Friday, April 8, 2011

Review: Dancing With The Stars Cardio Dance DVD

Margaret Thatcher sent me the Dancing With The Stars: Cardio Dance DVD for a belated birthday present after learning how much I enjoyed Julianne Hough's cardio ballroom workout.  Julianne's DVD, which she says is for anyone, is for someone in at least decent shape with a moderate dance background.  Julianne is good about breaking the moves down and building up combinations and dances that follow a clear order.

The DWTS Cardio Dance DVD is far more random.  It is obvious that Julianne's workout DVDs are rehearsed and filmed in more than one take.  That isn't as clear with the DWTS workout.  One of the strength's of this workout is that it is far more unisex.  Men and women are featured as dancers behind the pros, which helps add a degree of self respect on days that you are feeling too gay to function.

Opening up with a basic warmup, the DVD progresses from low-intensity to medium-intensity to high-intensity.  It is a welcome progression.  Maks starts out with the Paso Doble.  I'm used to doing the Paso at the end of Julianne's workout when my arms are burning, so this Paso Doble feels far too easy to be real.  What I like about this section is that Maks is a clear instructor and he demonstrates a lot of classic Paso Doble moves.  It also serves as a good warmup for the dances to come.  Maks makes me feel like a big strong man and reminds us all to reset our posture after each turn.

The Cha-Cha is instructed by Ashly.  To be blunt: I can't stand her.  She is perky in a way that isn't as cute as Julianne and she doesn't even have a body that I admire.  Ashly's biggest weakness is that she goes from move to move without really explaining what is coming next.  The overall steps are fairly enjoyable, but I was quite pleased when this segment was done and she was off of my TV screen.

Kym Johnson's Samba workout takes us to wannabe Brazil.  The Australian is a fun instructor with one fierce body.  This section was my favorite of the DVD.  It is medium-impact and her demeanor is so enjoyable and engaging.  This is the section of the DVD I most look forward to doing again.

Kym, Maks and Ashly trade off during the Jive.  It is a bit annoying when all three of them start telling one another how much they are feeling it and how much their legs are burning.  Maks seems to be sarcastic in particular.  The Jive is the highest-intensity section of the DVD.  It is far less structured and less rigorous that Julianne Hough's Jive, but I did sweat and felt a workout.

The freestyle challenge of the DVD is a waste.  Kym, Maks and Ashly improv for a few minutes and it is clear that absolutely no time or effort went into this section.  The instructors don't tell you what's coming next and I would not even waste my time on this again unless I just want to keep my heart rate up for another 10 mins.  I certainly didn't get anything out of this section.

Overall, I missed the clear routines and challenging nature that Julianne's workout gives me.  The workout is not nearly as tough, but I would recommend it for anyone who wants to dance and wants to start getting in shape.  I will definitely still do this DVD on a Monday or on a weekend when I either want to gradually up my cardio for the week or to sneak in another workout on a Friday afternoon.  It isn't going to leave you with the same ass-kicking feel of Julianne Hough's Just Dance.  The DVD is a nice change of pace, as I like to feel like I'm learning the different ballroom styles in a comprehensive manner.  It is a nice change of pace, but it is not going to replace any of my mainstays in my cardio routine.