The Works - Cardio

Sharon Mann
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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This is part of Sharon's Mann The Works set. The dvd is customizable and you can create your own workout. There are also a few premade workouts already on the dvd.

You choose 1 of 4 warmups (step, hi-lo, etc), then you choose 1 of 8 "cardio one" segments (athletic step, interval, hi-lo, low impact, etc), then you choose 1 of 8 "cardio two" segments-these are different from the "cardio one" options (step, bootcamp, boxing, kickboxing, etc), then you choose 1 of 4 cooldowns (tai chi, athletic, yoga in a chair, etc). These all go together to create your own 30 minute workout. Some of the interval or bootcamp segments have strength moves in them as well as cardio.

The segments are taken from Sharon's old exercise TV show. When a commercial break is up you see a blue screen with a motivational saying on it (Way to go!, Keep it up!, etc). It is brief and doesn't bother me at all.

There are 4 background exercisers. Two show advanced options and two show low impact options-and don't use a step in those segments. Sharon shows the intermediate option but does add power to many of her moves. I think a lot of the segments (the step segments come to mind) can definitely be advanced when you follow those mods. The kickboxing and boxing are not as intense but still a good w/o IMO.

Instructor Comments:
Sharon has a nice energy and demeanor. I like her as a lead in this dvd. She is a pretty good cuer and I wasn't lost in any of the moves. The moves are not dancy, more athletic and straight forward. I had no trouble with any of the moves. Its a fast paced w/o that burns a lot of calories for me.



This DVD is composed of 11-12 minute segments that originally appeared on Sharon Mann's exercise show. There are 4 warm ups (about 4 minutes each), 16 cardio segments, and four cool downs from which to choose.

The cardio sections include hi/lo, kickboxing, boot camp, step,interval, and circuit sections. I would call the sections int/advanced. Lower intensity or lower impact version are always shown, and when Sharon does a step workout two background exercisers perform these routines without steps. This is a very inclusive workout.

The cardio segments have a very short break at the halfway mark-- this is where commericials were inserted. Now ther is just a screen that says something like "Aim High" or similar hokum. they are very brief, and don't relly upset the flow of the workout.

I have not done every cardio segment yet, but have enjoyed allt hat I have tried-- some more than others. The great thing is that no segment is toolong, so if you are getting bored-- you willsoon be on to something new. The choreography is basic to moderate and does not take up a lot of space. I happen to like the music, but many would probably find it "generic". The same songs are used a lot.

The set is nothing special:Sharon and her four buddies are each on thier own raised, circular platform. There is an exposed brick wall, and numerous plants. Sometimes, the show is shot from behind one of these plants in what I like to call "ficus vision". Why they do this, I have no idea.

The DVD itself is not particularly well designed. You can put together your own workout-- but only with two cardio segments. AND the cardio sements are grouped so that you pick form eight, then you pick from the next 8. What if you want to do two or three form the first group. Well, then you will have to get a chapter menu and program it yoursel. I don't mind doing this, but for those who do or can't, the DVD is a little less versatile-- I mean, many of us want workouts longer than a half hour total.

Still, I am enjoying this DVD quite a bit. Surprisingly, I like the step and step circuit segments the best. I say surprisingly, because I already have so many high quality step DVDs, I did not envisionusing Sharon's segments too much. But, the routines have turned out to be quite fun and less basic than I thought they would be.Some of the routines remind me of Kathy Smith's Power Step Workout, and some are more complex.

This DVD is also useful for someone with limited space. Sharon and her crew don't use too much room.



Type: Cardio
Format: blend different cardio routines
Set: Raised platforms
Background exercisers: 4 – two do advanced moves, two do beginner moves, Sharon shows intermediate
Music: instrumental boom chicka boom mostly.

Well, this is a first for me – reviewing a workout I have already reviewed! LOL! But, I am on a looooong train ride and I have time to do this in between looking at the beautiful Kanawha River. As has been mentioned, this workout uses a workout blender that allows you to pick from 4 different warm-ups, 8 different workouts for segment 1, and 8 different workouts for segment 2. There are 4 different cooldowns. There is also an option called “Sharon’s Picks” which will save you time in choosing your own. Her options are Bootcamp, Step, Hi-Lo and Boxing. Each segment is broken in the middle with a transitional screen and then it resumes. I assume this was where there was a commercial, as all of these are from her TV show. Each hass a trite comment on it like “Be creative” “keep Moving” “March it Out” or “Almost There”, which seems to appear quite often between the warmup and segment one. “Almost there”??? We just started!!

Hi-Lo: Traditional Hi-Lo, mostly all low impact, with familiar moves such as side-to-side, marching, etc.

