Kickbox ExtremeAmy Bento
Year Released: 2006
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts
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First, a little background about me, which will hopefully help you put my review into perspective: I'm 24 years old and regularly work out to videos featuring such fitness queens as Cathe Friedrich, Kelly Coffey Meyer, Michelle Dozois, and Jillian Michaels. I've also done Insanity and really enjoyed the interval training and plyometrics. In other words, I gravitate toward workout videos that are more athletic and intense.
Given these fitness predilections, I expected to love Amy's Kickbox Xtreme, and I wasn't disappointed. At first the sheer duration of the workout intimidated me a little, as I had done Amy's Kickbox Surge & Core Training already and knew that the workout would be 60+ minutes of *nonstop* work, unlike some workouts that purport to push you hard but actually fill up 1/4 of the time with chatter while you stare at the screen. However, once I got started, the duration was the last thing on my mind; Amy sets up this workout in such a way that the time simply flies by.
You start with about 10 minutes of a high-energy warm-up, and then Amy takes you through 5 combos. Each combo is followed by an interval (higher intensity "surge" of cardio, though I wouldn't call this plyometrics - it's not quite explosive enough to qualify). You'll do combo 1, then combo 2, then 1 and 2 together (including the surges). Then combo 3 followed by combo 4, and then string 3 and 4 together. Lastly, Amy takes you through combo 5.
There is a 5-min. core section at the end that uses resistance bands (I subbed dumbbells) and a step (not necessary - you only use it to increase your range of movement for Supermans). This section alone isn't great for core work, but it's a good 5-min section to cap off the intense workout. I don't think I could have handled anything longer or more difficult after the 60 minutes of pure cardio.
The one drawback of this workout - for me at least - is the amount of space it requires. I'm only able to do this workout without modifications when I'm visiting my parents, who have a sprawling basement; otherwise, I have to modify the side-to-side and front-to-back movements in my studio apartment.
Note: The title of this workout as it appears on the cover is Kickbox Xtreme.
I’m reviewing this workout after doing it 2-3 times, although I don’t think I’ve actually done the core portion.
General workout breakdown: Since this workout has been described well, I’ll just list times and moves.
Total workout time, including core and bonus bag segment: 86 min.
Warm-up (9 min. – this includes the ~15 sec. intro of the crew): beginning combo of v-step w/ alternating jab, quick feet, walk forward & back w/ chamber knee, alternating side chambers, speed bag shuffle, & push / pop up on toes; 4 jabs w/ a tap, 4 slips, & 4 quick jabs – repeat with hooks, upper cuts, jaw breakers, thrusts, rear elbows; circle arms w/ toe tap, triceps press w/ hamstring curl; alternating back kick chamber, alternating knees front (front kick chamber), alternating front kicks, alternating sides kicks; alternating side blocks, reach up & pull back, knee to chest & then heel down, static calf stretch with arms in front – add in torso twists, hip flexor warm-up (pulsing lunges) & pull back into hamstring stretch – hold hamstring stretch, toe taps (to warm up shins) – add arm roll plus double jab & double cross; breathe up & melt down, then roll up for quick low back stretch
Combo 1 (4.25 min.): jab – cross – jab – knee, jumping jacks, front kick & back kick, 2 side kicks (hopping turn back to front)
Interval 1 (2.5 min.): step into side kick 3x & 2 jumping side kicks, 2 pulse squats / squat jumps w/ 5 alternating punches (jabs)
Combo 2 (3 min.): jab – hook – duck, back kick & walk forward into front thrust, rear elbow – front elbow – elbow down – jump switch
Interval 2 (2.5 min.): jump switches, 3 side kicks & 1 front jump kick
Combined 1&2 (3.5 min.): You’ll do Combo 1, Interval 1, Combo 2, & Interval 2, rinse & repeat.
