Strong and Smooth Moves

Karen Voight
Year Released: 1995

Categories: Body Bar , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance



Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first


I enjoy Karen Voight as an instructor, but I didn't enjoy this video. First of all, I found her choreography to be extremely difficult to follow, particularly during the warm-up and aerobic segments. Although Karen does give excellent instructions on form (using very down-to-earth language), her cuing is less precise: she sometimes fails to indiciate whether to start on the right or left, and she is often late in indicating new movements. During the low-impact aerobic segment--which lasts about 25 minutes--I frequently found myself marching in place because I was unable to keep up with Karen's complicated movements, and I eventually fast-forwarded through this section. However, those who engage in regular aerobic workouts and who are looking for a change might appreciate Karen's more complex choreography.

Following the aerobic segment, Karen moves on to strength work. She uses a 12-lb. body bar, but several of her students show modifications using hand weights (plus a chair for support). The toning section begins with approximately 13 minutes of standing work for arms and legs. Karen demostrates traditional moves such as bicep curls and lunges (although she frequently adds a unique twist), and she places a strong emphasis on form rather than repetitions. Karen transitions from the standing workout by doing one exercise for the back before moving on to floor work. She starts with several abdominal crunches, still using the body bar, but then she mixes it up a bit by including some additional leg work inbetween exercises for the obliques. Finally, Karen concludes the toning section with several arms exercises performed while lying on the back, for a total of approximately 12 minutes of floor work. At the end of the workout, Karen leads a simple, 5-minute cool-down segment during which she briefly stretches each of the major muscle groups included in the workout.

The music for this workout is jazzy and pleasant without being distracting. The lighting is low, utilizing spotlights and colored lights to give an appearance more akin to a disco than to a gym. I would recommend Karen's "Streamline Fitness" tape instead of this one--it provides a similar toning workout, but instead of aerobics, she includes an excellent, Pilates-like abs workout combined with simple yoga stretches.

Instructor Comments:
Overall, Karen is a very good, no-nonsense instructor who does a nice job with strength moves, but I find her to be less effective when it comes to aerobics--this may be just me, since I prefer strength training.

Beth C (aka toaster)

12/15/2003

I consider myself an advanced beginner and became very concerned when I read how easy everyone thought this video was. I finally got all the moves down and am now working on keeping up with Karen. I love her style, no nonense and down to work. I really feel like I receive a great workout with this video. I have not yet done the strength portion since I use The Firm on alternate days, but I plan to do it in the future. As the result of my impression with this video I have since purchased two more of her videos.

I do have a response to the commentator regarding Karen's breast augmentation...What does her personal decision to do this have to do with anything?? She is an excellent instructor and if this was something she did for her own self self esteem it is her business and not anyone elses. Drop it!

kuroshiro

09/23/2000

Although the MTV-like setting is a drawback for some, I found this video to be beautifully produced. The music was one of the things I noticed right off the bat, especially during the cool down and stretch. This is a wonderfully "compact" workout. It does a great job in just a little over an hour. The aerobics are fun and effective, and the toning section flows very well. Another reviewer hit the nail on the head in describing Strong and Smooth Moves as "Energy Sprint Lite." This is a great workout that I come back to time and again. I only wish Karen would put some new aerobics+toning videos on the market. I love her style and ease in teaching. I'm looking forward to whatever comes next!

Cathy

09/08/1998

I really think this is an all around awful tape, I can't believe that the same person who created the excellent Energy Sprint could have made a video this bad.

I bought this tape several years ago after working out with Your Personal Best with Elle Macpherson which was my first exposure to Karen Voight. I liked that tape so much, but I was looking for something more advanced . I picked this tape up and I hated it so much that I didn't try another Voight tape for a long time--not knowing that this tape was just a fluke and that on the whole, Ms. Voight does great tapes.

Let's start with the setting. The tape is filmed in what looks like some warehouse with a bunch glaring and obnoxious neon and white lights which spin around at the most inopportune times, so that when you're trying to follow a tricky move (and there're plenty of them in this video) this glaring light all of a sudden obstructs your view of the instructor. The camera angles are awful too. The camera moves and zooms in and out much too often, so that when you're again trying to follow a tricky move, all of a sudden the camera view is either obstructed by a huge ugly pipe, or the instructor is so tiny that you can't see her moves. The music is also awful, it is loud a very irritating, but if you lower the volume, you can't hear Ms. Voight. One of the reasons I exercise, is to relax, but between the lights and the music, this workout makes me want to scream.

