CIA 2604: Double Cardio All Body Cardio

Sharon Money-Twombly
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Step Aerobics

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: This Double Cardio DVD contains 2 different full workouts: one is All Body Cardio, a step cardio & weights circuit, and the other is Bosu Blast, a cardio workout on the Bosu with a bonus core segment. I’m reviewing All Body Cardio here; my review of Bosu Blast is posted separately.

All Body Cardio (74 min. total) begins with a warm-up (11 min.) of mostly dynamic stretches, a combo combining common step & floor aerobics moves with some more athletic ones (this is by far the most complex choreography in the entire workout, so if you get tripped up during this don’t despair because the moves get much easier – in terms of choreography, that is), and a series of jump backs / jump ups with hands on the step and uneven push-ups. A few more dynamic and static stretches for both the lower and upper body complete the long warm-up.
The main portion (54 min.) uses the step in a vertical position while Sharon switches between cardio drills, tried and true as well as some innovative dumbbell and body weight exercises, and some creative moves using the step bench or a riser. She tends to alternate between one set of moves and then another, often tweaking at least some of the moves the second time around. Cardio segments use basic, more athletic and sports-based moves as well as some kickboxing exercises. The strength exercises include v-sit with a weighted lower body & side plank with hip raise, overhead press (first w/ dumbbells, then with step riser or platform) w/ toe taps, squat w/ more shoulder work into lunges and leg lifts w/ weights tapping behind back, squat w/ side crunch / leg lift, triceps dips w/ crab walks, and biceps curls w/ toe taps & a standing leg series using the step board as a balance bar followed by bridges w/ heels on board & dumbbell between knees (these last few exercises start to lower your heart rate). Sometimes she does upper and lower body exercises simultaneously (for what are often called “compound” moves at VF but are more accurately “combination” or “multi-limb” moves) while at other times she keeps the lower body moving in a simple holding pattern while the arms get worked. She moves at a quick pace for the weights, which means you can’t go particularly heavy, and makes quick transitions throughout; this ensures your heartrate will stay up. Oh, just a note: with a riser in hand Sharon tells you to hang tight for a perceived exertion test, but you’ll want to put that riser back, reset your platform on top, and pick up your dumbbells before the next segment starts because she dives right into the next move.
After that come a core/abs segment & stretch (9.5 min. total) with basic crunches with various leg & torso positions and reverse crunches, followed by some quick stretches which include a down dog, wide squat w/ shoulder press, standing quadriceps stretch (variation on dancer’s pose), and standing side bend.

This workout felt surprisingly unbalanced to me, as I would have thought that Sharon, with her physical therapist background, would have been even more conscious of not neglecting major muscle groups, namely those of the back (including no extension to balance out the flexion of the ending abs series), and overworking some smaller ones, namely those along the front of the shoulders. Overall the front of the body got more attention than the back while the lower body, particularly the quads, inner thighs, and outer hips, and shoulders got the most work, with a little for the chest, triceps, and biceps, too.

Level: I’d recommend this to exercisers at the intermediate plus through advanced level who are comfortable with step aerobics and weight training. A few modifications or suggested alternatives are given but not always shown all the way through.
I think this would most appeal to those who regularly use strength and cardio videos by advanced instructors like Cathe Friedrich, Mindy Mylrea, and Amy Bento but who are looking for something else to add to their collection. It should also appeal to those who like the innovative nature of Tracie Long (the TLTs, Longevity, and Focus), the continued engagement of the core with balance moves of Tracey Staehle, and the nice tweak of the usual of Kelly Coffey-Meyer, but who find their offerings are just not quite challenging enough physically.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser, and I won’t lie: I found this one challenging! I was overly ambitious in pulling out my 8” step today; 6” would have suited me better. I keep trying to like these types of workouts, namely cardio and weight circuits, and with few exceptions I just can’t seem to get into them. I have to say I liked the cardio portions of Sharon’s well enough; it was the weights portions that didn’t do it for me here. Since I’m keeping this DVD for Seasun’s Bosu Blast, I may give the All Cardio premix a spin.

Class: 2 women join the main Sharon, who instructs live.

Music: upbeat mostly instrumentals with a beat.

Set: the 2006 CIA set featuring brownish walls with window-like cases displaying assorted objects, furniture placed along the back wall, etc.

Production: crisp picture and sound, good balance between the instructor’s voice and the music (both clearly audible without having to crank up the volume), nothing too crazy in terms of camera angles or quick shifts or close-ups. It’s what you’d expect from CIA.

Equipment: You’ll need a step (Sharon and company use a full-sized club step with 1-2 sets of risers – if you have a shorter step, you’ll have to be a little creative for some strength moves) and at least one pair of moderately light dumbbells (I used 3#, as I was more interested in keeping this “cardio,” but if I were looking for strength benefits I would have grabbed 5#, maybe even 8#, in a few spots). Depending upon your floor and/or step surface, you might also want a mat.

Space Requirements: You’ll need a good bit of space, as Sharon has you take apart the step and use parts at a time; because the transitions are so fast, you don’t have enough time to push things out of the way. You should have enough room to move around your step when it’s placed vertically plus enough space to hop around a riser on the floor. Normally I have about 6’ deep by 8’ wide space in which to work out, but lately my room has shrunk a little, to more like 4-5’ by 6’. I could make this one work in my usual space, but I had to get creative with where I did what in my less commodious space today.
Oh, you’ll also need room overhead to hold a step platform and/or riser. Fortunately I have just enough clearance that the lone light bulb in my little room wasn’t in too much danger.

DVD Notes: The main menu offers you the choice of Workout One “All Body Cardio” with Sharon (Intro to Workout; Start Workout; Workout Options – Stretch to Workout, Warm-up to All Weights, Warm-up to All Cardio, Abdominals and Core, Stretch; Bio and Content), Workout Two “Bosu Blast” with Seasun, Sharon’s credits, and Seasun’s credits. There are a number of chapters within the workouts, but there’s no way to access these except by remote while playing the DVD.

Comments: There’s quite a bit of impact. I’m not an impact junkie, so I happily take out some of the hops if I feel like it. That said, I don’t find Sharon’s style of impact that bad because she tends to do a more plyometric style of jump, meaning a more slow and controlled landing, rather than bouncing wildly all over the place.

Sharon’s All Body Cardio segment here is more similar to her CIA 2704 All Body Attack than to her CIA 2804 Athletic Step Jam in that it’s not just cardio but also includes weighted segments.

Instructor Comments:
Sharon cues well enough, although her cues aren’t always the most descriptive and she doesn’t give a lot of directional cues, but given the relatively simple nature of the moves this isn’t a big deal. She’s clearly comfortable in front of the camera, offering plenty of encouragement, checking on her background exercisers, and jokingly telling you not to kick the kids running around the living room or asking if you’re thinking about those household chores now that you’re up close and personal with your floor. She’s amazingly fit and strong; she doesn’t ever really break a sweat or get out of breath.