Saturday 13 February 2016

POUND Rockout Workout DVD Review

Price: £30/ $50
Length: 4 x 20 minute sections
Workouts: Lower, Upper, Core & Cardio
Suitable for: Everyone
Rating:   ★★★★★
Enjoyment:  ★★★★☆   Difficulty:  ★★★★★   Results:  ★★★★☆
Based on 5 weeks of use.

   You all know I love a unique workout, and POUND is one I've wanted to try for a very long time after seeing it mentioned on Indie workouts like these aren't always all they're cracked up to be, of course. The first I tried was Buti Yoga and I got on horribly with it due to poor instruction, despite my persistence and determination not to give up. In the end, I had to because I wasn't getting results due to how much I was struggling - not to complete reps or sets, but to just generally understand what I was supposed to be doing. Even the walk-through instruction section was no use. Fortunately that bad experience didn't put me off, it just made me cautious, so I had low expectations when I tried Kukuwa last summer - but it turned out to be so good that Kukuwa would have exceeded even my highest expectations.
   But after one bad and one good experience, I was still wary of POUND, but I'd wanted to try it for so long that I decided to take the chance. I am so glad I did. It almost scored as high as Kukuwa - the only reason it didn't hit equal was because it burned more (ouch) than Kukuwa, but that was to be expect from resistance. But I can say with great, great confidence that while I had a cardio workout (Kukuwa) that was high-impact but also heaps of fun, I now have a resistance workout to add to that list, meaning I now have two very different workouts that are heaps of fun enough to get me excited even on days when I just don't want to exercise, ultimately giving me no excuse at all.

   POUND is a dynamic resistance and cardio workout based on drumming, but rather than sitting down and striking a big round thing in front of you, you're on your feet and striking the ground in an almost constant squat. This might not sound like it's going to be particularly exciting or provide much variety, but you would be very, very wrong. By striking the sticks together above your head, or low on the ground in front, to the side or in a straight line, you're creating a lot of noise and a lot of movement, and that rhythmic noise is a great distraction from the difficulty of the workout - squatting for so long isn't easy, after all!
   Your heartrate rises nicely, and though it may not feel like it at the time, all four workouts target the promised areas, and the music and your contribution with your sticks makes you feel a lot more involved in the whole workout, as well as giving it a unique edge I've yet to see in any other workout. It is also a workout I would absolutely love to take a class in, because the noise and enthusiasm that would be present in the room would undeniably take the workout to new heights, so if you get the chance, definitely try it! There are even classes in the UK!
   POUND Album 1 consists of four 20-minute workouts that target upper body, lower body, core and cardio, and each of them provide a good sweat and a great burn that you will definitely feel the next day. Ripstix are sole piece of kit and are supplied with the DVDs, which are region-free and should play on all new (post 2010) DVD players. My DVD player is quite old so it won't play it, but it does work on my Xbox 360, which was the same case with Kukuwa and Buti Yoga.

Kit: Ripstix
   The Ripstix are the trademark piece of kit used in POUND; awesome bright green acrylic drumsticks, weighted to about the same as real drumsticks, and used to create a lot of noise by striking eachother or the ground. It's advisable to use an exercise or yoga mat if you have hard flooring to muffle the sound if you're concerned about upsetting your neighbours, but you also have to realise that the noise is part of it. It adds to the rhythm of the music, helps you keep time, and helps you to take your mind off of the burn in your legs because, take my word for it, they will be on fire in all four workouts.

Workout Structure
   The workouts are separated into body-targeting routines - one for upper body, one for lower body, one for abs, and one for full-body cardio, so whatever you're looking for, be it to focus on one area of your body, or get a total-body workout alternating every day, this DVD has you covered.
   Each workout is 20 minutes, with an additional 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down at either end, both of which are on separate DVD chapters so you can easily skip the second warm up if you're using 2 workouts in a row.
   Each 20-minute workout is broken down into four 5-minute sections, separated by the change in track. Each time the track changes, your approach to that area of the body changes, as does the rhythm you'll be pounding, so it stays fresh all the time. Each 5-minute section is made up of a number of different moves, but it's not very circuit-focused, instead the workout just rolls on by rather than dragging you back to the beginning, which is refreshing and ensures a whole range of movements, which is vital in shorter workouts.
   My only complaint about the whole thing falls into this section, and it is a whine at best. I feel there's a little too much time between transitioning from one move to the next - enough time for about 1 or 2 more reps, depending on the move in question. Now, obviously, this is a necessary pause for people new to POUND - I was certainly grateful for it at first, as, while a number of the stances themselves aren't tough, getting to grips with the movements is. And, therefore, I don't feel there's anything really wrong with this, but once you get used to it, it's a bit of an excuse for a break even if you don't need it. Of course there is one super-easy way to remedy this if it bothers you, like it bothered me: add in that extra rep or two, then transition quickly if you know what you're doing.
   You could argue that it's not worth bringing up, especially if I can tell you exactly why it's there, and usually I'd agree, but the break is a little too long when you need to keep moving, so once you're familiar with the moves I advise you to just put your foot down and keep going.

