Walk to the Hits Party SongsLeslie Sansone
Year Released: 2013
Categories: Walking Aerobics
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.
I like Leslie Sansone workouts, but tend to try to identify and keep my very favorites. I don't need a huge number of her workouts and I try to keep a variety of her workouts, the ones I love the most.
I tried Leslie's Radio Remix workout and enjoyed it, so I wanted to try this one as well. This walk is similar to that workout: it's the same background, about 90% of the same people, and the same cardio-"HIIT" cycle from before.
And, like Radio Remixes, it is not a true HIIT workout. This is what I said in the review of Radio Remixes and it holds true for this workout as well:
Now, as I understand it, HIIT workouts are a specialized form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise separated by longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise. I have read that the key element of HIIT that makes it different from other forms of interval training is that the HIIT intervals involve MAXIMUM effort, not simply a higher heart rate. Yet, the intervals in this workout involve just that, a higher heart rate rather than all-out maximum effort.
So, this workout is actually an interval workout. The HIIT intervals are too short and the recovery segments too long for it But, the word "interval" doesn't allow her play on words with the music (HIIT workout/hit music). And, given Leslie's philosophy and market niche, this is exactly what I would expect.
Now, about Party Songs specifically. It is a three-mile workout, my favorite length. Unlike many of her older workouts, this one seemed to be more based on time. They do display a note when the miles are reached and they seem more random when they fall. To me, her older workouts seemed to plan each mile separately while this one just used the BPM (beats per minute) to determine where the end of the mile falls. The workout is structured as follows:
Total Running Time: 47 Minutes
Warm Up (5 Minutes)
Mile 1 (10 Minutes)
Mile 2 (14 Minutes)
Mile 3 (11 Minutes)
Cool Down (6 Minutes)
After the warm up is 5 minutes of very fast walking and jogging. The first HIIT starts at the 10-minute mark. These cycles consist of about 2 minutes of slow movement to lower your heartrate and then about 30 seconds of HIIT. The recovery is too long and brings my heart rate down too much and the HIIT segments are too short for it to be a true HIIT workout. It is more of an interval workout, but then, "interval" just doesn't have the same marketing impact as HIIT/hits. At 15 minutes, you've done the first mile. The HIIT segments continue until about the 22-minute mark after which Leslie transitions to her regular walk moves and patterns. At the 29-minute mark, the 2nd mile ends. At around the 37-minute mark, Leslie throws in one last HIIT segment and then starts the cool down.
There was a wide variety of moves used in this workout. There were the standard five (I count kickbacks as part of her program, although she doesn't) and then there were some of her newer moves. To me, this is one of the best aspects of this workout. There is one caveat to this. She does a LOT of bounces. After awhile, those bother my calves and knee, so I started subbing other moves, mainly tap outs, during her bouncy segments.
I am a product of the 80s and enjoyed songs that I recognized like "We Got The Beat" and "Dancing On the Ceiling". There were several songs with vocals and several that were instrumental only. Leslie seems to prefer instrumental music when she is trying to instruct and they seemed to go with instrumental music when she felt that was important in the workout. Personally, I prefer vocals all the time, but she didn't ask me.
To me, this workout had an energy that has been missing from some of Leslie's other newer workouts. She is definitely "on" in this workout and the background exercisers seemed to be really energized. They were mainly on the younger end of the age spectrum and some of them could (and did) move and groove in this workout. It had a dancier feel than many of Leslie's other workouts.
This workout seemed a little easier than Radio Remixes to me. I think it partially was and it was partially because I subbed other moves for many of the bounces.
She is typical Leslie in this workout - energetic, bubbly, more focused on health than skinniness, etc.
Leslie leads this 3 mile, 47 minute walk with a group of walkers in a bright set. You wont need any equipment for this workout.
After a warmup, you move right into Leslies 4 basic moves: kicks, march, knee ups, side step & variations: double side step, calf pumps, jog up & twist back, ham curls, adds fun upper body movements, and jogging. Leslie adds in 5 HiiT segments, featuring the same song & exercise (jog & twist). The HiiT segments are about 40 seconds each with rest in between.
This is an intermediate workout that is easy to modify up or down to suit your needs. Songs include: Party Rock Anthem, Dancing on the Ceiling and other popular current songs. The workout, Leslie, & crew all have an excellent energy which make for a fun & high energy workout. I received this dvd to review.
Full disclosure: I received this DVD as a free preview. The menu options for this workout were Mile 1, Mile 2, and Mile 3. There was also a “music only” option – YAY!! The setting was very clean and bright, the background exercisers wore bright orange tops – very energizing! The warm-up includes “typical Leslie moves” (marching, side steps, kicks, and knee lifts), but she’s added fresh new music (the warm-up song was “Dancing on the Ceiling.”)
Leslie begins the workout with some new moves, including double side-steps in a U-shaped pattern (fun!) and a funky walk forward (step-tap twice while moving forward.) Then she “pumps it up” (with the “Party Rock Anthem”) by bouncing in place with “party arms” (pumping your arms overhead.) We jog forward, do a little hip thrust move, turn around and jog back, then do the hip thrust move again; this is repeated a few times. Next are Leslie’s more traditional kickback and side-step moves (also repeated a few times), then marches and kicks with overhead arms.
