CIA 2103: Power Aerobics and Power Mat Science

Alison Boyd, Shannon Salisbury
Year Released: 2001

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Pilates/Core Strength

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

I've done this video three times. I received it in a trade. I was looking for something hi/lo that was kind of a bridge between easy choeroegraphy and something a little more challenging. I'm not disappointed!

This video is pretty extensively reviewed, so I'll spare you the technical details and just write my impressions.

There is a warm up and 5 sections of hi/lo. You TIFT from each section (except for the 5th) but never TIFT the whole workout (thank goodness!). the hi/lo is fun and 'busy'-you are moving around a lot, doing a variety of different moves to link together, and many of those moves are mambos, box-steps, grapevines, ponys, but the way they are linked together makes the choreography very fun and interesting.

There are two things about the aerobics section that are a just a little annoying: If you do the workout the way it is shown, there are some real space-hog moves. Fortunately, with a little experience doing the workout and a little innovation I was able to modify the moves without a problem. The second thing is, there is no cool down stretch. Not good for any tape, I know, but personally since I have a million cool downs to choose from, no problem.

The power mat science portion was very enjoyable and a good ab workout. Though the moves were pilates, I felt that the manner in which they were presented had more of an athletic ab workout-type of feel in comparison with any straight pilates workouts I have done (the music was mellow, though). I agree that the form shown was not the best, but since I am not a begnner this was not a problem for me. Wouldn't recommend it to a beginner, though.

All in all, a very good tape. I am
so glad I got it!

Instructor Comments:
They are both perky and fun.

Kathy Weller


This tape offers a nice hi-low workout and a short floor work section with non-traditional ab and core work.

But I had to add that after reading the reviews here I had expected a more original routine and a more intense workout.

This is a low to moderate intensity routine which suffered from too many walking-in-place and side-to-side-step transitions. The girls use more low-impact steps than high, so I didn't get my heart rate up like I had hoped.

The first 9min of the routine DRAGS on so much that I think I'll FF past it in the future - to the point where Shannon combines her & Allison's first combos. That still gives you a moderatly intense 35min routine without the drag.

I think what bothered me the most was the lack of originality in the steps and combos. There just wasn't anything new here. If you learned hi-low in the 80's and leaned toward the low-impact variations, you've done every move before and nothing seems fresh here.

Like others have mentioned, the steps take up a LOT of floor space, and I kept running into my sofa and fell once doing this routine.

The Power Mat section is OK, I enjoyed some of the abdominal work, there was a good variety of endurance moves to strengthen and stretch the core. However, I couldn't STAND the music! The languid melody (Enya?) was overbearing and made me feel like I was watching a Dianetics commercial.

I'm not a big fan of this tape, but I will hang onto it for days where I'm coming back from an injury and need a low-impact routine that's not too frustrating to learn.

Instructor Comments:
The sisters are in good form, good rapport and nice smooth transitions into the other's segments.

Dawn P


This one is just plain fun. The 55-minute high/low section is built on fairly common moves, but put together into great routines. Shannon and Allison each take turns teaching the routines. There are 9 different combos. You put together 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc., and never go back and do it all the way from the beginning. That will please those who don't like a lot of repetition. I personally wouldn't have minded if they had put it all together, because it's a lot of fun. It's also extremely well-cued and they teach it very well without "babying" you (i.e., they assume you're an advanced exerciser and familiar with the base moves).

If you're the vocal type, you'll find yourself whooping and hollering a lot on this one. It's that much fun. After the high/low is Pilates-based core training, which is surprisingly tough. It's harder than it looks when you preview it. This part is about 30 minutes.

The only thing I would change is I'd put a stretch after the high/low. They just go right into the core work. But the stretch would be nice if you're not going to do the second part, and also it would just feel good at that point.

Grade A+.

Annie S.


I really enjoy this tape. It has several low and mixed impact aerobic floor combos. It has many familiar moves, but they are put together in new and interesting ways. Each sister teaches a combo and then put the two together. They don't go back and take the whole routine from the top, and the first time I tried this tape, I started saving up energy for the TITF, but it never came. I was surprised even though I had previewed the tape.

