Sunday 8 October 2017

Just Jhoom! DVD Review

Price: £10
Length: 4x 4 minute dance routines + warm up & cool down
Workouts: All-over body (cardio, abs, strength)
Suitable for: Everyone
Overall Rating:   ★★★★☆
Enjoyment:  ★★★★☆   Difficulty:  ★★☆☆☆   Results:  ★★★☆☆
Based on 4 weeks of use.
   I've always been impressed by dance. I'm not sure what it is, it's just something that always enraptures me, especially if it's synchronised. The more feet, the more bodies, the more engrossed I become. Lord of the Dance is a guilty pleasure of mine.
   And while dance has never been something I wanted to do with my life, I can't resist a good dance workout. It's where I started when trying to lose weight because I thought it was either run, swim, cycle or dance, while weights were reserved for men. My goodness, how wrong I was. But even so, after four years of fitness blogging and trying so very many different things, dance has remained a favourite, if one I don't indulge very much.
   So when I saw The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - up until a month ago, the closest thing to a Bollywood film I'd seen - and the dance at the end, I had to find out if there was anything on the fitness market that could scratch the sudden itch.
   Well, there were. And they all looked the same.
   But then I came across Just Jhoom!

   Just Jhoom! is a Bollywood dance workout mirroring the wonderful routines in Bollywood films, which are sure to be the very reason you're reading this review. But while Just Jhoom! promises 'Indian dance moves, Bollywood music and yoga-inspired strengthening exercises to make sure you get a really good workout without even realising you are working out', from a look across the market, every competitor claims the same.
   Most 'Bollywood' dance workouts out there are just belly dancing, and if that's what you're after, then that's great. But if you're looking for a workout featuring the high-energy dance routines you've seen in Bollywood films, then Just Jhoom! is for you.

   I've used a lot of different dance workouts over the years, so basic moves are ingrained. I pick them up pretty fast. That said, the moves on this DVD are quite unlike any other I've used, and yet I was still able, for the most part, to skip the instructional break-down and learn from the routine instead. But I'm the type that learns by doing. There were, unsurprisingly, a few movements that I couldn't grasp without instruction, such as the Boomerang in Ainvayi Ainvayi, the second routine in the workout, and I did have to return to the initial break-down to work it out. I grasped it quickly after that.
   But it is so important to remember with dance workouts that you're not performing it, so if you don't get it right, it doesn't matter, just keep moving, and as weights aren't involved, form isn't a safety issue either. As long as you keep moving, you'll still get a workout, and every time you do it, you will get a better grasp over the moves.

   What I find works best with new dance workouts is this: focus on one routine at a time. Replay the first a few times over, get to grips with it - they usually only last a few minutes, so it'll be over before you really get a chance for it to sink in. I like to run through a single routine about three or four times before trying the next. On my first use of this DVD, I played the first routine 3 times, then the second routine 3 times, then I repeated the first again, but once, and then the second once. By that point, I was relatively comfortable with the moves, I was having more fun because I wasn't flailing around cluelessly, and I was sweating so much more than I expected. And that also secured me a 32 minute workout (each routine is 4 minutes long without instruction, give or take 10 seconds). I didn't feel the need to try the third routine until my third use of the DVD, and the fourth routine on my fifth use. This minimised frustration and kept the DVD fresher for longer, rather than trying to take it all on at once. I recommend this method for every dance workout DVD.

   Something that seems to go over the head of the larger fitness titles is that, while instruction is undeniably important for dance workouts, you don't want to have to go through that instruction every single time you use it. After four or five uses, you know the moves, and having to be reintroduced to them after every minute of a 10 minute workout, it slows that workout down, drags it out, and is kind of frustrating when you just want to work in some fun cardio through dance and you're being stopped so frequently. You can't ignore it and keep dancing, either, because you'll be out of time with the music, which leaves it all culminating into an unbroken two minutes right at the end. It is, quite simply, boring.
   But indie workouts seem to understand this. Just Jhoom!, like Kukuwa, has provided instruction and a break down of the movements, but they've kept them separate from the routine itself. This means that new users can get the instruction they need, while more experienced users can skip it and get straight down to business. This also means that more time is put into the routine itself - rather than 2 minutes you're given 4 or 5, and you can cycle through them all consecutively without a break. It also means that the impact remains high, and that in turn means a better sweat, better burn, and renders the workout itself more versatile. I put together a HIIT style workout with Kukuwa and Pilates a few months ago, and due to the fact that Just Jhoom! has separated their instruction from their routines, you could swap Kukuwa for Just Jhoom! and use the same system for an even better, more varied workout.
   The instruction precedes each routine on its own DVD chapter, meaning that it can be skipped with the 'next chapter' button on your remote, making it absolutely perfect if it's your sixth or so run through and you just want to get on with it. The routines themselves are uninstructed but do contain cues for changing moves. The instruction sections themselves are slow and clearly explained, breaking the moves down into feet, hops, arms and flourishes.

   With each routine's instruction nestled in its own preluding DVD 'chapter', hitting the 'next chapter' button on your remote takes you straight to the dance workout routines themselves which come straight from Bollywood movies. This DVD was made in conjunction with Raj Films, which means that the routines you're doing could very well be from the films you saw that made you think "I want to do this!"
   Aside from two warm ups - mobility and movement - there are four dance routines at 4-4.5 minutes each. They're non-stop, slowing down only on the arrival of slower moves, and while the routines do vary in intensity, the first isn't exactly slow. They're each quite different from each other in terms of both music and movement, which makes the entire DVD quite flavourful.
   The movements are unlike other dance workouts, and while previous experience always helps simply for improved co-ordination, the unique nature of the movements means even experienced people will have to stop and look through the instruction chapters. Focus on one routine at a time, learn it have fun with it, and only then should you move on. And, as the DVD's introduction itself says, sometimes your hands, arms and legs don't speak to each other, so focus on getting the footwork down before adding in any arms or you'll only confuse yourself.

Cool Down
   The cool down section is worth mentioning because it features a few yoga poses - basic but powerful ones like Warrior II and Tree. It's actually quite an effective collection, and even though it's 'only dance', I recommend taking five minutes to go through the cool down. You'll be surprised how often your abs engage in some of the moves, there's a lot of leaning involved, and also some squats in some places, so you definitely want to make sure you get a good stretch in afterwards.

   Just Jhoom! is a wonderful dance workout DVD. The use of real Bollywood dance routines means that the reason you searched the DVD down remains a focus throughout the workout, rather than a disappointment, and the fact that the instruction is separate from the routines is a very valuable detail that you will appreciate very quickly if you've used any other dance workout DVD in the past. It also makes Just Jhoom! a viable option for a Pilates-Dance HIIT workout, which can really shake it up once you've grown tired of the DVD as-is. Read my Pilates-Dance HIIT post here to find out how to do this effectively.
   I'm really hoping that Just Jhoom! release a new volume in the future, because four dance routines simply isn't enough. It's fun while it lasts, and they are nicely varied, but four is four, and the DVD will become stale. After 4 weeks of use, I was glad to move on to something else. That's not to say I'll never use it again, because it makes for a great supplement to follow a resistance workout - it's good cardio, it's not too long, and it's so much fun that it won't feel like work when you're already exhausted.


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