We checked out two new hip hop-inspired exercise DVDs.
Billy Blanks Jr.: Fat Burning Hip Hop Mix
What it is: An upbeat series of 10-minute dance exercises that teach you the basics of hip-hop fused with Bollywood, funk and samba.
Who leads the workout: Billy Blanks Jr., son of Tae Bo inventor Billy Blanks. He is joined by his wife, Sharon Catherine Blanks.
Workout time: About 10 minutes per workout, along with five minutes for warm-up and cool-down. There is also a special five-minute dance challenge.
What we liked: Thanks to fun choreography and a high-energy instructor, Fat Burning Hip Hop Mix feels less like a workout and more like a dance party. Blanks has created steps that not only get your heart pumping but are also easy to master. Because the dance routines are broken into 10-minute segments, users can tailor their overall workout to their schedules, as they can choose to do the entire DVD or just pick the routines they prefer. Blanks motivates and provides humor along the way.
What might have been better: Fat Burning Hip Hop Mix is an overall great exercise DVD for those looking to lose the pounds or just stay in shape. My only suggestion would have been to include more modifications throughout the routines so users would have something to aim for as they progress in their workout.
Cost: $9.96, available at Walmart and www.walmart.com.
Dance Off the Inches: Hip Hop Body Blast
What it is: A high-intensity cardio workout that, through the use of energized dance routines, aims to sculpt your body while you're having fun.
Who leads the workout: Jennifer Galardi, a dance and fitness instructor who has appeared in numerous exercise DVDs and health magazines.
Workout time: 21-minute step guide, 44-minute workout.
What we liked: From the very start, Hip Hop Body Blast is an intense workout that keeps you on your toes and gets your heart racing. There are no breaks between the routines, so users are guaranteed to get the most out of their workout each time they pop in the DVD. Galardi has done a great job of creating a workout that is both fun and engaging.
What might have been better: If you're already in fairly good shape or good at rhythmic routines, Hip Hop Body Blast is the workout DVD for you. But the intricate choreography is a challenge -- the DVD features a 21-minute step guide solely for learning the steps and mini combinations that are incorporated into the workout. We suggest mastering the step guide before attempting the main program, in order to get the most out of your workout.
Cost: $9.99, available at Target and www.target.com.
-- Courtney Ortega