Strong and Stretched

Aaron Lankford
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Total Body Workouts

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I have been doing all my "shorter" videos because its all that I have time for these days, with a 10 month old daughter, and a full time job at a "startup". Strong and Stretched was my choice last night because I was not really in the mood to work out for any length of time.

I had previewed this , but never had done it, and I was just so amazed at how much fun it was, and also how effective.

Aaron's goal here is to help us reach that "next level" in power and speed and agility. His instruction is right on the mark. The people in his class are at different levels, and he often helped them achieve a more defined stretch or strength movement. In other words, it was like being in an actual class.

The only problem I had was that some of the moves were hard enough that I wanted to see him doing them - and he spent much of his time wandering about helping others with their efforts. But he did do the first few reps, so I just rewound and watched him enough times to get the general idea.

This tape is definitely in my weekly rotation, but I guess i'll probably hook it on to another video (short one) in the future.

An A+.

I hope Aaron puts out more videos, I enjoy his teaching style far more than that of Billy Blanks (not to diss Billy), and I also enjoy his price much more than that of Tae Bo! (Yes, I am dissing the Tae Bo price here).

Instructor Comments:
Aaron is one of my top 5 favorite instructors. He's a "normal" guy who is really good at what he teaches. His manner is very inviting and encouraging, without a trace of artifice. Very fun to work out with. I've spoken on the phone with him, and he's a delight to chat with as well.



I can't figure out how to use this video. It's intermediate level and short, maybe 35 minutes total. Part of it is cardio, part of it is toning, part is stretch. Actually, the toughest portion of the whole video is the very last stretch -- but I am getting ahead of myself.

The warm-up is about 9 minutes and involves lots and lots of pulsing squats, walking lunges and squats and punches. My muscles were past the "warm" stage and headed for "hot," by the time Aaron finally announced that I should be sufficiently warmed-up. Uh, yeah. I think so.

Then you do 12 to 13 minutes of cardio. The cardio is intermediate level and doesn't involve a lot of kicking, instead you are doing drills that challenge you to move -- and move fast! So you are doing up-and-back foot patterns, some bouncing and quick weight/directional shifts. Yes, there are some kicks and there are plenty of punches, but the focus of this section is to train you how to quickly get into a posture for kickboxing.

Then the toning section. You grab a chair for support and hold different kicking positions for some pretty long counts. This challenges your strength and balance and you can feel it enhancing your flexibility. The crescent kick work really extends your range of motion. This section lasts about 9 minutes. Then you drop to the floor and do a series of stretches. The stretches focus on hamstrings, inner thighs and hips. The very last series of stretches ends with your body in a Chinese split position while you are doing push-ups. My body does not DO this without leaving about 8 inches of air between my crotch and the floor! And I challenge you to find a way to get up smoothly! You have to kind of creak yourself up in slow, careful stages.

And that's the workout. Aaron says to use it every 3rd workout in a kickboxing rotation. For me, I can see using the cardio section as a short add-on to a kickboxing workout. Or you could do the entire tape right after kickboxing. I used it as a "flu recovery" tape today and it worked nicely in conjunction with a 30-minute CIA hi/lo workout done with NO intensity.

Aaron is a good teacher. He reminds you to adjust the kicks to suit your own anatomy and to work at your own level. But Aaron also pushes you on at times. For instance, he walks around his video exercisers throughout the workout and tells them to kick higher or stretch farther when he thinks they are not working to their potential. He jokes around with the class in a nice, relaxed way. Aaron gives the impression of being a nice, clean-cut kind of guy -- who incidentally could probably kick my butt with just his pinky finger.

Daphne M


I'm still not sure whether this video is a long term keeper or not. I know I'll use it at least for a while, because I know it will help me to improve my technique on all of my kickboxing tapes. It will especially help me with the flexibility and range of motion that is currently lacking in my hips. Gosh! Do I ever need this if I am ever going to get that crescent kick! He spent some time having us learn basics of how to move and hold yourself. There isn't a lot of kicking in this video. As Aaron said, his intention is to help you learn where the power for your kicks and punches comes from, and to develop what you need to go to the next level.

A fun part was where he teaches you the correct footwork to move forward and backward, and then pushes you through a drill where as he moves forward, you have to move back, and vice versa. It sounds odd, but it was fun! It was also partly working on reflexes, because you never really knew just when he was going to move.

In one section you used a chair for support. He broke down each of the kicks and explained some of the differences, as well as how you could modify the roundhouse if the usual form was too difficult, things like that. He also did some serious range of motion for the hip after he went through all the kicks. I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow!

The flexibility section at the end just about killed me! It was very athletic, as opposed to being like Yoga or anything like that. You do some pushups with your legs almost in a "splits" position that put the finishing touches on the stretches.

Aaron said that you should use the sequence: cardio video twice, strength video once, for your rotation. I may just tack it on the end of Total Energy like I did today. It would make the workout a little bit long, but I don't think this tape would be all that satisfying to me on its own. And if I have to combine it with something, what better than its sibling video?

Erin Ferragut