Solid Gold StepChristi Taylor
Year Released: 2003
Categories: Step Aerobics
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This is another great step workout by Christi Taylor. The workout is divided into 3 sections, two of them being the actual workout (first with the step horitzontal followed by a workout with the step facing vertical), then a "cooldown" section at the end, followed by Movemaster and Choreography 101. There are also some bonus workouts (abs, Pilates, squats) led by some members of Christi's team.
In "Movemaster" Christi, joined by one exerciser, shows all the combinations at a slow speed with their backs to the camera so you can get the correct lead leg. In "Choreography 101" Christi and two others show us some common step moves so anyone not familiar with stepping or Christi's style of chroeography could use this as a workout. Christi is facing us and her team is facing away from us.
What I like most about this workout is that it's complex but not puke in the bucket intense. There are lots of turns and twists, hip shakes, toe touches, hamstring repeaters, keee ups, the works! There are moves on the step and floor, which is nice because sometimes you need a little break. She always seems to know where to place that break in a workout. As usual, her cueing is excellent and she always reminds you to pace yourself.
This workout was just difficult enough to make you sweat, but not so much that you couldn't go on. I won't break down the moves, as that has been done already. I will say that the music was also not loud and pumping, more mellow than her usual stuff. Some days, I like that driving beat, and other days I just like good songs that are more mellow.
My energy levels haven't been that high lately, but I wanted a workout that would challenge me. This kept me steady and entertained :) Plus, Christi's usual complexity was there. Make no mistake though: this is not a beginner workout! It is very intense, but you can get through it.
PROS: Christi cues wonderfully. The music is mellow, and the routines were complex without being impossible. The intensity was up there but there wasn't a dread factor.
CONS: As usual Christi has her modifiers in the back. But you can hardly see them! Maybe if she had or three less people, it would be easier to see the folks in the back.
Christi is awesome! She cues well and has a personality that makes you want to take her out to Starbucks. I wish she lived next door.
I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once in its entirety (although I’ve probably only done some of the bonus segments once each).
General workout breakdown: This 45-min. step workout (just over 24 minutes for the first half, or the horizontal step workout, and just over 21 for the second half, or the vertical step workout) is followed by a 5 min. cooldown (I agree that it’s not much more than a lot of hip swaying, as if Christi ran out of inspiration, and there’s a big jump down for me from the last run through to this, which is done nearly standing still) plus has the option of an extra 3-min. warm-up (which consists of basic moves plus some dynamic, or as Christi calls it “rhythmic” stretching) and a 5.5 min. stretch (which begins seated but ends standing and covers most of the lower body as well as the low back and some upper body). Note that the bonus warm-up, cool-down, and bonus stretch also appear on Solid Gold Cardio.
Christi combines standard step aerobics moves with a bit of a dancey flair: you’ll start with basics, toe taps, grapevines, repeaters, hamstring curls, knee lifts, mambos, cha chas, squats, lunges, hamstring curls, over the tops, straddles, and other moves which get jazzed up as the routine progresses. Although this isn’t straight up dance, Christi’s ability to match moves to music and make them flow together in a sequence will make you feel almost like you’re dancing.
Christi’s teaching method: Christi always begins with basic steps but quickly layers them, either transforming the moves, changing the order and/or rhythm, or cutting down the number of repetitions. Her style of instruction is to begin with a few counts of basic moves, then layer it up, run through the new variations of the moves a few times, then put them together to take it from the top. I agree that there are in general fewer repetitions here before Christi does one big TIFT, plus Christi skips the TIFT in the middle of the combo that she often does in some of her other workouts. Also, she only does one TIFT before moving onto the next combo and only two or three final TIFTS here. She often uses the “watch me” method, although here she and her two “flippers” will launch right into the final variation with just a warning that a move change is coming up. I appreciate that Christi only changes one thing at a time and almost always gives you at least one chance to see and then do it on each side before adding any other changes.
Christi teaches things symmetrically, and she balances out break downs on both sides, more or less. Christi never weaves, or slices and dices, combos; she’ll always do combo #1 on the right (or whatever side she does first), combo #1 on the left, combo #2 on the right, and then combo #2 on the left, and so on.
In addition to the main step workout, this DVD contains 45 minutes of strength add-ons taught by members of Christi’s classes on the Solid Gold series who are solid instructors in their own right. These add-ons also appear on Solid Gold Cardio.
- Julie’s Abs (5.5 min.) has two women, one of which modifies, doing the workout; Julie begins coaching but joins them for basic crunch (with several arm variations shown), oblique crunch, crunch w/ legs in tabletop, crunch w/ reverse crunch, crunch w/ reverse cruch / leg push-up, oblique crunch w/ ankle over knee into 4-part series (adding in reverse crunch / lift), and tempo pulses reaching towards legs.
