Tae Bo (Original 4 workout set)

Billy Blanks
Year Released: 1998

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts



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Tae Bo 8 Minute Advanced Workout:
This is a quick 11 minute workout that is mostly cardio (the body of the workout is 8 minutes and there is a short warmup and cooldown, hence the 11 minutes). The workout is set in a small space with a bunch of background exercisers-some on the floor with Billy and some kind of elevated in the back. Billy's daughter Shelley is one of the background exercisers and is not as annoying in this one as she is in later ones- yelling and "whooing" in a really odd and overly intense way.

I really like using this workout as a quick add on to other workouts or as a warmup. I always skip the warmup and cooldown so the 8 min is perfect to add on to those 50 minute workouts to fill my workout hour. You wil see the normal kickboxing fare-jabs, cross punches, upper cuts, side kics, standing oblique twists, knee pulls, etc.

Billy does wear those super tight shorts he seems to love, I find them a bit too revealing but whatever. He doesnt always count evenly on each side but that doesnt bother me. They count in these too, 1-8 a lot, so if you think that will annoy you you might want to avoid Tae Bo in general. It doesnt bother me.

I like only a select few Tae Bo workouts. I love the idea of them, but often feel like Im wasting a lot of time working out w/ Billy (though not in this one at all). I have heard that the Advanced Lives are awesome challenging w/o's but havent had the opportunity to try them yet.

I do really enjoy this workout and use it often. It has a good

lindseylu8

02/18/2010

The tapes are difficult but that makes me want to work harder. I want to get faster and stronger. Anyone who feels like he is too inconsistent must not have a mind of their own. Do your own warm ups. If he took the time to show you how to stretch, it would be a waste of money, anyone can stretch. He gets right down to the nitty gritty. He makes you sweat. Inconsistent or no, it's a workout, plain and simple.

Instructor Comments:
I think Billy does a pretty good job at pushing you. I appreciate it when he reminds me to tighten up. He's not some frilly girl who has sympathy for the fat women and men of America. He doesn't let you slack. He doesn't make you feel stupid and unfit.Sure take a break but don't slack. I'm a slacker, or was before I found Tae Bo.

cmh

02/20/2009

Beginner Tae Bo

I am 17, and I have been doing workout videos since I was barely 16. My main motivation for the workouts is to burn calories and lose weight, although I love the toning aspect also. I want to submit a review of Beginner Tae Bo, which is the workout video I've done for the longest amount of time. Tae Bo (even just the beginner video) is very challenging at first, especially if you've never done video workouts before. On the roundhouse kicks, my legs used to shake, and I couldn't even get through them at double-time speed. However, after about a month of doing the video 3 times per week, I was a pro. The moves melt into each other in a comfortable succession, working from simple hooks/jabs/uppercuts to side kicks and leg lifts. You definitely "feel the burn" in your legs.

It's relatively short, so if you're feeling sluggish on! e day, it's easy to pop in the tape and get into it without losing interest. Tae Bo shaped me up like nothing else. From February of 1999 to June of 2000, I lost 45 pounds, due to a (mostly) good diet and Tae Bo. After awhile, I got sick of the intensity and repetition and now I do Tae Bo about once every month, mixing it in with dance-aerobics videos. It's challenging, but a GREAT way to get into shape and seriously tone muscles. I recommend doing crunches afterward to target your abs, which are the only body part that doesn't receive its own exercise. Great video for beginners.

ktgirl8301

12/05/2000

Tae Bo Basics

I have a collection of tapes, and this is the only one that i have the patience to finish. Its not dance moves so you dont have to be graceful, and he doesnt keep adding to the moves so you'll get confused. What I like best about it is that after each move, you walk for 8 seconds. This gives you time to get ready for the next move. Time flys when doing this. Its not hard, but yet you work up a good sweat and feel toned and great! I love it! If you're looking for a video you can stick to and get results with, this is the one for you!

Instructor Comments:
He's one of those motivating kind of instructors that really play a part in your sticking with the program. He is funny at times and keeps us entertained.

DeAna V.

02/13/2000

Tae bo: advanced workout

I LOVE this workout. yes, it has its flaws such as: an uneven number of reps on each side,and the short warmup.however, i feel that the positives of this workout outweigh the negatives. The acutally workout is really tough. I been doing this workout since May and it's still pretty tough. during the floor workout it seems like you are doing endless reps. but i have to say they after doing taebo i have more endurance and my body is in the best shape it has ever been. others have commented on billy's daughter,shellie, and i would like to do the same. She is really in great shape. It seems that she is the only one who actually complets the whole workout.She has great form throught the whole workout.The others are really drenched and struggling(just like me). Even with its flaws, the Taebo advanced workout will remain one of my favorites for a long time to come.

Instructor Comments:
Billy is very encouraging. He gets me to finish the workout when I'm dead tired. He's in great shape and always shows great form.

pat griffin

11/23/1999

The price was right at my local sporting goods store and the hype had me curious. Unfortunately having done aerobic-boxing before, the instructional tape is a waste. They did a pretty good job on this one, so one viewing was enough for me.

I am at an intermediate fitness level and I enjoy the Basic workout. It's a good alternative on the days I don't have enough time for my usual hour of step aerobics. It's amazing that just 25 minutes of Tae Bo will get my whole body sweating and burning.

Billy does not motivate me to kick higher or punch with more intensity. He rarely, if ever, completes an exercise. He does one set and then stops to point out someone elses form. Fortunately, the incredibly ripped women around him motivate me. If doing this workout will help my arms look like theirs, count me in.

Anabel

10/07/1999

The video is a little short, but I think this is a very good starting point. Just from those 25 minutes, I sweat more than any other aerobic exercise I have ever done. I usually loose interest in aerobic videos quickly, but I am excited to do tae-bo. I have already noticed results in my abs, legs, and arms. I also appreciated the fact that a lot of the people in the video made mistakes and did not all have perfect bodies. I think buying tae-bo is the best investment I could have made.

Instructor Comments:
I think Billy Blanks is an excellent instructor. He has a special kind of grace about him that makes you feel like he is really concerned and compassionate. Although this video doesn't seem to challenge him much, he does a really good job making you feel like you are accomplishing so much.

Iris

06/17/1999

Anyone who thinks that the advanced workout is not challenging is not being totally honest. I have been working out for 5 years and this is the most challenging, fun workout I have ever done. Like some of the other reviewers, I get bored rather easily but with Tae Bo I can't wait until I get to do it again. I used to be a "non-exerciser", but now I even do Tae Bo on the weekends as well as during the week. This is a great investment of your time and money!

Instructor Comments:
Billy is the single most INSPIRING instructor I have ever seen in a fitness tape. The little things that people keep mentioning about the uneven reps are so unimportant compared to the fact that you are continually motivated to keep going and in the process get a great body!

Anna D.

05/07/1999

Tae Bo 8-Minute Workout

This is a great add-on to any workout. It gets used a lot. It's really 11 minutes, including the brief warmup and cooldown. The only problem I have with it, is that I want it to keep going! Grade A.

Annie S.

04/18/1999

I really enjoy the video and so do my children.The music isnt the best and neither are the outfits but the workout is good. I have been doing it for a month now and havent seen lots of results but I feel alot better about myself and I enjoy doing the workout. I have lost two inches from my waist and three from my hips but I just thought I would see better results.

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is very motivated and he keeps me motivated.

Michelle

04/16/1999

The workout was great! I myself am already thin but, since graduating High school I've been pretty lazy. I use to do alot of cheerleading, Dance and Pom-pon which are all great full-body workouts. However none of them compare to Taebo in means of toning I've felt a difference within 2 weeks. I've been doing this for a month now and this is the first workout I have stuck to longer than 2 days. The music sucks but, I just turn the T.v. down and jam to my radio. I give Taebo an A+++++

Instructor Comments:
Billy is very motivating. Although I would have liked him to talk a little less.

Nicole

04/14/1999

Very good workout for whole body, stomach doesn't get worked out much unless you tighten it throughout whole workout. Takes a long time to see results.

Instructor Comments:
very supportive and encouraging throughout.

Pamela Horn

04/14/1999

I'm not going into detail what these tapes are I think the previous persons covered that beautifully.

I'm a tall woman with flat butt - no - double butt. Cheeks under my checks. For those with this problem you know exactly what I mean.

I used only the instructional for two days. Now the basic for 3 wks. My hats off to the instructor. I'm now double-butt-less.

ELNORA ROSS

04/14/1999

I am still a teenager, so I don't have any experience in aerobics or martial arts, but being overweight, I tried running, and lifeting weights, but I had motivation to do those things at all. To lift weights I would dress thinking of the time I could spend doing something else instead of my boring routine, and to go running, I would secretely think of excuse not to, even though I knew I was just being lazy. Sometimes I would even pretend that I forgot. I did lose weight doing those things but it wasn't that obvious, because it took a really long time.

After reading so many AMAZING comments about Tae-Bo from people who lost hundreds of pounds or 8 dress sizes, or from people who were simple addicted to doing taebo 5 times a day, I was finally ready to get my own tapes. There was hope for the REAL success, but mostly there was curiousity.

