Video Fitness

Kickbutt Push Pull

Heidi Tanner & Kimberly Spreen

Push Pull reproduces the FTGU workout with vivid music & color but less intense cardio. Kimberly is a talented addition to this workout and directs the kickboxing moves with more precision than Heidi did in the original FTGU workout.

This workout is not as intense as the original FIRMs and I would not consider it as difficult or intense as the FIRM's Blast workouts (Maximum Cardio, Power Cardio, Cardio Burn) or even the FIRM BSS1 & 2 workouts. I would say the cardio is as intense as a Tamilee Webb cardio workout and the toning/Pilates segments too short to further any true strength gains for an intermediate exerciser.

If you're a Cathe-fan who likes intense cardio & focuses weight training you'll be disappointed in Push Pull.

If you liked FTGU and want a high-beginner low-intermediate workout with fantastic music & picture quality, you may want to add Push Pull to your collection. I am an intermediate exerciser and I can see using Push Pull on those days where I"m sore or coming back from an injury and I want a lighter workout.

I received my Push Pull/Steamin' Cardio DVD from Overstock.com on Monday (a day BEFORE the official release date). A bargain at $12.55 + $1 S&H.

Comparision of FitPrime From the Ground Up and WHFN/Kickbutt Push-Pull:

Heidi Tanner (strength & stretching), Kimberly Spreen (cardio)

Equipment: dumbbells, exercise mat, tall step. They use

Picture quality: Exceptional. Colors are very vibrant. So vibrant that in some transitions Heidi's red leotard causes an optical smeared effect. Can see skin tones well and skin imperfections when close-ups on exerciser's legs or chest.

Music: Exceptional. Very motivating, choreographed to moves perfectly, played very loud yet doesn't drown out voices. Mostly instrumental with some vocals, mostly the same tunes from FTGU. Choreographed to moves perfectly. Most tunes are a cross between tribal, jazz and pop - if that's possible. Music selections and matching are a very strong plus for these workouts.

Set: Greek columns, blue/night sky between with bright stars at top. White stone greek statues between columns supporting cauldrons with flames over their heads - although it's an obvious 'Halloween' flame effect. Few large ficus plants in white grecian urns in the corners, the same greek god-watercolor painting on the far left wall as seen in the FIRM 1 & 4.

Overall color scheme is deep blue & white, very striking. Colors are very vibrant.

Greek tiled floor. Heidi is on a dramatic modern multi-colored wool rug that I've seen at retailers.

Cast: 6 background exercisers including 3 from original FIRMs, such as Narty Waters. Exercisers are wearing different-colored tankini-tops with black capris, bike shorts or yoga pants. All are energetic & healthy. One exerciser demonstrates use of equipment substitutes such as water bottles for dumbbells, household stool for high step, and large books for yoga blocks.

Heidi is wearing a red camisole, visible black sports bra, and black calf-length tights, white athletic shoes. She looks healthy, not as relaxed as in FTGU.

Cueing is excellent. Heidi appears to be a bit more nervous than in FTGU - she doesn't use all the cues she used earlier such as the example "dipping your foot in very cold water". Always making suggestions on how to better balance or use the core.

Kimberly is in a red camisole with either black trim & straps or maybe it's a black sports bra & black capris, white athletic shoes. Kimberly is enviously shapely & gorgeous, like a cross between a young Geena Davis & Marilyn Monroe. She is natural on-camera.

Kimberly cues the kickboxing very well and has better form than Heidi demonstrated on FTGU. She keeps great form on her roundhouse kicks. Kimberly sometimes has that kickboxing posture where her shoulders slump forward, I know it's probably second nature but I wished she would stand up straight between segments so we could see how statuesque she is!

The camera transitions from Heidi to Kimberly by cutting to Narty or an exerciser putting down her weights or moving the step, then the camera returns to Kimberly already on center stage. Heidi's voice over says "and now, cardio with Kimberly". Kimberly thanks Heidi and introduces the move quickly while demonstrating.

Transitions back to Heidi are more direct, Heidi comes up, the two high-five each other and Heidi introduces the next exercise. I have to admit after the fourth 'high-five' I was starting to wish they'd just nod as they passed by...

Camera work: The camera angles are similar to original FIRM productions. The camera mostly focuses on the lead instructor in front of a mirror with 4 of the 6 background exercisers visible in the mirror.

DVD format: The DVD has very colorful motion menus with music & flying stars everywhere (as seen on the Kickbutt covers). The top menu allows you to select the actual cover of the workout you want - Push Pull or Steamin' Cardio. The Push Pull workout is chaptered very well, 19 chapters dividing cardio/toning segments - exactly the same as FTGU.

Each workout has a sub-menu labelled 'Select Tune' which is a mix-and-match menu. Folks with programmable DVD players will be able to program from both workouts.

