Cardio Kickbox Challenge

Tracey Staehle
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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cardio kickbox challenge



I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: Because Acescholar, Kathryn, and Nyx have already described this workout well, I’ll just add in times and breakdowns of moves.

Total time: 58.5 min.
Warm-up (6 min.; Tracey, then Josef): 7 pulses (bounce side to side) & duck, 7 jabs & cross, 7 jabs & hook, 7 jabs & upper cut, travel & torso twist, 16 alternating jabs, 8 alternating hooks, 16 alternating jabs, 8 alternating upper cuts; alternating front knee set-ups, alternating front kicks, side kick chamber, side kick (chamber – kick – rechamber – set), roundhouse set-up, roundhouse (chamber – kick – rechamber – set), back kick set-up, back kick, pulse
Combo 1, Upper Body (4.5 min.; Tracey): pulse, alternating jabs to corner, alternating upper cuts, double jab & cross, alternating hooks, shuffle – alternating upper cuts & hook, then hold upper cuts
Combo 2, Upper & Lower Body (5.75 min.; Jericho): scissor jumps, switch hold into switch knee, circular elbows, ascending elbows, plyo lunges
Combo 3, Upper & Lower Body (4.75 min.; Tracey): pulse, squat & side kick into a squat & jumping side kick, downward punch (w/ other hand on opponent’s head), knee block (I’ve seen this done as a crescent chamber) & front kick, double jab & cross, roundhouse
Combo 4, Lower Body (4.25 min.; Jericho): alternating knees into knee & front kick into jumping kick (front), step & front kick, back kick, double front kick, with shuffle back to bring you back to the starting position as needed
Combo 5, Upper & Lower (5.5 min.; Josef): 3 knees & front kick into 2 knees & jump kick (front), alternating jabs - alternating upper cuts - alternating hooks, squats into tuck jumps
Combo 6, Cardio (4.25 min.; Tracey): pulse, shuffle & 2 knees, 7 knees & cross, punch high & low, then punch high & low plus cross, side kick, double time run in between sides
Combo 7, Lower Body (4.5 min.; Tracey, then Jericho): front kick & tap back into front kick & lunge w/ tap down, back kick with tap front into back kick & front lunge, front kick & back kick, ginga (w/ heel rock)
Combo 8, Upper & Lower Body (2.75 min.; Josef): double punch down (w/ other hand in guard), alternating jabs into 7 alternating jabs & elbows to the side, step back w/ reach forward & knee up into step back w/ reach forward & knee up hop
Combo 9, Agility Training (4.5 min.; Josef): cross jacks, 3 upper cuts, speed bag, double down skipping rope, heel digs & cross
Combo 10, Lower Body (5 min.; Tracey): roundhouse into double roundhouse, jab – cross – upper cut, 16 rapid fire roundhouses, 4 roundhouses in a circle
Combo 11, Cool Down (6.5 min.; Josef): breathing while seated in cross-legged position, twist over back shoulder w/ 1 leg extended, forward bend over 1 leg extended, opposite hand grabs foot of extended leg, ankle crossed over opposite knee, kneeling move to stretch calf, standing forward bend w/ shaking out shoulders, roll up to standing, standing quadriceps stretch, standing lunge w/ twist to stretch out hip flexors, arm across chest shoulder stretch, arm behind head triceps stretch

You’ll often build up the combo on one side, repeat a few times (often 4-8 runthroughs), maybe do an in between move or two, then build up the combo (more or less evenly in comparison to the first side) on the other side. Just as an FYI, about as often as not the first move taught will not be the first move in the combo; for example, in Tracey’s last segment the double roundhouse comes after the three punches. This didn’t really cause any confusion for me while doing it, however. After you’ve finished with a combo, it’s thrown away, never to reappear. No TIFTing here.
For the most part the speed felt reasonable to me, allowing me to execute the punches and kicks properly (well, to the best of my current ability), but never slowing down. The transitions between combos are pretty quick; the current instructor will say something like, “And now over to Tracey,” who’ll then say, “Thanks, Josef. Now let’s work those legs,” and then you’ll start right in. I do agree with Acescholar that a few places, like that speed bag – cross jack, may move a hair on the too fast side, but it may seem that way more because of being off beat / off the music, so I feel like I’m rushing while trying to catch up with the beat / music.
If you want to stay low impact, just stick with the earlier versions of moves, although no one will demonstrate them for you beyond a quick reminder from the current lead. Also, if you’re working out on carpet and/or if your knees do not like torque, just stay front for the turning roundhouse kick series.