Just doing the instructional video I was sweating (shows my really fit level, huh?) I loved Billy Blanks style of teaching, and had a great time accomplishing my kicks and punches! But when I did the basic tape alone, it seemed to be too short. I am not saying I did it all perfectly, in fact, I had a hard time finishing it, but I just felt as if I didn't have a workout I could or was supposed to have. BUT, unconsiously, I still think of coming home every day and doing taebo. I still wonder how high my kick will go this time. I still turn my VCR with excitement every day!!! And even after my short work out I still feel my arms get stronger, my abdomen tighter, and my legs toned!!

Tae-Bo is awesome. It makes me feel as if I can protect myself, as if I am fit (I am not, YET), as if I look good and I am worth something. It's great that Billy Blanks lets you get there slowly. He understands you won't do everything perfectly, but he is just a person who radiates energy!! He makes you feel like you can do it, you deserve to be beautiful, and you will be. And you really will if you stick to his workout!!

Instructor Comments:
You probably already know how motivating he is, so I won't say that again. I want to say that he seems really understanding, and does not push you to do it if you can't. When I do the video it seems like he knows whenever I am getting extremely tired or just being lazy!! It's so great!!! He teaches me to hold my stomach in, and I do it even during the day!!

Talia

04/14/1999

I've done a million workout videos - once. I've done TaeBo a bunch of times now ( lost count already!) and I think it's fantastic. High energy, though not always killer, and fun. I, unlike some other reviewers, really liked the fact that the tapes are no-frills, basic stuff (Hey, this is about the workout, not the soundstage, right?). The workouts keep me interested in coming back since I have so much fun doing them, and while some other videos may have me sweating a bit more, or aching more the next day, I think having fun will keep me coming back to TaeBo - and consistency is what gets the results. Cheers to Billy for a job well done.

Instructor Comments:
Where some people seemed bothered by his constant talking, I found Billy's continual motivation to be great. His down-to-earth attitude made me really believe I could do this and be successful.

Amber

04/13/1999

I am a college student and i use the Advanced video of Tae-bo. i am not a fitness guru but i am no slouch in the gym. i found this video to be extrememly challenging. i sweat like a mad dogg. my abs have never felt so tight and my bum is hard like it was when he touched that girls in the video. Also, i love the pregnant woman ab excercise...i scream like i am going into labor, not that i have ever given but i'd imagine it would hurt this much. my friends and i do it everyday and we better see results real soon since bikini season is right around the corner...so billy if you see four angry 19 year olds running after you...your video didn't work. but so far..i love you mr. tae-bo!!! you are my daddy!!

Instructor Comments:
mr. tae-bo seems to know what he is talking about but if i had to listen to his voice all the time..i would shoot myself. "abs abs abs abs abs!!" rrrrrrrrrr....those of you who do the video know what i'm talking about. he does have a nice body but the ladies in the video are butch and i hate the noises they make.

Kate Bedard

04/12/1999

I've only been doing the video for 4 days now but I definitely can feel the difference. I can feel muscles that I didn't know existed. And I look forward to doing the tape now. It's such a fun workout, and the 27 minutes just seem to fly by! And since I'm a college student, this is the perfect length. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a new and exciting way to be fit!! *_*

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is so motivational! He makes you want to keep moving, no matter what your feeling. And the extra "Good job!" that he says at the end of the basics tape makes me feel so good!

Beth Dierking

04/09/1999

I'm surprised to find so many great reviews of this. I am sorry that I blew $40 on the instructional and basic tapes. I'm letting my neighbor use it now so she can avoid the same mistake. After that I'll give it away or give it to the library so people can try it before wasting their money.

The production quality (set, music, lighting, clothing) was poor in my opinion. I prefer fancy sets (or at least a beach!) and good music. I thought the music was silly. The intermittent strobe lights were also silly. All-in-all, it made me laugh, and I could only do it about twice before getting it out of my house! The workout did make me sweat and breathe heavily, though. I felt unsafe about several of the moves (the warmup, the fast kicks, the abrupt cooldown.) I knew I didn't care for "boxing" type exercises, but saw Tae Bo featured on so many of my favorite health TV shows (including Rosie O'Donnel show), that I was compelled to get it out of curiosity.

I'm glad that some people like it, though. Give me yoga or ballet or t'ai chi any day over this!

Instructor Comments:
He was okay, and I liked the way he emphasized tightening our abs and good posture (although one of the ladies in the video had blatant hunching of the back.) His outfit in the video was incredibly cheesy! He was encouraging, though. I thought several of his moves weren't safe.

Heather P.

04/09/1999

I personally really like the videos. I purchased the two tapes which included the instructional and basic for $40. I am what most of the reviewers call a beginner. This is my second week using the Tae bo video and I see a difference in my waist and abds. I know many critics will try to tear this video to pieces but this is the only video that builds up your confidence with your body. Everyone knows if your mind is not condition the rest is absolete. I will continue to do the basic video 6-7 days a week every morning and will be looking forward to more Tae bo videos in the near future!!!!

Instructor Comments:
I think Billy is a great motivator. He encourages to work out at your own pace. I would purchase more of his videos because he pushs you during the times you really need it.

Tonia Moore

04/04/1999

I teach kickboxing so when I saw the infomercial, I was pretty excited thinking the videos would be a great reference for me. Luckily, I didn't have to spend my savings on the video, and I watched a friend's. I was surprised when he demonstrated a jab as always going across the body (has he ever watched a boxing match?). Also, his hook and uppercut are over-reached. These punches should be kept closer to the body with the momentum coming from the shoulder, back and torso, not an open swinging arm. When he started kicking, again, I was surprised that his "roundhouse" was nothing more than a side kick. It also seemed that all of the women in his class led their kicks by sticking their butts out to the side first. It is just weird form. I don't even need to mention the lack of warm-up/cool-down, or those Jane Fonda donkey kicks and fire hydrants. I smell a back injury! Because of my training, I can modify the video and get a pretty good workout but it is too dangerous for the average or unknowing viewer. If you ask me, go to your local gym and take a kickboxing class. You won't get bored or a back injury.

Instructor Comments:
Aside from his counting ability, I like the way BB leads the class. The one most disappointing thing he does is go around and point at and poke the class members telling us to look at their butts and look at their abs. C'mon.

Corinne Oh

03/29/1999

I teach kickboxing so when I saw the infomercial, I was pretty excited thinking the videos would be a great reference for me. Luckily, I didn't have to spend my savings on the video, and I watched a friend's. I was surprised when he demonstrated a jab as always going across the body (has he ever watched a boxing match?). Also, his hook and uppercut are over-reached. These punches should be kept closer to the body with the momentum coming from the shoulder, back and torso, not an open swinging arm. When he started kicking, again, I was surprised that his "roundhouse" was nothing more than a side kick. It also seemed that all of the women in his class led their kicks by sticking their butts out to the side first. It is just weird form. I don't even need to mention the lack of warm-up/cool-down, or those Jane Fonda donkey kicks and fire hydrants. I smell a back injury! Because of my training, I can modify the video and get a pretty good workout but it is too dangerous for the average or unknowing viewer. If you ask me, go to your local gym and take a kickboxing class. You won't get bored or a back injury.

Instructor Comments:
Aside from his counting ability, I like the way BB leads the class. The one most disappointing thing he does is go around and point at and poke the class members telling us to look at their butts and look at their abs. C'mon.

Corinne Oh

03/29/1999

Great! I am also a Power Kicks fan, and I like (love!) both of these equally well. Tae Bo Advanced contains both an aerobic workout and a tough floor workout for legs and abs. The floor work is harder than the leg work in Power Kicks. I have a problem with the kneeling leg getting tired while the other one is working, but I'm getting used to it.

Billy shows great form. He executes the moves with such ease. And no, the counting doesn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, I like it. I usually count along with them -- it reminds me of a live class atmosphere.

Some reviewers have commented on unequal working of the sides. There is so little of that, that I don't think it's even worth mentioning. I doubt that I'd have even noticed if I hadn't read about it here.

Billy's daughter, Shellie, is also in this video. If you saw the recent pictures of her in Fitness magazine -- let me tell you, those pictures don't do her justice. She is one tough, awe-inspiring lady. She's just as good as her dad, kicking and punching so perfectly and easily. I watch her a lot during the video, maybe more than I watch Billy. (She's not in the Basic workout, and I missed her!)

I know this review is just a mish-mash of various thoughts, but since it's been reviewed numerous times before now, I don't need to repeat what everyone else has said. I'll just give it my grade: A++!

Instructor Comments:
I like Billy a lot, and I can't wait for all the (rumored) new videos. I also like his daughter Shellie. She gives me something to aspire to.

Annie S.

03/28/1999

Great! I am also a Power Kicks fan, and I like (love!) both of these equally well. Tae Bo Advanced contains both an aerobic workout and a tough floor workout for legs and abs. The floor work is harder than the leg work in Power Kicks. I have a problem with the kneeling leg getting tired while the other one is working, but I'm getting used to it. Billy shows great form. He executes the moves with such ease. And no, the counting doesn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, I like it. I usually count along with them -- it reminds me of a live class atmosphere. Some reviewers have commented on unequal working of the sides. There is so little of that, that I don't think it's even worth mentioning. I doubt that I'd have even noticed if I hadn't read about it here. Billy's daughter, Shellie, is also in this video. If you saw the recent pictures of her in Fitness magazine -- let me tell you, those pictures don't do her justice. She is one tough, awe-inspiring lady. She's just as good as her dad, kicking and punching so perfectly and easily. I watch her a lot during the video, maybe more than I watch Billy. (She's not in the Basic workout, and I missed her!) I know this review is just a mish-mash of various thoughts, but since it's been reviewed numerous times before now, I don't need to repeat what everyone else has said. I'll just give it my grade: A++!

