DVD Review: Tae Bo: Ultimate Abs/Butt, Billy Blanks (2003)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Good targeted workout for Tae Bo buffs

four out of five stars

Tae Bo Ultimate Abs/Butt” is a great targeted workout for Tae Bo enthusiasts who have already mastered many of the moves. If you’re new to Tae Bo, this isn’t the workout for you – Billy switches from one exercise to the next fairly quickly, giving you little time to recover in between segments. Nor does he explain the correct form for many of the moves (most of which you should be familiar with if you’ve worked your way through another TB video or two). The two 55-minute workouts on this DVD also test your endurance, so if you’re out of shape, a newbie to TB, or have a hard time with the Basic workouts, you should hold off on “Tae Bo Ultimate Abs/Butt.”

That said, those who have been doing Tae Bo for some time will enjoy these “new” workouts, even though there isn’t any new footage to speak of. Rather, Billy and his crew have gathered 55 minutes of the best abdominal and gluteal exercises from previous videos and edited them together into two separate workouts. Each consists of a roughly 5 minute warmup, followed by 30+ minutes of kicking and/or punching, 15-20 minutes of floor exercises, and a quick 3-5 minute cool down.

Each workout does a great job of targeting and working the desired areas. I especially like the variety of floor exercises in the Ultimate Abs workout – rather than doing a zillion crunches, Billy mixes it up a bit and introduces a number of new exercises. Unfortunately, the floor portion of the Ultimate Butt workout just repeats the same two exercises over and over – be prepared to do plenty of to-the-side leg lifts and roundhouse kicks, with a couple of other drills sprinkled in here and there!

However, “Tae Bo Ultimate Abs/Butt” isn’t quite perfect. Like many Tae Bo workouts, some of the exercises are repeated more on one side than the other, and some are only done on one side, period! This is really unforgivable – since the tape was edited together, Billy and his production assistants could (SHOULD) have hunted around for the best examples of each exercise. For each uneven set, I could easily think of another video on which the set was performed with equal repetitions on each side. Also, the editing is a little choppy – before one segment is over (i.e., before you’ve reached the last 8-count), the class is already starting on the next exercises. This makes it quite difficult to maintain the correct form and do the entire set. Of course, after doing the workout a few times, you learn to anticipate these difficulties and compensate for them. Yet, it’s still a major gripe – they had the opportunity to fix many of the problems present in their live/complete workouts and still they dropped the ball. C’mon, guys, listen to your loyal followers already!

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

DVD Review: Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced Workout, Billy Blanks (2001)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Take your Tae Bo workout to the next level!

five out of five stars

Buyers beware: “Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced” is not for newbies! If you’re just starting out, pick up the original 4-pack, start with the Instructional video, move on to the Basic and Advanced workouts once you have the moves down, and don’t even think about buying “Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced” until you can do the Advanced workout without feeling nauseous or faint! It took me six months to graduate from the Basic to the Advanced workout (yes, I was SERIOUSLY out of shape!), and another three months of doing the Advanced workout before I gave “Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced” a go. Even then, it kicked my butt. I’ve been doing it for about six months now, and I LOVE it!

“Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced” features two great 55-minute workouts – Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced 1 and Tae Bo II: Get Ripped Advanced 2 (these naming schemes are starting to get confusing, no?). Each is extremely fast-paced and neither leaves you much time to catch your breath in between segments. This is a good thing – the more exercises they can cram into the DVD, the further my dollar goes. Plus, there’s always the pause button if you start to get winded to the point of nausea.

I went from 140 to 120 pounds while doing the original Basic and Advanced workouts (just for reference, I’m female and a shorty at 5’4″). By the time I started the Get Ripped series, I definitely wasn’t overweight, but I wanted better muscle tone – and Get Ripped delivered! Since I started this DVD, I’ve lost an additional 10 pounds and have developed good-sized biceps and surprisingly strong legs. Though you won’t get as ripped as Shellie, Debbie, and Michelle (hey, they all weight train, too!), you will see a difference.

As an added bonus, there’s also a 8-minute power workout included. Actually, it really runs 15-minutes – there’s a 7-minute warmup that for some reason isn’t factored into the total running time.

My main gripe with this TB DVD is the same as always – Billy sometimes neglects to repeat an exercise the same number of times on each side. This can of course be remedied by alternating your starting side so that one day your left side does more work, the next day your right side gets more reps, and so on. Otherwise, an awesome workout!

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)