For me, the choreography is not much better than the set. Ms. Voight has multiple turns and changes of direction, which make the tape difficult and confusing without giving you a more effective workout. She also does not do enough reps of the same step for you to get the hang of it (or for you to see it when there's not a pole of glaring light obstructing it).

In a way this tape is difficult in the worst way. It tries your mind, your memory and your patience, but the actual workout is really not that intense--even if I could master the steps, I wouldn't get the type of intense workout that I can get with Ms. Voights Energy Sprint tape.

Instructor Comments:
In this video, Ms. Voight seems to be less of "herself" than on her other videos.

Flossie

07/27/1998

I bought this tape with some gift money I got for Chanukah, and no matter how many times I do it, I don't like it. I liked Voight in her upper and lower body toning tapes, and in the number she did with Elle MacPherson. The problem is the set, the cast and the aerobics segment. If I could get past all that, I'd enjoy this tape because the toning segment is quite good. Personally, I find the set distracting... some kind of industrial MTV monstrosity with weird lighting and rotating platforms. Her crew are garbed in dark or muted colors, never smile and some of them look like poster children for steriods. The aerobics, though basic, made me feel uncoordinated, like I was just flailing my arms around. I consider myself pretty coordinated, as a figure skater with a background in three kinds of dance, but I really feel klutzy when I do this video. Maybe its the weird camera angles, or the bizarre flashes of light those super mega watters seem to produce.... don't know. The great thing is the toning segment here. Voight has impeccable form, gives form pointers, and is motivating in a no-nonsense way. There's no cutesy, perky here, just solid, detailed instruction. I like the fact that she encourages variety of bar bell, dumbbells, and the segment really is a stand out from tapes that give you more of what you've already seen. I've seen some of these before, but nobody teaches them like Karen. I think what I'll do in the future is do aerobics with say Kari Anderson, and then do the toning that Voight does here. I know there are people who loved this tape, I'm just not one of them. By far, Voight's strength, even in the Elle MacPherson tape, is her teaching of toning moves. She has great form, knows how to demonstrate and explain and has a knack for all the little variations that make an exercise more challenging, more effective or targets just a little differently to make it all seem new.

linda

07/13/1997

What a great tape. I'm glad that Karen came out with a tape for intermediate exercisers. I really sweat during this tape, and it's helped me get into better condition to get through more "sprints" in Energy Sprint. I'm not terribly coordinated, but I was able to get through this tape easily the first time. I like this floor aerobics tape much better than Power Packed Workout.
While others have commented they don't like the setting, I really liked it. I loved the setting in "Step Reebok The Video" and this reminds me a lot of that -- it's nice to have a change of pace.
Karen is great, as always. She's easy to understand and I love this video.

Julianne

06/10/1997

I really love this video. It is not completely low impact as she says. It does a great job at keeping your heart rate up. I want to mention that I had trouble doing the aerobic routine on carpet. You must place your knees in the correct position or you may torque them the wrong way. I didn't mind the bright lights, nor did I mind the "troupe" of hard. I'm way envious of the tall blond woman right behand KV. I found the cast very motivating. I even liked that guy Cappucino, especially the way he grins at the camera when he takes the low-impact option on a move. My heart rate got up right where I wanted it, and I didn't mind the length of the aerobics (25 min.). The toning section was good, and it starts out using the toning bar like a ballet barre. The moves are very ballet-like in the beginning. The toning bar is not necessary. I really like this tape. I'd do it every day if I had hardwood floors. I give it an A++.

Abby N

03/25/1997

"Strong and Smooth Moves"

The first thing Voight fans will notice about this video is the totally different look. The cozy, brightly-lit gym from previous Voight videos has been replaced by a carbon copy of the Step Reebok set - steel decks, kinetic spotlights, wild camerawork, and those giant factory fans that are becoming the mirror-ball cliche of the 90's. The music is still jazzy, but with a funky edge. Evidently Karen Voight is trying to grasp a younger (or more male) audience with this video. Some of her followers might be turned off by this MTV/industrial look, but S&SM is no less professional than Voight's other workouts, and Karen herself comes across as a tad less serious and more relaxed.

