I’m always a sucker for workouts where you get to hit something. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a correct outlet for my PMS or maybe I’m a little sadistic, but it’s definitely stress relieving. So when the creator of KnockOut Abs (you may have seen it in infomercials as it was originally marketed on TV), asked if we wanted to try his speedbag program, all I saw was a bullseye for my jabs, hooks and uppercuts.
And jab, hook and uppercut I did. This piece of fitness equipment that’s part-abs, part-speedbag, part-resistance band comes with a workout DVD and a ginormous poster detailing every possible move you could do with the mini-bench. While the piece of equipment itself is a little hokey and very infomercial-like (I can imagine it now: “Sit and jab for just three minutes a day and you’ll get six-pack abs for just three—no two!—easy payments of $29.95!”), the quality is decent and it’s unique. Even if you just sit and punch from a sit-up position (like the woman in the photo), you definitely feel the burn in your core. It takes timing to hit the speedbag, which works your coordination, and using your upper-body gets your heart rate slightly elevated.
You can’t really just hold that position for long though, which is where KnockOut Abs goes from one-trick pony to actual workout. Granted, some of the moves on the poster are a stretch—doing push-ups and mountain climbers with your hands on the slightly elevated bench isn’t changing it much. But others are good, and gosh knows there are more than enough exercises shown to hit every part of your body, large and small. Although you can’t tell from the photo, there’s an area on the bottom of the system to attach resistance bands. When you do that, this thing becomes a strength workout, too. So from tricep kickbacks, to bicep curls to traveling push-ups (one hand on the bench, one hand off—moving from side to side) to sit-ups and squats, it delivers.
Then there’s the KnockOut Abs workout DVD. With three different workouts— beginner, intermediate and advanced—this really shows you how to use the system. Taking inspiration from the boxing world (er, obviously, with a speedbag and the name KnockOut Abs), each 20-ish minute workout consists of rounds, which are basically like circuits of moves. Between each round you get a short break. The beginner workout goes four rounds, intermediate goes six, and advanced goes for 10. All the workouts (even the beginner one) feature pretty intense moves including burpees, squats and jacks. Really, the only difference between the different workouts is how quickly you go through all of the rounds. (And the advanced one does have harder moves on the whole, but the beginner one is still more challenging than I expected.) Pretty well led with good cuing and modifications, the instructor is a bit distracting in her overly revealing “boxing” outfit, but she knows her stuff. And could probably kick my ass.
KnockOut Abs is much more than just the workout DVD, but I’ll give it stars nonetheless. Just for fun.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottomed Line: KnockOut Abs—the workout DVD and the whole system—may look like a cheap infomercial product, but it’s really not. While you don’t need a system like this to get fit, if you’re someone who likes to box, this could be for you!
Do you like to box for workouts? Prefer punching something more substantial than the air? Tell us about it! —Jenn