Instructor Comments:
I like Billy a lot, and I can't wait for all the (rumored) new videos. I also like his daughter Shellie. She gives me something to aspire to.

Annie S.

03/28/1999

I did Tae Bo Basic plus the 8-min workout this morning, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Thanks to previous reviews, I knew to do my own warm-ups, and just joined in on the main portion of the workout. I actually enjoy that each move is repeated for multiple sets of 8 at a reasonable tempo, because this enables me to really focus on my form instead of scrambling to keep up, especially for the kicks and combos. It is also very easy to adjust intensity this way, so I don't think it would be difficult for a beginner to join in. What another reviewer said is very true: you get out of kickboxing exactly what you put into it! I have had a little training in martial arts, and so I practise really putting power into my punches by rotating the hips (transferring the power from the legs all the way up to the fist) and "snapping" the punches and kicks (this refers to the explosive speed with which the you perform strike, not overextending the joint). Working this intensely puts me above my aerobic zone, so I appreciate the "marching" segments to recover before the next technique. I personally find little enjoyment in performing kickboxing techniques without 100% explosive power, so I usually get winded by long, non-stop combos. I appreciate that Tae Bo is structured the way I like to train.

I also previewed the advanced workout, and almost all of the techniques, especially the kicks, are performed at a do-able tempo. Only at the very end, with alternating front and back kicks, do I anticipate having any trouble. But every double-time move can be continued single-time instead, if that is a concern. I will definitely take another reviewer's advice, and switch leads on alternate workouts to prevent becoming lop-sided!

I certainly can't recommend paying $60 US for these tapes ($100 Cdn!), so it is probably a good idea to wait for the new tapes to become available retail. Still, I enjoy the workout, and I think I will use it often.

Instructor Comments:
Mostly, he just counts. The set is horrible, though, and I can't say that I'm too fond of the music.

Serena

03/26/1999

I have just started the work out and I am already hooked. As a women this type of excersising makes me feel stronger and safer in situations when I am alone. I have learned how to punch and kick and that will help me god forrbid I incounter any need to use it. I also like the fact that you can go at your own pace. When he instructs you to do double time , just go normal if you cant handle the vigoris steps. The people in the video are of all ages, races,shapes, and sizes. My church has started a class 2 nights a week and the people are just pouring in because the workout is so fun and benificial to a healthier lifstyle. I would incourage everyone to give it a try, what do they have to loose ( a few pounds).

April Therrien

03/25/1999

I am a Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, and Physical Therapist, and I LOVED Tae Bo!! I have a great time! BUT, I am extremely disappointed that the video was made so poorly. The repetitions are very unequal, the tempo varies from right to left, and the more you watch it, the more mistakes that you will find. I understand tha t mistakes happen, but----to massively sell these videos with these kind of crucial mistakes blows my mind!!! You could do 4 sets of 8 on the left leg, and then 2 sets of 8 on the right!!! For beginner exercisers, for which I feel this video series is targeted for---IT IS VERY DANGEROUS!!! Please consider making updated videos that are correct in form, reps, and tempo. Thank you!

Instructor Comments:
He is very motivating, very challenging, and cute, too! You got to love his personality on camera!

Kelley Wickenhauser

03/23/1999

There are only about two or three of the people working with B.B. in the video, that are actually doing the moves correctly. I watch the thin girl in the blue outfit, and the young girl in the front with the bobbed hairstyle (she kicks very high).

My goal like I said, was to do each move as accurately as possible. I went very slowly. I have been doing Tae Bo for about three months now, and I have still only done the first two tapes.

Yet.... I have had major results. My abdomen is a lot more toned, and I even see some chiseling. How?

I found his music boring. So I created my own 45 min routine using my CD-ROM changer. I do one move after another, dicated by the song. I only have brief 10 sec breaks during this time. I took the different moves from the two videos, and created sort of a dance routine- with multiple reps to the point where the involved muscles are aching. As he always advises, contract your abdomen with each move. One of the CDs from which I use at least three songs is C & C Music Factory. I prefer their music because it is very up-beat, motivating, and the individ. songs are very long. For example, 'Gonna make you sweat"

It's a great work-out program. I think that I have master the moves (in at least the first two videos), better than some of the people in his marketing show. And I definitely have results.

I'm not in a rush to go to the advanced video yet. At some point, I'll have to vary my routine, because my body will have adapted to my current workout. That's when I'll move on.

To those not seeing results, remember, proper eating is very important, and consider incorporating a couple of days of week of weight training. Muscle burns fat even when you're not working out. I do Tae Bo twice a week. Treadmill/Stat. Bike twice a week, and Weight training twice a week.

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is a patient and well-paced instructor. When I reviewed the video tapes, I did what's usually not recommended. I sat and watched him and the better of the demonstrators in the background. I listened intently to every detail of instruction to make sure I wouldn't injure myself, and to make sure I would get the best results from each of the moves. He teaches well.

Cessley

03/22/1999

I watched the instructional tape just to see what it was about. I have been doing some cardiokicking boxing at my gym so none of the moves were new to me. I felt pretty comfortable that I could do the tapes without further instruction.

The basic tape was not at all what I expected. I was a little disappointed because the workout was very short. I didn't get the good sweat that I had expected from Tae Bo. So, I added the 8 minute tape and that was a sufficient workout. The warmup and stretching at the beginning were very short as well. I did not however, twist my neck at the break neck speed that Billy Blanks was suggesting. I took into consideration that he is a martial arts expert not an aerobic instructor so I always exercised common sense when doing the various "exercises" of which I wasn't completely sure of their safety.

The advanced workout.......I felt like I had died and gone to (not heaven). This was the hardest exercise video I had ever done in my whole life and I loved it. I had to drag myself to the couch after I completed the hour long advanced workout. Again, some of the exercise had questionable safety, but overall it had my body feeling like I had really done something. I will only do the advanced workout from here on out. My ability to perform higher kicks and to maintain my balance for longer periods of time will be excellent measures of my improving physical condition. The only bad thing I can say about the advanced workout is that the morning after my body felt like I had been sleeping on a bed of rocks. My body hurt in places that I didn't even know I had muscles.

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks was a very good instructor for the most part. Sometimes his "speeches" were very motivating and kept me moving. At other times, especially during the floor work of the advanced tape, he got down right annoying. When I'm dying from the pain, I don't want to hear "I'm always watching you."...argghhhhhh. But all in all, he was very good. I think he would probably be more effective in a live class situation.

Yvette R.

03/21/1999

I have always worked out at home, I'm not a gym person and have quite a large and diverse collection of tapes. I was hugely dissappointed in these tapes. I still do them because it is the one workout I can do with my husband, who has a black belt in karate. The instructional tape was good, but really you will only do it once or twice - MAX. The Basic is my favorite one, but way too short if you are the least bit fit. I then tried the Advanced and literally felt nauseous. There is a huge gap between beginner and advanced. The basic does not come close to preparing you for the advanced. You would have to be able to do the basic at least 3 times in a row to be able to move to the advanced and frankly I wouldn't do it because doing the basic three times would be...boring. The only way I see of making the transition from basic to advanced is to start with the basic (it has a good warm up) then stop it just before the cooldown, put the advanced in when you are already really warm and ready to go. Everyday we try doing just one more section and eventually get through the whole thing, then we go back to the basic cooldown. I would skip the floor work and stick to some good basic weight lifting/pushup type tape to finish off. Even if you always do the basic and advanced to the end you are still only getting about 40 mintues of cardio, which is average, then every second day, so weight lifting for 20 minutes (I usually use Kathy Smith). As good as TaeBo is for your whole body, I don't think it can replace weight bearing exercises to build bone density which is very important for women coming into menopause. I think it's a lot of money for really one or two tapes. Especially if you are Canadian, we pay over $100 for the set and at $50/tape, it's a bit pricey.

Instructor Comments:
I don't have opinion about him one way or another, he's ok.

Jayne Murphy

03/20/1999

This video is an excellent example of an intermediate to advanced video. I am an Aerobic Instructor & Conditioning Specialist. The moves are fun & exciting. I have a great time with each workout I do. However, I feel that this workout could very well be toned down and taught in a slower pace to accomodate the people who are new to exercising or are older and need a slower pace. Billy Blanks tells you to go at your own pace yet sets the pace too high for a beginner. The advanced is really too fast and risk of injury is very high unless you are very accomplished in Tae-Bo. I have many people ask my opinion of Tae-Bo and I tell them that if you are experienced in aerobics or Martial Arts, then purchase the tapes. Otherwise invest in a class to see if they can tolerate the pace & the moves before they purchase the tapes.Perhaps Billy Blanks will come out with a Beginner workout to accomodate all the people that want to receive the great benefits this workout has to offer without becoming discourged with trying to keep up with the fast pace. Again, I personally love the workout for myself.

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is very motivating and really makes you want to work out hard. He is excellent!

