Hardcore Kickbox Circuit

Janis Saffell, Guillermo Gomez
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

I've enjoyed Janis Saffell's other kickboxing workouts, so I decided to give this one, which she teaches with partner Guillermo Gomez, a try as well. As the name suggests, this is a circuit workout which alternates cardio kickboxing sequences with both weighted and unweighted toning work. Janis and Guillermo switch off instruction of the various segments, with both cueing fairly well (Guillermo sometimes counts in Spanish) and mirroring the viewer. Janis, Guillermo, and their three female background exercisers all wear weighted gloves for the workout.

Guillermo begins the warm-up, introducing each of the four punches (jab, cross, hook, uppercut). He includes both jumping jacks and push-ups, so my heart rate got up there pretty quickly. Janis then takes over with some simple kickboxing choreography which feels very similar to her other videos, particularly the lower body segment of Quick Fix Cardio Kick. The only time I had a little trouble following was when she added a turn sequence, but I just skipped this (no modifications are shown). She transitions very smoothly into the first toning segment, mostly squats without using any weights.

Guillermo is up next. Most of his sequences were performed to the side, which I found kind of different and liked. He builds up his first kick punch combination, practicing this on both sides, then introduces a second kick-punch combination. I was a little thrown off when he combined the two combos--they start of kind of similar, so it's easy to get thrown off--but I was able to pick it up once I realized what he was doing. Next comes the first weights segment using dumbbells (I found that 5# weights were plenty heavy). There are traditional moves such as bicep curls and shoulder raises, but there is a bit of a kickbox flavor added in. My heart rate dipped a bit during both this and the second weighted segment.

Janis returns with another kickboxing sequence; unlike Guillermo, her choreography was front-to-back (without requiring much space). This was quite different, with quick jabs and a hook kick. Again, Janis included some turns, and again, I skipped these. She then does a very short weight segment concentrating on the shoulders. Guillermo returns, teaching the segment the same way as before: he introduces one kick-punch combination, practices it on both sides, teaches a second combo, and then combines the two together (I caught on more quickly this time!). There are some unique moves here as well, including a circle jab and a roundhouse-cross. Guillermo also leads the final toning semgent, which is again unweighted; this short segment includes more squats and slowly performed side kicks.

The cool-down, which is performed entirely on the floor, offers some nice lower body stretches; it finishes in a seated position with some brief neck stretches, bringing the entire workout in at about 52 minutes. The DVD also includes a bonus 10-minute Aikido workout lead by Guillermo. This is performed on the floor, and it's an interesting mix of back-stretches (mostly rolling back from a seated position into a sort of plow pose) and some leg work in the form of seated side and roundhouse kicks; these moves are supposed to add power to your standing kicks. For some reason, Guillermo does not mirror-cue in this segment; also, it ends rather abruptly with no cool-down. The bonus workout can be selected off the main menu, which is well-chaptered with the individual workout segments but which does not let you string several segments together for a customized program.

Overall, this is a nice kickboxing workout that kept me in my target heart rate zone for over 35 minutes. The workout was probably appropriate for low intermediate exercisers (there isn't much discussion of form, so I wouldn't recommend it to someone new to kickboxing), and the choreography is mostly basic, with some twists added in here and there as I mentioned above. I would recommend this workout to anyone who enjoys fun, easy-to-learn kickboxing combinations and doesn't mind a bit of toning work thrown in.

Instructor Comments:
If you've done any of Janis's previous workouts, you'll find her to be very similar here. She is pretty laid back and can be a bit goofy at times, but she teaches in a very straightforward add-on manner. Guillermo speaks with a moderate Spanish accent and sometimes counts in Spanish, which I found a bit annoying rather than cute (as it seems to be intended). However, he cues fairly well, and I didn't have a problem with him overall.

Beth C (aka toaster)