Core ForceAnni Mairs
Year Released: 2006
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This workout is typical "force" format-a different move for every minute of the exercise. You will need a step, a mat for ab work, and 1 lb hand weights.
Some of the cardio moves focus on your core and you do go up and down a bit from cardio to floor ab work and then back up for more cardio. I knew this going in so it didnt bother me. You can look at in 2 ways: your heartrate stays somewhat up while doing your ab work because you just did a cardio move. OR you can say: you cant maintain a constant HIGH heartrate because you drop to the floor to do core work. I think if you wanted to dedicate some time to your core while doing cardio this is the workout for you. If you were to just do 20 min of core work your heartrate wouldnt be up there at all.
Anni is working out with one other exerciser who does all the moves with no step bench. She isnt truely a beginner modifer because she does all the high impact moves and uses the handweights. The only modification I noticed is the lack of a step. They use 1 lb handweights throughout the workout for added cardio intensity. The moves are vey basic choreo athletic type, but high intensity.
I really like the backdrop for this workout. It is a nice Japanese looking screen, hardwood floors, and there is a retro looking flowered pillar in the back.
Examples of some of the moves are: lunges on the step, side twists off the side of the step, jumping onto the step, rib cage shifts, mock jump roping, fast lunges off the step, bicycle abs, pushups, and a lot of crunch variations. I wasnt truely impressed with any of the floor ab work. It could have been more intense IMO.
I would rate this a solid intermediate. You can definately make it tougher or easier if you want. I really enjoyed the workout. I love the one minute increment format-it makes all the moves very doable.
Anni is an excellent cuer and has a very pleasant, friendly demeanor in this workout. Anni doesnt whoop like she does in Jump Force.
I have done all of the "Forces" at least once at this point (except for the newest one) and I still have to say that Life Force remains my favorite by far. Here are my thoughts on each one:
Core Force: If she had stuck with doing only standing core work, I would have been happier. Same simple moves, one minute each as usual, but every 2-3 minutes or so, she moves down to the floor for some core work and then back up again. I would have loved if she could have put premixes on this one, where you could do all the core work in one shot and then all the cardio in another. Now THAT one I would repurchase!
Cardio Force: Her newest one. I've only does this once, but it definitely felt (to me anyway!) the toughest of the ones I've done so far. The only thing I was NOT happy about was she showed no modifier, and since I'm a low impact woman, I found myself having to figure out modifications on my own (something I'm not generally so good at unfortunately!).
Jump Force: This is the one where she uses the jump rope. I don't have one, nor am I planning to get one in my little basement room I'm working out in with the low ceilings, but I modify down to low impact anyway so it didn't make a difference. My negatives about this one is her screaming into the microphone twice at the end of the workout (REALLY annoying!), and her lack of any cooldown. She does provide 3 different stretches to choose from at the end (2 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute - I think???), but you're basically left to cool down on your own.
Life Force: MY FAVORITE!!! I have NOTHING bad to say about this one. I have done it numerous times, and each time I love it as much as the first time! I'm not even sure why ??? I know she calls this one her "mid-life cardio" workout, and since I'm 49 maybe that's why I enjoy it so much ?? I have no clue!
Anni was nice enough to send me a copy of this before it was available for purchase. I am not a friend of hers or affiliated with her in any way, but I truly LOVE all of her workouts. I emailed to ask if she had any new DVDs in the works & she told me about Cardio Force. I followed up with her regularly to check on the status, and she offered to send me this copy! For those of you familiar with Anni’s Force Fitness workouts, you know the format. You use light hand weights throughout the cardio (1 lb. is suggested.) There are some toning moves where she indicates you can go heavier. The choreography is easy to follow and athletic. A move is introduced and you perform it for 1 minute then move onto the next. These workouts are NOT for those who love learning complex choreography, but great for those who want a challenging workout but get frustrated with having to learn tricky combos.
Here are some basics:
-The set is while with colored lights reflected on the walls behind. Anni’s Force Fitness logo is projected on the wall as well. It has more depth & shadow and isn’t as flat as Charlene Prickett’s recent offerings.
-There are several women participants. All are fit & healthy. Everyone uses a step throughout the workout. Only 1 participant (Shelley) is miked, and she makes a few motivational comments throughout and counts during some of the segments
-Music is instrumental techno. It seemed very appropriate for the routine since there were a lot of kickboxing moves dispersed in the segments.
-This workout does not use a lot of space. There are side shuffles for a count of 4, but I think this could be easily modified.