Karen and her hardbody troupe open with a vigorous 25 minutes of mostly-low-impact aerobics that thankfully don't take up a lot of room. Like Karen's other workouts, the moves are relatively simple but put a lot of emphasis on form, which she talks you through with her usual meticulous detail. Many of the steps involve lower-body toning, for example a combo of fast grapevines, slow squats and lunges. I really like how Karen repeats each combo just enough so you learn it but not so much that it gets boring; thus the aerobic section just flies by. Oddly, there is no heart rate or exertion check.

Next comes 25 minutes of Body Bar toning. Two exercisers use dumbbells instead of bars; Karen suggests you alternate the two. I used dumbbells plus a plain old kitchen mop. Though Karen doesn't mention it, ankle weights could also be worn to increase intensity. The first part of the toning alternates 8 to 16-rep sets of lower-body and upper-body exercises, first squats and leg lifts, then arm and shoulder exercises, then another series of squats, all choreographed with Karen's own imaginative, dance-like variations. These are followed by floor exercises, including ab curls and crunches that make use of the bar by holding it with the knees, or over one shoulder for obliques.

Personally I like this even better than Energy Sprint, mainly because it does the job in less time and doesn't strain my joints as much. (Plus I like the music better.) I would best describe S&SM as "Energy Sprint Lite". Both are superb total-body workouts, but S&SM focuses more on strength while Energy Sprint builds endurance. Regular Energy Sprinters won't find S&SM to be that big of a challenge, but it'll fit their workout needs when they're short on time and/or energy.

Sue B

(no date)

I have recently purchased and have been using Karen Voight's latest video "Strong and Smooth Moves." While there many things I like about this video -- her cuing is always good, as is her music) -- there are more that I don't. As an advanced beginner in aerobics, I must strongly disagree with the statement printed on the box which reads "For all fitness levels." Karen's tapes are really geared more towards people with some experience in aerobics and who are in pretty decent shape. This particular video also makes use of a lot of dance/ballet type steps that may be hard to follow if you aren't familiar with them. Also important to note is that she rarely gives options for people who cannot follow her moves or use a full range of motion -- if you are a beginner and doing this video, please remember that you don't have to do everything she does or as many as she does!!! As a woman who is working toward being fit, but still have some weight to lose, I also wish she would have "real" people in her videos -- all of the men and women in this video are build like bodybuilders (a man named Cappucino) or classicly trained dancers...I don't find them encouraging at all.

I would rather see someone who is less than "perfect" demonstrating lower, slower options for those of us who aren't as fit as karen.

Linda Sharkey

(no date)

Two things that I don't like about this video are:

  1. I find the lighting to be very irritating. I feel as if someone is continually shining a light in my eyes.
  2. I think the aerobic section is too short for a challenging workout. It's only about 25 minutes.

However, I do enjoy her choreagraphy. The last time I used this tape, I stopped it before the aerobic cooldown and included 12 minutes on my Nordic Track. I had a great workout! I liked the variety and it was mostly low impact.

Tammie Malcolm

(no date)

I just wanted to comment on Karen Voight's "Strong Moves -Smooth Moves" video. I used to teach aerobics a long time ago when "high-impact" was the in. I really like Karen's style, grace, and direct approach to teaching. She makes anyone feel like they can workout with her. Her moves are not dance based -- just exercised based.

I have also had numerous back surgeries, knee, etc. I experienced no pain in my back while doing her tape unlike the Nordic Track, Walkfit, HealthRider.

rhardy

(no date)

I recently purchased this tape, and I have to say I *really* enjoy it. I've been teaching step, and doing step videos for so long that S&SM was a welcome change. The low-impact aerobic portion is not very long (25 minutes), but it's really fun. Of course, Karen is wonderfully motivating as usual (I often pretend my legs look as great as hers...until I pass a mirror...and realize I'm only 5'1"). By the way, does anyone have any vital statistics on her (ie, age, height)?

I normally don't do the "body sculpting" portion of the tape since I have a weightlifting routine separate from my aerobic activities. However, I've done it a couple of times, and it was fun too (just not terribly challenging...but using heavier weights could fix that problem).

