Kimberly Spreen
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

This is a short kickboxing workout (~26 min) flanked by a long warmup (~8 min) and long cooldown (~15 min). Although I prefer it over the kickbox routines in Kimberly’s other DVDs to date (Triple Threat, Kickbox Bootcamp), I still wouldn’t keep it at “boutique” prices.

The set looks like the same one used for Play Ball, except here it’s decorated in the style of a teenager’s birthday party in the basement, with cubbyholes for storing stuff and palm-tree-shaped lighting on the back wall. I kept thinking that the workout flooring would have been the dance area for the party.

The warmup (138 bpm) is surprisingly varied and fairly complete compared to Kimberly’s choreography for the body of her workouts. It includes standard aerobic-style moves (side touch, toe tap), plenty of core-focused movements (torso rotation, bob-and-weave, knee strike, shin block), and stretches (hamstring stretch, spinal roll, overhead reach), but it’s not quite as effective at warming up the lower body. Kimberly incorporates side leg lifts and roundhouse chambers and kicks a bit too early in the workout for my tastes. It puzzles me that she encourages us to kick “waist-high or lower” in order to maximize power, but she’s already kicking at waist level right off the bat, mere minutes into the warmup. She does a fair amount of moves that bring the legs to the side (side leg lifts, side lunges), but I personally need more forward and back movements (such as hamstring curls and front knee lifts) to really warm up my leg muscles.

The boxing segment (148 bpm) is slightly faster than in Triple Threat (TT) and consists of short drills rather than choreographed combinations, true to Kimberly’s style. It also contains lots of roundhouse kicks and the same sequence of alternating hooks, rib shots, and body shots as in TT, but this workout includes a greater variety of moves. There’s more high-impact here, with jumping jacks, scissors, and plyo squat jumps, as well as more front kicks. And there are those flurries that I dislike at the end. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the routine here more than in TT, despite still wishing that Kimberly’s choreography would flow better. For example, one sequence (R hook, L cross, R shin block, R roundhouse) didn’t work well for me because the shin block, roundhouse, and hook all come from the same side and require resetting one’s position in order to exert any meaningful force. Even though I appreciate that it’s worthwhile to practice quick recoveries as a kickboxer, I don’t think this workout is particularly focused on improving technique as much as it is on stringing together moves into a routine. For a workout routine of this type, I’d rather practice moves that flow well together.

The “flow” segment includes moves inspired by tai chi, but it lacks the flow of tai chi. To me, it felt like a series of tai chi and yoga poses strung together. Again (this is my common complaint about a lot of Kimberly’s choreography in general), the moves did not utilize full range of motion. We would go into a stretch, hold it, then return to the previous position, rather than extending the move through into a new direction. I kept feeling like my body was getting cheated out of the added extension and stretch that would result from completing the movements, and this was particularly disappointing given that tai chi (in my limited experience) incorporates many circular motions that can open up the body so well and feel so wonderful.

Instructor Comments:
Kimberly is helpful in giving lots of form pointers and comes across as very sincere as an instructor. However, her own kickboxing form is imperfect, in that she throws her punches somewhat wildly rather than executing a clean strike to a target. This workout includes lots of whooping, but none of the annoying call-outs that grated on me in Triple Threat and Kickbox Bootcamp. She does still slip into some uninspired “motivational” cueing, as in this example during the flurries at the end: “By the time you’re done with this, I want your biceps screaming. You know what I want them saying? I want them saying, ‘Ow.’” Otherwise, however, I enjoy Kimberly’s well-timed and often rhythmic cueing.