts and an overhead press. That shoulder combo IMO is a killer.
Finally, you move into another cardio segment lasting about 7 1/2 mins.
Karen then takes you to the floor for ab work on an incline step. The segment isn't super long, but abs are one of the things Karen does best and this segment is no exception. It is different and tough. Karen then finishes with some work for your glutes and thighs. You lie face down on your bench for this. You do have to get positioned just right as far as where your hips hit the bench in order to feel this correctly. The first time I did it, I had too much of my leg on the bench and felt nothing...today was a different story. Karen finishes with a standing stretch that includes a few moves similar to the second part of Streamlined Fitness.
Overall, I like this tape. I think you can have the option of going heavier with the weights if you want, but transitions are fast so you need to keep different poundage close by. The step portions are fun and the choreography is a mix of basic moves and fun, more intricate moves. I don't know if they are all new, since I don't have other step tapes by Karen, but the step work flows really well and moves can be modified to low impact or if you like, allot of jumping/propulsion moves. The step portions include moves like hop turns, pendulums or "tick tocks" Z steps, V steps, L steps and over the top . Overall, the strength segments remind me more of what Cathe calls endurance moves on many of her videos. You will get some strength training, but its not a Heavy muscle building workout.
Karen does give you plenty of opportunities to learn the moves and cues throughout this video. The step portions seem to go by pretty fast and I was able to get 99% of the moves down the second time I did this tape. Part of the music sound familiar-maybe from Cardiokicks? but its a good mix. Karen seems to be enjoying herself and does a good job with this workout. Its a good tape to use when you want to get weights and cardio in an hour but need more cardio than what my Firm tapes offer. Now that school has started and I am back at work, this tape works well for me.
I thought this looked great when I previewed it, but I am sooooo bored by it when I do it. The format is step aerobics followed by strength work, then step again, etc. It's pretty good in intensity -- upper intermediate to advanced -- and during the strength portions, Karen does not do reps to infinity as she sometimes did in the past. She also smiles more and seems a lot more friendly and natural. But despite all the good points, I just can't get into it. Even the first step routine seems unbearably long, and I'm watching the clock after just a few minutes. I think it's because the step moves are repeated too much.
I think where something like this might fit best is for a person who does primarily strength training and wants to add some higher-intensity, but basic, aerobics.
First things first. I have the dvd version of this workout and cannot recommend the vhs version. I had to exchange the tape twice (poor Collage!) and gave up on the third tape. Either the sound faded in and out, the picture was lousy, or both. The dvd is quite an improvement. Okay, that is my warning.
I like circuit workouts because they appeal to my short attention span. I was glad to see Karen was releasing a new one. I was even happier to see that it would be more advanced than "Your Personal Best".
I do, however, miss the beautiful outdoor setting. No tape is going to look as good as that one, but this one does not even come close--red walls, a "barn door", some sort of dream catcher feather thingy on the wall: Dreadful.
I do like the music, most tunes are recognizable from Leaner Legs or Circuit Max. I realize a lot of people are not fond of instrumental music,however.
Oh yes, the workout. I like it. There are three cardio segments alternating with three strength segments. The cardio, which is step, is moderate choreography. It builds gradually, but by the second cardio segment you are really working up a sweat. These segments range from six and a half to nine and a half minutes.
The strength segments hit all muscle groups, but only on set of 12-16 reps are performed. The first segment uses heavier weights and includes sets for back, shoulders, biceps, legs and butt. She does some flyes on the step and push ups, but wisely saves these for last when your heart rate is lower.
The second strength segment uses lighter weights and focuses more on shoulders, triceps and biceps. She does one set where you work your triceps in one arm while working your bicep in the other. You rock back and forth as you do this. Supposedly you are using the same weight for each. I don't know about you, but I use a much heavier weight for biceps than I do triceps, so I use two different weights. All in all I do not like this set as there is just too much going on.
The final step segment features a couple of really fun moves: A charleston, kick, straddle, hop backwards move and a pendulum move.
The cooldown is a little too short considering the next section is abs on the step. I always cool down a little longer.
The abs are only about five minutes long, but they are tough! I have never had my abs get so sore. That is the way I like abs: short and effective.
The final leg section in performed lying prone on the step. I must confess, I hardly ever do more than a minute of this. I am not big on lying leg work.
The stretch is about four minutes. It is competent, nothing special.
The dvd also contains her ball workout. I have only done it once.
