Turbo Jam: Punch, Kick & Jam

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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I've tried various Turbo Jam workouts in the past, including the entire basic set (Turbo Jam: 5 Rockin' Workouts). I like kickboxing, so I tend to enjoy these routines, although instructor Chalene Johnson is sometimes a bit too over-the-top for me. However, when I discovered PUNCH, KICK & JAM in a used book store, I thought it was worth a try.

As with all of the Turbo Jams, 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 set. Turbo Jam generally doesn't use any equipment, but there is a short tubing segment towards the end of this routine. (The entire DVD is well-chaptered, so you could easily skip this segment if desired.) I have described each segment of the workout below, including approximately times.

Warm-Up (5.5 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.

Combination #1 (7:25 minutes)
Johnson begins this series with a knee combined with hi-low punches. This is followed by a slow jab-cross-hook-uppercut; the sequence concludes with a speedbag moving forward, adding a knee. The entire series is then repeated on the second side.

Combination #2 (6:50 minutes)
Johnson states that this section has a legs focus. It starts with hi-low jabs to the front and then to the back. Next, she adds a speedbag with a jab-cross and then a triple jab to both the front and the back. The final move in this series is the Turbo Twist, first with uppercuts, then with hooks. Again, the entire sequence is repeated on the second side.

Combination #3 (6:20 minutes)
Here Johnson starts with a pivoting march. She then adds the punches: first, single-single-double crosses, then, uppercuts with zigzag knee. This series is followed by a knee front kick. Eventually, Johnson adds a triple alternating front kick and a roundhouse kick/side knee. These moves are also repeated on Side #2, although Johnson seemed to run out of time to complete the full sequence.

Turbo (1:56 minutes)
This is a brief, higher energy, higher impact cardio series. Johnson includes plyo moves, hi-lo punches, jacks, and cross-country runs; Mindy keeps everything low impact.

Capoeira Finale (4:26 minutes)
This section was my favorite! I thought that Johnson did a GREAT job here of keeping the moves low impact yet still high energy. The first move is jabs to the side combined with an interesting lean back and speedbag. Next, there is a capoeira throw that moves into the wheel with uppercuts--it was more fun than it sounds!

Capoeira Cool-Down (6:35 minutes)
I liked this segment as well, although it was a bit slower-paced. Continuing with the capoeira moves, Johnson performs ginga and esquiva (a dodge-type move) and then adds roundhouse kicks.

Tubing (8:15 minutes)
This is the final chapter of the workout, although the last 3:30 minutes consists of the "Mind-Body" cool-down. The tubing portion starts with punches: Johnson and crew step on the band and perform slow upper cuts and jabs. With the band under one foot, Johnson works the legs with side raises, side push kicks, and roundhouse kicks. For the cool-down, Johnson incorporates basis Tai Chi as well as a few yoga moves (e.g., triangle, warrior 1, warrior 2).

I enjoyed this 48-minute routine more than the three "Cardio Party" workouts. I think that the main reasons were that I found Johnson to be a bit lower-key here, and I also found her to move a more controlled pace. Plus, PUNCH, KICK & JAM includes simple combinations, fun capoeira moves, and plenty of kicks, all of which I enjoy. In the end, I think that this will winding up being one of my favorite TJ workouts.

Instructor Comments:
As noted, I can find Johnson a bit over-the-top at times, so I need to expose myself to her in small doses only. However, I liked her better here than in the various Cardio Party workouts.

Beth C (aka toaster)


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!).

Instructor Comments:
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.

Instructor Comments:

Coleen (cjo42a)