Iron Core Warrior

Sarah Lurie
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Kettlebell, Total Body Workouts

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Iím reviewing this DVD after doing each of the workouts once each.

General workout breakdown: You get two kettlebell strength and conditioning workouts here. These are for those who want standard kettlebell workouts, specifically the so-called ďhard style,Ē rather than the kettlebell lite / fusion style; in other words, youíre working with 8 kg rather than 8 lbs.

Iron Core Warrior 1 (31 min.) uses one kettlebell.
There is no warm-up, nor is there a cool-down / stretch. The circuit consists of alternating swing (1 min.), lunge / (push) press combo (30 sec. / side), alternating side lunge (1 min.), high pull (30 sec. / side), and snatch (30 sec. / side). This is repeated four times, with 60 sec. breaks (or jump squats, as Sarah recommends) in between circuits, for a total of 25 min. The Abs Circuit consists of four 1-min. rounds of hot potato Russian twists, with 30 sec. breaks between rounds.

Iron Core Warrior 2 (28 min.) uses two kettlebells, ideally of the same size. (It would take some creativity, but if you only have one kettlebell you may figure out ways to make that work. If you have two kettlebells of different weights, donít forget to alternate sides between rounds.)
There is no warm-up, nor is there a cool-down / stretch. The circuit consists of 2-kettlebell windmill (30 sec. / side), alternating renegade rows (30 sec.), (double) clean & push press (1 min.), (double) clean & squat (30 sec.), (double) suitcase deadlifts (1 min.), and (double) snatches (30 sec.). This is repeated four times, with 60 sec. breaks (or jumping rope, as Sarah recommends) in between circuits, for a total of just over 23 min. The Abs Circuit consists of alternating 30 sec. of Russian twists with 30 sec. plank holds, for 4 min.

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate exercisers on up who are very comfortable with kettlebell basics. Youíll have done Vols. 1 & 2 of Sarahís Iron Core series or any solid introductory kettlebell DVD and/or live class that has covered all of the exercises included here (the most advanced of which is probably the snatch, although if youíre not quite there yet substitute a high pull instead).
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser whoís working up to a fully intermediate level of kettlebells. Iím comfortable with the basics but am not able to go too heavy or for too long, nor am I comfortable with some of the trickier moves. I found this one nicely challenging in terms of intensity, but I liked that I didnít have to do anything too fancy to get my heartrate up and my muscles worked out.

Class: Sarah alone, instructing live.

Music: instrumental rock-type stuff. I tuned out it very quickly.

Set: bare bones brick warehouse with concrete floor.

Production: clear picture and sound, with Sarahís voice much louder than the music (fine by me, since itís repetitive and bland). I donít remember any distracting or seriously unhelpful camera angles.

Equipment: Both workouts are designed to be done with the same 1 or 2 kettlebells throughout the entire circuit. Sarah uses 25 lbs. for both (although I swear she drops down to 15 lbs. for the abs circuit on Vol. 1). Iím going to have to work up to matching her, especially on Vol. 2. My first time through, when I was being conservative with my weight selection, especially since I had never done a full double kb workout before, I used 20 lbs. for Vol. 1 and two 15 lbs. for Vol. 2. If, like me, you havenít done a lot of double kettlebell work, be prepared to reach for lighter bells, at least at first. For example, if you use 12 kg for Vol. 1, grab your 8 kg pair for Vol. 2.

Space Requirements: This is very compact. You should have enough room to lunge behind you and to the side of you as well as swing in front of you, plus room overhead for the snatches. Definitely clear out those kids, pets, significant others, and other valuables, though.

DVD Notes: Your menu options are Iron Core Warrior Volume 1 (Play, Sets 1-4, and Abs Circuit 1-4) and Iron Core Warrior Volume 2 (Play, Sets 1-4, and Abs Circuit).
My copy of this came in the Iron Core Kettlebell 4 DVD Workout Set. As far as I know everything is the same as the disc sold separately (which retails for $37.99; mine was the steal of the decade since I got it at Target for $15 for the whole set, which means each workout here costs me about $3 each instead of about $19 each).

Comments: These are almost identical in style and organization to Sarahís Iron Core Bootcamp, which I think I personally prefer in terms of the exercise selection, but thatís just me; however, the Warrior workouts are the next two steps up in terms of difficulty. Youíll get no argument from me that the format is yawn-inducing. I mean, the circuits donít vary at all as theyíre repeated, as they did in Iron Cores 1 & 2. At least Sarah actually filmed them all rather than just filming them once through and then having the editor repeat them four times. That said, these circuits seem efficient and effective at working lots of muscles at once, including the heart muscle. Itíll be a while before I can work up my strength and endurance to engage in active recovery during the breaks between circuits rather than full rests.

Instructor Comments:
Sarah is an RKC-certified instructor, so she knows her stuff, and most of her cues and instruction are about form.
Because youíre going for time Sarah doesnít count reps, although sheíll sometimes tell you one more or 15 more seconds. One thing Iíve found confusing is that after sheís given some form tips and encouragement, sheíll often say, ďWe have X exercise coming up,Ē so Iíll get prepared to switch, but we still have several more reps to do of the current exercise. I suspect once Iím more familiar with the workout Iíll know better when sheís actually switching sides or exercises.
I like Sarah all right as an instructor. Sheís down to business, without any side chatter. I know Iíve commented on Sarahís voice and vocal mannerisms, but her voice has deepened and mellowed a little bit, whether just as a natural result of time (womenís voices do that ever so much more slightly and slowly compared to menís) or because of her pregnancy Ė yes, she does these workouts seemingly with little difficulty despite being several months pregnant Ė but I have no issues with how she speaks here at all.
Sarah cues for her right and left, so she does not mirror cue.