Turbo Jam: Cardio Party 2

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it and doing it at least twice.

General workout breakdown: Beth and Laura have already described this 43-44 minute kickboxing workout so well. Chalene includes the jab, cross, hook, and upper cut; speed bags; knee strikes and knee raises to the front and back; and front, side, and back kicks. There are also “jumping rope,” jumping jacks, and other such moves. In between some sections she asks you to dance in your own style for about thirty seconds; some moves acquire some hip shaking or “old school” arms in the later part of the repetitions. This is the extent of the dance party, though. (In other words, if you were expecting a dance video with a few kicks and punches, look elsewhere; at the same time, if you were afraid this would be a video with lots of dance moves, you can relax.) She does have some different combinations from other kickboxing videos. I felt the moves were performed at an appropriate pace: not too fast (a la Tae Bo double time) and definitely not slow. (This pace would be too fast for true kickboxing or exercise beginners, though.)

Level: I’d recommend this to an experienced beginner/intermediate (i.e. someone who’s been working out for a bit and who has some TaeBo, kickboxing, or martial arts experience) through someone at the intermediate/advanced cross-over level. Someone at the high intermediate to low advanced level could add weighted gloves or light hand weights for more intensity.
I consider myself a high intermediate with respect to cardio but only have kickboxing experience through kickboxing videos, which I’ve been doing on and off for the past 1 1/2 years or so. I’d probably consider myself a solid intermediate when it comes to kickboxing. I found this workout appropriate for me without hand weights, although I’ll add the hand weights once I get the moves down. I worked up a good sweat but didn’t feel wiped out afterwards. There are a couple of quick movement changes that aren’t well cued, so I had a little trouble with them the first but felt comfortable with everything the second time through.

Class: Six women and two men join Chalene in a fairly diverse cast. Two participants show lower impact moves. (The higher impact modifiers are gone, but that’s not a big loss since in CP1 they traded impact for form.) As with all of the TJ first set, there is audience participation (whooping, mugging for the camera, etc.).

Music: The pulsing music, much of which has vocals, is motivating and suits the workout well. The songs include “Disco Heights,” “I Got that Boom Boom,” “Renegade Master,” and “Baby Got Back.”

Set: The brightly lit interior set has some frosted windows in the back but is otherwise gray. One exerciser is on a raised platform to each side at the back.

Production: good picture and sound, usually helpful camera angles.

Equipment: sneakers.

Comments: at least enough room to take a couple of steps and kick to each side (front, back, right, and left).

DVD Notes: The DVD is chaptered by segment. Extras include “Jam’d” (a Chalene practical joke caught on tape), “Get to Know the Cast,” “Beachbody Supplements,” and “Kathy Smith’s Project: You” (short version of the infomercial).
I haven’t had any problems with this disc playing in either of my players.

Conclusion: I like this in spite of myself. Turbo Jam doesn’t reinvent the wheel of kickboxing workouts, but it does have some different combos and music. I can’t see doing Turbo Jam all the time, though, as I think that might be too much Chalene for me, but this is a good one to rotate in with my other kickboxing videos by Cathe, Janis, and Kimberly to give me some variety in intensity and length. (I think this is most similar in intensity to Janis’ Hardcore Kickbox Circuit.)

CP1 vs. CP2 (my take): CP2 is missing the fun capoeira moves (jinga, wheel, etc.), and there are fewer dance breaks. The combos thus seem to repeat the kickboxing moves a lot more without so much variety. I think there’s more kicks in 2; at least there are fewer speed bags. Chalene is significantly toned down here and spends a lot more time cueing, with less time picking on cast members (no “I can hear you singing back there, George!” only to have the camera cut away to the perplexed exerciser who clearly was doing no such thing). For fun factor I’d pick 1, but for kickboxing I’d pick 2.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is energetic and encouraging. She’s not quite so over the top here in comparison to CP1. “Baby” doesn’t come up a lot in this workout, and the “you’re going to love this!” statements thankfully die off towards the middle of the workout. Chalene does mirror cue, but her overall cueing is inconsistent: sometimes right before moves happen, sometimes right as they’re happening, but sometimes she’s not cueing at all, which is particularly noticeable during the Turbo. When she’s not cueing she’s motivating the viewer or getting into the music. She includes few form pointers and reminders. I know there’s an instructional segment with the Turbo Jam set, but I feel all of the workouts should include form tips, even if there isn’t a need for form instruction proper. I don’t care much for her loud exhalations during her punches, but that may be just because I’m sensitive to hyperventilating.
Chalene admits that she is not a martial artist. If you like kickboxing instructors to have great form and a serious, focused attitude, Chalene is not the person for you. On the other hand, she might seem more approachable to someone without much kickboxing experience.