Cardio Sculpt

Pam Cosmi
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts

This is the first workout I've tried by Swiss instructor Pam Cosmi, who instructs here with two background exercisers. Cardio Sculpt combines unqiue, functional weight training moves, many of which utilize a step and/or tubing, with short cardio bursts. There is also a "Mat Segment" which contains some challenging upper body and core work plus a a bonus 20-minute hi-lo aerobics segment. I have broken down the entire 69-minute workout in greater detail below.

Pam begins the workout with a warm-up and stretch lasting just under 8 minutes. In this segment, she introduces simple aerobic choreography such as step-touch, hamstring curls, knee lifts, step-taps, chasse, knee repeaters, corner squats on the step, mambos, straddle squats over the step, and lunges (she later uses some of these sequences in the hi-lo segment). She finishes with about 2-minutes of moving stretches using the step.

The warm-up flows right into the cardio sculpt portion, which is about 34 minutes long. Here Pam keeps the heart rate high with moves such as lunges and curtseys off the step. She also does a series of walking lunges/jump lunges/jump squats (these might be challenging if you are in a small space). Continue to work the legs but adding in compound moves, you'll do a side squat with a shoulder raise and a single leg squat with a double arm row. Throughout the above moves, Pam pauses for brief cardio breaks, sometimes as basic as toe taps, sometimes more intense. Next Pam uses the step and the band for a tough series working the chest and back. While constantly stepping on and off the step, thereby maintaining aerobic intensity, Pat performs a series of upper body exercises with the band. She finishes the cardio sculpt with a brief aerobic cool-down.

The Mat Segment focuses on both upper body and core and actually begins in a standing position for standing knee lifts with a dumbbell before moving to the floor for a single arm pullover and dumbbell flys with a crunch; the series is repeated once. The next series consists of a double arm pullover with crunch plus a side plank with arm and hip raise, repeating on both sides. The final series included v-sits with a heavy weight and a crunch with extended arms; this series was also repeated. The matwork lasted about 20 minutes, and it felt unique and different compared to other core/upper body work that I've done. Pam finishes the workout with a 6 1/2 minute Cool-Down Stretch: begining in a lying position, she performs a lying twist and a thread the needle stretch for the hips/glutes. Moving to seated, she performs a hamstring stretch, wide-legged forward bend, and butterfly stretch. Pam concludes in a standing position with stretches for the quads, chest, shoulders, and triceps.

The 20-minute Hi-Lo portion is a separate menu option from the main workout. Here Pam basically takes two long combinations, teaching them individual in an add-on style (ie, "take it from the top"), and then finally merging the two combinations together for one longer sequence to finish. The choreography is fairly basic; I'm generally not very good with complicated steps but was generally able to follow along, especially given that Pam cues very well. The first combination includes the chasse series from the warm-up as well as other simple steps such as jazz square and repeater knees. The second combo also has repeater knees and adds a few new moves, including shuffles, jacks, hamstring curls, and v-steps. For those who enjoy hi-low aerobics, this is a nice little add-on that is well-cued by Pam.

Overall, I'm really happy I tried this workout. I tend to enjoy workouts which combine cardio and sculpting, but I still found this to be unique both in the way that Pam incorporated the step and the tubing and in her very new and different moves for the upper body/core. I'm glad to have discovered this workout!

Instructor Comments:
As mentioned above, I thought Pam was an excellent cuer. She does have a few little habits which some may find annoying (I won't mention them so as not to draw attention to them!) but which didn't bother me at all. She works out here in the traditional CIA studio (shelves and black chairs with red pillows in the background); some of the music was recognizable from other CIA videos as well.

Beth C (aka toaster)