Compared to Karen's "Power-Packed Workout", "Strong and Smooth Moves" is 100% better.

Shonie C. Maxwell

(no date)

I really enjoy this tape, the choreography is so much fun. The best instructor! Clear, easy-to-understand, no extraneous chatter, and the fittest body I have ever seen. However, I do share a couple of gripes with the other reviewers here: it is rather short, (and I don't have a Nordictrack on which to workout after) and the camera angles are a pain. At one point Karen is explaining a change in footwork, and the camera is so far away that you can't even see what anyone is doing. Nonetheless, with a little perseverence, I learned all the footwork and have a wonderful time. I also enjoy changing my weight routine with a body bar.

Robin Mordfin

(no date)

The reviews above already give an excellent idea of the structure of this video, so I'll stick to my personal feelings and impressions.

I am an advanced exerciser, and I use this video as a change of pace from the FIRM on my strength days. The choreography and music are very different from the FIRM's; this video gives you aerobics in one longer section, and during the strength section you're working for endurance, with lower weights and higher reps. The low impact section isn't very challenging for me, aerobically, but since I use it on "strength days" I don't mind. I do think this video's aerobic segment is about as challenging as a 25 minute low-impact workout can get.

I never cease to be amazed at the quality of Karen's cueing. Often when I follow one of her form pointers I get that "Aha!" feeling--you know you're doing something right because you really feel it in the target muscle. Although you use lighter weights for this video's strength segment than you would use for the FIRM, Karen's subtle variations and constant form pointers really help you isolate the working muscle, and as a result I am sometimes more sore after Karen's videos than after the FIRM's.

The production quality is also excellent. Sometimes you feel as if you're in the same room with Karen. Although the flashy lights and camera angles might make it hard to pin down the routine the first few times through, in the long run I think it keeps the video interesting and exciting. I tend to like videos that make you feel like you're "performing", and this is definitely one of those. I also love the music; there are a number of driving piano interludes that really get me going. Although one or two reviewers complained that there were no "real bodies" among the participants, I find the participants' physiques very inspiring.

All in all, I think this video is an excellent, time-efficient workout, and I agree with Sue that Karen comes across as more personable while maintaining her no-nonsense style.

WWWendy

(no date)

What a blast! This is my favorite Karen Voight tape. I thought nothing could top Energy Sprint, but this is just tremendous!

You start with low-impact aerobics. Most of the steps can be done high-impact as well. The choreography is fun and intense. Karen shows you a move then adds complexity a little at a time. I could do a whole hour (or more!) of this class because it's so fun.

Before you know it, it's time for the toning section. There are both upper and lower body exercises. Some are unusual, but always fun and effective.

Karen and some of the class members use a body bar for the toning -- even for the abs. You can easily do it with dumbbells, though.

This tape gets an A+. I hope Karen continues to produce these great workouts.

Annie S.

(no date)

Paula Abdul looked so fabulous in her "Get Up and Dance" video that I started reading everyone's reviews of her "fitness consultant" Karen Voight here at Video Fitness. At the time I was moving quickly back into intermediate/early advanced level exercise thanks to the Abdul tape, and "S & SM" seemed like the best introduction I could get to Karen's work. It's great!

The staging reminds me of the set for Madonna's "Express Yourself" music video--I half-expected to see the Material Girl herself drop by and show off some of HER smooth moves. But the music--jazz laced with funk, and later, some mellow, almost New Age numbers--is like nothing on MTV. This is not disco or pop that will go out of style in a few years--it will still sound fresh ten or twenty years from now!

Much has already been written about her gift for teaching, but let me add that Karen cues so well that even when the lighting and the camera play goofy tricks on my eyes, I could still follow the routines without messing up. My only complaint about the production is that during the cool-down the camera operators did at least two gratuitous close-ups of Stacy's and Michelle's faces. Granted, these ladies are attractive, but come on now--this is a serious workout--what was the point of filling the screen with extreme zoom-ins focusing on their closed eyes and finely chiseled noses? It didn't do anything toward helping me learn the routine or get into the spirit of relaxation. Of course, maybe I'm not the gender/orientation that would appreciate such artistic camera shots :)

But I digress. That is such a trivial matter in the grand scheme of this workout. It was just annoying, that's all. Let's get back to this review: The title begins with the word "Strong", which rightfully indicates that the tape's primary emphasis is its muscle conditioning program. However, I agree with Wendy that Karen really does a lot with the non-stop 25 minutes of aerobics. Both the music and the moves flow so smoothly into one another that this routine flies by, and before you know it, Karen is smiling at you and saying, "we're done."