Just for grins, here’s a description of the Extra segment:
Abs – Upper Body 4 The Perfect Pushup (7.5 min.): (Tracey) lean back on elbows & hold heels 1” off floor; (Jericho) plank (w/ several variations shown), basic push-ups on toes; (Josef) triceps push-ups (i.e. push-ups w/ hands & elbows narrow to body) w/ core challenging variations, side plank (w/ several variations shown), seated twist (as shown, w/ med ball; several variations shown), prone extension w/ arms up & back
As noted, this is more of a demo than a follow-along. It’s a rough cut (with a glimpse of an assistant standing by the water cooler, shadows of people walking around off camera, that sort of thing) of presumably what was meant to follow Tracey’s announcement at the end of Combo 10 of “Let’s do some abs.”

Level: I’d also recommend this to int./adv. exercisers with at least some basic kickboxing experience under their belt. Experienced intermediates could make this work for them by doing premixes, taking out the jumps and “power,” etc., while those at the low to maybe even mid-advanced level could take Acescholar’s suggestions for bumping up the intensity. You certainly don’t have to be an expert martial artist here, as all three provide a number of form tips to help you improve (even if, as Kathryn points out, they don’t always follow their own tips to the letter).
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, although I’m probably more of an int. + when it comes to kickboxing because I have no martial arts training, I’ve done kickboxing almost exclusively at home with videos, and I don’t do kickboxing regularly (I tend to revisit this style for a month or two a few times a year). I prefer routines that offer intensity through focus on technique (e.g. Powerstrikes) over those that throw punches and kicks willy-nilly while jumping around, and this one fits into the former category. I found this video offered me a solidly doable challenge of a workout, and I’m happy I’ll be able to grow with this, improving form, putting more power into the moves, and then adding my weighted gloves.

Class: Tracey, Josef, and Jericho, with the non-instructing two behind the one currently leading the segment (all instruct live). Tracey seems to have wanted to those in the background to contribute a little, but fortunately (IMHO) neither Josef nor Jericho takes the bait.

Music: instrumental with a driving beat and sometimes also an electric guitar. I could have sworn a tune or two sounded familiar, but maybe, like Kathryn, I’ve just heard them in other videos. Anyway, I agree that the music suits the workout and the setting well. I wouldn’t listen to it by itself, but in the context it feels right.

Production: clear enough picture and sound, constantly changing camera angles that are sometimes helpful but sometimes too shaky or too focused on someone’s face (the one camera operator seems to switch loyalties from Tracey to Jericho as the workout goes on) or feet.
OK, confession time: even though I include comments on production in my reviews, normally I could care less, so long as the production doesn’t detract much from the workout. A lot of the times I have to nitpick to find something I think someone could object to. This is one case, however, where I don’t have to do that. The camerawork comes off as MTV-esque at times, if I want to put things politely. I almost got motion sick from the rocking back and forth zoomed in focus on Jericho’s feet during her ginga part. I hope that as I learn the routine better and don’t have to look at the screen as often the camerawork becomes less of an issue, because the production issues could be the one thing that causes me to pitch this video onto the trade pile. I can overlook the off beat / off music, the lack of a real cool-down, the miscues and other little flubs, etc., so I’m hoping I can overlook the crazy cameras.

Equipment: nothing really. Maybe supportive sneakers if you’re going to be jumping on a hard surface and then a mat for the stretch. And if you’re more experienced you could strap on some light weighted gloves.

Space Requirements: You’ll need enough room to step and kick to the front, back, and to each side. This will be a decently large space if your legs are as long as mine, but IMHO it’s reasonable for a kickboxing workout.

DVD Notes: The main menu, which pops right up, offers these options: Play All, Chapters, Premixes (20 Minute Mix, 30 Minute Mix, 40 Minute Mix, Upper Body [36 min.], Lower Body [45 min.]), Extra (Abs – Upper Body 4 The Perfect Pushup), and Credits. Note that all premixes include the warm-up and cool-down (er, stretch).