Elaine Melochick

03/20/1999

When I first got Tae Bo and did the basic tape, I didn't understand what all the excitement was about or why everyone seemed to LOVE this video set. It annoyed me that Billy did everything opposite and his nipples peeking out of his bright blue spandex suit were over the top for me. ha! HOWEVER, I recently decided to give Tae Bo another try. I did the basic tape about three times a week for 2 or 3 weeks, and I found myself enjoying it more and more every time. I think part of the reason I didn't like it initially is because I didn't have the leg strength to do some of the work! It is very intense.

I must admit that I have grown to enjoy Billy's teaching, even with the mistakes, and look forward to his motivational words.

Yesterday, I did Tae Bo Advanced for the first time. I had completed the entire basic tape a few times and decided I was ready for a larger challenge. Whew, am I sore!!!! The Advanced workout was difficult, but I had no idea I would feel like this the next day! It is testiment that this workout really is TOTAL body! From my head to my toes, I am totally sore -- back, shoulders, arms, butt, inner and outer thighs, etc.

Overall, I really am enjoying Tae Bo these days. It is an excellent workout and is challenging because of all the muscles that go into completing each move. I would definetly recommend the set and am considering buying the new tapes (so expensive!!) :)

Instructor Comments:
Billy is motivational and intense. He obviously believes in his workout and communicates that enthusiasm well. He could use some cuing and counting help, as well as a wardrobe overhall, but otherwise he is a great instructor. The more I do the tapes, the more I like him.

Candace Lee

03/17/1999

When I first got Tae Bo and did the basic tape, I didn't understand what all the excitement was about or why everyone seemed to LOVE this video set. It annoyed me that Billy did everything opposite and his nipples peeking out of his bright blue spandex suit were over the top for me. ha! HOWEVER, I recently decided to give Tae Bo another try. I did the basic tape about three times a week for 2 or 3 weeks, and I found myself enjoying it more and more every time. I think part of the reason I didn't like it initially is because I didn't have the leg strength to do some of the work! It is very intense.
I must admit that I have grown to enjoy Billy's teaching, even with the mistakes, and look forward to his motivational words.
Yesterday, I did Tae Bo Advanced for the first time. I had completed the entire basic tape a few times and decided I was ready for a larger challenge. Whew, am I sore!!!! The Advanced workout was difficult, but I had no idea I would feel like this the next day! It is testiment that this workout really is TOTAL body! From my head to my toes, I am totally sore -- back, shoulders, arms, butt, inner and outer thighs, etc.
Overall, I really am enjoying Tae Bo these days. It is an excellent workout and is challenging because of all the muscles that go into completing each move. I would definetly recommend the set and am considering buying the new tapes (so expensive!!) :)

Instructor Comments:
Billy is motivational and intense. He obviously believes in his workout and communicates that enthusiasm well. He could use some cuing and counting help, as well as a wardrobe overhall, but otherwise he is a great instructor. The more I do the tapes, the more I like him.

Candace Lee

03/17/1999

Wonderful -- Obviously, its no comparison to working out at the studio in LA -- but the tapes are wonderful. You will see results from doing them. The challenge me physically as well as mentally and if you want results you will see them. I have lost 60 pounds and I am a whole new person because of Billy Blanks. I read a lot of the comments that people wrote -- the negative comments are obviously from people who dont want to challenge themselves physically. Tae - Bo is awsome!!!

Instructor Comments:
Amazing, Incredible, NO comparison to ANY OTHER, inspiring, motivating, challenging, ..... NO DOUBT the best at what he does!!!

Nicole

03/14/1999

I'm only on the first level, but it's truly the first video that I've ever been motivated to do more than a couple of times. I think that the movements are very impowering, and though I've not been at it for more than about a month, I do feel more balanced, energized and as though I'm doing something beneficial for myself.

Instructor Comments:
I like his low-key approach--he's not insulting to those who are more out of shape and he doesn't come across as patronizing and cheesy like some I've seen before.

Kelly Zega

03/14/1999

Music could be a little better. I would like to see a small part of the tape, toward the end, that would have some of his success stories. And the fact that some of the choriagrophy is not in sink, just makes me believe him that much more.

Instructor Comments:
Very encouraging. He seems to have the purist intentions, to get us fit. Even the tape and music are just plain. Nothing fancy. Just regular people with good results from a wonderful exercise.

Sandra Eurich

03/06/1999

Overall, the workout is a good one. I find the production quality to be on the low side however. There are many mistakes in counting, some of the participants make obvious mistakes in the routine and the sound quality isn't great.

While I enjoy the overall experience, I am glad that I didn't spend $60 on this set. Go for the cheaper versions available.

Instructor Comments:
Billy's instructions are generally very good. I find a MAJOR problem to be that he has broken the cardinal rule of exercise videos--mirroring. If you choose to follow what he says (i.e. moving right) then you are going the opposite direction that he his going on-screen. This can be very confusing when first learning and since no other video I have ever done has this flaw, I find it very bothersome.

Billy also has a tendency to start a new move while you are still counting the previous move. On more than one occasion, I reached 7 of 8 and he was starting the next move.

Lisa Belsha

03/04/1999

Loved the tapes have used them 5 times and plan on using them for a while. If you are unsure yourself please rent them from Blockbuster video before you buy. Thats what I did and now I know exactly what I'm buying. Remmember no workout tape will please everyone we are all on different levels if this tape works for you than do it do it you have everything to gain and nothing to loose. Good Luck

Instructor Comments:
Billy is very motavating, Remmember you can't please everyone and he dosen't try to. He sticks with what he knows and hey it seems to work for him.

John N

03/04/1999

I was able to purchase the videos in a 2-tape set (instructional and basic) for $38 with a coupon inside for a free 8 minute workout tape (totally bypassing the advanced workout),which, from what I've read on this board, I should be happy about!

I'm not in great shape by any means, and find that the basic workout tape really works for me and for my own personal plan I think if I just do the basic workout and add the 8 minute workout tape to the basic I should get a good advanced workout when I'm ready for that point.

I really enjoy the tapes and love the option to buy the two at an affordable price.

Instructor Comments:
I really enjoyed Billy on the tapes, I felt he was able to motivate me. I liked that he gave you the "how to's" for using a chair if you need to (not all of us who are trying the videos look like the women in the video).

Linda Aukscunas

03/01/1999

I have been an Aerobic instructor for nearly 5 years and last weekend I became "certified" to teach kickboxing. I visited Billy's gym in Sherman Oaks in February to confirm my thoughts about the workout. The videos are less intense than the live workout. He really scaled it down to bring it to the masses. In the studio, the cardio workout is 45-50 minutes.

As for the videos, I alternate the Basic and the Advanced. I still use the Basic to improve my form. The slow speed allows me to concentrate on my punches and kicks.

The advanced tape is becoming manageable. I've added additional reps to even out Billy's cueing. Here's the AMAZING part: I own at least 40 videos and I get bored easily - - I am not bored with TaeBo. I have been doing this workout since the beginning of Nov. I own Stephanie Steele and Lisa Gaylord's tape. I have done them 2-3 since owning TaeBo.

I love the way my abs have responded to Billy's kickboxing workout. I have suspended my tummy tuck savings plan. Step will never do this for you. I have dropped a size without changing my eating habits. I feel great.

As others have mentioned, there are problems with his cueing and counting. Those problems are not as evident in a live class. I'm sure that future videos will be smoother. Just as The Firm and CIA improved with time.

Instructor Comments:
Billy is a fun and inspiring instructor. I enjoy his comments and they keep me going during the advanced tape. He does screw up the reps, but an earlier review suggested switching leads each time you do the tape and that reduced my annoyance.

Lorraine Stokes

03/01/1999

I'm very pleased with my purchase of "Taebo". I love the 8 minute workout the most, especially when time is short. I've noticed alot of focus is on the arms. I use light arm weights with all the punching, just for that extra resistence. The music is great, yet poor choice of outfits. I wonder who Billy's advisor was on those leg warmers and that blue unitard. Hopefully, I start seeing a difference in my abs and arms.

Instructor Comments:
He keeps me going, especially in the advanced because I really need it.

Toni R

03/01/1999

I would say I am the average couch potato. And, I have tried many tapes over the last 10 years; only to discard them or trade them.

I think instructors need to learn from BB about : 1) passion for your endeavor 2) interest in the consumer 3) and leader- ship through your motivational style.

There has been absolutely too much emphasis on beautiful graphics, beautiful studios and beautiful people in the exercise field. People want to be motivated by someone who seems interested in their subject and in the consumer first.

So I say, learn from BB how you can make a better presentation and forget the phony lovely perfect presentation. Remember Jack LaLane of the 50's; he had that star quality to motivate and yet there was no phoney outfits and stages.

As far as instructions: well anyone exercising should have the common sense to go to a dr and take a proactive stance to learn about their body and limitations. I don't care what exercise program I use; I do only what my body is capable of doing comfortably.

People in this society need to learn to question all authority;You can't take an exercise tape and do "all" of the moves just because the instructor says so. This is true of anything in life; you need to learn about developing your own style.

In sum, I have found the tape to be the "absolute best" in that it keeps me coming back for more and the more fit I get the more workout I get from focusing on my form and working out at my own pace.

So, if you are reading this and you are not a fitness fanatic, I recommend you do only the exercises which seem doable and work at a pace you're comfortable with. And periodically review the instructional tape to make sure you are doing the moves correctly and trust your intuition when it comes to the stretches and do some of your own individually designed stretches.