Then comes HIIT training, only it was more like “MISS” training because Leslie slows the action waaay down, going into what she calls a “holding pattern” before starting the HIIT interval. The “holding pattern” included side-steps and kicks; this was a little slow and a lot boring. When the HIIT music starts (“We’ve Got the Beat!”), we do what she used to call “boosted walking” (jogging in place), but with an added twist. The HIIT was waaay too short, just 30 seconds – I was reminded of a roller-coaster attraction where you wait for a long time anticipating the ride, but the ride is over before you know it! Anyway, the “recovery period” included heel digs, side steps, etc. The 60-90 second recovery period felt really long compared to the 30-second HIIT.
Next was side-steps and walking forward to the tune of “Can’t Touch This.” This was followed by step-knee jumps, kickbacks, and more bouncing with arm pumps. The “Party Rock Anthem” returned, and we did the jog forward/hip thrust move like before. Then she brings the energy level down again by slowing everything down before moving to the next HIIT. I hate being negative, but this made me think of a crummy DJ who unintentionally clears the dance floor by taking too much time between songs. There was no need to “stop the party” before moving into the HIIT.
“Dancing on the Ceiling” returns for more side-steps forward and back; then “We’ve Got the Beat” returns for another “HIIT” before we begin the stretch at the 40-minute mark.
This had the potential to be so great! I get that Leslie’s target audience is not diehard adrenaline junkies, but I felt she really “dumbed down” the HIITs by stopping the energy before starting each one. She didn’t do this in her previous workouts when the “boosted walking” began; I don’t understand why she would do it in this workout. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the bright, cheerful setting and the fresh new music. Perhaps she’ll get it exactly right next time!
NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site Metapsychology.net.
This is the second release in Leslie Sansone’s Walk to the Hits series. As with the prior offering, “Radio Remixes,” “Party Songs” is a three mile walk set to modern radio hits, with the music alternating between vocal and instrumental only. Also like its predecessor, this walk features Sansone’s version of HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, a popular current fitness trend.
As always, Sansone instructs live in front of a large class (I counted twelve, although it was difficult because all participants could not fit onscreen at once). The group is in a large studio that has walls decorated with musical notes and bright shades of yellow, orange, and pink.
On the Main Menu of the DVD, there is a choice to play the full Party Songs walk or to play Miles 1-3 individually; also, each of these selections has a “Play with Music Only” option. I have provided additional details below.
WARM-UP (5.5 minutes)
The warm-up can be accessed by choosing the “Play All” option only. The opening music is a version of “Dancing on the Ceiling” (originally by Lionel Richie). As is typical for her warm-ups, Sansone introduces her four basic steps: the walk (march), side step, kicks, and knees; she also adds in a double side step with a turn.
MILE 1 (10 minutes)
The opening tune is “Party Rock Anthem” (LMFAO), and the first mile starts at a fast pace. Sansone adds many variations on her usual walk steps, including the double side step mentioned above. Prior to starting the HIIT, however, she states “I need your heart rate to fall,” and so she actually slows the pace of the walk. Each “HIIT” sequence lasts about 30 seconds; only one HIIT appears towards the end of the first mile. During each HIIT, the song “We’ve Got the Beat” by The Go-Gos plays, and Sansone engages in higher intensity moves such as high jogs, bounces, and twists.
MILE 2 (14 minutes)
This was my favorite of the three miles. A second HIIT occurs within the first minute (same music, same moves); a total of three HIIT intervals are interspersed during the first half of Mile 2. For the second half of this mile, the pace picks up even further with the song “U Can’t Touch This” (MC Hammer). Although Sansone continues to engage in her classic steps, many of the background exercisers add more dancey twists on the moves, making this segment a lot of fun. At the very end of Mile 2, the music becomes instrumental as a transition into the last mile.
MILE 3 (11 minutes)
The first part of Mile 3 continues at a fast pace, with the song “Dancing on the Ceiling” reappearing. Sansone also sneaks in a final HIIT here. Following this, things begin slowing down, and the final six minutes of this mile are reserved for the cool-down and stretch (see below).
COOL-DOWN/STRETCH (6 minutes)
This segment is actually part of Mile 3. Sansone spends the first 1-2 minutes walking at a slower pace, bringing down the heart rate. She then moves through a series of simple stretches, including squats, upper body, and hamstring stretches.
As noted above, the “HIIT” that Sansone includes in this walk is definitely NOT true High Intensity Interval Training, which is generally defined as working at near maximum intensity for a short period—usually about 20-30 seconds, which Sansone does do here—followed by a brief recovery (a 2:1 rest-to-work ratio is probably the most common) to allow the heart rate to return to baseline, not lower. I found it frustrating how Sansone insisted on slowing things down prior to the HIIT intervals, although this occurred mainly during Mile 1.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this workout more than its sister DVD, “Radio Remixes,” as I liked the music better, and I generally found the moves to be more interesting and fun. Furthermore, it is undeniable that the background exercisers are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Long-time fans of Leslie Sansone may well find this new Walk to the Hits series an exciting, refreshing change of pace.
Leslie is her usual chatty self here. She frequently takes time to interact with her large class, mentioning them all by name at least once.