- Nate’s Squats & Push-ups (9.5 min.) has two women, one of which modifies; Nate usually joins them but once or twice stops to coach during squats, push-ups, static lunges, triceps / narrow push-ups, wider / plie squats, push-ups w/ 1 leg slightly raised, and finishing with one more round of regular squats, triceps push-ups, and wide squats. You change the tempo as the set proceeds (e.g. 2 and 2 or 3 and 1).
- Michele’s Core Ball Workout (10 min.) coaches one woman through wall squats with the stability ball, adding in small balls (suggested substitute: pillows) between the feet and knees, push-ups against stability ball at wall, push-ups against stability ball on the floor (Michele demonstrates a full plank option, adding in 1-leg lift, too), crunches over the stability ball, and pikes on the ball.
- Michelle’s Back & Behind (8.5 min.) has a man and woman showing different variations as Michelle joins them for “dips” (e.g. bridge, either on the floor or w/ shoulders on a step, w/ or w/o weights; Michelle does straight up and down as well as side to side), side-lying leg lifts up & down (either on the floor or with torso on stability ball, w/ or w/o weights), and quadruped leg lifts & lowers and bird dogs w/ opposite arm & leg extended (either on floor or draped over stability ball). Michelle does regular tempo, pulses, and holds.
- Maria’s Pilates (11 min.) coaches two women in Pilates breathing on back, the hundred, footwork-type series (extend legs out at 45 degrees, adding in pointing & flexing), half rollback, single leg circles, single leg stretch, double leg stretch, double straight leg stretch, criss cross (aka bicycle or obliques), spine stretch forward, swimming, double leg kick (upper body part only – so no leg kick!), child’s pose / shell stretch / little piece of heaven, and ending standing for breathing.
Level: I’d recommend this to experienced exercisers at the intermediate through low advanced level who are comfortable with complex choreography. Those looking for a less complex / strenuous / torque-y workout can stay with the modifiers, and I highly recommend those new to Christi and/or more complex workouts follow them at least the first time through.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced in cardio, although I’m more of an intermediate plus when it comes to step, since I’m still working my way through more complex step aerobics workouts. I pick choreography up pretty quickly if it’s broken down and cued well, which is mostly true here. I felt fairly confident with the full choreography after just one run through (again, know I think I’m better than average at picking up – although probably not exactly executing – choreography), although I could stand to polish both halves, especially the accompanying arms. Yes, I tried to do the full shebang the first time through, but I’ve been working somewhat systematically through my complex step workouts and now through my Christis. Anyway, this gave me a solid steady state workout that had me in my moderately to borderline high zones.
Class: 5 women and 1 man join Christi for the step workout. The four exercisers in the back two rows, who wear all black, stick with the lower impact / less pivot-heavy version of the routine, while Christi and the two women in the second row, who wear purple shirts (which in the front on shot look almost black, which adds to some confusion as to who’s doing what move), show the full routine. The set’s a little crowded with all of those folks on steps. Oh, and there’s a whooper in there (Michele?), at least for the horizontal portion.
For the cool-down 10 women and 1 man join Christi (in their “normal colors,” although some of them seem to have amped up their wardrobe – I know I would if someone asked me to wear my usual workout outfit to a filming, although I personally would have left the bandana and midriff-baring top under the denim jacket or hoodie at home). They’re all bunched up, so if the regular workout inspired thoughts of claustrophobia you may want to do your own cool-down…
Christi is alone for the bonus warm-up and stretch portions (as well as for the MoveMaster).
Music: a mix of upbeat instrumentals and (remade) vocals, including “I Feel the Earth Move,” “Tearing Up My Heart,” and “Play.” I agree that the soundtrack doesn’t stand out as much as in some of Christi’s other videos (like the Totallys). Oh, as mentioned the cool-down and stretch song, with more of a hip hop / rap feel to it, is done by Christi’s son. I agree that I kind of like it, although I could do without the repeated plugging.
Set: the 2003 CIA set with neutral walls and kind of an Asian flair, with what looks like rice paper screens and vases with branches. Out of all of the CIA sets this may be one of my favorites, as it’s uncluttered, not distracting, and actually a kind of space I’d like to spend time in during real life.
Production: clear picture and sound, with Christi’s voice clearly audible over the music. The camera angles are the usual CIA and thus usually helpful. There’s a few odd shots and edits in the cooldown, or maybe I’m just paying too much attention to that stuff as the cool-down drags on and on.
Equipment: Christi and crew use a full-sized club step with one set of risers, which is what I used (and what I normally use). You’ll want sneakers that won’t get caught in your step and/or carpet (if relevant). The bonus segments require a mat (or equivalent), light dumbbells, a stability / Swiss ball, two small squishy balls (unweighted is probably fine, if not better; substitute = towels), and maybe a step.
