CIA 5003: Step and Hi/Lo

P.J. O'Clair, Franny Benedetto, Greg Twombly
Year Released: 1994

Categories: Step Aerobics

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

Show oldest reviews first

This is two one-hour workouts on one tape. The first section is step with Kirk Moore. It starts off on the moderate side. The first half is more intermediate in both intensity and choreography. The second half gets into the advanced levels, and has some really fun choreography. Then you put the two halves together, and you're really cookin'. Kirk is *very* easy to follow. His cueing is right on target. The only place he messes up is in a routine where you have your back to the TV and you're supposed to go into a power jog. He gets left and right mixed up here a few times. But if you just remember to lead the power jog with your inside leg, you'll be fine. I really enjoy this section. It's a full 40 minutes of step, plus a warmup, cooldown, and abs, for a total of an hour. At first, with the slow start, you might think it will be kind of boring. But it's not! I really have a good time with this one. Grade A.

The next section is "interval" step/weights with Robert Sherman. This is *not* interval, it's circuit. You do 3 minutes of stepping, alternated with 1 minute of toning. The toning isn't enough to be very effective. Some of the aerobic parts really have a lot of power to them and are fun. But if you're looking for a good circuit tape, the Reebok Circuit workout is a lot better. And if you're looking for an interval tape, be aware that this one is mis-named. Robert Sherman is Richard Simmons on caffeine overload. What a hoot! He starts off the introduction in a normal way. Then as soon as he starts the warmup, he starts talking at about 300 miles per hour. HeTalksThisFastAndNeverStopsAndHeDoesn'tEvenTakeABreath. It's so funny! Actually, I don't even notice it anymore, but the first time I saw this, I was just hysterical! The guy is a great dancer, too. It doesn't come out in the circuit workout, but at the end, he does a funk cooldown. I can't do most of the moves, but it's neat to watch, and it looks really fun. I probably won't do this section much, because I figure if I'm going to spend time toning, I'd rather do some that's more effective. And if I'm going to spend time stepping, I want to keep going, not stop every 3 minutes. But I think a lot of people would enjoy this part. Grade B.

Instructor Comments:
Both Kirk and Robert are superb at cueing. They have good choreography, too. I wouldn't mind seeing either of them in more videos.

(Warmup 8 min; Hi/Lo 22 min; Step 30 min; Hi/Lo 30 min; Toning 25 Min)

This tape seems intended primarily for instructors. The second segment, P.J. O'Clair's step workout, is interesting because it includes lots of unusual, advanced steps such as hop-turn repeaters, repeater-arounds (where you repeat around the end of the step then skip back over the top), power lunges, power straddles and something called the "locomotion" where you go across the step and lunge off. (And I like P.J. because she has "real women's" legs; proof that you needn't be a Barbie doll to be a fitness pro.) But it, and the two hi-lo segments led by Greg Twombly and Franny Benedetto, are really more like demonstrations of steps, and how to teach them, than genuine dance routines. Franny does a very good strength training/abs segment at the end that uses the step, tubing and dumbbells; similar to the Firm but not as corny. :) But unless you're looking to learn and practice unusual steps for creating your own classes, the other segments are dispensable.

Sue B


Greg Twomby begins with an 8 minute warm-up and goes into a super fast hi/lo impact floor aerobics segment. Although only 22 minutes, it is an excellent workout, very powerful and fun. I absolutely love Greg on all his CIA tapes. His moves are easy to follow but very powerful and high impact. No hesitation, no marching in place, just right into the moves.

Following Greg's routine, PJ O'Clair does an adequate step workout for 30 minutes which has some interesting moves and high impact bursts. After PJ comes the one and only Franny - yes, the same Franny from Boston Marathon and Two Workouts with a Venegance and CIA 3004. On this video, her moves and cuing are not as good as Boston Marathon. Nevertheless, Franny is great - the impact is high, the music is great (from Candace Step 'N Low and Karen's Power Packed Workout). CIA 5003 has the same instructors as 3004: Greg, PJ, and Franny. Franny does a segment using the step and the workout strap for upper body, which was very good, and I rewound to repeat the segments as she suggested. She does push-ups, squats with weights, a very short ab segment (only three minutes), and stretch. All in all, a great video and for $5.00, how could you go wrong?

Instructor Comments:
Greg Twomby is my favorite male aerobics instructor, easy but powerful moves, keeps up the heartrate with continuous high impact moves in all his workouts. Franny is one of the best also. I didn't care for PJ on 3004, but on 5003 her moves were very strong, powerful and fun.

maryann parker