Combo 3 (9 min.): body (blow) – body – upper cut into jaw breaker, shuffle, step knee smash (a front knee followed by a straight leg extension to the side) x2, machine gun (a double roundhouse), 3 drop kicks, double high punch – double low punch – double cross, jumping jacks
Interval 3 (2 min.): weave (4 alternating hooks followed by a jogging box step w/ 1-armed speed bag into double cross), bounce on toes w/ 1-armed speed bag into 4 punches aimed at the chin, single – single – double alternating jabs
Combo 4 (5.75 min.): 3 thrusts – front kick w/ block (arms crossed), high & low punches w/ direction (forward & back) into jump kick front, drop & block (3 pulse squats w/ arms crossed in front) – 1-arm block into a whack, 3 jump cross (think skater hops) into jack, 3 jabs into a spin back
Interval 4 (3.25 min.): kick walk walk (side kick with double hop 2x into alternating side kicks), shuffle w/ 1-armed speed bag – punch up – 4 slips
Combined 3&4 (4.5 min.): You’ll do Combo 3, Interval 3, Combo 4, & Interval 4.
Combo 5 (9.25 min.): shuffle w/ double jab – hook – push, double knee, step back kick 2x, high & low back elbows, double cross, shuffle knee 2x, step side kick, machine gun (3 quick side kicks - or is it a roundhouse?)
Interval 5 (3.25 min.): back elbow – front (elbow?) – double jab – double cross into rapid fire front kicks, down low into spin back kick (3 pulsing front lunges into a step back kick)
Combined 5 (5.5 min.): You’ll do Combo 5 & Interval 5 back to back, although Amy sometimes does one side at a time, sometimes alternates sides.
Cool Down (2 min.): roll shoulders front & back, inhale & exhale w/ arms, circle upper body, low back arch & release, reach down & hold opposite ankle, standing side bend
Core (6 min.): step into tubing for standing side bend & arm press overhead into twist, on floor w/ no equipment for plank rock (in plank, pick up one hand from floor, then the other), lie over step for fly-aways (back extension w/ arms extending out to sides) & supermans (arms reaching forward), shell stretch to release back
Stretch (5 min.): inhale & exhale w/ arms, rock back & forth w/ flowing arms, inhale & push down chi – first both arms & then 1 at a time, standing forward bend, standing piriformis stretch (ankle over opposite knee), seated spinal twist w/ one foot over opposite leg, and ending seated w/ legs crossed (While this segment is very relaxing and centering and the few stretches included are held for a decently long time, I needed to add on some stretches, especially for my hip flexors, quadriceps, calves, shoulders, upper back, and chest.)
Bonus Bag (6 min.): jumping jacks, jab – cross – duck – jump kick front – tuck jump, bob & weave w/ push (a punch from around the side up over head), double jab – knee smash, rapid fire core (1 min. of quick alternating punches – not really sure which kind), jump switch - whack. Except for the 1 min. round, combos are repeated twice (once on each side).
Amy seems to build things up evenly on both sides, although sometimes it feels like the second side gets one or two fewer run-throughs.
The pace is fast enough to keep the heartrate up but just slow enough to allow one to execute punches, kicks, and core moves with control. There’s little down time here, even between combos / intervals.
As demonstrated the workouts has a good bit of high impact and quick pivots that could prove tricky, especially for those working out on carpet. Toni offers some suggestions for minimizing the impact, but Amy just says to watch Toni for modifications rather than explaining what she’s doing. Toni keeps in a number of the pivots, with a few notable exceptions, so if this is an issue for it’d be worth previewing and coming up with your own solutions beforehand.
Level: I’d recommend this to int./adv. to low advanced exercisers familiar with basic kickboxing moves. Experienced intermediates could find ways to make this work for them, for example, by working up to the full routine and following Toni, while mid-advanced exercisers can add weighted gloves (if they’re used to working with them), go right to the more intense version of moves, etc.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, although I’m probably more of an int. + when it comes to kickboxing because I have no martial arts training, I’ve done kickboxing almost exclusively at home with videos, and I don’t do kickboxing regularly (I tend to revisit this style for a month or two a few times a year). This provided me with a good challenge, as I had to follow Toni in a few spots, but overall I could keep up and got quite the intense long cardio session. I prefer kickboxing routines that offer intensity through focus on technique (e.g. Powerstrikes) over those that throw punches and kicks while jumping around, and this one unfortunately falls into the latter category. In a weird sort of way I find this one is decently easy to follow along with, at least for Amy’s workouts, once you’re used to Amy’s style and cues (keep in mind I’ve been on an Amy kick recently), but in trying to find movements that make more sense to me I increase how difficult this one is for me to pick up.
Class: For the main workout 4 women join Amy, who instructs live as she does the workout right with them. Toni, who is visibly pregnant, serves as the modifier, although she drops out for the core, stretch, and bonus bag segments (during the bonus one of the other women serves as modifier).