Bass Line - Lower Body
   This drumming workout takes place standing up for the most part, but you're still striking the ground, so you're in an almost constant squat in order to stay on your feet while still making noise with your sticks on the floor. The squat, for the most part, is a sumo or pliĆ©, and if you're not squatting, you're lunging. Your legs get no rest, constantly engaged and getting an amazing burn. It's a straight-forward workout, and you will really feel it in your legs within 5 minutes. Fortunately the music, the noise you're making with the sticks and trying to keep with the rhythm takes your mind off of it. Kind of.

Tune Up - Upper Body
   The Ripstix are about the same weight as drumsticks, and I thought they'd get heavy after moving them around so much. Light weights get heavy with constant movement, because you can use them much longer than heavier weights, but you still get a great burn in the end. But while the Ripstix didn't work out that way - I didn't feel tired at all on upper body day - they did provide surprising results. The day after every single upper body day I felt it in my upper back and triceps. It was undeniable, and while my biceps were totally fine, they're also the easiest muscle to work in your upper body, so you can always tack on some weighted bicep curls at the end of the upper body workout - though triceps and upper back are much harder, so it's truly fantastic that the upper body workout is able to target those areas so well!

Core and Abs
   This was the section I was most sceptical about. It's drumming! I know loads of moves that target your core - upper and lower abs, obliques, back and so on - and I just didn't really see how this could be incorporated into drumming. Evidently, the creators struggled a little because there's not as much energy in it and the moves are a little repetitive, but the section does create a lot of noise with sticks striking the ground and eachother, and your abs are almost constantly engaged in what I know from POP Pilates as 'earthquake' - leaning backwards with your abs tight, supporting your back. There are lots of Russian twists involved, striking the ground on either side, and oblique crunches by leaning on your side and drawing your knee into your chest. Again, as with the upper body section, it didn't really feel like I was achieving much. Until I woke up the next morning and struggled to sit up. My upper and lower abs, and my obliques, were sore. Once again I couldn't believe that a 20 minute workout that didn't feel very effective in targeting the promised areas truly did deliver. At the time I felt it more in my hips and quads, just like I felt it a lot in my quads and bum on upper body day, but those areas were perfectly relaxed the next day, and the areas I was supposed to be working proved that they had been.

   The cardio section is, for the most part, a combination of all of the previous three sections, but with faster movements and a few little jumps here and there. As with all cardio, it's the range of movement and the speed - the dynamics - that make for a good burn, but that also means that you are in complete control of how intense it is. This means that people who are new to fitness can go at their own pace, following the modifications demonstrated in the background and get an amazing burn and great results, while people who are more advanced can pick up the pace and gain the same effect, albeit with more work, but work they can handle.

Enjoyment:  ★★★★☆  -  This workout really brings something new to the table, and while it is difficult, you'll be able to overlook that little detail. Bring the noise!!
Difficulty:  ★★★★★  -  It's great fun, but your legs will seriously feel this, and it can be unsatisfying to modify the depth and go without the sound of the drumsticks. As such, you're likely to push yourself - that's a good thing, if you can do it without hurting yourself.
Results:  ★★★★☆  -  This workout will tone your core, sides and legs, and it's so much fun that you'll keep coming back for more, which really does help in gaining those results. It doesn't feel like work.

   This workout combines resistance with cardio at a completely adjustable level, suitable for beginners to advanced: it all depends on how deep and how fast you move, so everyone can get involved. Specific kit is required, but it is supplied as a basic part of the workout; by purchasing Album 1: Sweat. Sculpt. Rock, you get 4 20-minute workouts, the Ripstix and a little pouch for them. They fit snugly in your gym bag and take up very little room, so you could bring them to the gym or out to the park, flip on your mp3 player and just go crazy. Who cares it people see?! Who cares what they think?! Because you're rocking out, and that's all that matters. The noise gives the workout a whole new edge and completely takes your mind off of the exercise itself, making it easier to go crazy, and also makes the time pass quite quickly.
   I highly urge you to try this workout, it's so unique and so much fun you'll forget it's exercise, and that makes it even easier to put the effort into. You'll melt fat, build lean muscle and boost your metabolism along with it to keep you losing weight even after the workout itself.


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