Turbo Fire: Low HIIT 20

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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Like others, I received this workout as a bonus with PiYO. I have enjoyed instructor Chalene's Turbo Jam workouts in the past, and since I like kickboxing, I thought I would like TF Low HIIT 20, especially because 1) it's short, and 2) it's low impact, two things I generally prefer in my cardio! ;)

Chalene teaches this workout in three rounds. First, she has you learn the moves and at a moderate tempo, then comes the first HIIT segment where you take those same moves at a faster pace, then you return to to the moderate tempo and "mark" the moves, and finally, you finish the round with a final HIIT segment of those same moves. This entire sequence is repeated for two more rounds, with a different set of exercises used each round.

I found this a little less intense than some of the Turbo Jams I've tried, partly due to the length (it's actually 19.5 minutes total), and partly because the moves are more toned down. There's not much kicking, which is a shame because I really enjoy those moves. There are a lot of moves I find kind of boring, such as zig zag, punch repeaters, and speed bag. However, the second round includes capoeira, which I've always liked, as well as some other fun moves such as high-low punches.

There is a huge cast for this--maybe 20 people?--and the mood is high energy. Overall, I did enjoy this workout, and I like that it's a nice quick cardio option.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is kind of like the head cheerleader, which can get a bit annoying at times, at least to me; I find that I can only take her in smaller doses. She generally offers good mirrored cueing.

Beth C (aka toaster)


I didn't expect to like this workout as I'm not a huge HIIT fan and I expected it to be way lower intensity than the workouts that were part of the original TF set, which I absolutely love. It was a "freebie" included on one of the PiYo DVDs so I gave it a shot, adding some weighted gloves for a little extra intensity. I loved this workout! It is structured like a Turbo Fire HIIT, but felt a little more like a Fire to me than her other HIITs do. Many low impact workouts rely completely on leg exercises for intensity vs. cardio based movements. While Chalene does coach you to go lower quite a bit, she is not doing a million squats of some form like you see in many other low impact high intensity workouts to get the cardio factor up. They are in there, but they are not all over the place.

I did this one twice with the weighted gloves and did PiYo Core and felt very thoroughly worked out.

Instructor Comments:
I just love Chalene. Encouraging, fun, and she just seems real to me. Like someone I'd like to be my workout buddy in real life. Cast includes several Turbo regulars such as Melissa and Monica and Allie.



Turbo Fire “Low HIIT 20” is a 19 min. athletic cardio workout led by Chalene Johnson. It is part of the 2 disc “Fire Starter” set, and is on the disc that includes the “Low HIIT 25” workout and “Stretch 10” segment. This workout (and the set) was created for a low impact version of Turbo Fire, but also as a means to introduce the primary TF exercises in a more controlled fashion (pace is not frenetic, easy to learn combos). I tried these workouts because I wanted some short, fun type cardio workouts (been using mostly machine cardio for the past half year). And while I do enjoy plyo-type and high impact exercises, I didn’t care for the frenetic pace & sequences of many of the exercises in the original Turbo Fires, so thought this might be a better fit. I have used the Turbo Jam series workouts in the past, and liked Chalene’s energy but felt that her & the cast were often (and in Turbo Fire) overly muggy for the camera w/ odd or sloppy form and she can be too chatty. In this workout, Chalene is a bit toned down (motivating w/ clear explanations for exercises & form but not overkill chatty), and the cast is not that muggy (smiling but no annoying winking) w/ most having decent form w/ the exercises. This and the other Fire Starter set workouts are filmed like the original TJ set, w/ Chalene and entire cast facing the audience (users at home), vs. in the original Turbo Fire, just Chalene and two-three cast members were on a stage facing the audience (other cast members’ backs are facing audience).

The workout consists of a brief warm-up with 3 drills, and cool-down. The drills are completed 4 times, twice at a learning/recovery intensity, and twice with high intensity (alternate between two intensities). Most of the exercise combinations consist of knee raise, lunge and squat variations w/ arm patterns (punches, speedbag, arm reach overhead or pulldown, hand tap to floor) and standing abs (Zig Zag, Row, Capoeira Reach & Throw). There is a traditionally high impact exercise in the workout, a burpee variation, but modifications are shown to limit/take out the impact. There are pulses in the lowered position of squats or lunges and power added to the knee raises to increase intensity, and maintain the low impact focus on the workout. Overall, it’s a fairly good low impact workout with easy to learn sequences, energizing music and cast (seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves). I used this workout as an add-on to other workouts (resistance and other Fire Starter TF workouts).

Music: high energy vocal

cast: about 12 or more people, there are cast members who demo low intensity and high intensity/impact modifications

set: looks like the same set as original Turbo Jam was filmed (brick walls w/ faux white windows), w/ grey flooring & red decor

Low HIIT 20 (19 min.)

Squat pulses, knee raise> Squat, knee raise>
Sumo Squat w/ overhead arms
Step tap w/ shoulder roll/single arm extension forward

1st drill
Jab, Knee (squat, wide knee raise, opposite arm jab side), single, single double pattern.
8 punches to side (in plie position)> 2 jabs, move into lunge w/ speedbag arms.
4 squat pulses, step or lunge front, side, rear diagonal, rear w/ hand tap to floor> Zig Zag (fast side bend/oblique crunch in plie position)> Uppercut punches> Sumo Burpee.

2nd Drill
Double bob (3 count travel side) & strike (knee raise w/ arm pull down), single knees.
Zig Zag, alternate Lift on heels (straight legs, toes & ball of feet off floor) & plie squat
Capoeira Reach & Throw (step front w/ arm reach forward, rear lunge w/ torso rotation & arms to rear), squat
Knee Raises (4) w/ single overhead arm hold
High Punch (overhead), Low Punch (hand tap to floor), alternating sides, 2 reps per exercise.
Double Bob & Block (knee raise w/ single arm block)> Throws (single arm overhead extension w/ opposite wide knee raise)

3rd Drill
Rainbow (speedbag in plie position, overhead arms to other side, speedbag) 2 pulses> single reps.
Row (step rear w/ torso rotation & arms row rear), alternating sides.
4 Jabs side, then alternating hand floor taps w/ fast-paced lunge, alternating sides> repeat on other side w/ alternating rear lunges (w/ floor tap).
Run Up (run forward w/ overhead arms), triple step (traveling side), alternating sides.

Step Jab, alternating.
Double Bob & Jab
Side Lunge> single reps then hold.
Hip Flexor stretch> Hamstring Stretch
Shoulder stretch (rotate shoulder inward, plie position)> spinal roll to standing position.