Difficulty level: Rating: Very challenging
Sweat-O-Meter: Rating: Occasional drips
Overall rating: Rating: Highly recommend
Length of workout: Just under 1 hour with the cool-down
Equipment needed: Your body!
I’m a self-proclaimed workout variety junkie – I have a psychological and physical need to switch up my workouts frequently – and for me, Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo Cardio Explosion is a breath of fresh air. I’m a Jillian Michaels fan, and I still love her workouts, but sometimes I need an infusion of something completely different. Let me also add that if you’re the type who likes to wring out your headband after a workout, don’t let my low Sweat-O-Meter rating deter you: I’m one of those people who simply doesn’t produce much sweat!
For those unfamiliar with kick boxing workouts, Tae Bo Cardio Explosion contains a 13-minute tutorial on the DVD that highlights 8 basic moves.
The first 4 minutes of the workout are a traditional stretch-style warm-up, which I greatly appreciate since I work out before or at sunrise, depending upon the season.
Billy Blanks follows the warm-up with about 10 minutes of different styles of punches – including jabs, uppercuts and back fists. Once he brings in the legs, the workout really gets going. I truly enjoy the challenge of trying to master the kicks like the front kicks, side kicks and scoop kicks while trying to keep up with Billy and the others in the video. His combinations that blend punches with kicks really get my heart rate up, and really help me release any pent-up tension!
I really like the overall feel of this workout. It has the appearance of an actual fitness class, not an overly choreographed and rehearsed workout DVD. You get the distinct impression that the others on screen are learning right along with you. The workout isn’t organized into circuits or sets; you have to keep your eyes and ears focused on Billy.
The first few times that I performed the workout, I found myself concentrating mostly on what Billy was doing so I could learn the moves and start to anticipate what was coming next. But once I was familiar with the workout, I could really focus on putting as much effort into my punches and kicks as possible. In fact, concentrating on my form and on keeping my abs nice and tight help make the workout fly by.
The workout itself is 47:30 minutes long, followed by a brief, and much welcomed, cool down. And even though the movements themselves are not too difficult when performed individually, sustaining proper form on punches and kicks for nearly 50 minutes is tough. I can feel my form starting to waffle around the 35-minute mark, so I have to dig extra deep for those final minutes. Billy ends the workout with a bang, with machine gun kicks, jumping jacks and 3 sets of punch jumps.
A low-impact workout
It’s a workout well worth incorporating into your routine, especially if you’re looking for something a bit lower impact. Tae Bo Cardio Explosion still includes brief intervals of traditional cardio, like jogging in place, jumping rope and jumping jacks, but it is never so much that it bothers my 45-year-old knees. It’s also nice to have a workout that doesn’t require any additional equipment, so you can tote it along when you travel.
I’ve so enjoyed Tae Bo Cardio Explosion, and I’m really looking forward to adding more titles from Billy Blanks to my workout DVD library.
Before you try the workout, check out this preview on YouTube.