Instructor Comments:
Very motivating, sincere and lots of fun !

sand

02/28/1999

I was so excited to get Tae Bo, but very disappointed when I actually tried it. I was really hoping for a challenging aerobic workout, which the commercial seems to portray, but the advanced tape was only moderately difficult. I am only an intermediate aerobic exerciser, but it just wasn't very hard. Maybe it had to do with my background in karate, but I just don't think Tae Bo is all that it's cracked up to be.

I think I'll stick to Kathy Smith's Aerobox when I want a real challenge.

Instructor Comments:
BB is a typical martial arts instructor; very little emphasis on solid warm-ups and safe exercise form, but motivational and likeable. As long as you don't rely on him for sound fitness advise, you'll be fine.

april etzler

02/25/1999

I just recieved taeboe about a week ago, and have been doing it every day. I have already did the workout with alot of friends, and now they bought it. It really makes your heart pump, and gets the blood moving. After a week I already see results. My body feels tighter, and I feel stronger.I have been working out for 5 years, and I finially found what I need to get results.I think that all the punching and kicking is fun.I think the choreography is easy to follow.I can't talk enough about it.I look forward to do the work out everyday, no other video has done that for me.

Believe me it's the best you won't regret buying it.

Instructor Comments:
billy blanks is very motivational. He is really aware of what people are after in getting results. He pushes you to the max. I

jill

02/22/1999

I have been working out since I was 19 and I am going on 45. I am going on my third grandchild, and I don't think I am ready to slow down, yet!! I started out jogging, aerobics, running ( 4 miles ), free weights, & a lot of home workout tapes, starting with Jane Fonda, Kathy Smith, Cher, Jen Miller, Kelli Roberts, The Firm, (which I still do), and NOW THE BILLY BLANKS TAPE!! I don't have it, yet, but I did this tape this weekend with my sister, LOVED IT!! I am going to buy this tape this week. Can't wait to get started!! Thank you Billy Blanks for being so inspirational !!!

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is the MOST MOTIVATIONAL instructor I have EVER seen! He comes across as being VERY sincere, geniune, and inspirational!!

P KING

02/21/1999

I borrowed the set the first time I used it, and ordered it that night. I am a professed non-exerciser and hate almost all things that get my heart rate up. EXCEPT this.

I have done all of the tapes and look forward to sweating my butt off every night. His instructional video is the best. It took me two or three times to get the moves down, but once I did there was no stopping the VCR. This is the only tape that I would recommend to any of my non-exerciser friends.

The motivational nature of the tapes is well worth the money.

Instructor Comments:
I loved Billy. His style and inspirational "speeches" keep me motivated every time I use the tapes. If I lived in Southern California, I would be in line for his class.

Winoka Wilkes

02/17/1999

I was so excited to get this video but in the end was very disappointed. I wanted to do something that was a tough workout but not step. The instructional video just broke down the moves, the basic video didn't even get my heart rate up, and the advanced video barely got me sweating. I was hoping it'd be really tough but to me it wasn't. I was bored from the constant repetitions. Maybe if you're a beginning or moderate exerciser, it'd work for you, but it was a waste of time and money for me (I did return it). Grade: D

Lisa

02/14/1999

I am going to give my unique perspective as an out-of-shape and unmotivated exerciser. I ordered the videos the night that my stairmaster broke. I thought it was a sign. It was.

Ordinarily, I have trouble forcing myself to exercise. Now, I can't skip a night of Tae-Bo if I try. I walk around all day thinking about kicking and punching, and sometimes practice when I'm alone in the office.

I enjoy the simple routine, because I have never been very coordinated. The only complaint I have about the video is that sometimes he goes so fast (double-time) that it is hard to maintain good form. I don't get bored at all, even though a lot of the movements are the same.

In addition, the music - although it's cheesy - is very motivating.

Instructor Comments:
I like that Billy isn't cutesie or pompous, the two failing of some aerobic instructors. He is encouraging, but I don't like all the references to God in the Advanced video.

Shannon

02/12/1999

I got the advanced version of Tae Bo through the exchange. I did it about half a dozen times and then I traded it away. I should note that I only did the aerobic portion, so I can't comment on any of the floor toning.

I didn't find Tae Bo advanced to be a truly challenging workout. There were parts that were difficult-but just when my heartrate would go up, Billy would tell everyone to jog it out. For instance, towards the end of the aerobic portion, you do a series of jump front kicks. These are tough-but you don't do very many! When he said "jog it out" (or whatever he says) I was like "huh?" so soon?"

Now I'm far from a warrior queen, so that really surprised me. Power Kicks destroys me, and I even find parts of CIA 9809 (jump rope anyone?) to be challenging.

There was one thing about Tae Bo that drove me crazy. I didn't mind the lack of warm up, or Billy's shouting, etc. But the participants drove me mad! The almost religious ecstasy that preceded every move was really irritating. I mean, have these people never seen or done a side kick in their life? Please.

Instructor Comments:
Billy is motivating--in a B movie star sort of way. I've seen him in so many bad martial arts movies that I have a hard time taking him seriously.

Elizabeth

02/11/1999

Tae-Bo (2 pak)

Instructional video: I read a few of the reviews that were posted previously. I figured it was time to throw my 2 cents in here. Since I am familiar with martial arts moves and the importance of maintaining good form while doing them I was pleasantly surprised with Billy's indepth instructional tape. Alot of you may already know the boxing moves from Aerobox, but it is very important that you take your time with the kicks and use the instructional video in this set as much as possible till you know that your form is correct, so you will not injure yourself. This is not a tape series that I would advance through too quickly. It takes concentration to place your kicks and not just throw them out there. Billy reminds you to keep everything in place, which is extremely important and he expresses this throughout the instructional tape. If you practice through the instructional tape his basic tape will go smoothly even during the fast moves due to the fact that you will be concentrating on your form as well as speed and not just flailing from move to move as another reviewer stated.

Basic Tape: This tape flows very nicely from the instructional tape. I usually do both tapes together, so I get more of a workout. I also feel regardless of how much karate (martial arts) I may know and do, I can always use the form instruction to remind me of what to do and how. Can you tell I think it is really important to know your form for these tapes?*L* This tape is a little faster and alot of fun. The moves are faster, but you can slow down, so that you aren't just flinging your body parts around, but you do it with purpose rather than ego. I can't tell you how much I sweated in this tape and how great and energized I felt after this workout! IMO this is a must have set. Just remember to control your movements and concentrate through them.

Instructor Comments:
Billy is a very motivating instructor. He keeps me going even when I want to throw in the towel after my legs are screaming and tired from all those standing in place roundhouse kicks. He isen't an "in your face" type of instructor, but comes across differently with his unique blend of motivation that works very well for me. I thoroughly enjoyed Billy's instructional video and his basic, and am awaiting as patiently as possible his newest releases.

Noreen Howard

02/08/1999

This video series has been thoroughly broken down by other reviewers. I resisted writing a review because I did not think that Billy Blanks needed another testimonial (he has a whole infomercial full of them). But I have seen and tried nearly two hundred videos (since 1988), and this is the best of the bunch. Not due to the precision or production of the workout - I will concede many of the flaws that have been discussed- but because it makes me glad to be alive and healthy. I find Billy Blanks so incredibly motivating that I cannot even find words to express it. When I completed the Advanced tape the first time, and I saw Billy and his crew holding hands and dancing, I began to cry. I was so elated to find a workout that would motivate me and knock all of the self-loathing thoughts out of my head. I love to do Tae Bo, and I regularly use all three of the actual workout tapes (basic, advanced, and sprint). Even better, my husband has tried it and is hooked. After the first time he worked out with the basic tape, he asked me to pre-order the two new tapes. Thanks to Tae Bo, we are looking and feeling better than ever. I cannot imagine ever becoming bored with Tae Bo. This is the best sixty dollars I have ever spent.

Instructor Comments:
I adore this man. I connect with his style, somehow. He is encouraging, demanding, sincere. He believes in me, and I believe in me. If your taste does not run to the charismatic-revival type, he will probably annoy you. But I believe!

Pilar

02/06/1999

Since most every review has explained the breakdown of the tapes, the moves and their faults: I feel I must submit a review that is more positive than most on the board. I noticed that several of the reviews state that the advanced tapes' floorwork with the donkey kicks and side kicks are unsafe because they are done on hands and knees, thus pressure is placed on the back. This got me thinking; I knew I had seen this same position in recent magazines. Shape, Fitness and Self have ALL featured workouts with this "unsafe" position in the last six months! Sometimes all the moves are done on hands and knees. The articles state that you may lean on your elbows if necessary, just as Billy says/shows in the tape!! Even my Reebok Legs tape with Kathy Khaeler and one of my Karen tapes uses this position. The key, as they all agree; is to make sure you keep your abs in to neutralize the spine and keep it from arching. The elbow position can also be "unsafe" if you lean too far forward and don't keep your abs in. It all depends on how comfortable you are in either position.

As far as the set, music and instruction: I don't notice the set because I am working too hard, the music is funky and I am sick of dance/techno for aerobic tapes anyhow, and I like the "whooping" action going on in the classes. All the participants actually have learned form Billy and the results are evident. The range of ages is around 18-55; and they all look great and HAPPY to be sweating. Never have I seen people clapping and slapping their thighs with such abandon. I can relate because before Billy, I hated cardio and got sick of the cheescake style I was getting from other videos.

