CIA 2205: Two Workouts in One (Knockout Hi/Lo & Stepped Up Step)

Debbie Burns, Ann Saldi
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Step Aerobics

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I've been going back and revisiting older workouts and realized I had never done Ann Saldi's "Stepped Up Step" workout. I see it received some less than positive reviews and wanted to add my opinion.

Ths workout is a lot of fun! I did not preview it and found the choreography very doable. The time flew by! While I like tabata and hiit workouts, I also enjoy good old steady-state dancy aerobics and this fits the bill. This is a solid intermediate workout and it is a mix of high and low impact. Ann does a great job cuing. It is old school CIA, with familiar music and moves, but put together in new ways. The warm up combo is used later in the workout (as combo 5, I believe), and the cool down is short but fun. The ab section is basic but effective.

If you still own this workout (it's no longer available at Collage), it's definitely worth trying out again. I never got frustrated and had a lot of fun with its cha chas, mambos, spins, and turns.

Instructor Comments:
Ann Saldi is low key but has a great sense of humor. I like her instructional style a lot. She made a couple of mistakes and joked about them, which I found really endearing. Ann reminds me of another CIA instructor, Heather Rider (CIA 2502). If you have that workout and enjoyed it, I think you'd like Ann's style as well.



This workout is available as "Cardio Trilogy Two, CIA Video 2200 Series." The DVD includes three complete exercise videos (as these were most likely released as individual VHS. Each of the three "videos" has several workout options. I've only done "Knock Out Hi/Low," and am reviewing this after doing the workout three times (though over a period of months).

I really like this workout. It's rated as "advanced," and that may be about right. Maybe int/adv. It's primarily a boxing video with a few kicks thrown in to the mix, but the boxing moves are so interesting that I don't really miss the kicks (I'll have to get Powerstrikes for the kicks!). Debbie manages to avoid a problem that seems endemic to videos with lots of combos. She NEVER teaches any of the moves at half speed; instead she begins with a base move, then adds on to it little by little. I'm a bit of a choreo clutz and I was able to keep up with the combos most of the time.

A few notes: Debbie uses slightly different terminology than I'm used to for the punches. Instead of a "cross," she calls it a "straight." A jab/cross combo is consistently referred to as a "one-two" (when there is only one of each) and sometimes she simply calls for x-number of "punches," by which she generally means "jab-cross-jab-cross" (that, for instance, would be four punches).

There's a little bit of high/low thrown into the mix, but it doesn't seem inappropriate. You feel like you're training for a fight, rather than fighting. The high/low consists of squats, including a few really low squats held for a while, as you lift first one heel and then the other--ouch!--jumping jacks, "skiing" (which she calls "Mohammed Ali," etc.

The workout includes a lengthy (9 minute warm up) that has only a few static stretches and generally not held very long. A lot of the warm up moves seem like decent joint mobility work. Be warned that she does throw in two sets of 8 push ups in the warm up!

Overall this is a really fun workout; I got it cheap during the Thanksgiving sale at Total Fitness DVDs.



This workout is available on VHS and is also on the second of the 2200 Series DVDs released by CIA on their website ( In 2005, this DVD was released to the mass market under the name “CARDIO TRILOGY V.02” and is available at various online etailers, including This video is made up of two workouts, a step section by Ann Saldi and a boxing hi/lo workout by Debbie Burns.

I started Stepped Up Step by Ann Saldi once and didn’t even make it through the warm up. I don’t know what it was, but I HATED this workout on sight. Doing it was like watching paint dry to me – a totally boring exercise with no purpose. I never went back to watch it to analyze why I so hated it.

The other section, Knock-Out Hi/Lo by Debbie Burns, on the other hand, I LOVED on sight. This part of the workout makes buying the entire video, whether on VHS or DVD (at the cheaper, mass market price (preferably on sale!), of course), totally worth it. From the beginning of this workout, I was totally engaged and interested and with Debbie and her background exercisers. I even do the entire warm up to this workout!

