Power Up

Tracie Long
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Step Aerobics

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This one is just ok for me. But word of caution, there is NO WARM UP. You literally jump straight in. It may be best to do your own warm up first. This one is marked as "C" for Cardio by the Firm Standards, but it does have a 10 minute upper body focus toward the end. It also uses long step.

Ann M


This is Volume 3 in Tracie Long Fitnessí Focus Series.

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it three times.

General workout breakdown: Denise and Nyx have already described this workout well.
The total running time of this workout is closer to 28.5 min. The first and last segments are not quite 10 full minutes; the middle one seems to be closer to 10 minutes.
Here are a few thoughts from me: I agree that I need an additional warm-up before jumping right into this one. Normally I donít like a lot of jumping on the step, but Tracie does it in a controlled manner and doesnít do too many reps at once. The second segment is probably my favorite: lots of good plyo moves, again done with control and thought Ė except that Tracie seems to do the toe taps behind on one side for the ice skaters but not on the other. My least favorite segment is the third. The push-ups fit in with the plyo nature of much else in the video, but the dips and abs donít obviously have as much to do with the rest. I have to confess the abs move felt awkward to me and Iím not the biggest fan of dips off the step, though.

Level: Iíd also recommend this to intermediate through intermediate / advanced exercisers familiar with working with the step and comfortable with some impact. Someone on the lower end of advanced could find this useful as an add-on workout, too. Those at a lower intermediate level can also tackle this; Tracie offers a few (and only a few) suggestions for substitutions or modifications, and this is easy to break up.
Normally Iím at the int. / adv. level. When Iím at that level, I find this a decent challenge on its own, but still leaving me feeling more worked out than wiped out. Currently, however, Iím working my way back up to fully intermediate, and this was a doable but definitely challenging workout at that lower intermediate level.

Class: Tracie alone, instructing live.

Set: bright interior space (part of Tracieís fitness studio, I believe) with a brick wall, windows covered with white blinds with cutouts, and exercise equipment tastefully arranged around the space.

Production: clear picture, mostly helpful camera angles, although sometimes I saw just feet when I also wanted to see Tracieís arms, for example. While some people have complained about the sound issues on the earlier Focus series workouts, I canít say Iím one of them. There are some fluctuations in sound from song to song, and sometimes Tracieís microphone picks up some static as she shifts position, but thatís all Iíve noticed.

Equipment: Youíll need a step (Tracie uses a full-sized club step with one set of risers) and a pair of sneakers, plus maybe a jogbra (if applicable) and a mat (depending upon your workout room flooring.

Space Requirements: Tracie works out on puzzle mats; it looks like her set-up is identical to mine: 12 2í x 2í mats, giving an area of 8í wide by 6í deep. Neither she nor I came close to using all of that space, even when I left my step out and moved over for the second segment.

Comments: I have to admit I only pull this out when Iím doing a Tracie Long rotation. This one doesnít call out to me otherwise, and add to that the fact that I canít quite figure out how to fit this into my regular rotations, as Iím more of a straight up cardio one day, straight up strength the next kind of gal. One of my issues with the Focus series (and with the Longevity series as well) is that itís still not immediate obvious to me how one is supposed to use them all together and/or with non-Focus workouts. I kept hoping that as the next one came out suddenly all would make sense, but Tracie seems to have completed the series, and Iím still scratching my head. (And yet Iíve bought 5 of the 6 Focus workouts and all 6 of the Longevity workouts and both of the current Figure:30 and both of the current Reboot workouts Ė you would think Iíd learnÖ) In her opening remarks to the Focus series, Tracie says, ďWe believe if you rotate through these youíll get everything you need in.Ē I think what she means is that youíll work through the major areas of fitness: cardio, strength, endurance, power, balance, and flexibility, and given the fact that the ACSM guidelines now incorporate not only cardio, strength, and flexibility but also functional training, Tracie was ahead of the curve there. I would beg to differ that youíll get absolutely everything in with regards to a balanced workout in terms of body parts; as things currently stand with the 6 Focus workouts thereís not as much back work, especially in comparison to all of the work for the front of the upper body, for example. Iím also not sure about working the upper body as much as Tracie does; she seems to include push-ups almost as often as she includes abs and lower body work.

