Kickbutt Strong Bear

Keli Roberts
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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14" step-recommended, but I also use my 12" Firm box
Light dumbbells
Heavy dumbbells
optional ankle weights

Proportion of disciplines:
Pilates: 10 minutes
Cardio: 8 minutes
Yoga: 4 minutes
Weights: 30 minutes
Total: 52 minutes

This workout is a remake of the original FitPrime Strong Bear. The most noticeable differences are the beautiful production, glitch free editing, and a workout that seems to flow really well. Keli does an excellent job leading this workout. Her form and form pointers are both excellent. One of the background exercisers always use items that you can find in your home.

The WHFN workouts continue the FitPrime tradition of working your non-dominant side first. After the warm-up, and first cardio section, Step Stomps, the first weight circuit consist of, 4-limb hard squats,plie’ pivot rows, and plie’ leg presses.

Cardio #2 is called the Bootcamp Scramble, which is the squat thrusts, push-ups and marches combination. Strength circuit #2 consist of non dominant leg, back and arms, dominant leg and non-dominate chest, 1 leg triceps alternating shoulder presses, dominate leg, back and arm, non-dominate leg and dominate chest.

Yoga #1, which is step warrior, is followed by strength circuit #3. This circuit consist of, hip rotation and hovers, non-dominate stick kicks, triceps trio, and dominate stick kicks.

Cardio #3 is butt pops. Pilates follows this cardio section and it consists of, dominate ADD sole press, non-dominate sole press, and then staddle crunch.

The workout ends with a short yoga section.

I really liked this workout and I found it to be plenty challenging. I have to be honest. On preview, I thought Keli looked stiff, but my opinion changed after doing this workout. Keli did a wonderful job leading this workout.

Once the workout starts, it is pretty much non-stop until the pilates section. Both cardio sections are challenging, because you use medium to heavy weights during the 4-limb section and your body weight during the bootcamp section. I used 10 lb. Dumbbells during the 4-limb section.

The strength workout consists of giant sets, working your non-dominate side first before working your dominate side. You also alternate between lower body work and upper body work. This enables you to work the entire time. The only time you are taking a break is during an equipment change.

The poundage that I used for this workout was, 5-15 lbs dumbbells my first time doing this workout, and 5-20 lbs. dumbbells the second time I did this workout. I did modify the chest presses and the triceps presses. Instead of using my step, I used my push-up bars. For the push-ups, I placed one hand on one bar and the other on the floor to simulate the push-ups in this workout.

Instructor Comments:
Keli does an excellent job leading this workout. Her form and form pointers are both excellent.

Debbie Stout


Women's Health & Fitness Network Strong Bear is part of the KickButt series and contains 10 minutes of Pilates, 8 minutes of cardio, 4 minutes of yoga and 30 minutes of weights. With stretches it's about 54 minutes. Keli Roberts leads dressed in an orange top and black shorts, and she does a great job! As with all WHFN workouts the music is great, the colors are vibrant and alive, and the production quality is perfect.

The warm up includes tall box stomps. We then move on to step squats using medium to heavy weights. I'm an intermediate/advanced exerciser and I used 2 12# dumbbells here, which were fine for me. We move from step squats to step with abduction, then to squats with overhead presses and releves. There's a balance challenge here, as there is with all WHFN workouts. One thing I love about these is no wasted movements. No endless, boring repetitions of the same tired move. You're always working with variety and compound moves, incorporating functional fitness, balance, and core work!

Keli then says to "heavy up" but I kept the 2 12#'s to do plies with upright row and biceps curls. We alternate lifting the heels to work into one leg, and she takes us through a slow rotation and lunge sequence between sides. Small jumps from the plie stance are included, and they did not bother my knees, which are often bothered by moves like these. Pay attention to form and alignment and they're safe and effective.

Next we do side leg press, with the non-dominant heel on the step. Again, pay attention to Keli's form pointers and your alignment, and you will feel these correctly. So much of these workouts depend on what you put into them in terms of paying attention to form and posture. They're designed to work these, so you have to cast off what you "think" you know and pay attention to what the instructor is saying. You will work muscles in different ways and really feel and notice a difference the more you do this type of work!

We then move the non-working leg closer to the step and do leg press from the side, again pushing into the non-dominant leg on top. I used 2 12# weights again for this and really felt it!

Next are planks, into slow push-ups, back into plank, and a small jump as we stand. This is similar to the same move in FitPrime's Strong Bear, but there is more emphasis on the yoga positions and it's not as choppy this time. VERY challenging and I loved it!

We then do slow leg press with weights again, working the non-dominant leg and dipping back with the opposite one at the end of each leg press. It's slow and controlled, and there's a balance challenge involved when we lift the opposing knee at the top of the leg press, so be careful with weight here. One arm lat rows follow, and I used a 20#. However, bear in mind that immediately after the lat rows we do one arm biceps curls, and a 20# was too much for me!

We then do push-ups with the dominant hand on the step, and stand to do french press with one weight, standing on the non-dominant leg. I used a 12 pound weight.