Tai Chi: This would have made a better cool down than a warmup. It’s a bunch of slow motion arm movements that won’t raise your heart rate much. I never use this segment. Plus, its boring as all getout.

Step: Nice warmup, and modifications not using a step are shown. The step is not used much excapt toward the end. Includes tap on the step, side to side, ham curls, back lunges, calf stretch, knee up and hold, extend leg, some stretching, then on to the step for some basics and then kneeups.

Bootcamp: I woul consider this a traditional warmup. Not sure what’s “bootcamp” about it. It’s the regular stuff: side to sides, etc. She also includes some fast running in place, one legged squats, and what she calls an “active hamstring stretch” which is a knee lift and then you extend the leg and bend it several times. I think I like this warmup the best.

Segment One:
Hi-Lo: No surprises here! Traditional hi-lo with side to sides, grapevines, jacks and all you’d expect.

Kickboxing: Starts out with upper body with punching drills that really work the core. Then it goes into squats with front kicks, side kicks, speedbag, etc. The second half is more intense, as it has more kicking. It also includes plyo jacks with a double side kick, jab pivot, bob & weave, knee ups, pendulum, jab cross and jump rope. All in all, this workout is more punching than kicking, but still manages to keep the intensity up there.

Athletic Step: Very nice vanilla step routine. A couple of combos that are taken from the top (“TIFT”) Nothing dancy here. Basics, knee lifts, L-steps, knees corner to corner, rocking horse, ham curl/front kich, etc.

Bootcamp: Lots of jumping around on this one! Whew! These are somewhat like sprts drills done in an interval format. It starts out with shuffles, high knees and then drops to the floor for an interesting pushup variation: you do a pushup, and at the up part of the pushup (in plank position) you move your upper body one foot to the right, do a pushup and then move back. Tough! Then is on the fast running in place, squats, plyo squats, speed skaters, second set of pushups and then a KILLER cardio set where you are doing plyo scissors on and off the step (front foot on step). At this point Sharon points out that Sparky is “all fast twitch”. I thought that was the understatement of the year! LOL!! It ends with tricep dips off the step. Very nice workout.

Step: Standard fare – lots of over the tops, mambos, shuffle turn, pivot tap, running around the step, hop step u-turn. The choreography is interesting but doable and the workout is very high energy and FUN!

Interval: This must be the hardest workout on the DVD. Even Sharon sounds like she’s DYIN’!!! This is an interval workout and its tough tough tough!! It starts out with plyo taps onto the step, followed by jump squat side to side, fast running in place, speed skaters, lunges and then PLYO lunges, jumprope, a speed drill on the step, jumprope with high knees, plyo lunges off the step longwise (“plunges”), jump side to side, jumping jacks, and then jumps with a knee tuck (like Gin does in Intense Moves). This is a killer workout!

Low Impact: Pretty much what you’d expect from a low impact workout, all the traditional stuff. Sharon’s intermediate version is not wat I’d call strictly low impact, tho, you need to follow the two ladies on the left for that. Sparky, of course, is going berserk.

Bootcamp Interval: Tough one, had me sweating buckets. It starts out with speed running, then goes into pushups, jump with rotation (180 degrees), squats, jumprope, pushups, side jumps, lunges, jabs/speedbag, jump rotation (as before), squats, plyo heel digs, upper cuts, speed skaters, front kicks and side planks. Wowza! What a workout!

Segment Two:
Hi-Lo Mixed: Not sure what she means by “mixed”, as this segment is almost entirely high impact (with Calabrina and another woman showing the low impact option). This is one of the toughest segments, its really non-stop heart pumping cardio. It includes jacks, rear kicks, knee ups, grapevine with kneeup, grapevine with back lunge, back lunges, side to side with pivot, step touch, alternating knee ups, lunges side to side, ham curls, step-touch turn and kick, kick forward and side, v-step and plyo squats. These are done in several combinations that are repeated a couple of times.

Boxing: No kicking at all in this segment, but a lot of shuffles, jabs, uppercuts, that really work the upper body and core HARD. She also includes several plyo moves such as a plyo jack with a jab. Squat/jab combinations also add variety.

Step Combos: What a blast!! I love this step routine. She does a couple of different combos and TIFTs them a couple of times. She is all over the step in this routine, much more interesting choreography than Athletic Step. Starts out with a mambo off the step, and goes into over-the-tops, v-steps, staddle knee power, turn straddle, knee up with hop, knee repeaters, jog up on the step, turn step over the top, l-step with kick, lunge side to side. This workout really flows, and will be a favorite choice of mine.