Regarding the strengthening section, I must confess I haven't been very faithful about doing it. You're reading a review from someone who hates calisthenics like poison. But other than the first set of exercises for the hips and buttocks, which for some reason I can't do without bothering my lower back, this is the most interesting and even relaxing routine of its type I've ever tried. And bless her heart--Karen exercises right along with you. She doesn't run around the floor correcting everyone's form or counting repetitions while you lie there flopping like a fish out of water. (I really do need to get motivated to stick with this part of the routine--if anyone out there has seen some real results from doing it, let me hear from you. I think that would do the trick!)

The built-in verstility of this tape makes it a winner, too. If you're beginner to intermediate level, you can alternate the two parts of this on a daily basis--aerobics one day, and strength the next. You can also start with lighter weights and work your way up as you get stronger and learn the routine. If you're intermediate-to-advanced, or are trying to lose weight, the entire tape can be done alternating days with a longer (30+ minutes) aerobics routine. Best of all, Karen's style is the greatest for the times when nothing's going right and you're in a bad mood. Most days I'm a party animal when it comes to aerobics. I can't wait till it's 9:00pm when my daughter's in bed and my husband's surfing the "Net" so I can jam with Paula Abdul or Donna Richardson. But once or twice a month I have a bad night where it's 10:30 and I still haven't exercised. With apologies to Cyndi Lauper, when that happens, this girl just doesn't want to have fun! Those are the nights I pull out this tape and let Karen pull me gently into activity. Her all-business demeanor is just what I need at that point. Even if I only do the aerobics, I'm much more refreshed the next day than if I'd just blown off exercise and gone straight to bed.

Terrific instructor, fabulous music, and a versatile workout that will advance with the exerciser. . .need I say more?

Grade: A+

Melissa Cooper

(no date)

This one looks great and is a lot of fun. I recommend it.

Karen

(no date)

S&SM is a great workout. I was inspired to hunt this video down because of the information on this site. Thanks reviewers, you've helped me to discover an aerobic cross training workout to use with my favorite Step Reebok tapes. Karen's floor aerobics seem to be the perfect answer since I like the "MTV" look.

To date (1/6/97), I've only worked out with S&SM twice. I'm stumbling a bit, but as a beginner, I've come to accept this as a part of "video fitness life." The aerobic choreography doesn't seem to be very difficult. I'm having fun, even with my mistakes. As I become more familiar with the video, I'm looking forward to having even more fun. I agree with the other reviewers about the aerobic section, it's rather short, but I'm thankful for that when it comes time for the endurance section. I like the innovative moves with the body bar. The way it's for inner thigh work is fun. I wonder though, how can she use the bar for outer thigh work? UMMMMMMM??? This seems to be missing in her floor work. The bar she uses is 12 lbs. I owned a bar before my purchase of S&SM. I use it with my FIRM tapes. Aside from the innovative ab work, I don't get much of an endurance challenge with the bar. However, I have fun, which is just as important. I may have to add ankle weights at both ends to get a heavier bar. This is definately a must have video for any serious video fitness lover. I think that it would be a bit too much for someone just beginning a video workout program. If I had to do this when I started, it would have killed me and any motivation I had.

If I had to give this video a grade, it would be A+

Sabrina

(no date)

I love Karen's Energy Sprint, but I was VERY disappointed with SSM!!! I recommended it to my sister as a result of the reviews it received, but we both disliked it. Granted, I only did the video once (my sister did it 3 times or so and was able to return it). As other reviewers said, the lighting and funky set were a bit annoying, but that can be a matter of preference (I prefer a warmer set when I work out). However, I felt that the workout itself was not challenging aerobically The aerobic section was just too short and the strength section did nothing for me especially since I regularly use FIRM's Strong Body with heavy weights. For me, I like to alternate a long strength training workout with a long aerobic workout. This video did not fit into either category for me.

Rachelle Trigueros

(no date)