Turbo Jam: Ab Jam

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Abs/Core

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When I was first start out with kickboxing, I enjoyed Turbo Jam Cardio Party, but as I became more experienced, I moved on to other things. However, I recently had the opportunity to re-acquire a used copy of the Turbo Jam set and decided to go for it. I was particularly curious about AB JAM, as I've been focusing more on my core lately in preparation for an upcoming vacation (and I've also been using another Beachbody set, Hip Hop Abs Level 2]).

Although the DVD case says that Ab Jam is 40 minutes, this is the running time with extras (Jam'd, Meet the Cast); the actual workout time is approximately 18 minutes. As is typical in her Turbo Jam workouts, instructor Chalene Johnson leads a large class, including modifiers Mindy and Anna-Rita. The first half of the routine is performed standing. Johnson starts with a pelvic tilt, adding in a side crunch. She continues to weave in classic Turbo Jam moves such as wheel, performing the moves slowly and with an emphasis on the core. Other exercises in the standing portion include a punch with hip lift, shake and shed, and side leg kick.

At approximately the 9-minute mark, the workout moves to the floor. Here Johnson mainly performs crunch-type moves, but often with a bit of a kickboxing twist. She starts with a simple pelvic tilt, adding a crunch, and then moves into a double leg stretch. Next is a side dip with reach, another crunch, and a brief stretch. This is followed by a partial roll-up with a knee lift, a side crunch, a cross-punch-crunch, a side-to-side crunch, a crunch with alternating legs, and finally, seated knee drops. A very brief (30 seconds) stretch concludes the workout.

I do like this workout, but at the same time, I was a bit disappointed as well. When I do Hip Hop Abs, I get a great cardio workout AND I can really feel it in my abs. Not only is AB JAM less cardio intensive than the other Turbo Jam workouts (despite wearing my 1# weighted gloves), but also I didn't even feel it in my core as much as I had hoped. The shorter length of this routine makes it a decent add-on workout, but it wouldn't be the first one that I reach for.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene certainly has plenty of energy, although she is a bit lower-key here. I think she probably cues better for the routines that are a bit slower such as this one. I can take her in small doses, but she has a BIG personality that tends to get to me after awhile.

Beth C (aka toaster)


This is one of the original Turbo Jam workouts produced by Beachbody and led by Chalene Johnson. There are five workouts on a 2-DVD set in a regular DVD plastic container (nice space saver!). The Ab Jam workout clocks in at about 18:30 minutes and has a time counter at the bottom. I enjoy both standing and floor ab workouts, and have enjoyed the Turbo Jam workouts I have tried so far (20 Minute Jam and Cardio Party 1) so had high hopes for this workout. In general I was not disappointed although there are better ab workouts out there. Like all the TJ workouts, the production quality is very high and the music was awesome. Actually this had a very beach/tribal-themed track and reminded me a lot of the Brazil Butt Lift music!

Like the other TJ workouts, Chalene leads several exercisers (around 10 people-the same group as the other workouts) and two of them provide beginner modifications (which is generally a smaller range of motion on movements like the Wheel). The set is the same as the other TJ workouts, uncluttered and open. While Chalene said the workout is 10 minutes standing and 10 minutes on the floor, it is actually about 8 minutes standing and 10 minutes on the floor with a VERY brief stretch at the very end (cobra pose, side stretches) of about 30 seconds. There isn’t really a warm up per se, although Chalene says she’s warming up, the moves are about the same intensity as all the standing work. Like the other TJ workouts, this is well chaptered so you can skip to the floor abs (or skip specific moves) if you prefer. I did the workout in entirety as an add on to a Firm workout.

Standing abs (8 minutes): includes several variations of leaning side to side to work the side waist (including the Wheel), some twisting and twist/punch combos (though not as much as I was expecting to see in a kickboxing series, like in a Tae Bo ab workout), hip lifts (a side leg lift but Chalene reminds you to lift with your hip and not your legs-and if you do you will really feel it in the side waist), and combinations of these moves. I was expecting to see a few knee repeaters (she certainly incorporates these into her other TJ workouts!) but there were none here, which is too bad. I wore 1# gloves to up the intensity, but even with the gloves, this is not as intense as my other standing ab workouts, for example the Squeeze Stronger waist segment or any Tae Bo standing ab section (I’ve done Billy’s Bootcamp Abs and Tae Bo Amped Rockin’ Abs although I assume they’re all about the same).

Floor abs (10 minutes): starts with very general tiny hip lifts to establish technique, and then progresses to crunches. Then on to the bicycle, a variation of the Pilates can-can move, basic side crunches, and a few more challenging crunches in which you work higher into the move so they are more like sit ups, with some twisting moves. I wore ankle weights to up the intensity, and with my abs preexhausted from the standing work, my whole torso area was worn out by the end! Still, I wish Chalene had included more lower ab work to balance out the enormous amount of oblique work. The entire standing abs worked the side waist and a good portion of the floor abs also focused on the obliques when it could have been better spent on upper/lower abs to balance it all out.

Note: there are NO planks in this workout. Not a single one! Personally I would have strongly preferred planks (in place of some of the crunch work), however, this might be a good suggestion for those who just want to completely avoid any plank work at all. There’s also no spinal erector work, although it is technically an “ab” workout as opposed to a “core” workout.

For a nearly 20 minute ab-focused workout, I feel my time could have better been spent on the standing ab workouts I mentioned earlier, or other ab workouts (combo of stand/floor work) such as Firm Jiggle Free Abs (while longer at 25 minutes it is much more comprehensive), or segments from 10 Minute Solution Knockout Body or Quick Tummy Toners, both with Jessica Smith, a little more challenging and again more comprehensive and balanced.

Done as presented, I would say this is a beginner-intermediate workout. With the addition of gloves and/or ankle weights to increase intensity, it was an intermediate workout. I would say this is a weaker (although still fun and with great music!) addition to the Turbo Jam series and again as a standalone workout there are just so many other better ab workouts out there. I will probably do this video on a rare occasion just to lend variety to my perennial favorites, but it certainly won’t be used frequently. Grade B-.

Instructor Comments:
Having both tried Chalene with CLX and with other Turbo Jam workouts, I think she is a great instructor. She is enthusiastic and charming, and she gives particularly good form pointers (I thought they were especially good in CLX but she had good form pointers in TJ too). She does wear some creative outfits, like in this workout where she wears what looks like parachute pants! I would highly recommend her as an instructor, for both strength-oriented workouts like CLX and aerobic-oriented workouts like Turbo Jam. Some of her background instructors “whoop” but really not too much at all and it’s not distracting.

Emily B.


Half of it is standing, Half is lying down.

Honestly, although my abs *are* sore today after doing this yesterday - I wouldn't buy this as an add on.

I bought the deluxe package and have no regrets, but if I bought them singly, I wouldn't get this one.

The music was fine, but not as much fun as the cardio parties.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is really friendly and motivating. I think she is an excellent instructor with a pleasant voice and infectious enthusiasm.

She says "Yeah baby" a lot, but although that sounds like it might be annoying - it didn't annoy me.