Music: mainly instrumentals with a driving beat, some of which have a strong tribal feel. The music can get repetitive, and the soundtrack features that song that sounds like it’s stuck, so I see why some would dislike it. Like Jennifer I think it’s all right; it seems to suit the moves well, and Amy has a good sense of how to match moves to music.
Set: the 2006 CIA set with the so-called blue barn doors. Actually, I don’t mind this set, as it’s relatively simple and clean and not too crazy with the color palette, especially for the CIA, but I’ve been known to join in poking fun at the “barn doors” because I have had a number of workouts filmed on the sets featuring them, so after a while I’m just is ready to see something else.
Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles – what you’d expect from the CIA. The music is plenty loud in relation to Amy’s voice.
Equipment: nothing really for the kickboxing portion, although supportive sneakers are nice if you’re doing all of that jumping.
For the core segment you’ll need tubing (the kind w/ handles), a full-sized club step platform, and possibly also a mat.
For the bonus bag Amy and crew strap on boxing gloves and use those Everlast standing bags, although one background exerciser does the whole thing without equipment while also showing some lower impact modifications.
Space Requirements: This needs some room. Ideally you’d have enough room to take a few steps and kick in each direction. I don’t have that amount of room; I can only take a short step and kick forward & back if I want to take several steps to each side and kick – or vice versa. So I took out some of the traveling and reoriented myself with each new combo or interval to make the best use of my space.
DVD Notes: After the CIA intro comes some clips from the workout; you can skip this to get right to the main menu. Your menu options are Introduction, Play Program, Chapters (see my workout breakdown for the chapter list), NRG Mixes (#1 Quick NRG 49:30, #2 Good NRG 53:30, #3 Great NRG 57:00, Ultimate NRG 74:00, #5 All Combo NRG 36:45, #6 All Interval NRG 42:15, #7 Double Combo NRG 56:30, About NRG Mixes – I love this! It says exactly which chapters are in each premix. Since this review is too long already I won’t retype the list here, but the things are often mixed and matched in unusual ways to make the workout feel very different), Bonus Bag, Credits, and Audio Options (Full Stereo Mix, Amy’s Voice Only).
Comments: I want to like this one, but I’m not sure if I actually like it. I like Amy, despite all of the quibbles I have with her choreography and form and cuing here. I like how many different moves are included here; it’s not just jab – cross – jab – cross ad nauseam, but you’ll do a number of thrusts, elbow strikes, and punches that aren’t in many of my other kickboxing videos (although I’m not one of VF’s real kickboxing video connoisseurs and have a relatively small collection). I like that this is a high energy workout, with Amy and her crew having fun while sweating hard. It’s infectious and gets me through a workout that’s pretty challenging for my current cardiovascular fitness levels. (It’s corny, but I like the fact that cheers provide the soundtrack to the credits; I felt I earned some applause after making it through this one.) But, oh, some of the moves feel awkward the way they’re strung together, as Neatski points out. And there are so many side kicks, especially in the intervals, where you’re just doing side kick after side kick after side kick. I like side kicks all right, but they kind of slid down a few places on my ranking of my favorite kicks after this, even after taking out those weird jumping side kicks in the one interval. It’s odd to have so much variety in the upper body moves and then a rather lack of creativity in the lower body moves.
Anyway, this is one of those tricky ones where I have to decide for myself whether I actually like the workout or if I just like the idea / concept / Amy. Is it worth keeping a video where with some frequency I’m doing something different than what’s being shown? It’s not as if I don’t have other videos that are less frustrating to work along with. The dilemma of a vidiot...
One must watch Amy closely to learn the routine. Her cuing makes more sense once you’ve learned the workout, as it’s not particularly descriptive. For example, when she says “jab,” sometimes it means one jab, sometimes it means a double jab, and sometimes it means alternating jabs to the front. She’ll cue right before moves. She does mirror cue, but in general there aren’t a lot of directional cues.
I like Amy as a video instructor. She is comfortable in front of the camera and shows some personality through her encouragement to the viewer, her acknowledgement of the music, and her interactions with her background exercisers. And yet she keeps the focus on the workout.
