Turbo Jam: Cardio Party 3Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2006
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts
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I have done many Turbo Jam videos in the past, including the entire basic set. More recently, I picked up Turbo Jam Punch, Kick & Jam, which I loved, and this video, CARDIO PARTY MIX 3. Unfortunately, although I loved Punch, Kick & Jam, I was more disappointed in this workout for the reasons described below.
As with all of the Turbo Jams, instructor Chalene Johnson is teaching live in front of a large class. Here they are located in a brick loft with windows, and although Mindy still modifies the impact, there aren't any exercisers featured on platforms like in the original Turbo Jam workouts. No equipment is required for this workout, although Johnson and several others are wearing weighted gloves to up the intensity. I have described each segment of the workout below, including approximately times.
Warm-Up (5.45 minutes)
All of Johnson's TJ warm-ups are basically the same, as she goes through side-to-side steps, practices the basic punches, and combines a hamstring stretch with a lat pull-down. I found this warm-up a bit more dancey than her others; I don't mind the dance elements of TJ, but what I didn't like here was that the dance bits seemed to be thrown in completely randomly.
Punches (6:35 minutes)
I really did like this segment at all, partly because it was all punching, no kicking, and partly because it seemed unnecessarily complicated. Johnson begins with an upper-jab combo (same arm) first to the front, then to the side. She then does the twist (which reappears MANY times in this workout!) and a triple jab to either side. After practicing this several times, she adds in an additional element which is confusing because it has a rotational aspect: it starts with uppers to the front, triple side, speed bag back, and then jabs down. Eventually, the entire sequence is repeated on the second side.
Punches & Kicks (6:40 minutes)
I liked the capoeira elements of this segment, but the pace felt much too frenetic to me, and the sequencing of the moves seemed awkward. Johnson starts with a march that she increases to the run with knee. Next is the twist (again!) which moves into jenga, followed quickly by a roundhouse/side knee combo (one of the awkward transitions). Adding on, Johnson performs front push kicks and the wheel to finish.
Core & Kicks (7:22 minutes)
This segment was VERY similar to the third cardo segment of the original TJ Cardio Party. One difference was the music which I liked much better on the original ("Momma Said Knock You Out"); in fact, I didn't really care for any of the music on this DVD, as it was bland and unrecognizable, at least to me. Like the original, this section starts with side speed bags into two upper cuts and then front knee/back kick. However, instead of knees to either side next, you'll do the row. The music then changes to the same music as the original, but instead of getting down into horse stance, you'll do four upper cuts, two knees to either side with double punches down, and then a run-run-run-run-run. Of course, everything is repeated to the second side.
Turbo (1.30 minutes)
This is a short burst of high energy cardio. Johnson uses moves that she has used in other workouts--e.g., jab-knee, jacks, leaps--plus some new moves (sort of a rocking horse?), but nothing is cued particularly well.
Cardio Recovery (7:05 minutes)
This section features a lot of twisting moves, which may be difficult for those exercising on carpet. It begins with speed bag into a turning upper cut, adding howzit with jab and then a elbow high-low. Next, there are fast jabs to either corner plus the twist (again), which feels very repetitive; plus, the choreography here again felt unnecessarily complicated to me.
Finale (4:30 minutes)
This is the final cardio burst. It includes two crosses, two uppercuts, and two knees followed by a back kick and a palm/elbow move. Again, the cueing was poor.
Cardio Cool-Down (2:16 minutes)
This brief segment is intended to slow down the heart rate. It actually felt sort of like a warm-up in that Johnson goes through slower versions of all of the punches plus a few kicks--e.g., low side kick, side roundhouse, and back push kick.
Finesse (4:44 minutes)
This really is a continuation of the cool-down with some "stylized" kicks and punches. There is a hitch kick front, back kick, hi-low side kick, and knee/crescent kick. It helps if you already know these moves, as Johnson provides almost zero instruction.
