2 x 2 ConditioningAimee Nicotera
Year Released: 2013
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
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Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.
I wanted to try this workout by Aimee Nicotera, a new instructor to the video workout world. This workout seemed like it could be a good option for me as it was rated intermediate at Collage and it was marketed as a workout incorporating the principles of High Intensity Inteval Training (Hiit).
This workout is comprised of a warm up followed by several blocks of 2-minute cardio segments followed by a 2-minute strength segment. The idea seems to be that she wants you to go breathless on the cardio segments and then use the strength segments as an active recovery. It was a good idea, but didn't quite seem to achieve it's goal of delivering a hiit workout, even though it incorporated the principles of that type of workout. I would categorize this workout as an interval workout, because you do get breathless during the cardio segments, but they didn't seem to bring about the intensity of a hiit workout. I guess I could have gotten there if I committed myself to the effort, but I prefer workouts where the instructor takes me along to that point as Cathe does in her recent All Out Low Impact Hiit or as Chalene does in the hiit workouts in the TurboFire system.
There are three background exercisers and Aimee presents three levels of effort for each segment. So, one background exerciser does the lowest/easiest level and she's a pretty good modifier. They present low-impact/easier options that aren't lame as in some workouts. She seems to work hard at what she does. The guy in the back follows the second level of effort. And the third background exerciser presents the third level, the hardest/highest impact. I followed along with the lowest impact options mainly, although I chose a harder option when impact was not involved. Maybe if I had gone with more impact, it would have seemed more like a hiit workout to me. With my knees, that's not an option, but I'll put it out there for those who can higher-impact moves.
Aimee stresses that the moves don't have to be done to the beat of the music, that you should go at your own pace whether that means you are slower and more deliberate or you go faster and fit more in. Normally, I would cite this as a good thing, but instead it led to a seemingly chaotic implementation of the workout. There were times when all four people were going at a different pace and it was hard to identify one person the screen to follow. And, given the nature of the music - techno-beat music that didn't seem to have much purpose except to define the beat of the workout - it seemed illogical and klunky.
The timing on the workout is as follows:
Warm-up: 7 minutes
Workout: 25 minutes (cardio-toning intervals)
Cool-down: 4 minutes (stretch)
Total Workout Time: 35 minutes
4 Bonus Block Workouts: Each follows the pattern of the workout (2 minutes cardio and 2 minutes strength), so each is 4 minutes long.
The menu has the introduction, the workout, each of the bonus blocks listed individually, and a play all option. You can choose individual options off the menu or Play All and skip through to what you want.
To me, this workout felt like one that I should have enjoyed, but I didn't. It was okay and the time didn't drag too bad. But, the problems cited meant that I watched an analyzed the workout rather than enjoying doing it. I do think that there are people who will enjoy doing this because of the intermediate nature of the workout and the chance to turn it into a hiit workout, if you do the moves high impact and fast.
I liked Aimee in this workout. She's calm. She mirror cues. She's encouraging for you to do what you can, and as much as you can.
Aimee is a new instructor, one I havenít done before, so I was glad to get this to preview. Aimee starts off with a nice warm-up, then she moves into two minutes of cardio (lunges @ three different intensity levels) followed by two minutes of strength (pushups @ three different intensity levels, including push-ups with one-arm rows. I donít like floor work after cardio, so I just did upright rows.) The next two minutes of cardio was big side steps or leaps over hand weights (I did not use the weights as I worry about things like tripping) followed by two minutes of strength (deadlifts on left side; levels include adding a knee lift.)
Next up Ė more cardio (shuffles from side to side, adding a floor touch for added intensity) and more strength (deadlifts on right side) Aimee DOES mirror cue, yay! The next cardio was a V-step squat (add arms, add a hop), and the next strength was wide squat with alternating overhead press. Cardio again (rear lunges in double time, like running man), then strength (left bicep curl, add right side leg lift, then pulse.) Final cardio (a weird surfing movement shifting hips side to side from a plie position, add a burpee) then strength (bicep on right) and cool down.
There were some bonus blasts as well:
Bonus blast #1: Heel digs, then alternating side lunges
Bonus blast #2: Mountain climbers, then wood choppers
Bonus blast #3: Cartwheels (sort of), hand on the ground then walk legs in semi-circle; then weighted squats, adding knee raises and lateral lifts
Bonus blast #4: High knee lifts, add jump, then planks
I would have liked to have had more menu options, such as adding the bonus blasts before the final cool down/stretch for a longer workout, and having options of either all cardio or all strength circuits -- but that's just because "everybody else" is doing it!
Aimee is a good instructor and Iím looking forward to more of her workouts!