None of the routines are too confusing, although I seemed to consistently miss a couple steps. The routines were never boring, nor were they “dancy”. I think this is a tape where an exerciser would have a lot of room to grow. They usually show low impact moves along with the high, and it truly is a routine where you can put into it as much as you want.

The Power Mat Science routine was a typical pilates routine, most of the moves were familiar. It isn't really a routine to learn pilates with for two reasons. Shannon's form isn't all that great, her moves seem exaggerated. I'm not sure her cueing in this section is for a beginner either.

The hi-lo routine is unique enough to make this a keeper. Non-stop movements that are easy to learn and can be modified up or down. Not too many routines like this available!



I haven't enjoyed hi/lo this much in a long time. I have been trading many of my hi/lo tapes because I don't teach it that much anymore and I usually don't get my heart rate to where I like it to be.

This tape is making me rethink that whole scenario. Shannon Salisbury and Alison Boyd work beautifully together. They are fun to watch as they alternate their respective routines without a hitch. They are attractive, energetic personalities, without being over the top.

As for the workout, the combos are do-able, but interesting enough to see how they will be put together. There is some tricky (but not dancey) choreography that may take 2-3 times to hit it just right, but once you have the moves, they are yours. My heart rate got up during the power moves, but happily my knees did not suffer due to the number of sufficient low moves that would follow.

As with most CIAs, it has a long warm-up, with a simple, but fun combo and good stretches (I already used the whole warm-up in a hi/lo class I had to sub and it was wonderfully received!). The beginning part of the workout goes for about 25 minutes and covers several combos, put together by the sisters. There is not a lot from the tipsy top, just from the top of the two intermingled combos, so the boredom factor was non-existent.

The sisters put together different variations of traditional moves like grapevines, ham curls, tick tocks, kick forward, slides and power squats. One combo has a grapevine right, several ponies to the right (kind of like a rocking horse push pull move) 3 ham curls and a jog/jog and then more. I just love how I don't feel like I am tripping over myself. Your feet actually go where they are should!

The Power Mat is a nice series of core conditioning traditional Pilates moves with Shannon's athletic twist to them. Her form is good, but not Moira Stott perfect. Does that detract from the exercises? Not at all. She is real and knows her physiology and anatomy. She states how you need to keep your body situated throughout. She and her sister demonstrate all levels of the exercises, which for me as an instructor is a must. She does the 100, leg circles, scissors, swimming (good variations), plank, knee drops etc. all with a nice twist.

Is this a keeper? Most definitely!

Janet O'Neil


This was my first time trying an aerobics tape with the Anderson sisters. I love Power Bar Training and had tried Power Mat Science, but for some reason I had a feeling that I wouldn't like their aerobics and would be putting the tape up for exchange. Well, I was wrong! This was a great workout with lots of variety and innovative choreography. Including the warm up, it lasts about 55 minutes.

The sisters take turn leading and teaching. Shannon does the warmup, which consists of basic moves. She also teaches an arm combo which comes up in the main workout. There are some dynamic stretches as well.

Alison teaches the first combo. It starts out pretty basic with hi-lo moves that you have done before, like walking forward plus a knee raise, then walking back. But soon they start adding on new variations. I thought it was going to be too easy after the first combination, but the workout really started to pick up in intensity thanks to some power moves. Shannon's style was for the most part more athletic and powerful, and Alison taught more dancy moves. There were about 5-6 combinations in the whole workout, most of which were half Shannon moves and half Alison moves. The constant variety made this interesting and more fun, and the best part was that once you learned a combo and practiced a few times, you moved on to the next segment. I actually wouldn't have minded TIFTing once or twice at the end to enjoy all of the fun combos one last time.

Almost all of the moves were variations on traditional aerobic moves like grapevines, mambos and step touches, but Shannon and Alison always added a little twist such as a pony or jazz square after the grapevine. The intensity was pretty high, probably a low advanced, and there was always someone in the back showing low-impact modifications (though she didn't look like she was working very hard).