Amy comes from a group fitness / aerobics instructor background rather martial arts, and that’s reflected in her choreography (which includes adding in some athletic and hi/lo moves, like jumping jacks and v-steps, as well as stringing together some moves that require some awkward weight shifts if you’re used to different form) , terminology (the way she uses some move names is ever so slightly different from what I’m used to them meaning), and form (her punches and kicks aren’t particularly crisply executed and clearly distinct from each other). It’s worth noting that she has since spent time learning more about martial arts, which is reflected increasingly in her subsequent releases. I have to hand it to Amy: she listens to feedback, continues to learn from past experiences and from other teachers, and seeks to improve.
The other reviews have done a good job of describing this workout, so I'll just add my opinion. While I love Amy and enjoy her style of instruction in her other videos (i.e. I have no problems with her cuing), I thought that this workout was poorly choreographed.
I have a lot of kickboxing experience, and I liked that this workout was more straightforward kickboxing than aeroboxing. I also liked the intensity (definitely advanced for the first few combinations). In fact, it reminded me of the older Tae Bos, except with even sets and a slightly more sane pace. However, since this is choreographed, the fact that the different elements do not fit well together is a big issue. There are many awkward direction changes and twisting, which is even more problematic because of all the kicking. Furthermore, some of the exercises themselves seem awkward, non-functional and likely to cause injury, such as jump side kicks and lunge spin kicks.
I also have to disagree with the other reviewers on this soundtrack- this is one of my LEAST favorite soundtracks of any workout video. This is coming from someone who is an electronic music fan- I listen to it all day on my own- but this sounded like a bunch of rats banging on tin cans to me.
Amy, I love you, and the concept is good, but with choreography this choppy and awkward, injuries seem inevitable. Next, please.
This is my favorite Kickbox DVD! Amys music ROCKS and that is a must for me. Even Amys warmups are fun. Amy gets a bad rap on some forums for poor form, poor cuing. I disagree with both. I serioulsy detest workouts with long break downs in routines, bores the crap outta me! Most of us doing Kickboxing know what proper form is. We also know we are not doing "true" martial arts, we're having fun kicking and punching! I want my cardio to be intense but FUN and Amy fits the bill. I feel like she's right in the room with me. I really like her upbeat personality. There is a bit of a learning curve, as she has own her style but Amy is my favorite for ALL cardio these days!
I feel that Amy is truly having fun during the workouts, she's always smiling and just exudes energy.
Great music (probably the best in a kickboxing workout) and just plain fun! Not for those looking for a fierce, martial arts-like program though. Amy choreographs moves well to the music. She comes across well and her comments are very spontaneous. Lots of variety in the moves such as thrusts and blocks. Not a whoop in the entire workout! It can be shortened by stopping at the end of a combo and forwarding to the cool-down. I don't recommend the premixes for first-timers. They all have a finished combo without the breakdown. Fast-paced and a sweaty good time!
Amy's new Kickbox Extreme workout was better than I thought it would be. Finally her cardio is longer. My gripe with her first nrg series was that the cardio just wasnt long enough. this workout is about 80 minutes long. Too long for you? Not to worry! There are about 7 premixes on this video..and better yet in the chapter menu you can click on them to see what comprises each of the premixes (great feature!!). Amy starts off with a warm up of about 11mins. NOrmally I dont enjoy long warm ups but most of this went by quickly. She even has a modifier with her - a pregnant woman! After the warm up you do five drills - A cardio segment, followed by an interval. She repeats a lot on each side and this is plenty of time to learn. Sometimes she lost me and i had to stare at the tv for a minute, but i was able to pick it up quickly on my first viewing after watching her for a little bit. The routines are fun and the interval blasts are pretty good. However, Amy does NOT have the best form and sometimes her cueing is not the best either. Some of the movies dont even look that safe and they dont always flow together. But i think with a few tries this workout will get more smooth. The first four cardio/intervals are pretty good but i dont know what happened with number five. My heart rate dropped because she does some balance moves and that made everything slow down. The music is pretty good and got you thru it. For the most part this workout is fun and enjoyable. It dragged a little because some of it was repetitive but there were times when i felt tired. I'm an advanced exerciser who works out with Cathe. I did do The Shape of Things to Come last nite for the first time so my legs were sore before i did the amy tape. Also this routine is sort of a space hog but i was able to modify. Overall it was a fun workout - better than some of the kickbox ones out there - but in my opinion noone is as good as Cathe.
Amy is always upbeat and very pleasant. She looks like she is having a good time. Her cueing can use some improvement but her workouts are usually fun