Do you have around an hour to work out, both Lift Higher and Power Up, and a desire to feel that burn, baby, burn? Do you also have two DVD players hooked up to your TV (or, alternately, your regular player and TV plus something like a laptop with a DVD player) and room to leave your step out while you still have plenty of space to do squats and lunges? Have I got a ďFranken-workoutĒ suggestion for you: After a warm-up on your own (although Iíve toyed with the idea of using the lone all lower body segment from Kick Back as the warm-upÖ), alternate a Lift Higher segment with the two cardio segments from Power Up (so do something like Lift Higher #1, Power Up #1, Lift Higher #2, Power Up #2, and Lift Higher #3). If you only have one player or just donít want to bother with the switching back and forth, an alternative is to do one, then follow it up with the other; I recommend Lift Higher followed by Power Up because I prefer to do my strength first, but if youíre a cardio first type of person do the opposite. Youíll get a pretty darn well-balanced lower body workout that will work your body from various angles plus increase your strength and especially endurance while also raising your heart rate and working on your range of motion. Note: I donít want to suggest that you have to pair these two workouts together in one session in order to get an effective workout, nor do I mean to imply that if you donít have that much time, desire, or ability to do more than one of these that youíre missing out or not working out how you should be. This is simply a suggestion from my attempts to figure out how to use these workouts in my own rotations. (I also realize this is a pricey workout recommendation, since each of these workouts retail for about $17 apiece, meaning thatís a $35/hour session! Even Cathe doesnít charge that much for an hour+ lower body workout DVD these daysÖ So please do not feel compelled to wreck this monthís family budget just to get these two workouts for this purpose. There are plenty of other options out there, probably many of them a heck of a lot cheaper. But if you already have these and donít know how to use them, I hope this helps!)

Instructor Comments:
Tracie is, as always, a true fitness professional. She focuses on cuing the working, with some encouragement and some nice form tips from time to time and no extraneous chatter. Tracie mirror cues, meaning when she says ďrightĒ she means the viewerís, not her own. I still wish sheíd be just a wee bit more descriptive in parts; I feel like even after Iíve done the workout a few times I still need to watch her closely to make sure Iím getting all the movements in an exercise or make sure I catch the transition to the next move or am on the proper side.



Menu: Choose either chapter 1, 2, or 3, or play the whole workout.

Chapter 1:
1st round: Variations of reverse lunges off the step, jump split lunges, pulses, and lunges w/knee raises. Recovery: marches, squats, and active quad stretch. This really burned my quads.
2nd round: Runs or marches onto step and off. Variations of Ice skaters. Same quick recovery. Repeat on other leg, move to 3rd round.
3rd round: Variations of first stepping wide onto the step, then adding wide plyo jumps onto the step. End with 8 on and off wide plyo jumps. Same quick recovery, end w/ active and static side to side lunges.

Chapter 2:
1st round: Forward bounding, adding lunges or taps to the back of the move. Recovery: high and low squats, wide leaning marches.
2nd round: Repeat round 1 on other leg. Same quick recovery.
3rd round: Variations of skaters and marches, same quick recovery, done a few times.
4th round: Variations of forward plyo jumps with step back, same quick recovery, repeat.
5th round: Very short segment of a few more one leg/knee jumps from first round, and a few more skaters, same recovery, add some back stretches and side to side lunges.

Chapter 3:

Pushups with variations in tempo, plyo pushups (one arm and then both), nice ab work sitting on the step, and a long set of triceps dips (I did tricep pushups on my knees instead of the dips). Stretch.

So, it's true that the same song plays during the whole chapter (each chapter has a different song), but I like the music a lot and the moves really go with it. There is no real warmup, and the workout starts off fast, so I will have to do a warmup before to be safe. I didn't today and felt just fine. There is no back work, so if you do this one all the time, I think you'll have to be conscious of that and make sure the back is worked in your other workouts.

Intensity: I think I agree with Collage: Interm/Advanced. At first I thought there were too many recoveries, but by the end of the workout, I was glad they are there. I am already feeling my legs, chest, shoulders, and triceps. I really like this workout!

Nyx Black


I decided to do this one and was surprised when Tracie jumps right into workout. You begin on top of the step and perform staggered lunges off the back of the bench. Then you'll pulse the lunges in various reps. Then comes the hard part--you'll quickly do the lunges off the back of bench in a single, single, double count (jumping on each one) with a knee. Without a real warm up, my heart rate got up fairly quickly in this first section. I'd recommend a quick "on your own" warm up of marching in place, etc or do this work out as an add on to another workout so you are thoroughly warmed up for it. Recovery with a wide march to bring heart rate down. Squat with active quad stretch. Round 2 begins with jogs on the step (2 counts up, 2 counts down). Next is ice skaters on the floor, moving arms in opposition of the legs. March again to recover. Squats with active quad stretch again. Final round starts with the jogs onto step again, this time leading with opposite leg. Vertical jumps onto the step follow. Tracie progressively leads you up to the full vertical jumps so you'll be able to catch onto this great plyo move. March it out to recover. Squat with active quad stretch one last time. A quick stretch and this section is over--phew! Segment two uses no equipment. Tracie runs through several sets of power knees, reverse lunges, squats, skaters at various levels and power jumps. You'll still get a nice recovery between each high intensity set. The 3rd and final segment is toning oriented. You'll need your mat and step. Plyo pushups stimulate the muscles in the chest and arms. (I really enjoyed these, I really felt the muscles activate in my chest wall) Tracie does various ranges of motion with these pushups. Next up is a quick abdominal session. Sitting on the bench, you'll lean back and pull knees into the chest. Again, Tracie varies the rep count to make it tough. (I felt these, especially when she added in the rotation for the obliques) Tricep dips follow. You'll feel the burn with several sets. A few quick stretches for quads, hamstrings and hips conclude this last section.

Instructor Comments:
review copy