Tai Chi Cool-Down (3:25 minutes)
This final segment continues the cooling down process with some basic Tai Chi moves such as sinking chi, supporting heaven, cloud hands, and bow and arrow.
As noted, there were many things I didn't like about this workout. I didn't enjoy the music, which was too generic and pop-ish for my tastes. I found the choreography too fussy, especially with Johnson's poor cueing (she is not the best cuer, but I thought that she was worse than usual here). I found the moves themselves overly repetitive, and I missed doing kicks, as there are very few here. I still rated this DVD 3 stars because it is well-produced, and others who enjoy TJ in general may like it, but it was not for me.
In general, I find Chalene over-the-top and can only take her in small doses. I also tend to think that she is a poor cuer, although I found her especially bad here, probably because the choreography was a bit trickier (at least for me) than in some of the other Turbo Jam workouts.
I’m reviewing this workout after doing it 3 times.
General workout breakdown: This 52-min. cardio workout fuses kickboxing with freestyle dance and Capoiera moves. Sabine has already broken down all of the moves and segments so well I have nothing else to add, except that this is the workout for you if you love upper cuts (and also like speedbags, back kicks, and the twist, a jab-cross-jab-knee combo).
Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate through intermediate / advanced exercisers with previous experience with Turbo Jam or similar kickboxing classes. Lower advanced exercisers can still get a good workout by adding 1-1 ˝ lb. hand weights, impact, etc. Beginner / intermediate to low intermediate exercisers can follow the low impact options. I consider myself an int. / adv. in terms of cardio, with the vast majority of my kickboxing experience from videos, and I feel that I get a good workout from this. It definitely doesn’t wipe the floor with me, but my heartrate gets up, I get nice and sweaty and red-faced, and I feel a rush of those endorphins afterwards.
Class: 8 women and 1 man join Chalene, who instructs live. 1 woman shows lower impact modifications.
Music: old school hip hop and similar songs with a definite beat. Even the stuff that’s not remakes of popular songs is better than what usually passes for exercise video music.
Set: bright brick loft setting (which I’ve seen before in Kathy Smith’s TimeSaver series, a few of the Quick Fixes, and other types of workouts).
Production: crisp image and sound, camera angles that are more helpful than distracting (although for some reason most folks feel compelled to make goofy faces during close-ups).
Equipment: sneakers (make sure you can pivot your foot for punches and other moves).
Space Requirements: You should be able to kick front and back as well as take a few small steps and kick to each side.
DVD Notes: The DVD allows you to play the workout as is or with the music louder; the other option from the main menu is Special Features (Jam’d: Turbo Jam Gone Wild, or Chalene’s version of Punk’d; Behind the Sweat: The Chalene Johnson Story; Get to Know the Cast; BeachBody Supplements; Kathy Smith’s Project: You). Each song is chaptered, so you can skip one if you’re short on time, do the turbo twice, etc. Oh, and hope you like the “Hey, it’s time to party!” song, ‘cause it plays on a loop during the main menu.
Comments: If you like kickboxing workouts to have 100% perfect traditional martial arts form and a serious, kick butt attitude, Chalene’s might not be for you. This is more about delivering a fun fitness class using kickboxing to burn a lot of calories and including some chances to “bust a move.”
I find that it’s pretty easy to take out some of the pivots (there’s really no need for Chalene to do some of the half and quarter turns that she does, especially since she usually just moves or even quickly hops right back to where she started for the next move), which helps eliminate some of the torque that has aggravated some knees.
I like the TJs in spite of myself. Yeah, there’s some infomercial-type cheesiness (you’ll love this! this will get you fit in no time / like nothing else! think of all the calories you’re burning!) and over the top personalities (at least on camera) and goofy moves and questionable tastes in outfits. But the workout itself is good, with some nice little kickboxing combos with other interesting moves thrown in. I can’t see myself doing Turbo Jam all the time, though, as I think that might be too much Chalene for me, but this is a good one to rotate in with my other kickboxing videos (Amy, Cathe, Ilaria, Janis, Kimberly, Patricia) to give me some variety in intensity, length, and moves.
