Kickbutt Strong Bear

Keli Roberts
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

This workout has already been broken down, so I am just going to add my own opinions. I provided a comparison between the WHFN Kick Butt Strong Bear and the original Fitprime Strong Bear (with Tracie Long) in the Fitprime Strong Bear review. I am reviewing this workout after having done it several times through the years. This is the updated Strong Bear from WHFN (led by Keli), with a few women background exercisers (one of them shows beginner modifications with prop replacements like water bottles and a common step stool). The music and production quality are excellent and it is filmed in a large mansion-like setting with statues in alcoves along the walls. I think Anna Benson was going for the “new” Firm look, and succeeded.

The workout clocks in at about 56 minutes and was mostly strength focused but did include a 4-limb segment, a boot camp cardio segment, a short jumping segment to work the feet, and some yoga throughout. Like all of the WHFN workouts, there is a functional feel to these and the exercises are very creative. Strong Bear particularly focuses on the inner thighs with a regular plie set, another plie set with one foot elevated (in releve) on the tall box, and a short set of tall box leg press off the side of the box using the inner thigh to push you to the top. There is also a side leg series focused on inner thigh lifts. The outer thighs are worked with a slow roundhouse kick series and some pilates-inspired “around the world” hip extensions. There are two (relatively short) leg press sets, one just leg press, the other leg press with curtsey dips. I liked the leg press and plie emphasis in this one, giving you a break from all of the lunges and dips in the other WHFN workouts (Push Pull and Pump come to mind). The upper body is worked nicely with several exercises for the triceps, two short sets for the biceps, one arm row and some rhomboid pinches for the back, “yes/no” pushups (pushup to stretch position and back, these are fun!) with one arm on the tall step, and plenty of military presses and lateral shoulder raises. The core is worked nicely as well, both during the functional moves, and in a fun and effective side laying series with both legs lifting and sweeping in front of you. The ab work is brief but it’s a good set as well.

I’ve been revisiting my WHFN workouts lately and they are such high quality, fun, productive, gently challenging, functional workouts that really work the whole body. I think some people think these workouts are too kooky (they are a little kooky but no more so than the original Firms, IMO) and maybe they aren’t for everybody, but I think if you can put aside the uniqueness of these workouts, and are interested in the workout style (AWT), you might give them a try! Keli appears to use no more than 10# weights but I use a variety from 5# through 15# and can make this into a high intermediate workout. You can also make it more intense by really putting the energy into it and not just going through the motions. Done as is (with up to 10# weights as demonstrated) it is intermediate, while beginners can use a light poundage and keep it low intensity (it’s mostly low intensity anyway). It is not really modifiable (nor meant to be) to be made super advanced. Both versions of Strong Bear are great but I think I like Keli’s even better, due to the production value and I feel the exercises are somewhat more balanced. Overall Grade A+!

Instructor Comments:
Keli Roberts is very professional, friendly, encouraging, and she gives excellent form pointers (and as others have mentioned, she also demonstrates good form herself). I have her WHFN workouts and her Bosu Xplode workout, and need to definitely check out more of hers because I like her a lot. She encourages you to push yourself, but to take things day by day and do what’s most comfortable for your body. She has an English accent.

Emily B.