In The RingAmy Bento
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it 2 times (I think – it could be 3).
General workout breakdown: Lindsey has already described this workout well, so I’ll just provide times and break down moves.
One quick note before I do: The title is a little misleading, because as you can tell from mmis29 and Lindsey’s reviews this is really a choreographed kickboxing workout with med ball intervals, not really a boxing video.
Total workout time: about 74.25 min.
Warm-up (10 min.): After bob & weave, you’ll build up a short combo with walk & block into “shake it out” (shoulder rolls), alternating cross, alternating knee chamber, shuffle & 1-arm speed bag, cross walk (think grapevine) & hook, 3 alternating hooks, and (jump) rope (about 6.5 min.). You’ll then do halo arms, inhale & exhale, side lunges w/ drawing elbow in, hold side lunge, runner’s lunge, runner’s lunge w/ bent leg, standing forward bend w/ 1 leg behind the other, standing balance w/ ankle over opposite knee, and standing hamstring stretch (3.5 min.)
Combo 1 (10 min.): walk up w/ block & ankle breaker, punch down & knee smash, knee & back kick w/ turn, jump & knee smash – chop – alternating hooks – jump rope; front kick – back kick – 2 jump (front) kicks, fast feet w/ 1-arm speed bag & double jab, jumping jacks
Interval 1 (1.5 min.): figure 8 & roll
Combo 2 (10.5 min.): jumping jack, jab – cross – jab – cross (more of a jab & cross front, then cross & jab to the side), cross walk – knee smash – double roundhouse – crescent kick, jab – cross – hook – upper cut, machine gun (double back kick w/ hands touching floor) into spin kick – triple cross – duck back into elbow switch, block – back elbow – double jab – double front thrust
Interval 2 (2 min.): shuffle w/ toss into tap behind
Combined 1&2 (4 min.)
Combo 3 (almost 10.5 min.): step & front kick - alternating upper cuts, alternating double cross – hop into machine gun (double roundhouse (?)), back kick – run run, side lunge w/ low block into balance kick (front – back – front w/ same foot, not tapping down in between), touch down – double thrust up – alternating elbows
Interval 3 (2.5 min.): hook – upper cut – double hook – double upper cut – knee smash – pick up med ball for halo & put down – knee smash [This was easily the most intense and my favorite interval.]
Combo 4 (8.5 min.): shuffle – double cross, roundhouse – shin block – roundhouse – jump (front) kick, speed bag – touch floor – back kick & front kick (these look more like alternating side kicks), upper cut – slip – jab – cross – jab, knee (side chamber) – out (side kick) – in (chamber) – down (touch down), cross walk – roundhouse – drop (punch down) – roundhouse, double knee smash – block w/ lunge – break, shuffle back into jumping jacks
Interval 4 (almost 2 min.): alternating lunges w/ med ball / dumbbell lift in middle
Combined 3&4 (almost 5 min.)
Stretch (almost 8 min.): For your quick cool-down (2 min.), you’ll step touch w/ arms raising & lowering as you breathe, bob & weave – cross back walk, bob & weave w/ shaking out arms, twist w/ feet planted, march, and step – easy knee smash – step back. For the stretch (almost 6 min.) you’ll do more inhale & exhale w/ the arms, while standing hold bent leg out to side, hold side lunge, wide squat w/ hands on floor, a move that looks like what’s commonly called the frog in yoga, shell stretch, shell stretch w/ twist (to stretch shoulder), chest stretch w/ legs crossed, hold arm across body for shoulder stretch, arm behind head for triceps stretch, seated forward bend / hamstring stretch, seated inner thigh stretch (legs in diamond / butterfly / cobbler’s / bound angle). [While the stretches are held for a decently long time, I needed to add on some stretches, most notably for my hip flexors / quadriceps and calves.]
The pace is fast but controlled, allowing you to punch and kick with intention and decent form. That said, there is a surprising amount of down time, often spent bouncing, as Amy talks you through what’s coming up next, allows you to recover before or after the intervals, etc., which lowers the intensity some, so more advanced exercisers may find themselves adding in more jumping jacks and other filler moves to keep the heartrate up.