TJ CP1 vs. CP2 vs. CP3 (my take): 3 is more like 1, where punches and kicks are combined with freestyle dance and capoiera moves, and less like 2, where punches and kicks are separate and there aren’t as many dance interludes or capoiera. 3 is the longest of these, although the extra couple of minutes is actually spent in a cardio cool-down, so if you’re hoping for another long high energy combo or an additional turbo, this doesn’t have it. I feel 1 has the least amount of repetition of moves throughout the whole workout and 2 the most, with 3 in between. I find Chalene more hyper in 1, a little less so in 2, and much less so in 3, but maybe the fact that I can turn the music up (and thus Chalene down) has clouded my judgment. In 1 Chalene keeps saying, “You’ll do this all the time because you love it,” and in 2 her major theme is that the music’s so awesome you can’t help but want to do the workouts; here she says that you’ll do this because you’ll burn so many calories. IMO she actually cues and instructs more in 3 than in 1 and 2. Which one is my favorite? Hmm, I’d have to do these more frequently to say. For me they’re sort of too similar for one to stand out as “the best,” yet they are different enough that each one has a distinct personality (It’s not like comparing apples and oranges and bananas, more like Granny Smiths and Macintoshes and Pink Ladies). It all kind of depends what mood I’m in, really.
Chalene is energetic, that’s for sure! She mirror cues. Her cuing is more consistent here, usually taking place a beat or two before the move, but it can be, well, concise (e.g. “triple” for a triple jab followed by a cross) or at times not so existent, particularly during the Turbo. She spends a lot of time motivating the viewer or getting into the music; encouraging people to exercise is probably her biggest goal. She includes a few form pointers and reminders – not enough for true beginners to kickboxing but sufficient for someone new to Turbo Jam.
I have one serious problem with this video:
Now that I've done it, I don't want to do anything else.
This video has it all. You put on those gloves and work out with her for the whole 50 minutes and you are done - head to toe done. Funny thing too is that when I'm done, I feel wonderful, not exhausted, but energized and I don't feel like I have to now work abs or arms because this workout takes care of it all and the music? Well, that's where it gets even better. Club music that makes you want to dance and makes you want to work out.
Chalene is absolutely, positively the best instructor I've worked out to (and I have worked out with them all!!) It's like I'm working out with my very best friend. She's upbeat, encouraging, energetic, fun, sympathetic - there's just nothing negative about her. I would work out with her everyday if there were that many workouts! She does what I feel all fitness professionals should do - not push us to where we feel like we failed if we couldn't do it all, but praises us for what we did. I absolutely adore her. She says, "you won't do it if it's not fun" and she's not kidding. Chalene knows her clientelle!
Cardio Party Mix 3 is a 52 minute kickboxing workout. I think this workout, depending on what intensity modifications you use and if you use the weighted gloves, could range from low intermediate to advanced. A lot of the intensity comes from what you put into it.
Set: Is a loft type setting. There is a large wood floor and no other decorations except several different colored banners hanging in the background.
Cast & Outfits: Chalene is accompanied by 9 other background exercisers. I noticed that there was only one male in the video, which is different from previous TJ workouts. I recognized Holly, Anna Rita, Janelle, and Mindy from the original TJ workouts. Whereas other workouts in these new releases have the cast dressed similiarly (i.e. all the same colored top), in this workout everyone is wearing athletic wear that reflects their individual style. So the effect seems like a real class and is very colorful. Chalene is wearing a light blue plaid skort with a matching bra top. Initially, this outfit caught my eye, and not in a good way. It looked very 'cheerleader' which I thought look odd on a woman of Chalene's age. However, once the workout started, the outfit quickly faded into the background and it didn't detract from the workout.
Music: The music used is techno/dance/house type music. It has a very strong bass beat behind it that really drives it. I had previously reviewed 3T: Totally Tubular Turbo and found the music non-descript. I enjoyed the music much better in this workout.