I realize that most of the individuals who didn't like Tae-Bo are those who prefer the Cathe and CIA tapes; which are very high quality and have great instruction. I guess Tae-Bo is good for me because I feel like I am a part of the tape itself! And let's not forget results; I love that my butt/hips/thighs/abs and back are looking really cut and feel powerful. My flexibility and balance has improved immensely also.

Another point that has been brought up is the fact that the punches are not reflective of true self-defence tactics. It seems that Billy could have turned it into a self-defense class, because he is a seven-time world champ in Karate; he chose not to, and doesn't sell it as such. I will say that the warm-up is not very thorough in the advanced tape; I do my own stretching and a little step prior to jumping in. Overall; I believe this is the most fun, most effective and most happy-induced I have been with any tape I have in my 80+ collection. Hope this helps any undecided VF'ers!

Instructor Comments:
If you prefer a very talkative, upbeat powerful speaker; who is very motivating and urges you to "push it to the limit," then Billy's style is for you. He is not soft-spoken or sweet; but I find that I am trying harder because he constantly is on you to tighten the abs, focus on the movement and give it your all. I prefer his style because it isn't like he's saying the same keywords (Awesome) over and over again, and it seems like he really wants the viewer to succeed.

Stephanie Graham

02/04/1999

The video has a terrible picture. It looks as if it was recorded off of a TV with no cable. The basic workout is good but is very hard on the body. It doesn't flow real smooth so you are twisting and turning in strange ways to try and keep up. The advanced workout is even harder on the body and I find it less enjoyable. The music you are working out to is annoying and I find myself turning the volume down and adding my own music. This is probably one of my worst investments when it comes to workout videos.

Instructor Comments:
He has a lot of energy and is easily understood but his cueing isn't really good, leaving you a step behind. He also doesn't balance the two sides when working out.

Debbie Brockett

02/04/1999

The one complaint I have about this is that you can't buy the tapes separately. This is obviously a marketing ploy to bring in more bucks,(which I'm sure has worked!) under the guise of it being for our own safety- ie; learn the form and the moves before doing the advanced tape. However, the form points on the instructional tape could have been added to the Basic tape, and a warning that the advanced tape is advanced would have been enough, I think. (Cathe trusts complete beginners not to go and kill themselves on Interval Max, after all, she doesn't force us to buy Mega Step Blast with more advanced tapes)

However, that said, this is, IMHO, an excellent set of kickboxing videos, especially for someone of an beginning/ intermediate level who could work up slowly through the tapes and get full use out of all of them. People with a more advanced cardio fitness level won't find the Basic tape challenging enough, and the Instructional tape will only get watched a few times too. (NB the instructional tape, goes through every exercise slowly, and then faster. it could almost be a beginner workout except for the fact that he only does one side, as he is only demonstrating the moves.)

The advanced tape is fast, fun and motivating. My heart rate was well into my target zone throughout the workout (I consider myself an advanced level cardio) and the time flew by. Alot has been made of the fact that Billy often does more on one side than the other, but I didn't really notice this, and if I start to, it's quite easy to even things out. That may really bother some people, It doesn't me. Billy is really playing on his personality- he's playing the celebrity in a big way, with flashy outfits, a director's chair with "BLANKS" on the back, his comments "I'm always watching yuh...Even when my back is turned, I'm watching ...", and loves to show off his abs at every opportunity, but all in all he's likeable and this is an enjoyable tape. The background exercisers are great- more motivating than he is actually. There are two or three of them who really throw everything into it, dripping with sweat and screaming with the intensity of it all! It's all very dramatic and gets me going at 6am, anyway. The tempo is fast and furious, and although it's short,(about 30 mins) you'll work hard. The punching and kicking combinations are easy to learn and fun to do. You can jack up the intensity of the workout simply by putting more into the punches and kicks, aiming higher kicks etc. It's a workout that can grow with you in that sense.

I like the fact that Billy doesn't try to pass this off as "self defense technique". It's punching and kicking, set to music to give you an aerobic workout, and that's excactly what it does. The floorwork is quite intense, it tends to use big, swinging motions rather than small pulsing movements, and all are intended to strengthen kicking moves. A short, but intense ab section (with the infamous lopsided set), a brief stretch, and then for some inexplicable reason Billy decides to get everyone up to do some silly thing using cards, as a way of doing squats, and then start kicking and punching again! I just skip that part- it serves no purpose and just gets the HR up again after it's already come down.

The 8 minute sprint is a cute idea if you wanted to tack on some kickboxing to another cardio workout.

All in all a good set of tapes. Billy's strength lies in his personality, and his teaching. In the instructional tape he comes into his own. He breaks down everymove throroughly and teaches very well.

Instructor Comments:
He is very motivating, with a strong personality and has his whole class (and you) pumped. This is his big selling point, and it obviously works. No, he's not an aerobics instructor,his background is in martial arts, but he can be forgiven this- he's not trying to teach step or weightlifting. I can't forgive his wearing legwarmers, though.

Sarah F

01/30/1999

Since all the videos have been pretty much described I will just point out things about each video.

Instructional: Did it twice three or four months ago. It seemed fine and showed you form well enough to do the workout.

Basic: I think this is the best tape of the four. It has a decent warm up and cool down, but I still think you need more of a stretch on your own. This tape should be a beginner beginner tape because honestly unless you really get on your toes and maybe even use weighted gloves you aren't going to break a sweat.

Advanced: I do like the workout, but I don't like that Billy will pay more attention to one side than the other. I also HATE the warm up, he actually does neck rotations at break neck (literally) speed which since gosh the early 80s I was told was a big no no. The floorwork is really intense, but not as intense as the Firm's Volume One or the floorwork in Cathe's new Pure Strength Legs tape. I like the ab section on this tape a lot too, especially his lower body work with the legs extended while you sit on the floor.

8 Minute Sprint: I do like to use this as a warm up or an addition for a shorter kickboxing video such as Tae Bo or even Fitness Kickbox. I think you should definitely do more stretching on your own, but I saw that with nearly all tapes because I love to stretch!

I think if you enjoy the kickboxing style and know where to make modifications, i.e. don't go through the break neck neck rolls, etc., then these are good tapes to add to your library. Billy is very motivating and not at all intimidating IMO. I do like the music and set, it is SO different than any tape I have so far. But if you are new to kickboxing I would suggest Cory Everson's Kardio Kick or my favorite Power Kicks for starters.

Instructor Comments:
Well he doesn't cue all that well, but he's not an aerobics instructor so that's forgiven. He is a very motivating instructor and it is easy to see why the people in the infomercial seem to worship him! He says a lot of encouraging things throughout the video. The one thing that BUGS BUGS BUGS me is when he says left he means his left, not ours. I hate this on tapes I think it is something that should ALWAYS be fixed in editing; but, hey that's just me.

Stephanie Bridges

01/22/1999

I know a lot of you will not agree with me on this, but I really don't like Tae Bo. I got the tapes a couple of weeks ago, and did the instructional and basic workouts, once --I just didn't feel like doing them again. Here's what I didn't like: (i) I found the workout boring, I expected to see punch-kick combinations, but basically he does 8 sets of jabs, 8 sets of crosses, 8 sets of kicks, and so on (in the navy....); (ii) I found the workout unsafe, to me it looks like BB sacrifices form for speed and the only form pointer he keeps repeating is about the abs (and I haven't done the advanced tape which is extra fast and includes floorwork which is really unsafe for your back) - also, I have been learning to Boxacise at the gym and the way BB teaches to punch is too low to be effective as self-defense (you should start your punches at face level and have one hand covering your face); (iii) I found the production of the video (setting, other exercisers, music, video effects) cheap-looking and uninspiring (particularly the disco effects during double time!). Having said all that, I must admit that the advanced tape looks like a killer aerobics workout, although the basic tape barely got my heart rate up (I am intermediate). Overall, I give it no more than a C, and I found it is definitely not worth the money he asks for it (I am glad I have a 30-day money-back guarantee!). My advise: get this from the exchange if you really want to try it, otherwise if you want to learn boxing/kickboxing routines try Aerobox (very well done) or other tapes (I am going to get CIA's 9809).

Instructor Comments:
He executes exercises with good form and is in great shape. However, he does not give enough form pointers (aside from his constant reminder about keeping your muscles tight). His choreography is VERY basic, almost military-style. He tries to inspire too much. I personally prefer Michael Olajide (from Aerobox).

Jeanine

12/08/1998

Billy Blanks Tae-Bo "Basic"

The set is boring. The music is horrible and very unmotivating. The warmup is not long enough -- he goes into the stretching too quickly. It's difficult to get a flow going in the basic video, becuase Billy begin and ends the execises abruptly, which cause you to feel uncoordinated and slopply. The leg kicks are killer. The jabs are borning. You will sweat, but you won't have very much fun doing it. Maybe the advanced tape or 8-minute workout is better. I haven't viewed them yet.

Instructor Comments:
Billy seems very uncomfortable in front of the camera and he doesn't have a repoire with the television audience. He comes across as amateurish.

kimberley denise shoemaker

12/04/1998

I LOVE the tapes!!! I've had them for about a month now and the advanced Tae Bo is the most incredible work out I have had in a long time! This is way better than Aerobox! It is so challanging! It was so worth the money - I live in Canada so it ended up costing about $100 for the set - but absolutely no regrets, it was so worth it.