OK. You probably want some details...

Debbie is backed up by four exercisers. She attributes a specific kickboxing expertise to all them as she introduces them. And, they all do seem to have good form – well, except for the one in the front that keeps hunching her shoulders. One of them demonstrates modifications part of the time. She’s in the back, so often don’t notice her modifications until part of the way through that particular exercise. And, she doesn’t do modifications all the time, so I forget to watch her. The set is one of the typical CIA sets, but I don’t even notice it as I go through the exercising because I’m so involved in the workout. The music is typical CIA music (instrumental), but it seems to work well with the moves in this workout. You do need room to move several feet side to side and front to back with this workout.

There is a lot of energy to this workout that gets me into it very quickly. Debbie gives form pointers at times throughout the workout, but does NOT teach the moves at all, so you need to know kickboxing moves already. She combines a mostly kickboxing workout with hi/lo movements and drills. There are a number of high-impact moves, but I have no problem modifying the impact down when necessary. As I said above, there is a modifier that shows some lower-impact options, but you can’t count on her doing them consistently.

Instructor Comments:
Debbie seems really passionate about the workout. She is very engaging and motivating throughout the workout.

Laura S.


Warm-up: 9 min
Cardio: 39 min
Cooldown/Stretch: 8 min

I want to start out by saying that this workout reminds me a little bit of Cathe Friedrich’s Cardio Kicks workout. It is a combination of kickboxing and hi-lo that includes drills of both kinds. This workout seems to be a little more kickboxing with hi-lo, rather than the hi-lo with kickboxing, which I find CK to be.

Debbie starts the warm-up by warming up shoulders, back, legs, and arms. There are some dynamic and ballistic stretches for all the major muscle groups and 2 sets of 8 pushups.

The first cardio section includes a few combinations and a few sets of drills. There is a lot of punching and a little bit of kicking. The drills in between combos are a fairly low impact and can be modified to stay low impact. An example combo is boxer shuffle, 4 jabs, slip in and out, 4 jabs back, 4 punches, and 4 jabs to all corners of the room. There are direction changes and times when your back is to the TV, but nothing too hard that involves a lot of pivots.

The second cardio section has more kicking and quite a lot of high impact. Some modifications are shown, but most you’ll have to come up with on your own. For example, there are modifications shown for plyo squats side to side, but not for jumping jacks or scissors.

I had to get used to the punches and kicks being called by different names than I am used to, but it didn’t take long to figure out and I shouldn’t have too much trouble following the workout from now on. There are a couple moves that she adds her own flavor to by calling them after Ali (a boxing move) and Rocky (plyos). Debbie has fairly good cueing—at least I didn’t have much trouble following along and often times poor cueing can make or break a workout for me. It does move along fairly fast though, without much teaching time, so it might take more than once to “get” everything.

Debbie does offer form pointers on using hips to pivot for kicks, etc. However, I don’t feel this is a good beginning kickboxing workout as there aren’t enough pointers on holding in abs, chambering, where to aim punches and kicks, etc.

Karen (Rhae)


Doing this in 2006, it's funny to hear old cues; for example Ann doesn't call a revolving door as such. I think she said "over, and over again." I would have liked to see more enthusiasm from her, but calmness may just be her style. Her cueing is not flawless, but quite good.
Debbie cues a jab-cross combo as "jab-punch." I had to get used to that! Debbie's workout is billed as hi/lo with boxing, so I expected a fusion of both. Flying jacks followed by jab-crosses? No. Is it boxing alone? No. There were kicks. It's a kickboxing workout. The cueing here is also not flawless, but her energy makes up for that. The tough grrl headscarfs are a fun wardrobing touch. Rating: B

Instructor Comments:
Ann Saldi (step) is calm, composed and friendly. Debbie (hi/lo boxing) is more charismatic. Both deliver good workouts.

Katharine C.