Space Requirements: For the horizontal step portion you’ll need to be able to grapevine off to each side behind your step plus have room to take a big step off of your platform to each side and to the front. For the vertical it’s best if you can take a few steps behind and to the side of your step plus have plenty of room to move around the sides and front. I felt like the vertical portion almost needed more room than the horizontal, but the fact that I tried to do them while facing the same direction in a space that’s longer than it is deep may have contributed to that.
DVD Notes: The main menu options are Aerobic Instructor Training promo, Introduction, Straight to Solid Gold Step, Solid Gold Step Combos (X-tra Quick Warm-Up, First Half beginning at combo #1 / #2 / #3 / #4, Second Half beginning at combo #5 / #6 / #7 / #8, Cool Down, X-tra Stretch), Cooldown, MoveMaster, Choreography 101, Bonus Beauties (Julie’s Abs, Nate’s Squats & Push-ups, Michele’s Core Ball Workout, Michelle’s Back & Behind, Maria’s Pilates, Christi’s X-tra Quick Warm-up, Christi’s X-tra Stretch), Combination Platters (Kwiki Platter #1 = Combos 1-4, Cooldown, Stretch; Kwiki Platter #2 = Warm-up, Combos 5-8, Cooldown, Stretch; Aerobic Platter = Combos 1-8, Cooldown, Stretch; Strength & Stretch Platter = Warm-up, Nate’s Squats & Push-ups, Michele’s Core Ball Workout, Julie’s Abs, Michelle’s Back & Behind, Maria’s Pilates, Stretch; and Everything Platter: Warm-up, Combos 1-8, Cool-down, Nate’s Squats & Push-ups, Michele’s Core Ball Workout, Julie’s Abs, Michelle’s Back & Behind, Maria’s Pilates, Stret), and Credits.
Comments: Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of Solid Gold Cardio, but SC Step saves the pair for me. Wow, this is a fun workout, even if it comes at you a little fast and furious in places and doesn’t have an amazingly rockin’ soundtrack and portions of the vertical step get a little repetitive with the over the top, now back over the top in the other direction, and back over again. I’m looking forward to doing this again. And again. :) This will get a lot of use because I can split it into the two halves, perfect for those days when I need a quick Christi fix.
Christi cues well, although I agree that her cuing, at least for the horizontal portion, doesn’t seem as copious here, perhaps because she mainly calls out the full moves rather than also mentioning the modified routine. She cues a little ahead of the move. Also, she mirror cues but doesn’t include a lot of directional cues, which can be tricky with some turns and footfalls, although she includes a lot more terms like “turn back” in the vertical step, which is frankly where I needed them the most. She doesn’t sing as many cues as normal, but she’s still having a good time, and that joy is infectious. I love that Christi focuses on the moves: there’s no extraneous chatter or silly phrases. (The only exception here is gushing over her son’s song, but that’s just in the cool-down and is understandable from the proud mama.)
This is instantly one of my favorites. I got it on vhs as a freebie with her Cardio Collectibles DVD and I love it. I feel like I'm dancing through the whole thing.
The first half is horizontal step and it has great choreography that you can ham up if you like ! The second half is vertical step and the same thing goes. Hard to say which half is better. Expect turns and twists and to sweat ! Christi & two others dressed in black & purple do the advance options and (I think) four dressed in black do the modifications in the back.
The music is ok - it's a fast paced workout so I didn't really notice it much, all I'll say is that it went well with the workout. Some more recognizeable songs is always nice (like in Totally Hot Cardio). About that fast paced thing - you have to be on your toes for this one as changes happen fast BUT her excellent cuing makes it easy.
My only caveat - the cool down. I don't like it enough that I don't do it. The music is ok (credit is due to her son who composed & performed the song) but it's almost as if Christi hit a choreo blank - too much hip rocking back and forth on the spot. I think she's trying to be funky but it is too mellow for me.
I am a huge Christi fan - I love most of her workouts and can't get enough of her innovative choreography.
I was in the mood for something fun and this was it. I'd been putting it off because it is WAY over my challenged choreo ability, but I had watched it again a couple of days ago and felt ready to give it a try--but giving myself permission to mess up or stop early if I had to. I actually surprised myself with how much I actually DID get. I had to follow the modifiers a few times AFTER I got lost though, lol. Speaking of modifiers...I like that Christi uses them. There are four exercisers in the back row modifying to less challenging choreography...at least one of them is visible most of (if not all) the time. Christie and two other exercisers in the front row are doing spins and turns, etc. I was actually able to to many of the spins and turns which surprised the heck out of me. The workout is just around 50 minutes or so (my HRM said 53, but I never do the cool downs exactly as on the workouts).
