Walkblaster: Shape & Firm

Leslie Sansone
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Walking Aerobics

This workout is from the Slim Shape & Sculpt series, commonly known as the Walkblaster series.)
I enjoyed this workout but I may not use it as much as I do some of Leslie's other workouts. It is circuit style with periods of lower body strength training alternating with Leslie's walk aerobics. I find that I do not tend to use this type of workout from Leslie because I like to use her workouts on days I am in recovery from more intense strength training such as the Firm. If you like Leslie's Walk Strong (from the WATP Express add-ons) or her Fat Burner Walk 2 (formerly Walk & Firm 2 Mile Cross Trainer) you will probably like this.

The lower body strength training is primarily lunges or squats with one leg on the Ramp and some squats with both feet on the floor. All of these exercises are done with body weight only. She does not give much in the way of form pointers. At one point she says "don't let your knee go too far" but does not say what too far is. So while the intensity of the exercise is beginner the instruction is lacking for the same audience.

The aerobic part is very much like Slim & Thin in this series. Leslie's walking movements with additional movements to utilize the Ramp. Once again Leslie uses less arm movement than in her regular walking workouts and does not do a "kickback" (hamstring curl) at all. The movements added to use the Ramp are tapping the blue section of the Ramp; 3 steps and a tap with the tap on the ramp (she does this moving to the side so the taps are on the green and purple sections); tapping across the body (left foot taps purple, right foot taps green); and a mambo with the front step on the Ramp (sometimes just stepping on the blue and sometimes moving so that the forward Ramp step is on the blue, on the purple, on the blue, on the green, etc). There is a meter that comes up at one mile "if you're following our mile system" and at the end she mentions the walk was 2 miles but there is no milage meter at the end. Leslie's stretch at the end emphasizes the hamstrings instead of her usual calves.

Leslie does not use the words left and right in her cueing at all. If you are used to her WATP series and later where she starts on your right and mirror cues, you will have to pay attention because she starts on your left if you are mirroring her; side steps start to the left, kicks and knee lifts start with the left. Her directional cues are usually "this side" or by color on the Ramp. When she cues by color she does by what is in front of her. So when she says step on the green, I am stepping on the purple. (I also have a Gin Miller Ramp workout and Gin manages to mirror cue the ramp colors appropriately). Any time she does a movement in which only one foot is striking the ramp she will switch lead legs and do the other side. She does not make this change as smoothly as other instructors such as Gin Miller , Petra Kobler and Kathy Smith. If you are really conscientious about the beat it feels as if you got off beat because of the transition to the other leg. There are also times in this workout Leslie is changing legs because she is off beat and not because of the need for balance.

Some general notes on the equipment, set and background exercisers:
The "Walkblaster", as Leslie calls it, is the Ramp (it says so on the ones in the video) from Gin Miller?s Ramping workouts. There are three colors used to identify where to step - blue in the middle, green on the left and purple on the right. Leslie only talks about using it at the lowest incline.
The set is open and well lit. The logos for the series and the workout are projected on the wall and floor in white light.
The background exercisers are Joanne, from Leslie?s Studio ("Grandma Jo"), Tracy from WATP for Abs, Dre from WATP Express, and three new walkers: Jimmy, who is more muscular than most of Leslie?s background exercisers, and the mother and daughter team of Kim and April. April really makes the most of every move almost hopping on the Ramp sometimes. If you need encouragement to increase the intensity of Leslie?s workout then just watch April.

Overall I enjoy this workout. I regularly do a range of cardio from Leslie's walking workouts, to Donna Richardson to the Firm. The intensity of this workout is a little higher that Leslie?s normal walking workouts but not much. At about 29 minutes it is good for the days I go to work when 30 minutes is the ideal length of workout.

Instructor Comments:
I like Leslie. Her cuing is okay but she doesn't really get mirror cuing which is a shame since a big part of her audience is beginners. In this series she starts on the left and does not give right and left instruction -- usually "this side" or "now the other leg" but se cues the Ramp/Walkblaster colors as she sees them not as the exerciser mirroring her does.

I don't know if it is the ramp or the fact that she starts on the left but she seems to get off beat less in this set of workouts.

She is her normal chatty self which does not bother me but does bother some people.