Cardio Blast is another fun pair of workouts in Kelly‘s 30 Minutes to Fitness series. They are both cardio workouts; one is step cardio and the other is plyometrics. They are both intermediate level with beginner modifications. Even tho I really enjoyed both of these workouts, I was hoping for something a bit more intense. Athletic step is steady-state cardio. She adds some plyometrics to up the intensity, but it never gets crazy intense. The Plyometrics workout isn’t much better. It is more intense than the Athletic Step–but not as intense as you’d expect. When I see a workout that consists of all plyo, I expect a HIIT workout. I’m not sure my heart rate ever got into the anaerobic zone during this workout. There are 10 plyo moves in the Plyometric workout and they are all of varying intensity, but the real problem is too much recovery time between moves. Also, most of the moves could have been done at a faster rate to really get the heart rate up there. And finally, though some of the “plyometric” moves were very high impact–most of them weren’t truly “plyometric”; they were just high impact.
Then I saw the premixes. There are only two on this DVD and they mix the two workouts together–you do a step combo then some plyo and keep alternating. I really liked the sound of that–in fact, it sounded just like Cathe’s Imax workouts which I adore. So after sampling both of the workouts independently, I did Premix 2. First let me say, it was more intense than either workout on it’s own; but, alas, it doesn’t hold a candle to Cathe‘s Imax workouts. Cathe kills you. Kelly just makes you kinda winded. So, in the end these are solid intermediate workouts and perfect to someone new to plyometrics and the HIIT concept. Plus, they are fun! I do really like the workouts. I have noted in my other reviews of Kelly’s workouts that most of them are intermediate or low advanced (when using heavier weights and advanced modifications) and that suits me fine for my purposes (usually doubles or using a premix that combines the two workouts + advanced modifications for my main morning workout), these really don’t fit in that category for me. As a recovery workout definitely and that is what I will use them for.
I also want to add that at the beginning of the Athletic Step workout Kelly suggests using weighted gloves because there are punches. I didn’t do that the first time, but when I did Premix 2, I wore 2 pound weighted gloves all through the entire workout–for step and plyo. It did up the intensity but still didn’t bring it up to a high intensity workout.
Workout #1 Athletic Step: 35 minutes; 5 minute warm up, 28 minutes of step combos and 2 minute cool down/stretch. Kelly uses an 8 inch step, one of the exercisers uses a 6 inch step and the other exerciser does all of the moves on the floor and with no impact/jumping. All of the steps that are used in the warm up are revisited during the workout at some point. This workout contains 5 combos. They are all athletic, fun and easy to learn. It is mostly steady state cardio but she adds plyometrics sometimes to up the intensity.
Workout #2 Plyometrics: 37 minutes; 6:30 warm up, 26 minutes plyometrics and 4:30 cool down/stretch. Workout #2 consists of 10 “plyometric” exercises and each exercise is repeated twice. You get a recovery period between each exercise (IMHO the recovery period is too long). Kelly has the step out in front of her but never uses it. (However, I like it there because you use the step during the premixes so it keeps continuity). Kelly does the highest impact moves, another exerciser does high impact moves, too, just not as high as Kelly, and another exerciser does no impact moves. The only thing you need is a towel to use as a prop on the floor. Here are the exercises: 1. Squat jumps, 2. jacks over square (towel), 3. hop overs (towel), 4. tuck jumps, 5. long jumps, 6. heel digs, 7. splits on the move (lunge jump combo), 8. jump in straddle out, 9. side lunges, 10. power knees.
Premixes: Step Plyo Blast 41 minutes (warm up, all 5 step combos, 1 plyo move between each combo and cool down/stretch); Step Plyo Blast Plus 49 minutes (warm up, all 5 step combos, 2 plyo moves between each combo and cool down/stretch)
Both premixes use the Athletic Step warm up but the first premix uses the Athletic Step cool down/stretch and the second premix uses the Plyometrics cool down/stretch. Both workouts use the same 5 plyometric moves. In premix 1 you only do the plyo move once and in premix 2 you do the move twice (just like in the Plyometrics workout). Because it is a premix, the recovery time is shortened a bit–at least, the part where you finish the second plyometric exercise then start a step combo. That helps to boost the intensity a little (less down time) but it still isn’t enough to make them intense workouts. What disappointed me about these premixes is that she didn’t even use the most intense plyo exercises! Why not use the 5 least intense in Premix 1 and the 5 most intense in Premix 2? Oh well. Here are the 5 plyo exercises used in the premixes: 1. jump squats, 2. hop overs (towel), 3. splits on the move, 4. jacks over square (towel), 5. heel digs.