Power Kicks

Aaron Lankford
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

Power Kicks is a strong, tough kickboxing workout for all levels of kickboxing enthusiasts. Prior to the start of the workout, instructor Aaron Lankford spends a few minutes reviewing method and form for each of the punches and kicks; even though I've been kickboxing for awhile now, I found this review to be helpful. The workout itself begins with a few minutes of arm stretches, which surprised me because Aaron performs the stretches before warming up the muscles. He then moves on to some simple series of punches followed by an additional few minutes of streches for a total warm-up time of 12 minutes.

The main body of the workout consists of three separate sections: all punches (5 minutes), all kicks (13 minutes), and then kick-punch combinations. The short punch section is the least varied, as Aaron focuses on the jab and cross punches but does not include hooks or uppercuts, but it does really work the shoulders. The kicking section includes front kicks, side kicks, roundhouse kicks, and back kicks and moves methodically through each type. In the combination section, Aaron leads sequences which are simple and easy to follow--e.g., jab, cross, front kick. Throughout the kickboxing sections, there is absolute NO jumping and only a few boxer shuffles thrown in, making the workout completely low impact. Some of the moves are performed double-time, but never at a pace which makes it too difficult to keep up or which sacrifices form.

For more specific toning work, Aaron leads an additional 6 minutes of kickboxing drills (similar to Kathy Smith's Kickboxing Workout). Here, the kicks are performed at a slower pace and with the assistance of a chair for balance. Following this, there is a 6 minute abs segment with includes traditional crunches, planks, and a few quick sets of push-ups, and then the workout concludes with a 4 minute cool-down consisting of seated forward bends.

By the end of this 56-minute video, I felt that all of the muscles in my body had been thoroughly worked out and was pleasantly tired. I think that this program would probably be doable for those new to kickboxing IF they are already in pretty good shape; I would NOT recommend this video to the beginning exerciser. This workout is probably best thought of as being low- to mid-intermediate level, but I think even those more advanced can get an excellent workout, especially with the addition of weighted gloves (I used 1 lb. per hand). However, those who prefer complex choreography and higher-impact cardio might be disappointed in this workout and might view it as lacking in the "fun" factor since the moves themselves are so basic. But if what you are looking for is a strong, full-body workout with both toning and cardiovascular benefits, I highly recommend Power Kicks.

Instructor Comments:
Aaron cues very well throughout the workout; he both encourages you to push yourself and lets you know it's okay to take it easy (saying things like "feel free to keep the kicks low"). He works out with two female background exercisers on a plain-looking set and with upbeat music. I liked that both Aaron and the background exercisers seemed to be getting tired at times--I was glad that I wasn't the only one!

Beth C (aka toaster)