The DVD main menu also has selections for an equipment list (that has pictures of equipment substitutes), first-time tips, credits, and a pass-through to Steamin' Cardio. Interestingly their is no 'back to top menu' link...

The first-time tips describes weights required, pick the right step height, what is your non-dominant side, how to avoid soreness, work up slowly, etc.

The Workout:
3.5 min WARM-UP
No static stretching, it's a dynamic cardio with some sweeping arm movements (cardio mambo-shuffle), identical to FTGU. PP eliminates the static stretching (plie, hamstrings, overhead arms) done in FTGU. The music is VERY motivating.

30 min AWT
Alternating 2.5-3 minute cardio/kickboxing intervals with 3-4 minute toning/stretching segments (exception: the leg-press/squat segment is 10min long). 14 min of cardio total.

These appear to be the exact same segments from FTGU except that the higher-intensity crescent kicks, tuck-jumps & lunge-jumps have been eliminated. Instead of crescent kicks Kimberly does front knee-ups. In another segment Kimberly does a boxer shuffle where Heidi had done a bouncing jump in FTGU. Instead of lunge-jumps in the March Out-In segment Kimberly does double-knee repeaters.

Also - in the kickboxing segments you can tell that Kimberly is trying to keep good form with some moves that would not ordinarily be combined by a kickboxing professional - doing two roundhouses - one on each side in succession.

Another observation: in FTGU Heidi sometimes suggests what weight to use - "I'm using 10lbs" whereas in PP there are no mentions of recommended weights except to say 'get heavy weights".

12 min FLOORWORK
Includes leg stretches, back rows, core work.

5.5 min STRETCH
Includes runnner's lunge, overhead stretches.

Breakdown:
FTGU PUSH PULL
mambo hippy mambo
stretch
dip hypers dip hypers
shuffle bob bob & weave Kimberly
dip drags drag dips
speed bag speedbag
nd step press nd press & dip
nd squats nd hovers
d step press d press & dip
d squats d hovers
lunge mambo march out-in
push-ups 3-limb push-ups
step stomps climb & stomp
western-style legs (hamstring/quad stretch)
back rows kneeling row
spine seated ankle-knee
nd v-sits nd core teaser
adduction flyes & v-thread
d v-sits d core-teaser
down dog warrior salutation

TOTAL WORKOUT TIMES:
51.5 min 51.5 min

Instructor comments:

Dawn P.

March 17, 2005

Women's Health & Fitness Network Push Pull is part of the KickButt series and is a fusion workout, but I found it to be mostly strength and it kicked MY butt!! It's a remake of FitPrimes's From The Ground Up, but it's redone enough so that it feels like a "new" workout ... and it's better if that's possible!! As with all the WHFN workouts, the colors are vibrant and alive, the background exercisers are healthy and a delight to watch - especially the fit and beautiful Narty who looks as though she hasn't aged a day from her "Tortoise" and "Hare" appearances about ten years ago!!

Heidi Tanner leads, dressed in a red top and black pants, and absolutely tops her FTGU performance. Kimberly Spreen leads three cardio segments, also dressed in red and black, and does a great job with these! Her kickboxing expertise is given a chance to show itself, which I loved!

The breakdown is 8 minutes of Pilates, 14 minutes of cardio, 4 minutes of yoga, and 20 minutes of weights. Don't worry about going heavy - there are fewer reps than traditional all-strength training workouts so go for it! To increase the intensity of the cardio segments simply make your movements bigger or add little jumps and hops - it's easy to do here.

The warm up will be familiar from FTGU with the same music and nearly identical choreography. Since I love this warm-up, I was happy! I have to tell you I was prepared to not like this workout since I couldn't possibly see how FTGU could be improved. I was pleasantly surprised! I LOVE this workout!!

Static lunges are next with biceps curls and overhead presses, and a balance challenge. I used 2 12# weights and was very challenged. At the end of doing both legs Heidi takes you through a squat sequence where you extend the back leg and do more curls, adding more balance challenges.

Kimberly then leads the first of two kickboxing segments. It's not enough to really elevate your heart rate, but it's a nice break from the weights, just long enough, with a fun tune which will repeat itself in all three of Kimberly's segments.

Heidi returns with drag dips and a nice balance challenge here too. In between legs we do shoulder work. Again I had 2 12# weights, and they were almost too heavy for me. I'm an intermediate/advanced exerciser so anytime I have to stop or lower weights, I consider that a great workout for me!! The balance challenge after doing the drag dips on the second leg is to lift the leg out to the side and curl the dumbbell - harder than it looks! Very functional fitness and working the core kind of move!

Kimberly then returns with the second kickboxing sequence, and this one moves a bit more than the first so you can probably elevate your heart rate nicely.

Next is Heidi with leg press, and I love how she does variations first instead of just traditional leg presses for what feels like a million reps. No repetitious boring sets here!! Finishing this sequence is triceps dips off the high step.