We then stand on the dominant leg and do overhead shoulder presses, and I used 2 12#'s for this which was very challening for me. We then pick up light weights (I used 2 5#'s) and do front, side, front for shoulders, while standing on the non-dominant leg this time. We then stay on the non-dominant leg to do lateral raises with the arms.

Then, it's back to leg press this time on the dominant leg. The slow leg press sequence follows, this time on the non-dominant leg, followed by push-ups with the non-dominant hand on the step. This may all sound confusing but Keli keeps it straight by telling you which hand or leg to be on - dominant or non-dominant. A well-deserved and excellent stretch follows all this.

Next are hover squats using no weight. We incorporate pelvic tilts so pay attention again to form and alignment and you will feel the work.

Hip work is next, starting with the non-dominant leg on the step, the stick in the other hand, and doing roundhouse kicks which we then hold at the top. Burner! We then lie on the same side using the step and do side raises with the non-dominant leg. They are slow and effective! A pigeon stretch for that leg follows, then we move into triceps push-ups with planks, triceps kickbacks with small weights while leaning over the step, and finally triceps dips with small walks to the front and back, VERY challenging! We then repeat the hip work sequence on the dominant leg.

Next are calf raises with small jumps, which also did not bother my knees because I was very careful with form and I used the stick for balance.

Oblique work and inner thigh is next, and Keli suggests using ankle weights for a greater challenge. I will try this next time. Finally we do ab work including traditional crunches, and then a very relaxing yoga stretch follows.

I loved this workout!! I give this one an A+!!

Instructor Comments:



I love this workout! It's just tough enough for me that I feel I worked, but not so hard that I am exhausted the next day. I am an intermediate exerciser who is trying to get back into exercising consistently. This workout really helps because I like it so much!! I have no dread associated with it like I do with Cathe's weight workouts (which are just a little too much for me). I'd recommend this to beginners (who can use light weights) and intermediates. Advanced and catheites may think this is too easy but may like it because it is a different mix of exercises.

Instructor Comments:
I love Kelli! She's good at cueing and very inspiring!



This workout has already been broken down, so I am just going to add my own opinions. I provided a comparison between the WHFN Kick Butt Strong Bear and the original Fitprime Strong Bear (with Tracie Long) in the Fitprime Strong Bear review. I am reviewing this workout after having done it several times through the years. This is the updated Strong Bear from WHFN (led by Keli), with a few women background exercisers (one of them shows beginner modifications with prop replacements like water bottles and a common step stool). The music and production quality are excellent and it is filmed in a large mansion-like setting with statues in alcoves along the walls. I think Anna Benson was going for the “new” Firm look, and succeeded.

The workout clocks in at about 56 minutes and was mostly strength focused but did include a 4-limb segment, a boot camp cardio segment, a short jumping segment to work the feet, and some yoga throughout. Like all of the WHFN workouts, there is a functional feel to these and the exercises are very creative. Strong Bear particularly focuses on the inner thighs with a regular plie set, another plie set with one foot elevated (in releve) on the tall box, and a short set of tall box leg press off the side of the box using the inner thigh to push you to the top. There is also a side leg series focused on inner thigh lifts. The outer thighs are worked with a slow roundhouse kick series and some pilates-inspired “around the world” hip extensions. There are two (relatively short) leg press sets, one just leg press, the other leg press with curtsey dips. I liked the leg press and plie emphasis in this one, giving you a break from all of the lunges and dips in the other WHFN workouts (Push Pull and Pump come to mind). The upper body is worked nicely with several exercises for the triceps, two short sets for the biceps, one arm row and some rhomboid pinches for the back, “yes/no” pushups (pushup to stretch position and back, these are fun!) with one arm on the tall step, and plenty of military presses and lateral shoulder raises. The core is worked nicely as well, both during the functional moves, and in a fun and effective side laying series with both legs lifting and sweeping in front of you. The ab work is brief but it’s a good set as well.

I’ve been revisiting my WHFN workouts lately and they are such high quality, fun, productive, gently challenging, functional workouts that really work the whole body. I think some people think these workouts are too kooky (they are a little kooky but no more so than the original Firms, IMO) and maybe they aren’t for everybody, but I think if you can put aside the uniqueness of these workouts, and are interested in the workout style (AWT), you might give them a try! Keli appears to use no more than 10# weights but I use a variety from 5# through 15# and can make this into a high intermediate workout. You can also make it more intense by really putting the energy into it and not just going through the motions. Done as is (with up to 10# weights as demonstrated) it is intermediate, while beginners can use a light poundage and keep it low intensity (it’s mostly low intensity anyway). It is not really modifiable (nor meant to be) to be made super advanced. Both versions of Strong Bear are great but I think I like Keli’s even better, due to the production value and I feel the exercises are somewhat more balanced. Overall Grade A+!

Instructor Comments:
Keli Roberts is very professional, friendly, encouraging, and she gives excellent form pointers (and as others have mentioned, she also demonstrates good form herself). I have her WHFN workouts and her Bosu Xplode workout, and need to definitely check out more of hers because I like her a lot. She encourages you to push yourself, but to take things day by day and do what’s most comfortable for your body. She has an English accent.

Emily B.