Equipment: No equipment is needed. Chalene and a few background exercisers show the option of using weighted gloves.
The workout is broken down into 10 chapter points. They are warm up, punches, punches & kicks, core & kicks, turbo, cardio recovery, finale, cardio cooldown, finesse, and tai chi stretch.
Warm Up: If you own other TJ workouts, you will recognize that the all the warm ups are very similiar to one another. I did find that the warm up here was slightly longer than in other TJ's, clocking in at around 6 minutes. Moves include shoulder rolls, double bobs to jabs/crosses/hooks/upper cuts, knees (singles, 8's, 4's), hamstring stretch, lat pulldowns, speed bag arms & side lunges.
Punches: Starts with an upper cut-cross combo. It adds in the twist, 4 upper cuts, triple jabs w/ a cross left and right, crosses, down punches, upper cuts, triple jabs again, and speed bag. You complete this segment on one side and repeat the sequence on the other side.
Punches & Kicks: Starts with either a march/knee or run/knee-twist combo. Added on are jinga, roundhouse kick-knee, front push kick, bob & weave, and wheel. This gets repeated on the other side.
Core & Kicks: Starts with a speed bag-upper cut (exact move started a sequence in CPM1). Added on are elbow knee-back kick, row, knee/back kick alternating sides, upper cut, double to single knees, crosses and run. You repeat on the other side. Of all the segments, this was my favorite!! I got really into it and could definitely feel my core being engaged.
Turbo: Is the quick burst to push you into an anaerobic phase. My only beef is that there is so little cueing and instruction during the turbo that it's easy to watch half it go by before you can figure out what's going on. It started with jump rope to 3 knee-single knee. Added on were forward-back run to single run, 8 knees each side, side-front punches, side leaps, run up, jack back, 6 jabs left/right with a whip, and high knees. This segment ends with a 20 second water break.
Cardio Recovery: Starts with a speed bag that turns-upper cuts. Adds on howz-it w/ a jab, elbows low/high, fast foot w/ jabs corner to corner, and the twist. Repeats on other side. Chalene does a great job of bringing you down a bit and motivating you to slowly bring it back to full intensity for the finale.
Finale: I thought the music was the same as the finale in CPM1, but I think I'm wrong. Anyway, you start with quick crosses-upper cuts. You add on 2 knees, back kick-knee/kick, and heel of palm-elbow strike-twist. Repeat on other side. I really liked the heel of palm-elbow strike-twist move. It felt very powerful.
Cardio Cooldown: Is a great way to practice form on kicks and punches. It's somewhat similiar to the warm up in that you run through double bob jab/cross/hook/upper cuts again. Then you add kicks, low side push kicks, low roundhouse kicks, low back push kicks.
Finesse: What Chalene calls her stylized kicking/dancing combos. You start with a march hitch knee that becomes a march hitch kick. You add on knee-back kick, step behind step over, double side kick, single side kick, knee-crescent knee alternating sides and blocks. Repeat on other side.
Tai Chi Stretch: Again, very similiar to other TJ workouts. You have the some of the same Tai Chi moves (sinking chi, supporting heaven) and a couple of new ones (cloud arms, bow & arrow). You also have a quadriceps stretch and hamstring stretch. I really liked the music in the stretch. If you're familiar with Enigma, you'll swear it's them in the background.
Overall impressions: Even though I pointed out similiarities to other TJ releases, I found that there was enough new things (either new moves or new combinations) that made it feel fresh. But if you're someone who doesn't like any carry over of old moves into new workouts, then this workout is probably not for you. I really enjoyed this workout a lot!!! I gave it my all and it was a fun sweatfest. Turbo Jam workouts are ones I look forward to doing, and Cardio Party Mix 3 is one I know I'll reach for time and again. My grade: A.
Chalene had a lot of energy in this workout. I personally didn't find it annoying and I really liked this at it motivated me to give it my all during the workout. She does say the occasional 'baby' and 'oh yea', and it fits with who she seems to be.