The cool down also serves as a warm up for the Power Mat Science workout. Unfortunately, there are no stretches after the cardio portion.

The Power Mat Science segment was about 20 minutes. It consisted of Pilates exercises like 100s, leg circles, and planks. It's only the sisters in this part, and Shannon leads the whole workout with Alison showing modifications for beginners. I have done this workout a few times and really felt it in my abs the next day. It's a nice way to add variety to your ab workouts.

As others have mentioned on the Forum, either one of the workouts on this tape would make it a keeper. Two thumbs up!

Aesthetics: The set was the red Oriental CIA set with fans on the walls. Everyone wore jazz pants and tank tops, with the sisters wearing blue and the background exercisers in black.

Instructors: Both sisters did a good job of cuing. Most of the teaching was "watch me", which I prefer to slowing down and doing steps in half time. They were also both very enthusiastic and motivating.

Space: My one major nitpick with this workout was that it required a lot of space. The first combo had a walk forward plus knee, walk back, then another walk back and then walk forward. I had to keep my steps very small, which brought down the intensity. There was also a double grapevine move which I had to modify, but I forgave Alison because it was part of a very fun combo.

Music: The sound on my video was not very good. Once in a while when one of the sisters spoke, it would come out crackly. Also, the music was not very loud, but it was good and had some vocal tracks. I tend not to notice music too much. In the Power Mat segment, the music sounded like Enya and was very appropriate.

Caroline Kim


I really enjoy this Hi-Lo workout. Featuring a tag team approach, sisters Shannon and Alison do a great job of presenting and leading the workout. And the best thing about the video is that there is not a lot of taking it from the top. There are nine full combos. Shannon leads the warm up, which consists of lots of step, touch moves and knee up repeater moves. The warm-up isnít fancy, but it does do the job.

Alison leads the first combo, followed by the second combo lead by Shannon. Then the 2 combos are repeated twice. This is the cycle that is followed during the whole tape with the exception of combo 9. Combo nine is the last combo of the aerobic section and it stands alone without a lot of repetition or a ďmatching comboĒ. The only complaint I have is that there is not real cool down. You do a few step touches and deep breathing with Shannon, then its on to the Power Mat Science section of the tape. So you have to do your own stretches and cool down if you are not going to do both sections at one time.

Most of the combos and moves are moves that you have seen before, but they are put together in a new way. The style of the hi-lo is very similar to what you may find at a good health club. Slightly dancy, but more straightforward with variable intensity without a high learning curve. This is a tape that you can do the first time, but the moves lend themselves to modification that can make them more difficult while keeping your interest over time. None of the moves are super tricky. Lots of moves based on grapevines, knee repeaters, step touches, squats and hamstring moves. The aerobics are easily modified to low impact or even all hi-impact. A participant often shows options for impact during the video.

There were a couple of really fun combos. I especially liked combo 4 with Shannon. She does a great power squat hesitation move with impact. This combo really fit the music and I liked the way Shannon kept saying bam! It really just fit with the combo.

But for those space challenged, I really think this tape fits the bill, with the exception of combo 5, which has those dreaded double grapevines. But since the segment is short, itís easily modified. And since most of the moves donít use a lot of pivots, it was easy to do on my carpet.

I did not do all of the Power Mat Science. But what I saw I didnít like. Shannon shows poor form on moves like the one leg circles. You can see her whole body including midsection rocking and rolling from momentum. Not a very good example of Pilates principles. But the exercises were well put together. I suggest this to those with Pilates experience who know how to execute proper form. Also I though they looked uncomfortable with their shoes on and doing the exercises on that tiny mat (the mats that CIA usually uses during AB work) I think they really needed a full-length mat.

I give this tape an A for the aerobic section. I liked the straightforward hi-lo. This is perfect when you donít want to have to think too much about tricky choreography. Shannon and Alison were great instructors. They are motivational without being overpowering. I can see myself doing this tape for a while without boredom setting in.

Susie F.