Powerstrike Millenium Series #4

Ilaria Montagnani
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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I have older kickboxing videos, called the Millenium Series, that Ilaria did with Patricia. Those are advanced in terms of cardio fitness. This video gets your heart rate up to a comfortable sustainable level throughout, and the kicks and punches are executed at a good pace for me, slow enough to allow me to stay relaxed and to be precise, but fast enough to challenge me. I like the choreography, the music is good, it's fun to look at Ilaria's very defined midsection. This tape is a new favourite, for being just the right amount of working out. I caught onto the routines about 80 percent the first time through, 90 percent the second time through. I felt energized enough afterward to do a calming yoga stretch routine. I think I might even buy some more of Ilaria's kickbox cardio tapes, she is a great instructor



Note that as Christine says this just says ďPowerstrikeĒ on the cover. I think that for her first Powerstrike video on her own Ilaria wanted to start fresh, but pretty much everyone on VF refers to this as Powerstrike 4. (Even Ilaria seems to have given in: the subsequent Powerstrike releases display the numbers 5 and 6.)

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it 3-4 times.

General workout breakdown: Christine has described this video very well. Just a few more notes:
The total running time is 64 min. total, if you include the instructional segment, and just over 57.5 if you just count the workout. The warm-up runs 6 min., the punching drills 6.5 and kicking drills 15 min., the combos 26 min., and the cool-down & stretch 3.75 min.
The warm-up is typical of the Powerstrikes: youíll begin with some deep breaths and shoulder rolls, then punches, before moving into knee chambers and a few basic, slow kicks. The warm-up closes with mostly static stretches, most of which are for the lower body, and a set or two of push-ups. The final stretch is too short, and I agree with Christine that itís not particularly thorough, nor is anything held for very long.

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate to int. / adv. exercisers; ideally youíd be comfortable with at least very basic kickboxing moves, but those who pick things up quickly may not need that prior experience. Int. / adv. to low adv. exercisers comfortable with weighted gloves (1-2 lbs. or so) can use them to boost the intensity to an appropriate level of challenge for them. Ilaria begins by going over the basics, including stance and how to form a punch; she then runs through each of the punches and kicks to be used in the routine. Because of this 6.5 min. section, Iíve seen this DVD recommended for experienced exercisers who are new (or newish) to kickboxing. Ilaria does offer a few suggestions to those working their way up to the full routine, but because this requires a decent amount of endurance I wouldnít recommend it to beginners to exercise.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, although Iím probably more of an int. + when it comes to kickboxing because I have no martial arts training, Iíve done kickboxing almost exclusively at home with videos, and I donít do kickboxing regularly (I tend to revisit this style for a month or two a few times a year). I get a good workout in the low to mid-moderate range when I do this without my weighted gloves, and I get a great workout in the mid- to high moderate level of intensity when I do it with them. I prefer kickboxing routines that offer intensity through focus on technique over those that throw punches and kicks while jumping all over the place, and this falls firmly into the former category. (In fact, the Powerstrikes are my main example of the former category.) One of the reasons I like to revisit the Powerstrikes, including this one, every once in a while is to refresh my form, and as a result I get more out of all of the kickboxing workouts I do.

Class: 2 women and 1 man join Ilaria, who instructs live. One of the women shows a couple modifications (e.g. on knees for push-ups, marches during jogs).

Production: clear picture and sound, although Iím not surprised some find the music a tad loud in relation to Ilariaís voice (I think the fact that her accent requires a little more concentration to understand, at least at first, makes this more of an issue than it might be otherwise, at least for me.)
This may be the Powerstrike with the least amount of funky camera angles, although there are some close-ups. I will say one thing, though: despite being filmed in a room lined with mirrors and windows the camera crew manages not to get shots of themselves or of the lights they must have been using; the only reflections you see are of the cast members.

Equipment: Ilaria and her crew just have sneakers.

Space Requirements: You need to be able to step and kick to the front and take a big step / lunge / squat to each side.

DVD Notes: After the initial warnings the DVD launches immediately into the video. As Christine notes, there is no chapter menu. In addition, the chaptering is sloppy. For example, if you want to skip Ilariaís intro to get right to the warm-up and hit skip youíll end up somewhere in the warm-up rather than right at the beginning. There are quite a lot of chapters within the workout, however, and some of them are pretty much in the right spot.