Comments: Just as an FYI, on the forum this is often referred to as CKBC.

Because this came out about the same time as Cathe Friedrich’s Shock Cardio MMA series, it’s tempting to compare these, even though they’re very different videos with very different goals. I am one of few people who didn’t mind the not so intense intensity of Cathe’s Kickbox and Boxing (Fusion was not my style), but I found them short - I would have loved one more combo in each - and the moves uneven in terms of their ability to hold my interest. (I also could have done without the abs portion, and I’ll be one who’s just as content without the abs portion in Tracey’s.) I’m with those who bought Cathe’s but have gravitated toward Tracey’s, thinking, “You know, no offense to Cathe and her nice little MMAs, but this is more like what I wanted and/or expected.”

Instructor Comments:
Note that in addition to Tracey Staehle the instructors are Josef Matthews and Jericho McDuffie.
All three instructors mirror cue and give clear notice of a change in moves. They also all spend some time on form tips and reminders. Josef and in particular Jericho are down to business, focused on instruction and cuing; Tracey is, too, but she tries to provide a little of the usual video / class instructor encouragement and banter (although it’s all about the workout). Tracey is the most comfortable working with music; Jericho may be more prone to being off beat, but Josef is often off the music (meaning he starts in the middle or toward the end of the phrase – this only matters for someone like me, with some background in music, who’ll say, “Gah! We’re going now? OK, then.”). While Tracey comes off as earnest, nice, and encouraging and is much more relaxed on camera than she used to be, IMHO she still doesn’t have the Star Quality one would expect after starring in so many fitness videos; actually, one of her greatest strengths is finding people like Josef and Jericho and bringing them with her to film. But I have to give major kudos to Tracey for filming so soon after giving birth.
All in all, the three instructors work together well, cue well enough, and clearly are serious about fitness.



First, the music in this workout is just awesome. It is really motivating and goes great with the workout. I love how they switch leads, the moves are not too repetitive, and they're fun. I would say this workout is intermediate/advanced (for a non-Insanity-level person like me). However, there are some weird camera angles, and unfortunately, they do get off-beat sometimes. It's not too often or pronounced, except for Josef's speedbag section. It's not enough to make me not like the workout, however. This is one of my best purchases!

Nyx Black


I just did this one for the first time, and I liked it.

I have to say, if I were to do the workout while watching them, I'd give it a grade of B+, but doing it while mostly following the verbal cues, and glancing at the screen at strategic points, I'll give it an A-.

What I like:
+ the music! (on preview, I really noticed a couple of 'old/recycled' songs that I've heard either in several other workouts, and/or in workouts I've done a lot, but I didn't even notice them when I was doing the workout (at the end of the workout, I was even thinking "hey, where were those recycled tunes?"

+ the pacing and speed (THIS is what Cathe's MMA: Fusion SHOULD have been like, IMO). Yeah, baby!

+ Josef and (to a lesser extent) Jericho

+ easy to modify to low impact with no turns while still keeping it high intensity

+the combos and sequencing of moves (most of the time)

What I didn't like as much:
- miscues (especially when demoing a move! Like when Jericho shows the switch knee move. This is when NOT looking at the screen is a good idea!)

-"cooldown and stretch" which means "stretch as cooldown"

-'' missing' ab segment

-some annoying off-beat segments (part of Jericho's capoeria side-to-side move, most of Josef's speedbag segment). This is another time when NOT looking at the screen is a good idea!)

-Some 'do as I say, not as I do" moves, like "keep your hips square" (um, they really don't!), or "feel the beat" (um, yeah, I don't always!).

--Some "do as Josef (and to a lesser extent Jericho) does, not what I do" moves (Tracie's "shoulder rolls" when doing uppercuts. Am I imagining things, or does Jericho give her a look when Tracie says to 'roll your shoulrders' and does almost a parody of the move?) THIS is when looking at the screen (at Josef and Jericho) IS a good idea!

--Tracie. It's nominally "her" workout, but she's definitely the weakest link, IMO.