I have to agree that the warmup in the advanced tape is too short. What I do is a few stretches and warm up activities that were shown in the basic tape while I wait for the advanced tape to go through the beginning Tae Bo promo. Then I'm ready for the sweat explosion to come on!

As for the floor work, you need to be careful and watch that you don't arch your back at all. Becareful with the fast circular move at the end of the leg work, I just do it at the mid speed to prevent back problems. He does give lots of warnings about keeping your abs tight and if you want to use the suggestion of doing the moves on your elbows or on your side. Most of the moves can be modified that way.

But despite the two warnings these tapes are FABULOUS! Not only are they fun, my body is really looking better! My rear shoulders are getting toned and my obliques are tightening up - I had almost resigned myself to the toned level I had before Billy Blanks Tae Bo! This is the best fitness buy I've made all year. I can't wait for more Tae Bo tapes!

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is different from most of the instructors we see on video tapes. He doesn't give you high energy hype - I think he is honest, sincere and straight forward. Not the best counting skills of the industry but it is really easy to adapt. Honestly, it shouldn't be as annoying as it has been described by others. Give it a few times and you will know where to add in a few reps to one side or cut out a couple of the other side.

Cinnamon Conrad

11/27/1998

I just received the videos today. I did all of them except for the 8 minute workout. I think the entire set is too expensive, and I wish the set were divided up so that they could be purchased separately. The only two that I see myself using in the near future are the 8-minute and the advanced workout. The basic is too short and too basic. And the instructional video is good to learn form, but not something one would do each and every day, week, or even month.

The advanced is pretty good, except that the warm up is inadequate and I absolutely hate the flashing disco effect that Billy uses when he does the double-time moves. It is not properly sequenced and difficult to follow. I don't purchase workout videos to see a laser light show!

But it is a pretty good workout. I like his cast members a lot. They are really fit and inspiring!

The floor work is very good and my favorite part of the advanced video. I added 5 pound ankle weights and loved the effect. I do, however, have a problem with the really fast movements that Billy does. I think that a person can jeopardize form and effectiveness when she/he is focusing on rapid movements instead of proper execution.

I will use this video for variety and cross-training or those times I need a break from my Cathe and Firm videos. I will probably use it in conjunction with a Firm Parts video or with the weight portions from Cathe's "Body Max".

If you are a Firm Believer and/or a Cathe fan, my advice is to stick with their videos unless you crave a change of pace. I can never see Tae Bo becoming my workout of choice--its choreography is redundant and rather boring. And it is not as aerobic as a Cathe video.

Also, I am not someone who enjoys martial arts to begin with, so this may have affected my review. My personal taste runs to more of the Anna Benson type of production. Or the Cathe Friedrich type of complex choreography.

Grade for the Entire Set: C
Grade for the Advanced Video: B-

Instructor Comments:
He talks too much!

Amy Steppe

11/06/1998

I review fitness videos for publication, so I've seen a lot of really bad stuff. In comparison to those, I found Tae Bo a pleasant surprise.

Tape 1, the instructional video, is made the way instructional videos should be made: every move demonstrated slowly and deliberately and enough times that you don't have to rewind or pause continually. Many moves do require better-than-average balance, but kicks can be practiced with support.

Tape 2, the basic workout, is also very good though the "warmup" is weird -- backwards neck rolls and shoulder rolls at the speed of light is about it. Nothing to actually get the heart rate slightly elevated or to warm up large muscle groups. That said, the rest of the tape is not bad at all -- a little repetitive at times, but you'll still get a good workout. I like the way Billy keeps reminding you to keep the abs tight, to never fully extend arms or legs, etc.

Tape 3, the advanced workout, is basically the basic workout on fast-forward. If you thought the warmup was fast before, wait'll you watch it here! The combinations are more interesting -- and more challenging, but I didn't find any of them impossible. But here's where something really strange happens: Billy includes a "butt" section on hands-and-knees, the old fire hydrant and donkey kick stuff I haven't used in a class in more than a decade. I could hardly watch this section, it was so unsafe! Besides the fact that he keeps saying how much this will work the buns and legs -- when you've just spent an entire 40-minute boxing workout doing just that.

Overall, though, I liked these tapes. They're a good combination of traditional low-impact aerobics, kickboxing and martial arts.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Billy's personality a lot -- just enough motivation without sounding fake. Thankfully, he holds off the "believe in yourself" sermonettes until Tape #3, so there's little of those inspirational messages.

Shari

11/02/1998

Wow!

Oh, I guess "Wow!" isn't really enough for a review, huh? OK, then, here goes...

So far I have done the Instructional tape once, the Basic tape once and the Advanced tape once. I think the Instructional tape is good for learning the moves, but really, after doing it once or twice, you're done. (Especially if you've done any other sort of boxing/kickoxing workout.)I think they could have combined this one together with the Basic tape and just made a 60 minute tape. The Instructional tape is not intended as a workout, and therefore he demos the moves on one side, but not always on the other.

The Basic tape is a good beginner tape. I am, oh, I don't know, high intermediate in terms of my cardio capacity, and while this kept me going, it wasn't terribly strenuous. It was fun, though.

The Advanced tape on the other hand...whew! Nearly an hour long and you can see from the reviews above that he packs in a lot! Sweat, sweat, pant, pant, sweat, sweat. This is definitely a workout that will have you collapsing in a blissfully exhausted heap at the end! Some of the double time moves were just too fast for me--so I just kept doing them single time. Also, I come nowhere near being able to kick my foot above my face, but that's ok. You can still get a great workout kicking no higher than your hip and using a chair or newel post or coffee table for balance at times.

The tape reminded me a lot of Kathy Smith/Michael O.'s Aerobox but without the jump rope and with kicking, which you *will* feel in your hips and obliques. The floor work that follows had my buns screaming for mercy and the ab work was pretty intense, too. Throw in a couple of sets of push-ups and you'd have a *great* total body workout (Of course, you can just add those at the end on your own.) This one should go into the Favorites or Hall of Fame--it will at least go into *my* personal favorites list.

Instructor Comments:
I like Billy a lot. He is good about encouraging viewers to do what they can, and if they mess up, that's ok. His cuing could be a little better and his counting leaves a little to be desired (you end up doing more reps on one side than the other in several situations) but it didn't drive me up a wall like that sort of thing usually does.

Renee Drellishak

10/11/1998

Since it seems that everyone else can give info on the GOOD points of Tae Bo, here is what I DON'T like about the ADVANCED TAE BO

tape:

The "warm up" lasts about 3 minutes (it's hard to tell when it ends and the

workout begins). Billy starts with having us roll our heads from side to side at what I consider "breakneck speed"- right to left and back again in little more than one second. Then we do shoulder rolls, first both

shoulders, then separately. That is the warm-up, unless punching from side to side is included in it. BB seems to think that "advanced" means not needing warm

ups or stretches! (The basic tape HAS a real warm-up section.)

Then, the workout begins. I feel very ambivalent about it. On one hand,

there are some fun and effective moves. On the other, BB is in dire need of a math lesson. For MOST exercises that do sets to one side of the body before going to the other side, he miscounts sets. For example, you do 2 slow sets, then two fast sets of punches to the right (he says left, but it

is the viewers right), then go on to do two sets of slow....OOPS! forgot the fast!... to the left.

After a "cool down" that consists of stepping side-to-side a half dozen times or so, you go to floor work. This consists of variations on leg lifts from an all fours position, with some very intense versions. (Billy has his class get in the ands and knees position, which I thought instructors gave up a LONG time ago, because it can put too much strain on the back. Luckily, he does give other positions as options, and reminds people to keep their abs strong. Unfortunately, Billy stops the action on one move on the right leg (we've already done the left leg version--or is that right???---a series of slow, then medium, then fast "biking" movements) to show how you have to keep your butt tight. The exercisers all pause during the slow version for a count of ten or so while Billy pokes one of their butt's to show how you should keep the area tense, then goes on to the mid-speed and fast versions, while never doing the reps for the slow version. As I recall, Billy was thoughtful enough to include an instructional tape" with this pricey set of videos. Wouldn't THAT be the place to give this pointer?

There is an ab section, concentrating on lower abs and obliques. At one point, Billy miscues reps again (for the oblique twists), and this time, he realizes it and says "I know we're doing more on this side, but that's o.k." (Maybe in a live class, where the routine would change some each day,

but not if you want symmetry and you use this tape often). There is a short stretch of the legs after the floor work, then, you get up again and do a "fun" move. Put 6 cards on the floor lined up in front of you, going away from you. Then, squat down (with or without a front kick) and pick up the

first card. Then, squat and put down the first card on top of the second card (I think this is what they are doing, and not just "pick up the cards and put them down" as Billy cues it). Then you squat, pick up the first card, squat and pick up the second card, then squat and put down the first card then the second card on the third card, and so on. (Didn't we just "cool down"? Why put this move here?) Then Billy and the gang kind of scoop from side to side and clap hands to

the music, and we "dance" our way to the end of the workout.

After my first workout to the tape (which I put off for several weeks, because most of the above stuff annoyed me to no end during my preview of the tape). I was very ambivalent. I was still annoyed by the glitches(even more so, after being led to work out the "first" side for 3 sets, then going on and doing the "Second" side for 2 sets of the same exercise..how can I get that third set in!!). On the other hand, the glute work was effective, some moves were really fun, the music has a great driving beat, the "class members" are dynamic and energetic and have great-looking arms, Billy is a very motivating instructor.