Comments: Iíd recommend this particular DVD to anyone looking to try out the Powerstrikes, at least the ones with Ilaria alone. #5 and 6 definitely build on what Ilaria does here by introducing more kicks and increasing the complexity of the combos. Also, Ilariaís style of cuing can take some getting used to (and isnít for everyone), so Iíd suggest trying to figure out how she leads a routine here where things are more straightforward.

Not only is Ilariaís controlled pace more my speed in so many ways, it also means you may feel some DOMS after doing this because you can concentrate on form. Your shoulders and upper back may be a little sore with all of that punching, especially since Ilaria will do all she can to make sure you punch with proper technique. I find the Powerstrikes good standing corework; add to that the fact that Ilaria will challenge your balance with her sequence of kicks. When I do Pilates the day after a Powerstrike, especially if I havenít done much kickboxing lately, Iíll definitely feel a little soreness in my core, especially my obliques.

I didnít discover Powerstrike until #3, and I only have #3-6. So I canít speak to how this compares to the early Powerstrikes, which are by many accounts more intense than these (and if one could obtain them with any sort of ease Iíd consider buying a VHS just to see what Iím missing!). And I only have #3, so although I agree that she and Ilaria worked well as a tag team on camera I donít miss Patricia Moreno as much as others. I like the newer Powerstrikes (#4-6) and am happy to have them in my collection.

Instructor Comments:
I agree with Christineís assessment of Ilaria. I like her down to business personality, especially since thereís still some warmth and humor there.
Ilaria tends to introduce the move(s), repeat them several times, and then add on the next set of moves. Sheíll cue the first time or two through, but then sheíll stop cuing the individual moves to instruct on form or remind you of proper form. I think this is the reason some people feel sheís a poor cuer. She is a good instructor, however, because she demonstrates excellent form and constantly both reminds you to keep form and tells you how to do so. Iíve never really had a problem with following her, perhaps because as someone whoís not naturally gifted when it comes to coordination Iíve developed the habit of telling myself the punches and kicks as Iím doing them over and over until I finally get them down (No comment on how long that can take. Or the looks I got when I tried a live kickboxing class and was muttering under my breath in the back corner). Ilaria does mirror cue, however (meaning when she says ďcrescent right,Ē she means the viewer should do the kick with the right leg while she does it with her left).



This is a review of the Powerstrike video released in 2006 (not sure if this is "Powerstrike 4"; the DVD cover just says "Powerstrike"). The DVD is chaptered, however you cannot access the chapters from a main menu (there is no main menu). Instead, you have to advance the chapters with your remote control.

Setting: The workout takes place in a modern aerobics studio with windows. There are three background exercisers.

Music: Techno (sounds like Madonna-esque dance music)

The video starts out with Ilaria demonstrating each of the punches and kicks that will be used in the workout. The punches are: jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, karate punches, and karate blocks. The kicks include front push, roundhouse, and crescent kicks.

After a short warm up, you start going through the punches with varying tempos. After the punches, you do the same thing with the kicks. This section lasts about 20 minutes and it is designed to get you acclimated to the punches and kicks.

The next section is the combinations (there are two). Each combination is taught add-on style: first you do a move slowly, then bring it to tempo, then add on the next move. Combination #1 includes front push, roundhouse, jabs, and crosses. Combination #2 includes karate punches, blocks, and crescent kicks. After the two combinations are finished, you stop and do the whole routine on the other lead. Again, each combination is built up on that side. This entire section lasts about 25 minutes.

There is a short cool down with minimal stretching--you'll probably have to add some stretches, esp. for the hip flexors.

Overall, I really enjoyed this video! It's a good, low-impact kickboxing workout that you can grow with. Focus is placed on good form. You can do this workout with very minimal space. I would say the level is intermediate/advanced. I finished exercising about two hours ago, and my legs and back already feel sore.

Grade: A

Instructor Comments:
Ilaria has an Italian accent, but I had no problems understanding her and she has excellent cueing. She demonstrates excellent form and thoroughly explains each move. She has a pleasant personality and a good rapport with the background exercisers. She is very muscular and appears to be in excellent shape.

Christina F (aka Verine)