Under Review: Core Rhythms (and a Giveaway!)
I don’t watch much QVC or late-night infomercials, so Core Rhythms was only vaguely on the far reaches of my radar. But the Fit Bottomed Girls are more than happy to be guinea pigs and try out any workout, so let’s allow this phenomenon to take center stage for the day.
The dance-based Core Rhythms four-pack of DVDs consists of an introduction, which familiarizes you with the moves to come, a full workout, a quick workout and a partner dance. I won’t break down the introduction step by step, but I will say that it not only teaches the moves you’ll need, but it also allows you to look at front and back views of the dance, a feature all of the workouts have. If you struggle with choreography, this feature is awesome. You can also click on “help” during any of the workouts to have the instructors break down each move in detail. Super helpful, but I couldn’t figure out how to pause or fast forward without clicking that feature. That could just be me.
The instructors are crazy awesome. Jaana Kunitz has crazy, Kool-Aid-red hair, killer abs and what I assume is a Finnish accent (per Wikipedia saying she’s from Finland). Julia Powers has crazy, curly blonde hair, killer abs and what I assume is a Russian accent (per Wikipedia saying she’s from Russia). Both women are award-winning dancers and mean business.
The 45-minute workout consists of four sections: warm-up, merengue, samba and the cool down. The warm-up starts your hips moving and introduces you to the GIANT torso that is dancing at the back of the set. We’re talking a movie-theater size torso. It’s a little distracting, but after awhile made me laugh and had me convinced that’s what my abs would soon look like.
The warm-up also introduces you to the fact that Julia doesn’t have bones in her body, as her hips seem to flow separately from the rest of her. The moves are all easy to follow, even if it takes a second to figure out the basics, which is moving your upper body in the opposite direction of your hips to target—you guessed it—the core.
Merengue is where the fun really begins, and you start moving your hips in ways you never knew they could move. You combine lateral hip movements with core flexion, thrusting your hips and abs in and out. The non-stop thrusting and hip shaking get your heart rate up. And as much as this is a core workout, your arms and shoulders get some work, too, because throughout the workout you’re either pumping them with the thrusting or holding them at shoulder level. The booty-shaking box step was one of my favorite moves.
The samba section incorporates a lot of bouncing to the sexy samba rhythm. My favorite moves were the step points and the step ball changes to the rhythm—just a real fun and funky move. I also got to practice my rump-shaking while doing a walk forward—kinda like patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Bouncing while drumming your hands gets your heart rate up and also works your thighs as you squat at different heights. The botafogos, a side step move while moving your hips in a figure eight, took a little getting used to but were super fun and really made you feel like a dancer once you figured them out.
The cool down is standard here. As the music slows down, you slow down with hip circles and slow, fluid movements. A few stretches round out the workout.
This 20-minute section consists of the same elements of the Full Workout—warm-up, merengue, samba and cool down—with shorter segments. New backup dancers, same fun moves.
Latin Dance Made Easy
This 35-minute DVD teaches you and a partner two sets of salsa, merengue and rumba moves. This part isn’t meant to be as much of a workout as it is an introduction to partner dance. Julia and her partner demonstrate a move, and then break down it down for each partner before putting the moves together. I convinced my husband to give it a go with me and we had fun doing it, but it convinced us that we need to take an actual class because it’s hard to catch on at home. We’d do well during dances where the instructors were aligned with us, but when they turned it was all over.
After my recent go at ballroom dancing and this current shot at Core Rhythms, I may just be hitting dance competitions around America yet. Just kidding—I promise I won’t become an awesome dancer. I’m sure it’s more entertaining for ya’ll when I’m terrible.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottom line: High on the entertainment factor, this is an easy-to-follow dance workout that will entertain you and work your heart and core. It’ll have you dancing up a storm and learning new ways to move those hips. —Erin
Want to try out Core Rhythms? Shoot us a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30 to enter to win! (U.S. residents only, por favor!)