Year Released: 2010
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
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Note: The full title of this workout, as it appears on the DVD cover, is Focus Series, Volume 2: Kick Back.
Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once.
General workout breakdown: Denise and the other reviewers have already broken down and described this one, but Iíll add a few comments.
Itís kind of hard to categorize this workout. The back cover says this will ďlean out the shoulders, back and legsĒ while burning calories. So this is more about shaping and firming up, with some weight training to build muscle and cardio to burn calories. This will do more for endurance than pure strength, too. (Fortunately you wonít be doing tons and tons of reps, as Nat wrote.) Also, this workout seems like it would be particularly good for maintaining your current level of fitness when youíre short on time.
No, there is no warm-up, and you almost literally jump right in. This is one DVD that calls out to be used as add-ons rather than as a straight through routine, although it worked well enough when I ran through the segments in order. As mentioned, you do get a sort of cool-down for 2 of the 3 workouts, if by cool-down you mean stretch, which seems to be an increasingly common definition these days. The 2nd segment ends in a short lower body stretch and the 3rd has a slightly longer total body stretch.
The 1st segment is about 9:45 min., the 2nd just over 9:30, and the 3rd is just over 10:00, so the total workout is a hair under 30 min.
I agree that in general Tracie moves along at a good, controlled pace, without a lot of down time. There are a few times, especially in the second segment, where sheíll pause to instruct or demo a move, however, but then there were other times when I wanted a quick break to switch out weights.
Level: Iíd recommend this to experienced exercisers at the intermediate to int. / adv. level or so as shown. Tracie expects you to have some familiarity with basic kickboxing and strength training form, plus she moves through some sequences quickly, so I wouldnít recommend this to beginners. But experienced beg. / int. to low int. exercisers can tackle this one, perhaps doing all of the kickboxing portions without weights and use light weights for the matwork.
I consider myself an int. / adv. exerciser, and I found this a nice little workout. I did this after another workout, so I had to drop down in weights for the upper body moves, but I canít imagine being able to go much heavier than what Tracie does.
Class: Tracie alone, instructing live.
Music: upbeat instrumental stuff. Itís all right, but it is repetitive, as Nyx mentioned. I didnít notice the looping my first time through, but the volume of the music is a little low in relation to Tracieís voice.
Set: bright interior space (part of Tracieís fitness studio, I believe) with a brick wall, a brightly colored painting, and exercise equipment tastefully arranged around the space. The windows are covered with white curtains with cutouts that I found somewhat distracting, but I doubt thatíll be a common issue.
Production: clear picture and sound, consistent sound levels, and helpful camera angles. Text listing the equipment needed appears at the beginning of each segment.
Equipment: For the 1st segment, youíll use a pair of light (3 lbs., 5 lbs., or 7 lbs.) and a pair of medium (5 lbs. to 10 lbs.) dumbbells. For the 2nd, youíll need a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells (Tracie uses 10s but says you can go heavier Ė as Nyx mentioned, you canít go truly heavy, like with 25s, because the transitions are rather quick). For the 3rd, youíll need a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells (Tracie doesnít say what she uses, but it seems to be her 12s); you may also want a mat (depending upon your flooring). The on screen text recommends ankle weights as an option for the 3rd segment, but Tracie doesnít mention them during the workout, and I can only see one or two moves where they would come into play.
Space Requirements: Tracie does the entire workout on 8 puzzle mats, which, if hers are the same size as mine, means she keeps this well within a space thatís 8í long by 4í deep. (I like it when instructors try to contain their workouts within a reasonable space for the at home exerciser.) Basically youíll need to be able to step and kick to the front as well as take a few steps and kick to the side.
DVD Notes: A quick intro for the Focus series comes on when you pop in the DVD, but you can skip it to get right to the main menu, where you can choose your segment or play all. There appear to be no chapters within the segments.
Comments: This is one of four workouts comprising Tracieís Focus series, each with a similar format of three approximately ten-minute segments. So far this is the only one I have of the Focus series, but Iím interesting in the others (with the possible exception of Reach Further, which strays too far into the fusion category for my personal tastes). I have all four of the workouts from the Longevity but have only done one or two while previewing the others. I also have all four of the TLTs. (I have not, however, done any of The FIRMs or similar workouts.) This one is more like the Longevity series, which backs off somewhat from the creative (some would say too creative) and functional fitness feel of the TLTs but still shows that she canít fully shake her time with that style as well as her time with The FIRM (including the Ta-Da moment at the end of the first segment).
I wish Tracie would put all four Focus workouts on one DVD. This would allow them to be mixed and matched much more easily. Iíd love to be able to do all of the cardio portions together or string together lower body-focused segments or add on one of the core / balance / stretch segments from Reach Further without having to pause and swap out DVDs. This mega Focus DVD would also eliminate the criticism of releasing such short workouts on DVDs - standard DVDs can easily hold 2 hours worth of material, so thatís not an excuse - with no frills for a price that, while not exorbitant, isnít exactly cheap. (I got the one I have via trade; I havenít yet bought these because the price for what one gets made me pause, especially since I wasnít sure Iíd use these a lot.) Oh, and a matrix feature allowing segments to be programmed to play in a specific order would be icing on the cake.