This is primarily low impact, although there are some jump kicks, added hops, and moves like jumping jacks. Uchenna demonstrates moves without the hops, which Amy points out just when you start wondering if she’s modifying or if she’s having a low energy day. There are a number of pivots and quick turns which could be problematic, especially if you’re on carpet, and nothing is offered for those who wish to leave those out. Sometimes it’s easy just to stay where you are – for example, in combo 1 I didn’t turn between the two knee & back kicks – while sometimes it’s a challenge to figure out what to do instead, like that spin kick.
Level: I’d recommend this to int./adv. exercisers comfortable with basic kickboxing moves and comfortable with choreographed workouts. Experienced intermediates could work their way up to the full routine and use a lighter med ball / dumbbell, while low to mid-advanced exercisers could add some weighted gloves. If this had been more non-stop action it could easily have been low adv., but the many pauses in between moves lower the overall intensity a hair.
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). This provided me with a good challenge, but I kept up without having to drop down to the modifications (although I didn’t use as heavy of a med ball). I prefer kickboxing routines that offer intensity through focus on technique (e.g. Powerstrikes) over those that throw punches and kicks while jumping around, and this one is in between, as it allows for attention on form but is highly choreographed. I’m a choreography hound and have been on an Amy kick lately, so that helped me get the routine this time around, although the first verbal and then physical run through of each new set of moves often found me spinning around with limbs flying every which way and a quizzical look on my face.
Music: mostly instrumentals with a driving beat. Some tracks are remixes of popular songs (like Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack”), but some tracks, especially later on, have more of a tropical feel (like the cool-down song, which has bird tweets and steel drums). It seems to suit the moves well, and Amy has a good sense of how to match moves to music.
Set: the 2008 CIA set with the purple-gray walls with an orange stripe, “windows” in front of the so-called blue barn doors, and black patio furniture off to the back. It’s a bit of an odd set with its color palette, but I’ll let it slide because it’s not the wildest CIA set I’ve seen and I’m able to tune it out.
Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles – what you’d expect from the CIA. The music is plenty loud in relation to Amy’s voice.
Equipment: You’ll want a medicine ball and/or a dumbbell. Amy and crew use 8 lbs.; I wouldn’t go much heavier, but if you go significantly lighter (like my 3 lb. soft touch weighted ball) I agree the intervals will seem like lower intensity segments rather than the high intensity low impact intervals Amy promises. Supportive sneakers are nice, and weighted gloves can boost the intensity, if you need it and are used to working with them.
Space Requirements: This needs room, especially that 4th combo. You should at least be able to take a big step and kick forward and back, and you should be able to take a few big steps and kick to each side. I don’t have the luxury of working out in a huge studio-like space free of furniture, etc.; somehow I managed to fit this – just barely – into my workout space of maybe 6’ or so front and back and 7-8’ feet or so side to side, but let me tell you I had to get pretty creative with how I oriented myself, struggled to “travel” without covering any ground, and came very close to taking out a fan, my water bottle on the coffee table, and a bookshelf full of DVDs.
DVD Notes: You can skip the opening intro to get right to the main menu, which offers these options: Play Program, Chapters, NRG Mixes (Great NRG Mix, 52:41 min.; Quick NRG Mix, 33:08 min.; Interval NRG Mix, 34 min.; Combo NRG Mix, 57:09 min.; and Ultimate NRG Mix, 74.22 min.; this menu also lists which chapters are included with each premix), and Credits. Note: the cursor here is confusing, as the yellow ring around the black dot just gets a tiny bit bigger and bolder when it’s in front of the segment you’re trying to select.