Tracey Staehle, Cardio Kickbox Challenge

I really like this workout! The moves are for the most part basic, but it takes a couple go rounds to get the form right and the combos down in order to get the intensity up. There is a level one and a level two to some of the moves, and once you know the workout you can go to level two earlier.

The first 10 minutes or so are very slow and Tracey's cueing IS a little off. The intensity starts to pick up with Jerico's switch knee smash. The first time I had a bit of a hard time getting the move, and it didn't get my heart rate up that much; but the second time I was jumping the move from the get go and my heart-rate was higher. [It’s actually worth previewing and practicing this move before you start the workout.]

I think the combos are interesting and fun, and the instructors all give form pointers that make the moves more intense. At several points Tracey keeps reminding us to “work the legs” along with the punches, and although it was a bit naggy, it was also very helpful!

I was happy to see a lot of my favorites moves: jump kicks, varieties of knee smashes, some speed bag arms, hard punches toward the ground, machine gun roundhouse kicks, and all forms of other kicks (including crescent). I also liked that scissor lunges, criss cross jacks, and tuck jumps were "filler" moves because they kept the heart rate up.

There is one combo that is a little frenzied – Josef’s does speed bag arms with criss-cross jacks. Both parts move really fast, and it is also off the beat at points. I actually found this combo to be really fun, but some might be put off by the speed and beat.

One really interesting move toward the end of the workout is a ginga (capoeira) variation that Jericho does. She rocks back and lifts the toe, and this gives the move added toning benefit. You can really work this move in a variety of ways, including lunging as deeply as possible.

The intensity of the workout is int/advanced. There are quite a few ways to keep it closer to the advanced range: learning the power moves and staying with them; using weighted gloves; doing speed-bag jacks during the couple of slow times when Tracey is talking (these aren’t very frequent). The intensity does depend a good bit on the high impact moves (tuck jumps, the jumps with the side kicks, jacks, etc.), so I think it would harder to make it advanced with low impact. I do really feel the moves more with my weighted gloves, especially the down punches and the back elbows.

I also noticed that because I have puzzle mats I have to jump on moves where Tracey and Josef pivot. On the side lunges with down punches, Josef pivots -- in order to protect my knees I do lunge jumps. The same is the case with Tracey's rotating round-house kicks; I have to jump them or I will have major knee torque.

I love all three instructors in this. The energy is high, and the set is serious but attractive (it looks like a gym or boxing ring -- with blue background).

The workout is about an hour, and it went by really fast. I would have liked one more combo to really to get me good. I actually added two combos from Strike Zone after completing CKBC, and this left me feeling nicely worked out.

I was disappointed in the ab section. Each instructor gives some ideas for core exercises and some form tips, and did a few reps, but it's not an actual workout. The moves are good, and it would have been a great core workout. Still, I like the moves and I will add them on. [This is especially disappointing because Tracey announces at the end of the combos that we will move to ab work, but then we move to the stretch. The ab tutorial is a bonus that you have to go back to the menu in order to access.]

I can see doing this workout as a regular part of my kickboxing rotation -- and I can see it becoming more and more challenging as I really know the combos. The instructors don’t always maintain a level two intensity (Tracy goes back and forth on the power-squat side kicks – but I stay with level 2 the whole time), so intensity can be added by getting to the higher level faster and sustaining it throughout the combo.

Right now my favorite kickboxing workouts are Amy's Kickbox Surge, Powerstrike 2, Kenpo X+ (with last round done 4 x instead of 2), and a couple of the older Tae Bo's. I would say that Kickbox Surge is more aerobically challenging than CKBC, but CKBC is similar to Powerstrike 2 and more challenging than Kenpo X+. So far, Kickbox Surge kicks my butt the best, but CKBC will add to my kickbox choices very nicely.

I'm glad I pre-ordered this, and I believe that Tracey can become a leader in offering kickboxing workouts. In my view, this is an area that isn't flooded with great workouts.

Instructor Comments:
I think Tracy, Josef, and Jerico are a winning combination, and I hope they work together again. Josef was especially energetic and his form is beautiful to watch. This is the first time I was introduced to Jerico, and I hope to see more of her. She also kicks butt very elegantly!