March 22, 2002
The tape was awesome. I watched it once all the way through to make sure I understood her style. I was chomping at the bit to just jump in and start doing the tape.
The moves are exciting but very easy to pick up immediately. The cues are on target. The backup exercisers are not distracting but are as easy to watch and keep up with as Karen is. You can tell they have run through this routine many times to get it right for the tape.
It is also nice to see them SWEAT during the aerobic portion!!! Sometimes, you watch a video and you are drenched in sweat after just a few minutes and the people on the tape are dry. I know that is partly because of the clothes they wear and partly due to editing and doing parts of a routine at a time. However, I feel much better when I see the instructors working as hard as I am. I don't feel so inept and unconditioned if they are getting a workout enough to sweat.
The strength training part is awesome as well. She attacks it a little different than other tapes I have. She adds a little twist that is a great addition to my workout. I am lazy and avoid situps. I know, a well balanced routine includes abdominals, but I just rewind when I get to that part, NORMALLY. But I just followed her all the way through the end. JEEZ is my tummy killing me 2 days later. What a great ab workout without killing me during the workout.
As I said already, I plan on getting more of her tapes. I am a big step fan so I will be getting Energy Sprint next, IF I can find it, that is. By the way, what is the deal with not being able to locate step tapes any more? All I see anywhere anymore is Yoga and Pilates. I find I get my best workouts from step. Any one have any ideas?
Besides the fact that she has now become my newest she-ro, she is awesome. Gin Miller has been my inspiration since I got Step Reebok The Video and I purchase all of her tapes. Maybe her excellence has blinded me against other instructors. Granted, I have tried others but have always run straight back to Gin. With this newest tape, I will be "cheating" on Gin with Karen. What more can I say but "WOW" about her? She cues awesomely, she uses moves that can be picked up right away and she has a body that shows she walks the walk as well as talks the talk. Gin will always be my favorite, but I do plan on going out and finding more Karen Voight tapes.
I started out with this workout on VHS. I felt it was a very well-done workout. Karen cued well and gave form pointers throughout the workout. However, I found that I did not enjoy it because I simply donít like circuit workouts. My preference is to EITHER do strength or cardio on a given day, but not both, alternating between them.
I then acquired this workout on DVD and used it for quite awhile. It included Karenís ball workout and had multiple DVD chaptering choices, giving options for a variety of workouts Ė upper body, lower body, just strength, just cardio, etc. I used this DVD for quite awhile. Eventually, however, I found I was using other workouts much more and I traded it.
She gives her usual calm workout with good form pointers. I liked her better in this workout than some of her previous workouts - I thought she was more personable.
October 6, 2004
This workout is one of my favorites.
I tend to get bored easily and circuit training is a good way to stay motivated and enjoy the workout .
I really like the step aerobic in this video because it's not too basic that it's get boring, and not too complex that you have to focus too much on learning the steps and can't enjoy the workout.
I also like the fact that it's not too high impact. Althogh I'm only 20 years old , too much high impact is never good for the body. I will never understand how people exercise regurly with Cathe's cardio workouts and don't have problems with their knees.
It's contains 3 cardio segments on the step that become shorter but more difficult and complex ,every time you get to the next segment. the totel cardio time here is 23 minutes.
The strenght workout is also fun and it's contain some effective exercises but there are'nt enough sets. it's not the kind of video that can really shape your muscles, especially for people who exercise regurly with Cathe or The Firm,it's more a workout that can maintain the muscles or add muscles to people that just begun using weights.
the workout here is exellent and very balanced,but ,if you really want to shape up, you need more time ( to do more sets)
in the end you have 6 minutes of tough ab segment and some good exercises for the hamstrings ad glutes the uses the step.there are'nt any planks or stability ball and it's only 6 minutes, but you still can feel the abs burning. of course that someone who wants to focus mainly on abs will be better of with video that spent at least 15 minutes on abs, but for a total body workout, the ab segment is great, especially compered to most FIRM workouts that tend to neglect this area.
the only thing I don't like about this video is that the set is kind of boring. I like videos that you can get amazed only from watching the beautyful background.like The Firm for example.
all in all it's a great workout when I want too burn calorise , work the entire body and also enjoy myself.
I don't understand why a lot of people (reading the reviews) didn't like it. I wish that karen puts new video with similar intensity and complexion of the step portition and add some great ab workout in the and.
3 of october,2005