Turbo Jam: Punch, Kick & JamChalene Johnson
Year Released: 2006
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it 3 times.
General workout breakdown: This 48-min. workout fuses kickboxing with a little freestyle dance and a Capoiera segment; it also includes a short “toning” segment practicing some punches and kicks. According to Chalene this is “more athletic” than the other TJs.
The warm-up (5.5 min.) is just like the other TJ cardio warm-ups, running through the basic punches, knee strikes, and dynamic stretches. The other songs are Knee Strikes & Crosses (7.5 min.), Squats & Punches (7 min.), Kicks & Punches (6.5 min.), Turbo (followed by quick water break; 2 min.), Capoeira Finale (4.5 min.), Capoeira Cooldown (6.5 min.), and Toning w/ Tubing (4.5 min., of which almost 30 sec. is plugging BeachBody and setting up; there’s also some down time as Chalene sets up, then she’ll jump right into the other side). Mind-Body Cooldown (3.5 min.) combines Tai Chi, yoga, and athletic stretches.
Chalene focuses on kickboxing up to the Turbo, with moves like the jab, cross, upper cut, hook, knee strike, speed bag, back kick, roundhouse kick, and front push kick. There are very few dance breaks here, but you can do a little shaking in some of the moves. The turbo has more athletic moves, like jacks, squat jumps, running in place, ski hops, cross country ski, a hop to the side with a “slice,” as well as some jabs. Capoeira moves include a grab and toss move, wheel, ginga, and esquiva, with jabs, upper cuts, and a few other punches thrown in. The toning portion focuses on upper cuts, jabs, side push chambers, side push kicks, and roundhouses.
Level: I’d recommend this to low 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., while beginner / 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 decent workout from this.
Class: 7 women and 2 men join Chalene, who instructs live. 1 woman shows lower impact modifications.
Music: old school hip hop and similar songs with a definite beat for the cardio and toning, tropical drums for the capoeira segment, and relaxing instrumentals for the cool-down. 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 there are some weird sweeping overhead angles during quick move changes (I suspect to cut out some of the oopsies from cast members who missed the switch).
Equipment: sneakers (make sure you can pivot your foot for punches and other moves). Some crew members use weighted gloves for the whole workout, and some grab tubing with handles for the toning portion.
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; P90X: Extreme Home Fitness). 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 a few short moments 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 or twisty bits 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 – one of the women to Chalene’s right is particularly guilty of this) and general goofiness. 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.
Kick, Punch & Jam vs. the Cardio Parties (I, II, & III): For me the major difference between KPJ and the CPs is that KPJ has more slower paced portions. Yes, Chalene usually speeds things up to tempo at some point, but there are a number of times when punches especially are done more slowly and more deliberately. The idea behind that seems to be to allow you to use the weighted gloves for “toning” benefits. (In fact, if you’re new(er) to using weighted gloves, I’d start here among the TJs because of the slower pace and carefully work your way up a song at a time until your joints are comfortable with the extra weight.) You could also use this as a good recovery workout; for example, the day after Fat Blaster, an interval workout, would be a great time to do this video. For those who want more capoeira, this is the workout for you, with two separate segments focusing on that martial arts discipline. There’s not as much dance here, not as much intense cardio, and not as many kicks. I don’t see myself at my level (I’m following a New Rules of Lifting rotation in the gym right now) gaining significant benefits from the strength portions, especially the too short drills. I felt transitions were a little less smooth here, but that may be due in part to the fact Chalene is trying to cram in so much (kickboxing! booty shaking! capoeira! drills! Tai Chi! yoga! cardio! strength! flexibility! calorie burning! “toning”! fun!).
Chalene is energetic, that’s for sure! She mirror cues. Her cuing here is perhaps the most abundant and consistent of all of the Turbo Jams I’ve tried. 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 TJ.
I like this workout, no ass-shaking required. The capoeira cooldown is fun. There is also a tubing section I've never done. Annoying picture on the cover with Chalene's top air-brushed to look skimpier. Nobody is wearing a hat.
The music isn't as memorable as the stuff in the 20 Minute Workout or Cardio Party 1 though. It's great to pull out when I'm in a bad mood.