Amazing Cardio Combos

Rob Glick
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Step Aerobics

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing the whole workout once.

General workout breakdown: This DVD has just over 80 minutes of cardio, split between hi/lo and step , with more step than hi/lo.
- Warm-up (5.5 min.): Rob takes you through some basic moves (step taps, knee repeaters, grapevines, march or chasse) that form sort of a simple combo. You’ll then do some dynamic stretches, focusing on the lower body (and even hitting the tibialis, or muscles along the shin) but with some upper body moves, too.

- Hi/Lo Cardio (24+ min.) will have you twirling all around the floor with mambos galore, half pivots and full pivots, cross country, grapevine, hamstring curl, step touch, starburst, chasse, kick, tap out, and box step.
- Step (44+ min.) revisits a lot of standard step aerobics moves, like basic, repeater knee, straddle, revolving door, stomp, chasse, v-step, and squat but adds in moves drawn from dance, like mambos, tangos, twists, and some hip shakes. You’ll be doing some pivoting here, too. One reason the step portion lasts longer than the hi/lo is that Rob builds up the combos in smaller bits, adding in only a step or two at a time. You run through the combos more often, but you’re changing things more frequently, so it doesn’t feel as laborious (at least, to me). Also, Rob weaves or slices and dices in the step portion (in the hi/lo everything’s done as taught, on one foot and then the other); he does this in building up the first and third combo and also in the final TIFT of all three combos together.
For both the hi/lo and step, Rob builds up the three tapless symmetrical combos in similar ways: he begins with very basic steps, then layers (and, in the step workout, layers) until he’s built up that part of the combo pretty much as it will be in the final (although he may take out a filler step or add a final turn). Rob uses the “watch me” method to show the upcoming changes, especially in the step portion. He then finishes building the combo, either by building the next part separately or by continuing to run through the combo as he adds on. Next he does a few TIFTs (take it from the top). He tends to do two TIFTs once you’ve learned combos one and two, then will do two TIFTs of combos two and three before adding combo one back in for several more TIFTs.

- Cool-down (6+ min.): Rob has you sway side to side and do some hip rocks before leading some mostly yoga-inspired stretches for the side torso, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, low back, shoulders, and chest. He holds stretches for a few moments, just long enough to feel the stretch (but not long enough if you’re looking to make real flexibility gains).

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate through intermediate / advanced exercisers whose comfort level with at least moderately complex choreography is good – and whose knees don’t mind lots of turns and heads don’t mind some spinning. (There isn’t a lot of impact in these, however.) I consider myself an int. / adv. exerciser who gets complex choreography easily, assuming it’s taught well and makes sense, which is true here. I felt confident in the choreography after one runthrough, although I could stand to clean up a few spots in both the hi/lo and step. I felt the step portion was significantly more challenging to me cardiovascular-wise than the hi/lo portion; we’ll see if I can equalize that a little once I’m more familiar with both and can put some oomph into the hi/lo, although I always find it much easier to get my heart rate up with step over floor aerobics.

Class: For the warm-up, hi/lo, and cool-down 6 women join Rob, who instructs live; in the step only 4 women are in the class. In the warm-up and cool-down, 2 are on the step and 4 are on the floor.
Except for the final flourish in the final combo of the step workout, which most of the background exercisers leave out (as did I), few modifications are shown, which is a little odd because Rob repeatedly reminds you that you can stay with an earlier version.
Rob says that his goal here is to inspire you to move, so he has embraced the diversity and hasn’t tried to make everyone follow the same style and so on. All that said, I didn’t really notice any distinct styles, except for maybe the bare bellied woman (she was prone to oversmiling to compensate for slip-ups when Rob wasn’t in front of her - in the hi/lo portion - or looked at her - in the step portion). Rob spends more time than usual introducing the individual women (although oddly some are only referred by their first names while others have their full names announced); fortunately this segment is in the introduction and skippable.
There’s some whooping, mostly in response to Rob’s interactions with them. Rob seems to be trying to capture the feel of being in a live class, which would work better if the camera hadn’t been so far away…

Music: upbeat with a strong beat; there are some vocals but not really with discernable lyrics. The cool-down has kind of a tribal feel, with a drumbeat goin’ on. I’ve heard a tune or two before. Overall I think the music’s all right; I’ve certainly heard worse, but I definitely don’t find this as soul-stirring as Rob does.

