Step to the 3rd Power

Kimberly Spreen
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Step Aerobics

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it 3 times or so.

Note: The full title as listed on my DVD cover is Step3: Step to the 3rd Power.

General workout breakdown: Patti has already described this workout so well. I’ll just add to her breakdown the fact that you TIFT the full routine twice at the end of the “activity” segment, twice on the double step, and three times with the partner on the double step. That’s a lot of final TIFTing! Kimberly does TIFT after you’ve learned the third and fourth combos, too, but there I remember doing only one TIFT. And she never weaves or slices & dices; you always do combo 1 on one side, then the other, then combo 2 on both sides, next combo 3 on both sides, and so on. If instructors are going to include so many TIFTs, I prefer they shake things up with weaving and/or otherwise mixing up the combos.
Kimberly builds up combos in pieces, layering from more basic steps, and then adding a final flourish (which the modifier leaves out). She spends a decent amount of time on the breakdown / build-up, but not a whole lot, so those still relatively new to stepping may find this goes a little fast the first few times through, while more experienced steppers will find this just about right. She uses the “watch me” method to demonstrate the upcoming move change. Kimberly’s combos are symmetrical, although she often skips building things up on the second side, instead launching right into them. Other than a tap to keep going in the build-up of one combo (lost in the final version), the combos are tapless.
Kimberly’s choreography is pretty standard step aerobics, without anything too creative (except maybe the wind it up). Still, the choreography feels interesting and flows well together. You’ll do some dancey steps like mambos, chasses, and pivots, but you’ll do some very non-dancey steps like squats; you’ll also see a turn step and a variation thereof, revolving door and the related boomerang, straddles, repeaters, and things like that. Expect to move all around the step, including some moments when your back will be to the TV.
There are few high impact moves including in this. That said, there are a number of small pivots and quick turns, both on the step and on the floor, so be careful if your knees are sensitive to torque.
Kimberly holds the final stretches for a decently long amount of time. She doesn’t really get deep into the inner thighs, outer hips / glutes, or hip flexors, however, concentrating instead on the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. There are some stretches included in the warm-up, but they are primarily dynamic stretches, which I personally prefer while warming up.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate exercisers comfortable with a moderately complex level of choreography. That said, those at the beginner / intermediate level of exercise and stepping, who have mastered the basics and are looking to move on, should also find this doable, as Kimberly cues well enough to make this accessible to those with less stepping experience. In fact, when I was learning step (I was familiar with complex floor or hi/lo choreography but new to working with the step), this is one I tried earlier on, and I was pleased how much I was able to do. Now that I’m comfortable with all but the most complex step workouts (I still haven’t tried one of Patrick Goudeau or Seasun Zieger’s most complex), this one was a little basic for me in terms of Kimberly’s cuing, but I didn’t mind the level of the choreography, as I don’t always need to do insanely creative stuff every time out. In doing the entire workout straight through, I have to agree that the amount of TIFTing was a bit much; I wanted to give the double step portion a try just once, but I think I’m good on that option now. I would say the intensity was on the low side for me (I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser now), although having to cover more territory during the double step bumped things up a notch.

Class: 2 women join Kimberly, who instructs live. The same background exerciser shows the same modifications throughout; she also sticks with just one step instead of two in the double step portion.

Music: mostly instrumentals. A few songs have been played to death on contemporary and later releases, including the “It’s Party Time” song (found on pretty much all Katina Hunters and on numerous CIAs, including Carlos Arias’).

Set: an interior studio with white cubbies along the wall filled with miscellaneous items.

Production: decently clear picture and sound, with Kimberly’s voice much louder than the music. There are a few pauses when Kimberly waits for her “DJ” to get things going (um, push the play button already, person behind the scenes!). The camera angles are mostly plain and helpful. This is a Sara’s City Workout / Saracity / SCW production, and honestly the production values aren’t that bad here, although the menu design is amateurish and the chaptering is lazy.

Equipment: 1-2 steps. Kimberly and crew use full-sized club steps with 1 set of risers. (The most recent time I did this, the other day, I dug out my smaller Cathe kit step to give the double step portion a whirl, and I highly, highly recommend using steps of the exact same size, especially if you’re at all prone to klutziness.) Oh, and sneakers that pivot on your step and workout surface would also be helpful.

Space Requirements: This requires a lot of horizontal space, as you’ll need to be able to grapevine off both ends of your step – or steps (I can fit this into my space with one step; once I brought out two, even though one was small, I had to grapevine to the back to avoid the side walls of my workout room). You should have enough room to mambo, chasse, and otherwise move around comfortably with both feet on the ground in front of and behind the steps.

DVD Notes: The main menu options are Warm-Up, Activity, Step 2 & 3, and Cool-down / Stretch. Sadly, the warnings, a long SCW promo (which plays again after the stretch), and Kimberly’s introduction are not chaptered separately, so have your remote handy to fast forward to the warm-up. You might also want to fast forward through Kimberly’s brief intros to the other portions too.
There is nothing about instruction on this DVD (well, except for the double SCW promo); it’s set up for use as a home workout session, although it was probably primarily put out as a teaching aid for step instructors.

Comments: I agree with Patti’s comparison to Petra Kolber; I’d also throw in some of Gay Gasper’s stuff, Katina Hunter, Nekea Brown, Jeff Borden & Greg Sims, and those sorts of instructors as being of similar level of complexity and intensity.

As of this writing, SCW is still selling this on their website (that may not last much longer, however, and I don’t recommend ordering videos from them before reading the vendor reviews on VF), but other than finding this at their conventions, at Kimberly’s website (which looks like it’s still active), or on the swaps it may be hard to come by this one.

Instructor Comments:
Kimberly cues well, paying some attention to in between steps, too (you don’t realize how few instructors do this until you come across one who does!). She consistently cues just ahead of the step, and she mirror cues. She also includes some helpful tips on which way to turn, although she doesn’t do this for every turn. She cues the same throughout both the single and double step segment, telling you only when it comes time to do the double step that some terms she’s been using, like “switch,” were actually for this part.
Kimberly has a pleasant, positive personality that’s not too laid back but not too perky. She’s comfortable in front of the camera and professional, with a few folksy-type comments to add a little personality (“I reckon we should do that again,” for example).