Fu Kickboxing Workout
punch and kick
your way to a better body
with The Kung Fu Kick-
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS usually include slimming and keeping fit. Now
you can fight your way to fitness in 2008 with martial arts champions Tiffany
and Max Chen, who claim that by following The Kung Fu Kickboxing Workout
it will help you to "blast fat and tone the body while building strength,
agility and endurance".
Sounds reasonable, but will this DVD really help you on the road to fitness?
MotorBar asked championship-standard Kickboxing trainer Ray Askew and his wife
Kelly, a fitness instructor, to give us their comments.
According to Tiffany and Max, their Shan Shou boxing style incorpor-ates wrestling
and kicking techniques to increase strength, speed and agility; improve endurance
and encourage the reflexes of a fighter.
This DVD does not claim to teach you to fight it does claim to be a fast-paced
and exciting programme guaranteeing a heart-pumping workout that will quickly
tone shoulders, arms, abs, glutes and legs.
Ray says that Americans are more into wrestling than Britain and although he
was not too familiar with wrestling exercises, the first thing that impressed
him was that Tiffany and Max were keen to caution those taking part in the programme
to warm up correctly.
The introduction explained the importance of warming up and stret-ching. Ray
emphasised the importance of stretching out after the workout, too. Good advice
was given to take it easy at first, not to bounce and not to push yourself too
hard. Breathe into the stretch, says Ray, then exhale. The stretching shown
on the video is very similar to the way they both recommend. Both he and Kelly
that to have the three different workouts, each suitable for different levels,
was also a good idea.
The Basics consists of three-minute rounds of combat-oriented exercises; The
Kicker has a series of thirty-second standing and floor callisthenics and The
Killer (not, thankfully, literally!) is repetitive cycles of challenging, explosive
movements. All three of the sections last about twenty minutes.
"Perhaps the only comment here," says Ray, is that they haven't explained that
you should never cold stretch you do need to warm up to get blood into
the muscles before you stretch. Static stretching is good, but bounce-stretching
is not." He suggests: "You should warm up, then stretch, then re-warm. Move
at your own pace. It's all about what's comfortable for you. Tiffany and Max
point out that you don't need to keep up with them they've been doing
this for years everything should be very gradual."
Ray praises the DVD: "The concept of is very good it's a good work-out
with sensible information. But don't forget it is not a substitute for the personal
guidance of an expert who can advise you what not to
do and how to do the exercises correctly. One criticism is that I don't think
you need to isolate the neck muscles for exercise most of these exercises
will strengthen the neck and you should take advice before considering those.
Personally, I'd give the neck exercises a miss."
Kelly says: "The Pulse-Raiser is the first warm-up and Tiffany explains very
well how you should control your breathing as you lift a weight often
people are tempted to hold their breath."
"I can't fault The Kung Fu Kickboxing Workout for keeping fit," says
Ray. "It is specific to kicking sports and the package is not misleading
it doesn't suggest you could fight once you've used the DVD. It is as it says
purely an exercise DVD." He adds: "The safety aspects are very good,
but I don't think they've made it clear that you should be taking in fluids
so keep plenty of water nearby."
Both Kelly and Ray thought it would be good to have a 'PAR-Q' with the DVD.
That is, a Pre-Activity, Readiness Questionnaire so you could tick off any problems
like high blood pressure, heart disease, pregnancy, back or knee injuries or
fitness levels. "We try and keep everyone as safe as possible while they are
training," says Ray. "Tiffany is bringing up appropriate information and her
voice is good and clear. There should be no jerky movements. Dipping and arching
your back needs caution and you shouldn't crouch beyond seating position. Getting
your balance will come with practise. Make sure your room is clear of obstacles,
Kelly comments: "This is a lot safer than some of the clubs I've come across!"
She advises: "Bend your knees before you stretch for the floor. Low-impact is
good. Tina and Max have a nice relaxed style with their punch, jab and cross.
You shouldn't do anything that puts your joints under stress." She added: "It
would be nice to see exactly what you could achieve from this workout."
On Workout 2, Ray felt that occasionally technical jargon was used without explanation
and he emphasised the need to cool down after high-intensity exercise and to
reduce the intensity before stretching. Perhaps try some marching, he says,
like the Jane Fonda march!
Workout 3, says Ray, is good for fitness with an effective mix of movements
and paces. "Max is clearly very experienced but Tiffany is demonstrating a level
you could achieve more easily. Lunging exercises are excellent for toning up
rear, thighs and fronts of legs."
The Verdict: Kelly and Ray think that The Kung Fu Kickboxing Workout
is an excellent exercise DVD with great potential as a toner and fat-burner.
The lunges and punches are similar to the ones they recom-mend. They further
1. Have some understanding of fitness before you begin
2. Ideally, consult a fitness expert and also have a health check
3. Ensure you warm up and cool down properly
4. Give the neck exercises a miss you don't need them
5. It is important to keep taking in fluids so keep water to hand
The Kung Fu Kickboxing Workout is
on sale now, priced at £14.99.
Tiffany and Max Chen started learning martial arts at an early age from their
father, Tai Chi Grand Master William C. C. Chen. A figure skating champion as
a child, Tiffany entered her first martial arts competition at the age of 16
and now holds over 40 gold medals. Max, one of
the top full-contact Lei Tai San Shou competitors in the country, has achieved
20 gold medals in just over a decade of competing. They both teach at their
father's school in New York.