CIA 2304: Rock Steady StepSeasun Zieger
Year Released: 2003
Categories: Step Aerobics
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I really like this video! It's one of my all-time favorites. I'd describe this video as one of the most complex, yet intense, videos I've done in a long long time. Seasun hit one out of the park with her first video.
The video consists of a warm-up (about 10 mins long and pretty intense -- more on that below), and 2 completely independent step sections which last about 50 minutes (no taking it from the top by combining the two). There's also a short cooldown, and about 15 minutes of ab work, but I've never stuck around for that, not because it isn't good, but mainly because I don't like doing abs. I think the running time for the video is close to 75 minutes.
I see a lot of Christi and Cathe in Seasun's style, but she's not just a clone of those 2. She introduces hops, leaps, and lunges into virtually every combo like Cathe, which gives her Cathe-esque intensity (did I mention that this video is HARD!). Yet, she adds shuffles, mambos and other floor aerobics types moves to her step routine, to add variety and complexity. Seasun also does quite a bit of "watch me" moves, but she introduces them logically, and always gives you the option to stay where you are (which I did in many places). I love the way the routine flows and moves quickly from one thing to the next, and virutally every beat is punctuated with a unique move, hop, or turn.
And now I'd like to applaud Seasun's cuing skills. They are precise, descriptive, and consistent. Ocassionally she cues on the move, rather than ahead of the move, but that's usually when you've gone through it several times.
A topic near and dear to all VFers heart: the TIFTING: The repetition in the routine seems just about right to me, though you do repeat moves about 4 times on each side before moving on.
The music is upbeat and fun and well-suited to the workout, though some songs are better than others.
My only substantive criticism would be that the warm-up is too fast to really be a warm-up -- you do hop turns, plyo jacks, and other higher impact moves from the get-go. I just keep everything lower impact, to give myself sufficient time to warmup. I've heard comments on VF that Seasun bounces too much when she steps. I don't think it's "unsafe," I just think it's her style of movement -- more like Kari Anderson's dancy, flowy, style of movement than Cathe's "athletic" style of movement.
One tiny comment about the background exercisers: I thought their pants were way too low-hanging, especially in the back (ironically, it was more so on the woman who was *not* 6 months pregnant). It bordered on distastefulness; but maybe I'm getting old... Seasun's pants looked cute and were flattering though, which goes to show you that they are not meant for everyone. :)
At ease in front of the camera and professional.
My favorite type of cardio workout is
step, and I love complex
choreography. I must say that this one
was an instant favorite for me. Having
taken a few live step classes with
Seasun, I can tell you that this workout
is very much like a live class. The
choreography is complex, but it flows
together very well and Seasun's
cueing is excellent, so it's very much
learnable except maybe if you're a
total choreo klutz. There's just enough
TIFTing so you can get the moves
down, but not so much that you get
bored after you've learned the workout.
I wouldn't necessarily call this one dancy (like a Christi Taylor step workout) but it is just as complex. I'd say the complexity is about the same level as Step This Way, Step Works, or Amazing Step Styles. Seasun's choreography is somewhat similar to Cathe Friedrich, Kristin Kagen or Rob Glick, but her style is definitely her own. She has a knack for taking many of the standard steps and putting her own spin on them -- and putting them together in unique ways.
This workout has a great ab routine at the end. It starts off with plank work and moves into traditional crunches. Very thorough.
The step workout is about an hour and the ab work adds another 10 minutes or so. I frequently need to shorten my workouts to 30-40 minutes, so I usually end up doing only the first half. But it's still a great workout even if you don't do the whole thing. The choreography in the second half seems a bit trickier to me, so if you're just learning it you may want to stick with just the first half at first and then move on to the second half once you've mastered that. It's very fun, though, so it's worth learning!
The warmup does have some hops over the step -- it doesn't bother me, but it may bother some. You may want to modify if you have twingy knees (although modifications are not shown for that). There are some modifications shown for faster or higher-impact moves later on in the workout; one of the background exercisers does the modified versions.
Overall, this is a great advanced step workout with fun, complex choreography.
Seasun is an excellent cuer and a very natural instructor on video. Her friendly, motivating personality and enthusiasm for fitness shine through.
This is an *excellent* video. Seasun clearly likes what she's doing, the moves are fun, the setting is cool, the music is fab. The workout pants are so cool that it's the only video I've ever owned in which the outfits motivate me to do it. I wake up and think, "oh! I really want to see those pants again." Today I thought about the "shoot the hoop" section music *instead* of drinking caffeine, and it perked me up! I did this video once and knew it was destined to become one of my faves. I picked up Seasun's habit of snapping every now and then. It just makes the workout so fun, and keeps you in time. I like it better than clapping. The choreo & TIFTing is just perfect. It's complex enough to keep you focused. This keeps you engaged in the workout, rather than constantly referring to your watch. The choreo isn't so mind-bendingly complex either to fog a sleepy brain or make you trip over yourself. The cueing is flawless. I have videos from instructors who have several productions under their belts--they don't cue as well.
Seasun made a daring and fabulous choice of assistant exercisers. One of the 2 exercisers is 6 months pregnant. The *other* isn't, and SHE shows lower impact/easier modifications from time to time! I'm really stunned by the fitness of the mother-to-be. It's great to see what a pregnant body can do. Cool choice for a mainstream video.
Cons: I wish this video showed modifications throughout. They're only shown occasionally. I'm still working out how to stay in time and go low impact over some sections. Another reviewer noted the outfits. I adore the pants, but the occasional-modifier (non-pregnant) is wearing a tiny top that slides off her shoulders. The back band is too narrow to offer any support. She would have been more comfortable in a better cut bra top that covered a little tummy. Looks more modern to my eye. I'd like to see more arm work. It keeps the heart rate up without needing to bounce, and is really important for going adv but low impact.
Conclusion: A star is born! Seasun should make more videos.
Seasun clearly likes what she's doing, and leads an excellent workout. Right out of the box this become an all-time favorite! If she made another video I'd pre-order right away. I highly recommend this instructor.
Cons: They are really small. Seasun fiddles with her fingers sometimes, like she's playing with a ring, counting reps on her fingers, itching a mosquito bite...? It's probably a tick but I would rather have seen (and done) overhead arm work than finger-playing. Keeps the heart rate up to, especially important for those of us doing everything low-impact. Seasun is a very thin person. I hope she is able to put on a few more pounds before her next workout, but I know it can be hard when you have a metabolism that won't cooperate. Peanut butter shakes? Stay healthy, Seasun! As an exercise professional and athlete in the public eye you have to beware that a lot of impressionable people are out there who look up to you, and might seek to emulate you although their bodies can't do so without resorting to drastic means. Every public person has a responsibility. Please don't anyone interpret this as prejudice against slim people--it's not. I'm just speaking from the experience of watching my gym friends get sick with eating disorders. It's for their sake I make this observation. (If only my problem was reminding myself to eat PBJs for public benefit!)