There are a lot of high impact moves in Cardio Force and modifications are not always shown. Also, Anni often adds variations of a move within the 1 minute segment rather than the exact same move for a solid minute. For these reasons, I think it is more advanced that Core & Life Force. (I still think Jump Force is the hardest though!) The cardio portion is a bit shorter than her other workouts. Also, the overall ‘vibe’ that I get from this workout is a little more edgy than her otherss, probably due to the techno music & kickboxing moves.
THE ROUTINE: About 40 minutes of active warm-up and cardio (30-35 segments total) broken down into 3 sections by the ‘energy checks‘ (RPE chart is shown on screen). Their outfits change after each ‘energy check’. About 10 minutes of abs, and a cool-down/stretch at the end. Here is a list of the segments. I many have missed a few, and I’m sure some of them won’t make sense!
1-RIGHT: V-step, cross leg over on floor. (don’t worry…we do the left side in the 2nd segment!)
2-Stepping off side of step: Twisting knees (with hands behind head to work the waist)
3-Double-time jog with alternating & double military presses
4- #2 on other side
5- Pulse Squats center; turn to side making it a pulse side lunge, back to center, to other side
6-Lateral raise with basic step. Arms change to static side arms twisting arms forward & back
7-Static side arms-step kick corner to corner
8-squat jumps w/ ½ turn (jump squat-turn to back; jump squat-turn back to front)
9-Push-ups (alternating wide & narrow)
ENERGY CHECK #1
11-Alternating bent over rows
12-LEFT: V-step cross overs
13-RIGHT: side kick off side of step
14-(still on side of step) Speed bag for 4; fast jabs for 4
15-(still on side of step) jump shots
16-2 weights in 1 hand-alternating overhead press & cross punch
17-#13 on other side
18-#14 on other side
19-#15 on other side
20-#16 on other side
21-Jump up on step, jump down, 2 jacks
22-Wide stance upper cuts
23-Jump up onto step with a knee up, step down, 2 alternating cardio lunges
ENERGY CHECK #2
25-L-step, hop across step & lunge down to touch step, hop across to other side & touch down, L-step back
26-on side of step: pulse squats alternating weight from toe to heel
27-Swimming (fast lunge off side of step)
29- #25 on other side
30-shuffle 4-cross punch
31-#26 on other side
32-#27 on other side
33-Hamstring curl with tricep push backs
34-Jack & jab
There are some interesting twists on tried & true moves. Some crunches, some plank work. I am horrible at naming ab exercises so I will leave it at that! ;-)
The main menu at the beginning of the workout allows you to choose pre-exercise guidelines, just the cardio segment, or just the abs segment.(It also gives you the option to turn off Anni’s cues, but I can’t image that I would ever want to do that.)
As always, Anni is very motivating and gives good form pointers throughout. Her cueing is excellent and is very easy to follow. I frequently work out at 4:30 AM and this, and all off Anni’s workouts are great for me because they are very challenging but I don‘t have to worry about tripping on my own feet!
This is a 50 minute interval workout, alternating cardio with core work. Anni works out with a step and Amy modifies without one. I enjoyed using the step for all of these exercises but if you don’t have a step you’ll do just fine without it. Use one pound hand weights throughout the workout for intensity. The workout has three chapters:
1) Workout guidelines
3) Cool down
The workout is designed so that you can workout from 20 to 50 minutes. You can advance to the cool down at ten minute intervals.
1. Warm-up - march briefly, pickup the weights. A-step, pumping arms, then add two hamstring curls at the end of each A-step. This takes about 2 minutes. The rest that follows are all one minute intervals.
2. Squats while swinging one arm forward and one behind you. Look back over your shoulder each time you squat.
3. Tap out right and left while reaching overhead rand left, then reach across your chest alternating right and left. Switch back and forth between overhead reaches and cross chest reaches.
4. Go to the floor for some core work. Each floor segment begins by sitting on the floor, grasping behind your quads and pulsing down and up four times, then you recline. This interval was rope climbs, lifting shoulders off the floor as you reach forward between your legs as if rope climbing.
5. Stand and do cardio twists - hop and twist with weights held at chin height. This elevates your heart rate and works your abs.
6. To the floor, pulse and recline. Tuck your knees to your chest and your arms in to meet them and then extend both out long. Keep repeating for a minute.
7. Alternating basic steps then add in a rear leg extension, extend arms over head, up and down. Add a little plyo hop onto the step each time.
8. Stationary lunges with biceps curs.
9. Pendulum swings with lateral arm raises. This evolves into a pattern of hop left, hop right, lift left leg higher, hop right, hop left, lift right leg higher. Sounds boring as I type it but it’s actually quite fun!
10. Stationary lunges on the other leg with overhead triceps extensions.
11. Stand at one end of the step with one foot on the bench, one on the floor. Hands behind your head and alternate knee lifts twisting your upper body toward the lifting knee. This actually got to be quite intense, plus it’s standing ab work.