Next is hover squats, where you lift the knee on the way up, then do shoulder presses. I like this because doing endless hover squats really bothers my knee, so the slower pace, the balance work incorporated into the move, and stopping to do shoulder work for a few seconds is a WONDERFUL change! Again I had 2 12# weights and was struggling. The triceps work in this sequence is a french press. We then do the hover squat sequence on the other leg, and finish that sequence with triceps kickbacks.

Kimberly then returns for the final cardio sequence which is a fun set of V steps, step touches, and knee repeaters. You can add intensity easily by jumping or hopping some of it, or going lower into the V steps.

Heidi is back then with push-ups, putting one hand on the tall step. A nice variation in this workout is to lift the opposing leg to the back while pushing down, then bring the knee in. You can really feel this in your core! I loved it! We switch sides then, completing the sequence.

Next is a tall box climb with "stomps" and mambos onto the box. It's not a lot of climbing and it didn't bother my knees at all. In fact, what burned were my shoulders from holding the 2 5# weights while climbing, then doing side lateral raises while "stomping"! OUCH! I kept wishing I had 3# dumbbells in my hands! This one will fool you!

A brief but very needed stretch is next, then onto one arm lat rows and rhomboid rows. We then stretch briefly again before moving onto the floor.

The V-sits are back from the original FitPrimes, and so are the dreaded oblique threads! She only does three on each side so go for it! They are KILLER, but SO effective! She then does that full bridge move where you're up on your shoulders with your hips lifted at the same time. I cannot do this move due to shoulder issues, so I did traditional bridge with weights on my groin. Heidi then says pec flyes are next and to grab LIGHT weights. Don't do what I did and grab your pec flye weight or you'll be dropping them very soon - LOL! We do the heels together and move the legs out to the side move along with pec flyes, but then we keep our legs out to the side and thread through them with the weights! You can see how you'd want LIGHT weights for this, and so did I - a bit too late I might add! We then do the V-sits on the other side, the oblique threads again, and end with plenty of cobra poses.

The final stretch is relaxing, thorough and well-deserved! It says 49 minutes on the DVD case but it's about 51 minutes total. A+!!!

Instructor comments:

Carol_is_fit
Carol_scorpio_47@yahoo.com
March 25, 2005

Excellent music. I'd say FitPrime has the best workout music out there.

I liked the moves too - different and interesting.

I won't do a breakdown, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents about the workout.

I didn't love this like I did Fast Cheetah, but I enjoyed it a lot and will certainly do it again.

I felt pretty well worked out after 48 minutes or so.

I am really glad I bought the 12 pack now, because I have all these under-one-hour workouts that are interesting, work my whole body, but don't leave me totally exhausted. This works for me on those days where I have a lot to do when I get home from work, but still want a sufficiently 'hard' workout.

Instructor comments: I really really really like Kimberly a lot. She's motivating and friendly. She is as anti-stepford as one can get, which for me, is an excellent departure from the older-style firm "instructor demeanor".

Leela

This is the first of the WHFN workouts that I've tried, and Pratima has urged me to post this review, so here goes:

I was initially a little confused because the cover shows Kimberley, but then Heidi Tanner starts off saying, "Let's work out from the ground up!" I thought maybe a "From the Ground Up" video got into the wrong DVD cover. But no. Heidi warms you up with a very simple hi-lo combo of V-steps and mambos and stretches.

Kimberly does about five cardio sections interspersed between the weight segments-- very short and includes simple kickboxing. Ie, jab-cross-duck is one section, and shuffles + two roundhouses and two front knees are another. These segments were not very tough and I would not do Push Pull with any cardio expectations. Kimberley is fine, but this workout doesn't really give her any chance to shine.

Heidi does all the weight segments; variations on leg presses, tricep kickbacks, French press and pushups on 14-in. step. She does one shoulder fryer, where you step up on the 14-inch platform while doing laterals.

Brief pilates/yoga segment, so short it's almost negligible. You start out with a variation on the rollup--you lie on the floor with your leg stretched forward, you pull your upper body up as that leg comes inward, then roll back down. You also do that move where you lie on your side, propped up on your elbow, and lift up to work your core, doing a few reps of torso twists. Then you do the cobra a few times.

Overall I got an intermediate weight workout with some tougher moments, very little cardio, with scarcely more pilates/weights.

If you like Firm Classics, complete with Greek statues and brightly mirrored room, you might like this. The music was fun, production values great. They had a country twangy song during the pushups, which was funny. Very reminiscent of old Firm classics, with some of the old vets back. Very bright and clean picture, and Heidi is just as she was in the old Firms.

Instructor comments: Kimberley doesn't get to show off much kickboxing chops here, but does fine with what she has. Heidi is Heidi--if you liked her in the old Firm videos, you'll like her here. It was like doing a Firm Classic updated for the new century.

acey

6/26



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