This DVD also included "Movemaster" which has Christi (and one other I believe) showing all the combinations at a slow speed with their backs to the camera so you can get the correct lead leg.
There was also a "Choreography 101" on the DVD which has Christie (facing us) and two others (backs to us) showing some common step moves...it's a continuous string of moves so a beginning exerciser (or stepper) could use this as a workout--nothing tricky here. I didn't time it though, so don't know how long it is.
I have done all of Christi's workouts, and I think, after having done this one only 3 times so far, it is going to be one of my favorites. Right up there with Step Heaven, which to me is the perfect step workout.
Solid Gold Step is similar to the Totallies only in that the warm up is part of the routine. The choreography is more similar in complexity to Step Heaven, and slightly more difficult than Still Steppin'. It seems like it is taught more quickly, and there is a little less taking it from the top after each little step is taught. In this one Christi teaches a few parts from the combo before she goes back to the top--much less than both the Totallies and the Just for Funs. (Or at least it feels like it.) I love the new arm patterns, especially in the second section, and there are just some fun new moves that make me keep wanting to do this workout!
The background exercisers are so precise and well practiced--as they always are in Christi's workouts--and it just makes the workout that much more enjoyable for me.
The music is not up there with Step Heaven's music, but it's not bad, either.
I realized after looking closely that one of the modifiers is Michele, who was in 9801. I loved her in that, and its great to see her again. I hope she'll be up front again sometime soon. (I'd love to see her instead of Theresa in the Solid Gold Cardio video!)
Ok, so anyway, I love it, love it, love it!
Christi is, as usual, amazing. Down to earth, fun, singing, cueing perfectly... She is just perfect for me!
I was *SO* disappointed in this workout the first time I did it. The music does not compare well with Christi's last several workouts. The teaching/cueing seems not as good. I had visions of the world ending because Christi had put out a bad workout. But . . . after the hour was over, I realized that I had done the whole thing without watching the clock and the time had flown by. So, was it really so bad? I knew if it had been bad, I would have stopped after 15-20 minutes, cuz that's what I do when I'm not having fun.I let it sit in my "new" pile for another week or so and tried it again. Some of my disappointment had worn off and I was more open to giving it a fair shot. Well, lo and behold, I had a blast. I don't deny that one's initial impression might be the same as mine, but even if this is not in the same fun-field as Step Heaven, Still Steppin', etc., it is an awesome workout in its own right. If this had been the first Christi step workout I'd ever done, I'd have been ecstatic -- it just goes to show what effect your expectations can have on you.
As for the workout itself, it is high-intermediate/advanced in intensity and advanced in choreography. The first section is horizontal step with 4 different combos. The second section is vertical step, also with 4 different combos. The time absolutely flies. The music, which I think where my major disappointment came from, is not nearly as good as Christi's past offerings, but still much better than the majority of stuff out there. The cooldown is basically standing and shaking your hips back and forth -- a little boring.
If you get the DVD version as I did, you'll also get some bonus workouts such as abs, Pilates, squats. These are nice little extras, but there was nothing particularly special or outstanding about them; they were so-so. To sum all this up, this is one of the best and most fun step workouts ever made. It's definitely an A+ offering, despite it not being equal with her others.08/03/2003
Definitely her best of the new series, Solid Gold Hi-Lo is good, but her step tape is awesome! She is a master at using the step vertically as opposed to the horizontal position commonly used in most tapes.
The workout is divided into 3 sections, two of them being the actual workout, then a "cooldown" section at the end, followed by Movemaster and Choreography 101.
The first section is fast paced, with alot of add ons and interesting pivots. As in Solid Gold Hi- Lo, Christi has thrown in some serious rhythm moves that are guaranteed to challenge your body as well as your mind. The first section repeats in its entirety 3 times before moving on to section two.
This section is done with the step facing vertical and is fantastic, reminding me of the Just for Fun Still Steppin tape she did a few years ago. Great combo and again some funky rhythm moves, repeating the entire section twice before the "cooldown".
Honestly, this section just doesn't do it for me. She combines the same segment in SG Hi - Lo as the one done here, and it amounts to swaying your hips from side to side for an eternity. Very little stretching at all in the tape, which also left me wanting. This section was such a letdown after the strong choreography and energy in the other step sections.
Musically, Christi maintains once again her high standards, the moves are a mix of high and low intensity, with the usual modifiers in the backround, although I felt the set was somewhat crowded.
Overall, major fun from a major force in the fitness world, a keeper in my book.
Likeable, as always. Christi always presents herself and her backround exercisers as just a bunch of buddies working out together, her enthusiasm is contagious!