Comments: I did this one after doing Amy’s Kickbox Xtreme. In the Ring wins out over KX in terms of having a more logical flow to the choreography (although I have to pay attention because it is tricky and because there are some spots where the flow and weight shifts don’t (yet?) feel natural to me), more balanced variety between the upper and lower body (KBX suffered from having maybe too much variety in the upper body moves and too little in the lower body), and having better form (although still of the kickbox group fitness instructor rather than martial artist variety – not that there’s anything wrong with the former, since that’s what Amy is – but be prepared for elbows that flare out a little where they probably shouldn’t and things like that). ITR is also more doable for me in terms of intensity. I know I’ve remarked about the down time, but as someone who’s not so advanced I can’t complain because the pauses give me enough time to recover – both physically and mentally – so I can execute the moves with Amy. I think I like ITR’s soundtrack a tiny bit better, too, perhaps because fewer songs pop up on other videos I have, although I can’t gush about either. But Kickbox Xtreme, with all of its faults, has more of a fun factor for me. One major reason for this is there’s more going on in KX, with more punches, etc., and with 1 more combo and interval in a shorter amount of time, so there’s less repetition of the same moves over and over. Not only does KX have less down time, but the flow between combo and interval is also smoother, primarily because you don’t need additional equipment and because the intervals are based off of similar moves as the combos. I was a bit surprised that in ITR Amy tried to combine combos and intervals together, because this involved doing the combo, stopping to get the med ball, doing the interval, stopping to put the med ball back, doing the next combo, and so on. KX also has a more thorough warm-up, IMHO, with more time spent moving and going through different punches and kicks, while ITR spends a lot of time with static stretches, which I have grown not to prefer in my warm-ups. And KX, though still a space hog, was easier for me to fit into my workout space. I was doing all right with ITR until that last combo, when it started roaming all over creation.
So, do I actually like In the Ring, or do I just want to like it? Am I being too nitpicky? Was I just being irritable the other day when I did it because it was so hot and muggy out, or was I genuinely picking up on things that will bug me the more I do this workout? I’ll give this one at least another chance, because there are things to like about it and because I enjoy having a good-sized collection of different kickboxing workouts around.
Amy’s cuing makes more sense once you’ve learned the workout, as it’s not particularly descriptive, although here she does let you know when you’re doing just one jab and when you’re doing a double jab. She makes an effort to help out those new to the routine (or who might not have done it recently) with some verbal breakdowns before launching into the next part, but as someone who needs to see as well as hear what’s going on this didn’t work as well for me as she hoped. Other times she jumps right in. Amy introduces whole chunks of combos at one time, more or less how they’ll be in the final routine, rather than building up the combo more slowly. The chunks will come together into the final combo, but they sometimes end abruptly and will feel a little awkward as you set up for another go round at just that part (for example, she teaches you a double back kick into a set, which in the final combo becomes a step into the spin kick but in the run through is more of a lunge that you have to walk out of to get back into position to go through that portion again). She does mirror cue, but in general there aren’t a lot of directional cues.
I like Amy as a video instructor. She is comfortable in front of the camera and shows some personality through her encouragement to the viewer, her acknowledgment of the music, and her interactions with her background exercisers. And yet she keeps the focus on the workout.
The choreography in this one is difficult to master. I still haven't mastered it, and have attempted that spin back kick thing like 100 times and just do not get it. The intensity was up there, which was great, the music is recognizable and fun, and the combos (that I could do) were a lot of fun. I would recommend this workout to intensity junkies who are good at mastering challenging choreography.
I love Amy's style. She's funny and motivational without being over the top.
In the Ring has 5 premixes on one dvd; they range from 32-75 minutes. There are kickboxing combos and small weighted ball interval segments. The premixes range from all kickbox combos, all med ball intervals, or some combination of both.
There are two background exercisers, one provides some modifications-such as using a dumbbell in the med ball segments. Amy's cueing could be better but from what Ive seen -that is her standard-just average cueing. The set looks like a CIA set-a plain open room with light colored flooring and purple and reddish walls with a few fitness props around the perimeter of the room.
Some of the footwork is tricky in this one. I am not a choreo hound, so others may have an easier time catching on that I did. I can get through the 1st premix with no problems having done it a few times, but some of the other mixes contain combos that would just take me too long to catch on to. Her background exercisers even get lost a few times, so I didnt feel too bad.
I really like the fact that this workout is super low impact but definately high intensity, a real calorie burner. I worked up a great sweat doing the 52 minute premix 1 this morning. In The Ring also has great music and is very high energy! I would rate the choreo advanced and the intensity low advanced.
Some of the kickboxing moves include-machine gun side kicks, shuffle, front kicks, back kicks, round house kicks, jabs, cross, uppercuts, speed bag, elbow strikes, and your normal kickboxing fare. The med ball combos include moves like figure 8, picking up and dropping the ball while doing some punches, and engages your core.
My upper back, triceps, and obliques were sore the next day from this one!
Amy is a high energy instructor with a pleasant demeanor. She seems to be having a great time working out in this one. Cueing is her standard-just so-so. Could definately better.