DVD Review: Kathy Smith – Kickboxing Workout (1999)

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

A great workout for beginners – but beware the Challenge workout, it’s a rip-off.

four out of five stars

I picked up a copy of Kathy Smith’s Kickboxing Workout on DVD a few months ago. Though I used to do Tae Bo religiously, my cardio routine fell by the wayside when we moved into a new house and [insert excuse after excuse here; reason #1 being that our new home has all-concrete floors and it took us a few months to outfit the gym with an appropriate mat]. Anyway, when I vowed to start back up again, I quickly decided against resuming Tae Bo. What with its quick switches between moves, sometimes confusing instructions, and uneven editing, I suspect that Tae Bo was a little too rough on my knees and ankles. Instead, I thought I might check out Kathy Smith’s workout; I have some of her other videos, including a few light weight workouts, and enjoy them…well, as much as one can enjoy an exercise DVD.

Kathy Smith’s Kickboxing Workout is just what I needed – an excellent workout for beginners. If you’re new to cardio and/or kickboxing, the 45-minute Basic workout is challenging but not impossibly so. Smith starts with a slow warm up, leads you into a moderately-paced workout (roughly 20 minutes in length), and then cools things down with a short “buns and thighs kicking drills” segment, followed by a “cool down stretch” and an “abs and back strengthening” workout. The run time is just over 45 minutes. I have a few minor quibbles – for example, switching or adding moves in the middle of a routine, which seems to me a no-no for beginners – but nothing out of the ordinary. Overall, it’s great.

If you’re expecting a more difficult routine from the 55-minute Challenge workout, forget it. Instead of putting together an entirely new routine for more experienced students – which is what I expected – Smith just adds two extra segments to the Basic workout and calls it a “Challenge.” Keith Cooke leads the added ten minutes of footage, which is divided into two segments: “Kickboxing Stances” (a review of the postures, which can hardly be called “challenging”) and “Challenge” (a few new combinations, again not super-difficult or especially intense). As much as I love the Basic workout, I’m super-disappointed in the Challenge; whereas I thought this might be a new routine I could move onto once I’d mastered the Basic workout, it’s really just more of the same. Increased difficulty isn’t just about endurance, but intensity too. 4/5 stars, with a point lost for the “Challenge” half of this DVD.

Also, can the class please stop wearing baggy pants? I need to see what your legs are doing! kthnxbai.

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

DVD Review: Lift Weights to Lose Weight, Kathy Smith (2006)

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Great weighted workout for all levels!

five out of five stars

Kathy’s Smith’s TIMESAVER: LIFT WEIGHTS TO LOSE WEIGHT is a fun, effective workout for all levels. The workout is divided into three sections: a 20-minute upper body workout; a 20-minute lower body workout; and a 7-minute bonus abdominal workout.

Throughout the upper body workout, you use dumbbells to work your arms and back. Other exercises include pushups and tricep dips. The lower body workout consists mostly of squats and side and back leg kicks/lifts. Finally, be prepared to do a number of different crunches during the ab section.

The nice thing about the upper- and lower-body workouts is that they can be as easy or as difficult as you like – just vary the weight of the dumbbells and ankle weights. Each has two different “Tracks” you can follow, too. The first track employs lighter weights and more repetitions, while the second uses heavier weights and allows for more frequent rests in which to recover. Half the class follows along with each track, plus there are textual cues on the video to help you keep up with your track, so it’s quite simple.

Although instructor Kathy Smith suggests that you do the workout every day, alternating between the lower- and upper-body segments (or do both on one day and then take the next off), I also do yoga, pilates, and Tae Bo, so I only do LIFT WEIGHTS TO LOSE WEIGHT about once a week. Even so, I can already see a difference, particularly in my arms and shoulders. I don’t use especially heavy weights, either – just 3- and 5-pound dumbbells and 2-pound ankle weights. I can really feel an ache in my muscles after the lower body segment, too. Finally, the ab workout is a “fun” (relatively speaking) variation from what I’m used to.

Speaking of fun, I really like Kathy Smith’s instructional style. She’s peppy and encouraging, but not to the point of annoyance (yes, I’m thinking of the wild-eyed Denise Austin here). I have a number of Smith’s workouts, and they’re all above par.


The upper body workout requires at least two pairs of dumbbells: a light-to-medium set and a second, heavier set. During the workout, instructor Kathy Smith encourages you to alternate between the two. A padded bench is optional. If you don’t have a bench, you can get down on a carpeted floor or mat instead, but I find that a bench helps me to keep proper form, so I just use my coffee table with a towel for padding. However, you will need a chair for the tricep dips.

The lower body section requires a chair for support, and dumbbells and ankle weights may be used for a greater challenge.

The ab segment doesn’t require any extra equipment, optional or otherwise – just a carpeted floor or exercise mat.

Enjoy the workout!

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