Suggestions for those trying Tae Bo:

If you want to try TAE BO, see if someone is offering the intro tape and basic workout on the exchange The intro tape and the basic workout are good (the basic workout HAS a sufficient warm-up and cooldown! Even the "8-minute" workout--which is really 11 minutes or so long--has a better cool-down/stretch than the advanced tape!) and Billy doesn't miscount. Unfortunately, the basic tape it's only 25 minutes long. BUT, you can make it more intense by working on higher kicks and more power.

Suggestions for those who have the advanced tape: To compensate for the glitches, use the warm up and stretch from another tape, remember the miscounts and make sure to work both sides equally, or switch sides you begin with each time you use the tape---one time follow what Billy and the gang DO, the other, follow what he SAYS concerning right/left.

Kathryn

09/24/1998

The video starts with head and shoulder rolls, side reaches and overhead then he punches right in. He starts with side punches

then on to upper cuts. He reminds you through the workout to keep your abs tight and turning your hips into the punch. There's no choreography, just sets of punches and jabs. About the only moving side to side is when we do knee lifts right and left 3 counts with a punch on the end. Also, a grapevine with punches. So this video doesn't require a lot of room. One series he goes through is like a jumprope move. You shuffle heel toe while alternating lifting your arms overhead. Also V step while punching and 3 claps. We jog in place a couple sets then lift your knees while jogging. This really gets the HR up. A couple of my favorite moves, deep squats with a front kick and step side, kick, step back and squat. There are lots of kicks like side kicks, front kicks and to the rear, then a combination of front and rear kicks. Then that machine gun kick. Love that. This move calls for stability and balance, while keeping your leg up to the side, kick it out. Then onto the floor for some killer legwork. He gives great form pointers all along the way to keep your abs tight. He starts out with leg raises to the rear, then firehydrant lifts, knee into the shoulder, then a combo of all, circling the leg, slow at first, then double time.

My favorite ab move, lay on the floor with knees bent and over to one side. Lift up shoulders and knees to contract the obliques.

This whole tape gives your abs a workout. I think that was the most sore part of my body when I did this tape.

The music reminds me of rock style jazz.

This is one tough workout that lasts about an hour. I was drenched unlike any tape I've done. I would give this one 5 *****.

Instructor Comments:
Billy is very motivating and pushes you to challenge yourself through the whole workout.>He does remind you to slow down if you need to but he keeps you so pumped, you don't want to stop. He may talk too much throughout for some, but for me, that's part of the motivation.

Sharon M.

08/18/1998

Tae Bo is a set of 4 tapes consisting of an instructional, basic workout, advanced workout and an 8 minute challenge tape.

The instructional tape is excellent for learning the moves and for those who have never done any kickboxing before, you will learn the moves very slowly and after Billy shows them slow he shows them at regular tempo and then you do them with him and then move on to the next one.

The basic workout starts with a very short warm up consisting of neck rolls, shoulder rolls and some side stretches moving on to some basic stretches for the lower body. The workout starts with basic punches and jabs then moving to double time doing them out to the side and to the front with marches in between exercises. Then you do a move like you are using a punching bag at a quick tempo. The next move is a knee lift but you go acrossed your body working your abs, always contracting your abs throughout the whole workout. Then you get into some combinations, you do 2 knee lifts, 1 side kick and one punch to the side, lots of fun! The kicks require alot of balance and leg strength to stay balanced. Then you do knee lifts to the side using your obliques. Next is a set of side kicks at a very slow tempo which is very hard trying to stay balanced on one leg. After that you pick up the pace a bit with the boxers shuffle and doing different jabs and punches. Then you do front kicks and on to kicks to the rear. Then more side kicks at a quicker pace and on to the cooldown.

The advanced workout is almost exactly the same but you do the boxers shuffle in place of the marches and everything is at a quicker tempo making it very challenging. He adds some new moves to this one. He adds in a set of jumping jacks with jabs and a move called the Machine Gun, this one is very challenging. You stand on one leg and bring your leg out like you are doing a side kick, you bend the knee and then as you stand there you straighten and bend your leg from the knee out at a super quick pace, it's hard to stay balanced on this one. Another fun and tough one is a side quick with a very low squat in the middle. You do a V-step with jabs and then onto the punching bag move but at a super fast pace. Another fun move is a knee up, turn to the side into a small lunge position and punch. Another combo is a punch, jab, punch, knee up, slow and then double time. Then you do a combo of a front kick on one leg and immediately go to a rear kick on the other leg. One that is very intense is towards the end, you do a low squat with a front kick and then a squat with a front kick on the other side and you keep that going til your legs and butt are burning. Another very intense move is called a swivel kick to the side at a slow pace and then double time. Then on to the floor for some tough table work. You start with kicks to the back on each leg, then you raise your bent leg out to the side, a new move where you straighten your leg out to the back and bring it in to your shoulder bending at the knee, then you bring your knee out to the side and raise your leg up and bend and straighten from your knee out, very intense, and a move that combines all of them together. On to ab work, you do oblique work lying on your side and then sitting up your bring your knees in and out to the front and you do the bicycle ab work. Then you get to stretch.

The 8 minute challenge consists of a warm up, an 8 minute short version of some of the moves you already learned in the advanced tape going at a quick pace to get your heart rate up and then a tai chi cooldown.

I know this is long but i wanted to give you an idea of what each tape consists of. This is an excellent ab and lowerbody workout as you can tell by the descriptions of the exercises.

Instructor Comments:
Billy is a great instructor always telling you things to keep you motivated throughout the workout, trying to help you go further and do more each time. He has a great personality and I'd love to have more workouts from him in the future.

Dawn Henson

08/16/1998

The four-part TaeBo series may seem, at first, like you will get 4 cardio workouts. This is not true, and if you happen upon any of the 2-part and 3-part series, you will miss out on the full cardio class.

The series probably has to be set up the way it is. These moves are probably new to most people, so the first video explains technique. The second introduces a little movement and A LITTLE cardio aspect to it. The Advanced video is the workout. And what a work out. (Michael Jordon is even in the background doing much of nothing!)

It does seem like quite a lot to pay for one workout. but, if you think of it as getting a beginner and intermediate lesson in kick-boxing before you actually do a cardio workout, the cost starts to seem justifiable.

I love the tapes. They are very challenging. I could not get through the advanced workout the first time I did it. So, it is challenging and not something that becomes old the second of third time you do it.

I am a fan of Billy Blanks nad of the videos!!! Try them.

Instructor Comments:
Billy Blanks is cool. I admire him and his efforts to bring new ideas to the fitness industry although some may think he has sold out or cashed in. Billy Blanks is very down-to-earth. His motivational style is not to scream and jump around, (but in the style of karate and eastern movement)to get you to dig deep into your soul and put all of yourself into your workout. Very cool.

Adrienne Lee

(no date)

(TaeBo- Basic Workout)

Slightly difficult for me. I'm not very good balance. However, it needs to be longer!

GRADE: B+

Instructor Comments:
pretty good motivational

Heather

(no date)

This was my first kickboxing video and I thought it was pretty good. My biggest complaint is that it's too short. Only 25-30 mins total, with warm up and cool down included. What I end up doing now, is doing the video up till the cool down, then rewinding it and doing it again. As well, I find that the cool down is too abrupt. You're doing all these really fast, powerful kicks, then all of a sudden you're doing really slow tai chi. I need to cool down more gradually or I get headaches. I usually do my own cool down and stretch at the end of the video.

Instructor Comments:
I like Billy but it bugs me that he only does part of the video, then he walks around commenting on the others. I like the instructor of the video to be there sweatin' with me!

Lori Doucet

(no date)

First and foremost, I would like to respond to the reviews which criticize Billy for his bad habit of talking during the workout and seeming to lose track when it comes to equal repetitions for each side. It aggrevates me as well, but it is made up by his ability to make a person push themselves to the greatest of their ability, and when you complete this tape, you feel better about yourself, and you set higher expectations of yourself.

Many people comment on the danger of the exercise, and how it can affect the beginners. I think that those that attempt the Advanced workout without completing the Instructional and Basic are putting Themselves at risk, and it should not be his instruction to blame. The Instructional Video thoroughly teaches each exercise, and its proper form. The movements are taught slow and then "double-timed" in the rest of the tapes, and if you followed the first two tapes, and practiced good form, you should have no problems with the Advanced tape except for utter exhaustion in the end. This is the same as interval training in my opinion, which I find great because it gives me recovery time in between the fast movements, which help to raise my heartrate and really break a sweat.

Though he doesn't put alot of emphasis on equal repetitions, I think I would be less thrilled to have a monotone teacher who counts every last rep. I need his coaching, and his motivation, not endless counting. I guess the only way to get over that problem is to start on a different side each time. Also, it may be a good idea to stretch some before doing the tape, since the warm-up seems a little rushed for some, and less effective than the Basic video. I really recommend this series, but I do think that mixing it up with other aerobic activity will lessen the tendency to become bored.

Instructor Comments:
I really feel he is very motivational, and for someone like myself, who is looking for a better body image and who still has to face the horrors of being a teenager, this workout makes me feel as though I have made and fitness accomplishment. He is very friendly and he helps to add that extra umph to help me to get through the entire advanced workout, even through the floor exercises.

Amanda Collins

(no date)