Powerstrike 5

Ilaria Montagnani
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it twice.

General workout breakdown: This has already been described well, so Iíll just add a few notes.
The total running time is about 51.5 min.; the workout itself is just over 47.5 min. The difference is the introduction (3.5 min.) in which Ilaria goes over stance, punches, kicks, and blocks to those new to Powerstrikes and explains the asymmetrical combos to those who are not.
The warm-up (just over 5 min.) is typical of the Powerstrikes: youíll begin with some deep breaths and shoulder rolls, then punches, before moving into knee chambers and a few basic, slow kicks. The warm-up closes with mostly static stretches, most of which are for the lower body, and a set or two of push-ups. The punches run about 7.5 min., the kicks just over 10 min., and the combinations 22 min. Youíll get a few moves to cool-down and then a few quick stretches, primarily for the upper body (4 min.).
This is a low impact workout. Do be careful if youíre on thick carpet, however, so your feet donít catch as you do a quick partial pivot into a roundhouse, for example.

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate to int. / adv. exercisers comfortable with basic kickboxing moves. Int. / adv. to low adv. exercisers comfortable with weighted gloves (1-2 lbs. or so) can use them to boost the intensity to an appropriate level of challenge for them.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, although Iím probably more of an int. + when it comes to kickboxing because I have no martial arts training, Iíve done kickboxing almost exclusively at home with videos, and I donít do kickboxing regularly (I tend to revisit this style for a month or two a few times a year). I get a good workout in the low to mid-moderate range when I do this without my weighted gloves, and I get a great workout in the mid- to high moderate level of intensity when I do it with them. I prefer kickboxing routines that offer intensity through focus on technique over those that throw punches and kicks while jumping all over the place, and this falls firmly into the former category. (In fact, the Powerstrikes are my main example of the former category.) One of the reasons I like to revisit the Powerstrikes, including this one, every once in a while is to refresh my form, and as a result I get more out of all of the kickboxing workouts I do.

Class: 2 men and 4 women join Ilaria, who instructs live as she does the routine. I must issue a whooper alert, although the whoops arenít too loud or frequent. (And theyíre from Omar, probably not your first suspect.)

Set: This was filmed in an Equinox studio in downtown NYC in a studio classroom with windows facing the outside. Itís a slightly overcast day, and you can see people scurrying along outside in the bridge between the two tall buildings behind.

Production: clear picture and sound, although Iím not surprised some find the music a tad loud in relation to Ilariaís voice (I think the fact that her accent requires a little more concentration to understand, at least at first, makes this more of an issue than it might be otherwise, at least for me.)
The dominant camera angle is straight on, encompassing the whole class. However, this being a Powerstrike production youíll get your share of close-ups. For those who are already struggling with Ilariaís sparse announcement of cues these wonít help.

Equipment: Ilaria and her crew just have sneakers.

Space Requirements: You need to be able to step and kick to the front and to the sides.

DVD Notes: Your menu options are Play All, Introduction, Warm-up and Punches, Kicks, and Combinations, and those are the only chapters in the workout.

Comments: I wouldnít recommend this as the first Powerstrike someone tried because it is the oddball with the asymmetrical combos. And it wouldnít be one Iíd recommend to kickboxing newbies, even though Ilaria does take time to go over the punches, kicks, and blocks, because Ilaria includes a lot of fast punches here (although they are at her patented controlled pace). To people who fell in either category - or both - Iíd recommend Powerstrike #4 (the one that just says Powerstrike on the cover without any numbers) instead. #5 definitely builds on #4 (and #6 in turn builds on #4 and 5). For example, Ilaria adds another kick to her repertoire here, the side kick.

I didnít discover Powerstrike until #3, and I only have #3-6. So I canít speak to how this compares to the early Powerstrikes, which are by many accounts more intense than these (and if one could obtain them with any sort of ease Iíd consider buying a VHS just to see what Iím missing!). And I only have #3, so although I agree that she and Ilaria worked well as a tag team on camera I donít miss Patricia Moreno as much as others. I like the newer Powerstrikes (#4-6) and am happy to have them in my collection.

Instructor Comments:
I rather like Ilariaís business-like and professional manner, especially since thereís still a sense of humor there. Sheís definitely not the most exciting personality on camera, but most of the time Iím one who prefers a little too little personality than way too much.
Ilaria tends to introduce the move(s), repeat them several times, and then add on the next set of moves. Sheíll cue the first time or two through, but then sheíll stop cuing the individual moves to instruct on form or remind you of proper form. I think this is the reason some people feel sheís a poor cuer, because after the initial introduction of the moves she wonít give you more than a general occasional reminder of what youíre supposed to be doing. She is a good instructor, however, because she demonstrates excellent form and constantly both reminds you to keep form and tells you how to do so. Iíve never really had a problem with following her, perhaps because as someone whoís not naturally gifted when it comes to coordination Iíve developed the habit of telling myself the punches and kicks as Iím doing them over and over until I finally get them down (No comment on how long that can take. Or the looks I got when I tried a live kickboxing class and was muttering under my breath in the back corner). Ilaria does mirror cue, however (meaning when she says ďcrescent right,Ē she means the viewer should do the kick with the right leg while she does it with her left).