Nitro Kick

Don Niam
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Tai Chi / Qigong

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A little bit about me: I have studied Tai Chi and Wu Dao Gong (a Tai Chi-based martial art), so enjoy kickboxing workouts with an Asian influence, such as Tiffany and Max Chen’s Kung Fu Kickboxing Workout, as well as workouts which explore the martial aspects of Tai Chi, like Scott Cole’s Tai Chi Training and his joint production with Janis Saffell, Tai Chi Balanced Workout.

Nitro Kick fits into this genre; I would describe it as Kung Fu-infused kickboxing.

About Nitro Kick: This two-DVD set is led by Kung Fu Master Don Niam, an athletic-looking guy in compression wear, assisted by two of his students, Vicki and Anne. The trio work out in a set painted with Chinese screens and red hanging lanterns. While this backdrop is designed to provide perspective, it looks a bit odd because the screens appear to be suspended in mid-air. The picture quality is quite fuzzy.

The set is rated at the intermediate/advanced level at Total Fitness DVDs, although I would rate it as an intermediate-level workout.

Disk 1
Ancient Kung Fu Postures
(7 minutes) This is a set of static Chi Gong postures, such as horse stance and bow stance, which build strength and flexibility. Some of these postures are revisited in the aerobic workout.

Dynamic Muscle Motion (10 minutes) This is a set of dynamic Chi Gong postures, some of which build on the static postures, for example, instead of holding a static bow stance, you will hold a deep lunge, and pull back one arm while transferring your weight from your front foot to your back foot, as though you were using a bow and arrow. Done in sucession, these two segments make a nice warm-up before the cardio workout, and prepare you for the movement patterns to come.

Nitro Abs (10 minutes) This is a challenging set of core exercises performed on the floor, most of which keep your body in the “V” position. Don explains each exercise while Vicki and Anne perform them. Vicki, who clearly has very strong abs, does the exercises with straight legs, while Anne keeps her legs slightly bent as a modification. The editing is slightly off in this section as the camera is focused on Don’s face as the women start the exercises, and he doesn’t give form pointers until they are on their second or third rep.

Nitro Kick Basics (18 minutes) Working out alone, Don takes you through the kicks and punches in some detail. This section would be helpful both for beginners and kickbox veterans who need a quick refresher.

Disk 2
Nitro Stretch and Flex
(13 minutes) This is an intense set of stretches, focusing on the quads, hamstrings, inner thighs and hip flexors. Throughout this section, Don, Vicki and Anne display an impressive level of flexibility.

Aerobic Workout (40 minutes) This is a fun, drill-style kickbox workout with a water break at the 20-minute mark. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic combinations such as a deep lunge backwards while punching forwards, then coming back into a cat stance while punching with the opposite arm.

The workout is well-designed — just when you feel you have done enough kicking, you will perform pulsing squats in a deep horse stance, and after a complex combination, you will perform some straightforward punching drills.

In summary: This DVD set would be suitable for intermediate exercisers who like straightforward, drill-based cardio, and those who like an Asian martial arts influence in their kickboxing. Because the “Basics” section is so thorough, it would also be good for kickbox novices. The aerobic workout requires good balance and coordination, so it would improve your overall kickbox skills.

Readers should note that this is a DVD-R set.

Ratings out of five:
Production values ***

Workout design ****

Instruction *****

Fun factor ****

Music ***
Meets expectations *****

Overall ****

Instructor Comments:
Don is a very encouraging instructor who gives continuous form pointers. He doesn’t mirror-cue, but the workout is very easy to follow. He spends a lot of time hitching up his pants, but then so do I!