Military Training: This is so much fun – there is a little bit of everything in this workout.
Jumprope starts it off, and then its down to the floor for pushups off the step. Then on to the step where you hop side to side one leg off the step going lengthwise. Intense! Back to the floor for tricep dips and several variations are shown: one legged with leg extended, and Varhan does a really hard one armed one where he crosses his elbow over and touches his knee. Holey Moley – Go Varhan!!! Next you get your tubing for ham curls, then on to a plyo move where you jump side to side for squats. Then plain old squats (which seems like a break at this point). Next is a boxing drill, and then a move that reminds me of Cathe’s basketball move – jump and pretend your trying to make it in the hoop. Fun, high energy workout! Mary is in this one. She reminds me of a blonde Laura Bush!

Circuit: This is, as the title says, a circuit workout. The cardio is done on the step and is almost entirely high impact, including the “starburst” move that is on one of Cathe’s tapes (where she does 7 or 15 of them at a time, Sharon is a little easier on us than that). The first strength segment is a knee up on the step with an overhead press. Next is a squat with a leg raise to the rear. More cardio, then a really tricky move where she does a frenc press with one arm, a bicep curl with the other arm and adds a knee raise. I think I would topple over if I tried this. More cardio, then stationary lunges and a front raise with a body bar. This segment ends with more tough cardio.

Kickbox Drills: Pretty standard kickboxing stuff here: shuffles, punches, squat/front kick, jumprope, etc. Sharon mentions that she has had 3 children. Man, her abs look so strong I bet all she had to do was cough and they popped out!!

Hi-Lo Impact: Pretty standard hi-lo, but a very fun routine. Lots of impact with jacks, knee lifts, ham curls, step touch, kicks front and side and then she says she’s goin to work on the glutes. And she does! Lots of side leg lifts while doing a jack or a pendulum.

Circuit Training: I wasn’t thrilled with this one because of the repetition. It starts with skipping with heel digs, then its alternating squat/overhead press with a body bar. Next, lie on the floor with knees bent and entend legs, repeating several times and holding at the end. Back to skipping, then the squat/overhead press combo and next a double arm lat row. Cardio is jumping side to side. Next is a pushup using tubing for resistance followed by another set of double arm lat rows. Back to the jumping side to side and pushups with tubing.

Cool Down:
Yoga in a Chair: Very nice cooldown. Includes hip hinge forward while sitting in the chair, spinal twist, standing forward bend, hamstring stretch with foot on chair, down dog with hands on chair, upward facing dog with hands on chair, side bends.

Athletic Stretch: The first half of this is horse stance while doing martial arts arm drills, nothing to do with stretching. The second half is traditional stretching, including a runners stretch for legs, shoulder stretch, etc.

Flexible Strength
Pilates: This starts with Pilates pushups, then goes into shell stretch, superman/swimming, hipi flexor stretch into spinal rotation, shoulder stretch, side bends, hip hinges and ends with a neck stretch. This would have been better without the Pilates pushups. Who expects to be doing pushups in a cooldown?

Instructor Comments:
Sharon used to annoy me, but maybe I am just adjusting to her perkiness. She cues very well and shows the intermediate version of everythig, which is nice!

Peggy T


This workout is part of Sharon's The Works series. In my reviews of the other titles in the series, I commented at length on some technical issues with the series. To briefly recap:

1) This is compiled from sections of Sharon's tv show so the transitions are not always smooth and it is not readily apparent what equipment you need.

2) The dvd is fairly rigid about the length of the routine and how one can compose it. You have a choice for warm-up, for first section, second section and cool-down. But unless you know how to program your dvd player, you cannot for example choose two options from the first section. You need one from the first and one from the second.

3)Most annoyingly, you cannot watch the dvd in fast forward mode at all. I can get over not having the option to preview, although it is kind of unnecessarily irksome. However, on at least trhee occasions I was midway through a workout and accidentally hit the menu button. I had to start all over again and had no way to skip through to the section I had been working on.

As far as the workout choices, and there are many, Sharon gets high points for variety. High impact, low impact, step, kickbox, it's all here. Again, it is not readily apparent from the menu choices just what is where. I think Sharon would have benefitted from some Firm Parts-style transition screens where the needed equipment is spelled out. And as I mentioned, if you do find yourself in a clunker of a section, you choices are pretty much suffer through or start over and do the whole warm-up and other preceeding sections again as there is now ay to skip.

So for me, this is a hard dvd to evaluate. In any dvd with this many sections and choices, there will be some a person will like and some they will not like. It's too bad there is not a better mechanism for them to pinpoitn and narrow down just which is which short of trial and error. Eventually, when I have narrowed down which parts I like, I wilol be able to put together fun, great workouts full of modifying background people and taught by an instructor who looks fun. But so far the technical issues I mentioned have really hampered my enjoyment of this dvd, which is a shame.