12. To the floor, pulse and recline. Lower ab or reverse crunches.
13. Standing on the step, alternate rear lunges. Start swing both arms up and down, then add a little plyo hop in between lunges.
14. Back to the floor, pulse and recline. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your legs fall open, forming a diamond shape and crunch.
15. Repeat the knee alternating knee lifts and upper body rotation combo on the other end of the bench.
16. To the floor for knees bent diamond pushups with hands on the bench. If you don’t have a step you can make the push ups a little easier by separating your hands.
17. Back up again with the weights. Hop onto the bench with both feet and step down. Hop up, step down, repeat. Add military presses.
18. Back to the floor, this time lying on your side for oblique crunches with straight leg lifts.
19. Stand and jump rope, then diamond jump, north, south, east and west.
20. Back to the floor for oblique crunches and leg lifts on the other side.
21. On your feet and leap back and forth across the bench. Add a lunge back and reach down to touch the floor as you reach either side of the bench. Reach arms over head as you leap across.
22. Bob and weave and alternating upper cuts.
23. Wide stance, arms extended laterally and do rib cage slides. Add shoulder rotations, just flipping your arms over and back.
24. Turn steps, then add three alternating knee lifts on each side of your turn step. Add a little plyo onto the bench and on the floor if you wish.
25. Back to the floor. Sit at the end of the step with your lower legs hugging the step. Extend arms over head, interlock your hands and crunch.
26. Stand and straddle the bench. Step up with a knee lift then step down and lunge back. Add alternating punches.
27. To the mat for elbow planks with alternating leg lifts.
28. To you feet, wide stance, run, run, knee lift. Arms up and out as you run, down and in as you knee lift.
29. Wide stance, fast alternating upper cuts.
30. To the mat for some scissors. Pulse and recline, legs straight up, lower one leg and reach hands to the ankle of the raised leg. Keep alternating left and right.
31. Straddle step, knee, lunge combination again, this time on the opposite side of the step. Add plyos and punches.
32. Stand to one end of the step and leap across, Squat off the other end. Leap back across and squat of that end. Repeat.
33. To the mat, pulse & recline. Hands behind head, knees up over hips and do bicycle twists.
34. L-steps, As you L-step, kick, on the back plyo.
35. Jab, pivot and cross punch, hesitate, knee up. As you knee up, add a plyo. Hard to describe but it’s kickboxing-esque.
36. To the floor, pulse & recline. Crunch and extend both arms reach out past and outside of your knee on one side only. Single count crunches, then three count, then switch sides and repeat.
37. Up with your weights. L-step combo on the other end of the step.
38. At the long end of the bench, step over with your outside leg first, add a hop and pump arms overhead.
39. Power (plyo) squats. Criss cross your feet in between squats.
40. Jab, cross knee combo on the other side.
41. Cool down!
I only had time for twenty minutes of this workout this morning and it was intense! I just loved it! Nothing is endless, it’s all over in a minute and there is so much variety.
Personable, no nonsense, good cueing and form pointers.
Production: This was produced by Gin Miller Productions and directed by Gin. The set is nice (it's a different set from her Life Force workout, both are visually appealing) and Anni uses upbeat instrumental music.
The workout is chaptered as follows:
The workout can be done with or without a step (her modifier, Amy, does not use one). All the cardio moves focus on utilizing the core muscles. You will perform 1 minute intervals to help burn off the fat, increase metabolism and sculpt the mid section.
Tons of variety so you'll never get bored! You can choose to do anywhere from 20 minutes up to the full 50 minute workout (in 10 minute increments).
Anni uses 1 lb weights to increase the intensity. The moves are basic enough for the beginner participant to follow and gain benefits. Anni utilizes some higher impact intervals which all can be modified. She then alternates the intervals with intermediate to advanced level toning moves for your abs on the floor. (she always marches you out to bring the heart rate down prior to hitting the floor) Anni sometimes will include upper/lower body work such as lunges with bicep curls. (working the big muscles of the lower body ups the calorie burn!)
Twists, plyometric moves, jump rope, punches, traveling runs, and across the bench touchdowns are some of cardio moves you'll perform during the 1 minute intervals. Planks, pilates type moves and athletic based ab training all efficiently tone the midsection.
The cooldown is very relaxing (& the music is very enjoyable). You'll release out the body and bring the heart rate back to normal.
This was a well thought out workout. You'll work your midsection during the cardio portions as well as during the actual toning sessions. You'll also efficiently raise the heart rate to assist in burning the fat that cover those muscles. -
Anni provides form tips throughout to ensure safety and enhance the toning benefits. www.force-fitness.com