I kind of liked this one, mainly the first two segments. The third segment feels a bit too much like a ďcatch allĒ to me and lacks the clear focus as well as the kickboxing vibe of the other two, although I suspect in the context of all four Focus workouts itíd make more sense.
Honestly, Iím not entirely sure how best to use this DVD within my regular rotation. In part that may be because Iím not versed in the FIRM style of categorizing workouts. I suspect for the time being Kick Back will be relegated to recovery weeks, days when I need something different but not too fussy, and workout sessions where I feel I need just a little bit extra.
When I tried this out the other week, I did it after the Powersculpting routine from Kelly Coffey-Meyerís 30 Minutes to Fitness: LIFT. I was pleasantly surprised that both ended up being somewhat similar in style and kind of complementary in that they make kickboxing moves into cardio-intensive strength work and that Kelly worked some muscles a little harder than Tracie and vice versa. Although Tracie does a lot more kickboxing, Kelly does one or two moves Tracie does not, like crescent kicks. Kellyís is definitely a notch up in intensity, and Iím glad I did that one first, especially since she includes a warm-up.
Tracie is rather down to business here, focused on cuing the workout. (I personally prefer that over chattiness and attempted jokes thatíll get old after a few times through.) She does a decent job of instructing, with mirror cues. I wish she could be a bit more descriptive in parts, but I found her easier to follow here than in her TLTs, where I had to watch what she was doing more closely, perhaps in part because the moves are generally more straightforward here. (As I do this workout more often any confusion will fall away.) Tracie does suggest a few modifications to make an exercise more accessible or sometimes also more challenging; I like that she presents these in a non-judgmental way, presenting them as options rather than labeling them.
I am not a big fan of kickboxing workouts. But I enjoy this workout very much. I guess it would be best described as a kickboxing circuit workout. I find that with most kickboxing workouts the fast-paced punching/kicking combinations end up to be an event in flailing around for me. Tracie Long's Kickback, though, offers me the opportunity to do some kickboxing moves at a controlled pace. She then varies the kickboxing with weight work. I like how Tracie builds the combinations but she doesn't rep them over and over. She finds that 'just right' point to start a new combination.
I didn't really pay much attention to the music - maybe it was low - so I can't comment on that. I will say that this video workout may be disappointing for someone expecting a strictly kickboxing workout. But I was able to get a decent heart-pumping workout without killing my joints and I appreciate that.
I didn't enjoy Kick Back very much. The weighted arm work in the first section was ok, but I felt like the second section was a lot of basic kicks that got a little repetitive. Also, since the leg work in the second section is so short, I felt like I needed heavier weights to feel anything, but a lot of the work felt too fast to use those heavier weights. The music got weird at some point in the second section and went on and on (check out the clip to hear the songs - the same song plays throughout each section, so there's only one song per section)...same thing for the third section. I actually like a lot of the music Tracie chooses, but unfortunately I didn't like the Kick Back music.
The 1st segment works the upper body and you'll need light to medium dumbbells. You'll begin with weighted jabs. Then you'll add in a squat, kick, squat. The next moves added are hooks and upper cuts. Blocks follow which you'll perform in both high and low fashion. Repeat sequence opposite side. You'll really feel this in your arms and your heart rate will start to go up. Moving to your heavier set of weights, you'll perform some medial deltoid work with a plie. Next is a sword move followed by a double row. Overhead press follows. Repeat the delt/plie/sword/row moves to other side. Cardio is next and you don't use any weights. Squat front kick, switching legs with each rep. Hooks with squats are next. Jab and jack followed by a cross move (side step) continues the choreography. Repeat to other side. Cross jacks with varying speeds takes you to the end. The next chapter works the legs. You'll need medium/heavy dumbbells. Small jumps with side kicks begin the segment. You'll progress into a set of front kicks before changing sides and repeating same kicks, other side. Now you'll do a set of one side kick with a front kick before repeating this to the other side. Grab your dumbbells for your 1st weight set. A plie squat sequence is done to the front and to the rear. Wide plies with calf raises are next. Put the weights away and you'll go into back kicks. Tracie then mixes a back kick with a front kick before repeating this with the other leg. Grab weights and perform side squats then move into a side lunge. (great sequence for outer thighs) Wide plies with the calf raises again. A few good stretches conclude this chapter. The 3rd and final chapter uses a mat, heavy dumbbells and optional ankle weights. You'll perform a side plank into a set of pushups. Next rollover onto your back for various crunches for the abdominals. Rib cage pullovers follow a side plank to complete the other side. Triceps extensions into chest flies with various ranges of motion/tempo ranges follow. After this, Tracie completes the workout with stretches.
Love this one! Definitely a keeper, a unique way to get a total body, cardio challenging workout in 30 minutes.....