Set: bright interior space with wood floors, neutral-colored walls, a few potted plants, and a vase in the niche in the center of the room.

Production: clear picture and sound. The camera usually stays on the entire class, which means it’s rather far away, but there are some close-ups of Rob, and for the most part these close-ups are more helpful than distracting.

Equipment: sneakers that can pivot on your flooring. Obviously if you’re doing the step portion you’d probably want a step (Rob and crew use a full-sized club step with one set of risers).

Space Requirements: This workout uses more side to side than back to front space and is more space-conscious than some of Rob’s other offerings, although you’ll still need some area for it. You should have enough room to work comfortably with both feet on the floor all around your step. For the hi/lo portion you should be able to take a big grapevine side to side with room to make a few big steps on either side of that.

DVD Notes: The main menu, which has Rob kind of goofily floating across the screen, offers these options:
The Workouts: Introduction, Total Workout (w/up, hi/lo, step, and c/d), Hi/Lo Workout (w/up, hi/lo cardio, c/d), Step Workout (w/up, step, c/d)
Individual Chapters: Warm-up, Hi/Lo Cardio, Step, Cool Down
Two really nitpicky things (since I actually like this menu): I’d love to see a premix with the step before the hi/lo, which is often how I prefer to do things, and I’d love to see the cursor not skip all the way back up to the “Introduction” as soon as you return to the main menu, which makes picking the next chapter you want take a few more steps.

Comments: This definitely has some classic Rob touches, including some of his signature moves (starburst, cross countries) and lots of turns. Rob still loves his “Ta Da!” moments at the end of segments (“Everybody jump in the air and freeze!”), and he just can’t find a way to leave a segment without telling you you’ve done a great job, hope you had fun, hope to see you in the cool-down / again, and bye.
Oh, one little thing: he puts in a plug for lululemon clothes at the very end of the cool-down (but you can skip out before, as he’s otherwise done).

For whatever reason I prefer Rob’s step to his hi/lo. I seem to find his hi/lo offerings too dancey – specifically, too spin-intensive and too heavy on the same few dance-inspired steps – and too light for my tastes. (Christi Taylor is my go-to for hi/lo workouts that have the right amount of choreography and intensity for me.) That said, I enjoyed this hi/lo segment more than Rob’s effort with Evolution (Good to Go Hi-Lo), which had way too many spins for me. The step portion here also wasn’t as pivot-heavy as Rob’s Evolution offering (Step Gone Wild), and it also didn’t spend quite as much time with one’s back to the TV. ACC’s step reminded me more of Amazing Step Styles, which is the only other Rob step workout I’ve tried, although the breakdown / build-up of combos in ACC is definitely influenced by the Evolution crew.

I don’t have More Amazing Cardio Combos, but a few differences I see right away from write-ups and preview clips at Collage and Total Fitness DVDs is that More has a shorter step portion (the two cardio segments are about the same length as the hi/lo bit here), only Rob (no class), and less breakdown. I see a lot of similar moves, too.

Instructor Comments:
Overall Rob cues well and consistently, although there are a few places, like the chasse mambo to the back bit in the hi/lo, where I wish he’d cue a little more specifically, but at least he shows you what he means by some of his more unusual terms. He mirror cues and cues ahead of the move. He is very comfortable in front of the camera, although he’s a little casual for my tastes in the hi/lo. He does have a few oopsies, but they’re relatively minor, and the editor has tried to minimize them as much as possible. There’s some talk about getting the heart rate up and a little about burning calories, improving one’s fitness level, and adding in some hip-shaking, but for the most part Rob sticks to instructing, with some engaging of his back-up exercises and exhortations to the viewer not to worry about mistakes, just feel the music and move.