Oh, Zumba how we love you. And while getting your Zumba on in your living room (be it in a video game or with a workout DVD) is fun, it’s just not ever as fun as Zumba-ing in person. There’s just something about the energy of the people and the loud music—and my mind’s ability to fool me into thinking my hips are shimmying just like the instructor’s are (oh, the tricky mind) that just doesn’t seem the same when you’re doing a DVD. Then again, at home you do have the ability to draw the blinds and dance like a madwoman, so maybe it’s a toss-up. Regardless, we’re here to tell you that the new Zumba workout DVD set gets your living room one step closer to feeling like a Zumba studio—and it gets your body and fitness level one step closer to being more well-rounded.
In all fairness, we only reviewed one DVD of the Zumba Fitness Exhilarate: The Ultimate Experience DVD Set. So while there are seven DVDs in the set, we can only give you the skinny on the toning DVD Ripped. (Unfortunately, the PR company we worked with on this review didn’t have full sets for media—we were sad about it, too.) Other DVDs in the series include a step-by-step guide that breaks down the basic Zumba steps, a beginner workout, a quick 20-minute session, a 60-minute “party” workout, a fitness concert, and a “Mix” that features new dance styles and even more of an international approach to Zumba. I’ll give my usual complaint that not all of those workouts needed their own DVD (especially the 20-minute workout…), and then move on to the DVD we did try.
Ripped gives you two different “toning” workouts and a couple of cool features. First, in this one you get to use the 1.5-pound toning sticks that double as maracas. Yes, I said MARACAS. (I’m not sure who was more excited about these—me or my dog who really, really thought they were hers for the playing with.) So while you’re Zumbaing about your living room, you have your own resistance—albeit very light resistance—and a noisemaker that makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Victory. Second, you get two 30-minute beginner- to intermediate workouts. One is your basic Zumba Toning workout, and the other is a Zumba Sentao chair routine. Both feature the Zumba choreography you love, along with dance-based moves that involve the toning sticks, such as bicep curls, rows, tricep dips off the chair, leg lifts—and did I mention MARACAS SHAKING? I didn’t think so.
In the Sentao workout, you also have the option to do the routine with or without voice cuing, which was an AWESOME feature for Zumba. The Sentao workout actually features voice-over cuing, which is cool because in the voice-free version you get to just jam out with fun music. While the voice-over is helpful (and necessary for your first few times through), it is a bit awkward with Beto and his sidekick talking about “feeling it” when clearly they’re in a recording studio. Oh, well. You only have to feel awkward through it a few times to go to the party version.
The only other complaints I have about this DVD set is that 1-pound sticks are not nearly heavy enough to get really good results. Nor are the 2.5-pound maracas you can buy online. (You knew I’d say this, right?) Although I do applaud Zumba for adding a resistance workout of any kind—and they are pretty brilliant in how they combine the two formats of dance and strength. Sure, much of the pace is far slower than usual Zumba, but the strength moves are solid. The cuing isn’t always the best, but just like a real class, you have to do it a few times to really start…wait for it…shaking your maracas!
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottomed Line: Zumba brings the party to the living room with this set. If you’re a beginner or an intermediate Zumba-er who can’t seem to get into resistance training, try it!
Anyone else tried this workout DVD set? How were the other DVDs? —Jenn