Instructor Comments:
I enjoyed Sharon's style and appreciated having background exercisers who performed such varied and consistent modifications. Kudos to Sharon for that.



Being a Canadian - this DVD is something warm and familiar, as Sharon Mann's face is seen all the time on TV up here.

There is not much more I can say about this DVD than has already been covered on the forum (a lot) and probably here as well. The workout is very unique in that it allows you to build your own workout from the ground up. The cover claims that you can do over a thousand workout combinations from a single disc.

You get to choose 4 sections for your half hour workout. Some of the options are: HiLo, Step, Low Impact, Boot Camp, Kickboxing, Interval and many more. There are also 4 pre-programmed workouts that you can choose from if you want Sharon to do the choosing for you.

This is a really hard DVD to review. It has so much variety that you could easilly use this video for all of your cardio!

Sharon's style is very athletic - not very dancy. She has a very energetic personality, without coming across as too perky. She also has 4 cast memebrs (2 for moderation examples and 2 for advanced examples). They do the workout on large oval platfroms, so this workout is ideal for people who do not have alot of space to move.

I like to use this one when I want a varied workout. It lets me choose a wide variety and gives me a great half hour workout that my choreography-challenged feet can handle.

Cori (ziggy2306)


This DVD consists of segments from In shape w/ Sharon Mann TV series.
The disc is organized by section, warm up, section 1, section 2, and cool down, in which you choose one of each section per workout. Others have broken it down more thoroughly, so please refer to those reviews for more information on that.

As for the workouts, there is a significant variety of cardio options on this DVD. You get hi/lo, circuit training, boot camp-style, cardio kickboxing. there is even a bit of pilates and yoga thrown into the warm up and cool down options. If you are at all familiar with sharon's show, you'll notice that there is a lot of genre-jumping around in this disc. One of the themes of her program is that
she crams a couple types of exercise (or more) into each show. This is a 'different strokes for different folks' type of thing- it'll either grow on you, or it's not your cup of tea. I am a person that needs a lot of variety, so once I wrapped my head around all the different sections on the DVD, as well as sharon's style, I became happy as a clam with the format as well as with Sharon's style. The workouts also cater to those (also like me) who workout in a limited space. The exercisers all workout on platforms of a limited size, so there is no room to overstep the bounds. Great for me. The choreography is not difficult to learn, basic stuff here, but can get very intense. I would liken her hi/lo style to Cathe's, but at a lesser BPM, and with more low impact moves thrown in. It's not all-non-stop as Cathe's is, but it is GREAT for a moderate day when you still want some plyos, but not 1,000 of them.

There are two other DVD's in this set: Body Sculpting and Yoga/Pilates. As I am sure others have stated, each disc has pretty much a little of everything else on it too (on the yoga disc, for instance, you're sure to find a bit of cardio and a bit of strength work). Again, once you wrap your head around the contents of the segments as well as the concept of the DVDs, you can really get a lot of use from these, if all the 'important' stuff is there (you like the instructor, etc.) I for one have found a treasure in these workouts, and I find myself using Cardio very often these days.

Instructor Comments:
Sharon is very motivating to me. She is perky, but I don't find her perkiness off-putting at all. She is genuine, and i really enjoy working out with her and the crew.

Kathy Weller


I love this dvd. I think the idea is great and the workouts are a lot of fun. I consider myself to be hard-to-please in the kickboxing-cardio arena. I enjoy her kickboxing segments. (I'm also a powerstrike fan, to put it in perspective).

There are threads that talk more in detail about the workout, so I won't do it here.

My only complaints are the lack of flexiblity. I would love to program a 60 minute workout, for example... can't. But I guess if I figured out how to use the programmable features on my dvd player, I could circumvent this.

Instructor Comments:
Very friendly and motivating. She's in good shape, shows decent form, has a lot of energy. I identify with her because she's a busy working mom who looks to be near my age.

She does "Wooh" a lot, but she sounds natural doing it, so it's not annoying to me.



I love this dvd. I think the idea is great and the workouts are a lot of fun. I consider myself to be hard-to-please in the kickboxing-cardio arena. I enjoy her kickboxing segments. (I'm also a powerstrike fan, to put it in perspective).

There are threads that talk more in detail about the workout, so I won't do it here.

My only complaints are the lack of flexiblity. I would love to program a 60 minute workout, for example... can't. But I guess if I figured out how to use the programmable features on my dvd player, I could circumvent this.

Instructor Comments:
Very friendly and motivating. She's in good shape, shows decent form, has a lot of energy. I identify with her because she's a busy working mom who looks to be near my age.

She does "Wooh" a lot, but she sounds natural doing it, so it's not annoying to me.