Thrive Cardio Kickboxing

Helen Dunne
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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I liked it. She seemed like a real person and not a personality that was just making the video. I think some thing could have been better but it was real and not Hollywood. I love that all the women are really doing the workout and not just trying to look cute!



I really liked this workout! One caveat: Halfway through the warmup, and then after 15 minutes into the actual workout, the audio for Helen and her participants conked out -- I could only hear the music! So I had to follow much of this workout by visuals only. It may just be my DVD player: this problem also occurs with one of my SCW dvds, www.step.calm (yet I can hear the instructor if I play it on my computer!?) I have no idea if this would be a common problem for everyone.

Don't let the comments about some women just joining in this workout scare you. It wasn't a detracting factor at all as far as I could see. The dozen women or so are of varying shapes and sizes, a mix of white and black, and indeed refreshingly "real" women.

This workout was very Taebo-like in terms of the moves, although Helen has her own spin on them. Like Taebo, there are cross-body punches, jab-jab-jab cross from side to side, knee raise and punch, and standing side crunches, etc. But Helen will do jab-jab-jab cross, kick, cross; instead of just high punch, low punch, she does high punch, low punch then two cross jabs.

Helen also keeps urging the backgrounders to count, though there is no steady counter like in Taebo.

Helen is full of energy and cues pretty well -- at least, when I could hear her before the vocal audio inexplicably disappeared! She's very much of the "keep it real!" "Where your energy at?" etc. style. She'll do a series of short punching and kicking combos all on one side first, then the other. Just about every move was one I'd seen in Taebo workouts, albeit in slightly different combinations. I liked it! The active warmup is about 5 minutes with 3 minutes of stretching (that's where the audio zonked out for the first time). I could hear her talk for the first half of the first combo series, then no longer for the rest of the cardio workout. The cardio is about 30 minutes.

My DVD player let me hear Helen talk again during the Cooldown, which includes 3 sets of pushups and 3 sets of abwork. Crunches, scissoring the feet up and down (I liked this one) and bicycles slow and fast.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this workout. I know VFers were having some trepidations. I found it a solid intermediate workout with an upbeat, competent and refreshing new instructor. If you like Taebo-style workouts but don't click with Billy, this might be worth trying. I like Taebo and Billy and inevitably compare other cardio kickboxing workouts to that standard. It's a little rough around the edges -- there are a few moments where the transition to the next move is a bit delayed, and I'm not sure that the combos were repeated perfectly evenly for each side -- but I did feel as if I were in a "real" women's class in kickboxing.

The set is a gritty-looking garage boxing gym. The camera angle is a bit weird -- you feel like you're on a slightly elevated stage looking down at Helen and the women. The music, which ended up being all I could hear for much of the workout, is lively club-style instrumental. Nothing particularly memorable nor bland.

Instructor Comments:
She is a lovely, enthusiastic instructor with a lively urban/hip-hop style. Sometimes, when I could hear it, her loud "UHs" during double-time moves were close to being over the top enthusiastic, but I didn't mind (and then the audio cues zonked out on my DVD copy anyway). I'd like to see her in more workouts.