Cosmopolitan Low Impact AerobicsLuAnn Leonard
Year Released: 1990
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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This was the first aerobics video I ever bought, and I consider myself lucky. Of course, subsequently I ran into the FIRM, so I was luckier yet. (Then Cathe -- luckier still!) I consider myself a high intermediate/low advanced exerciser cardiovascularly speaking (I can finish Cathe's step tapes without stopping, but they always keep me in the high end of my training zone with a 6" step) and this is still a good tape to pop in for easier days.
When I first got it, I was a beginner, and it was an awesome tape then (although difficult). As I progressed, I made the arm movements bigger and the steps wider, and it still got my heart-rate up. Another advantage of this tape is that it does not take up much room. If you can do a grapevine in your workout area, and can take four normal steps to the front and back, you can do this tape. If you don't have that much room to the front and back, you can easily modify those particular moves.
The choregraphy is mildly dancy, with nothing too complicated. I have two left feet when it comes to choreography that is intricate, and this video is not hard. When I say dancy, I simply mean it has dance steps, not complex and intricate patterns. Grapevines, cha-chas, knee-lifts, kicks, an easy walk-kick pattern, etc. The cueing is excellent (if you ignore the right\left thing), and as the previous reviewer mentioned, the movement patterns change frequently so you don't get bored. The background exercisers are in shape but normal-sized, and they follow along well, and don't talk. This is a true low-impact video, and the routine is even sort of difficult to modify to high-impact (it's obviouslt planned to stay low). There is a heart-rate check towards the end.
The warm-up, cool-down, and stretching are certainly adequate.
One thing I particularly like about LuAnn is that she seems very honest. She never claims that her workout is going to do something that it can't possibly do. There is an arms section during the last aerobics segments, but she never acts like your going to build muscle or anything -- she calls it toning, which it is. She also gives good form pointers -- like during knee lifts she sounds almost Billy Blanks-esque with her admonishments to keep the abs tight. She reminds you that to increase intensity you should increase your range-of-motion.
All in all, if you can pick up this tape for a decent price, I would really recommend it. It is a fun, decently intense, low-impact workout. The production value of this video is excellent. Sound quality was good, music flows nicely with the workout and is motivating. I can't even complain about annoying cuts in the filming. The crew and instructor certainly knew what they were doing.
LuAnn Leonard is terrific in this video. She is not as athletic looking as most instructors (e.g. Firm videos), but she is obviously in good shape. She has a lot of enthusiasm, without being perky or annoying. She does not do mirror-cueing on this tape, so when she says "left" it is her left, not yours. The choreography is not complicated enough to make this much of a problem, but you do have to decide right away whether you're going to follow what she says or what she does (from our perspective).
I've never heard of LuAnn Leonard, but she is a very good instructor. Her cuing is excellent, even though some of the moves are a little confusing at first. She keeps a smile on her face without being patronizing and seems to genuinely enjoy the workout herself.
After 5 years (I bought this tape in 1991) it is still one of my favorites. It's only 20 minutes long, so I typically rewind it and do it twice so I can keep my heart rate up for over 30 minutes. Even though it is all low-impact, I still find myself exerting lots of energy and feel like I've worked very hard by the end of the tape. The set is really pretty and the music is motivating. Some of the moves were really frustrating for me at first because I don't have a dancy bone in my body, but after watching the tape 2 or 3 three times before actually doing it, I caught on just fine. One of my favorite things about this video is that the instructor switches moves around a lot so that you never spend more than about 3 minutes doing the same move. This breaks the video up and keeps you from getting bored and watching the clock. I really like this video and always come back to it when I'm tired of stepping or killing myself with The Firm videos!