Though it's saddled with a title that sounds like a handful of fitness buzz words tossed together, Trainer's Edge: Cardio Interval Training with Petra Kolber offers an energetic short workout that combines moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise with muscle-toning exercises that focus on the arms, shoulders, and upper body.
Instructor Petra Kolber leads the program, with two assistants also participating and helping to model the movements. Unlike most exercise DVDs that I've seen, Kolber sticks with the "basic" form of all the exercises and leaves her assistants to demonstrate the more advanced versions; this works well to accommodate multiple difficulty levels in the same workout. Kolber is upbeat and enthusiastic during the entire 38-minute program, and she keeps the pace moving briskly the entire time.
The workout is reasonably varied and fun to do; it's definitely a high-energy workout with a lot of switching around from one movement to the next. Kolber doesn't explain the movements in much detail, mainly I think because the pace of the workout is too brisk to allow for much description. Fortunately, it's easy to follow the basic outlines of the exercises even if you don't quite get some of the more complex movements, and repeated viewings would let you get the hang of all the movements. There's a lot of stepping back and forth with stretches, lunges, squats, and leg lifts, all of which will get your heart rate up. I enjoyed the attention that Kolber places on the arms and shoulders, with some fun boxing-style exercises incorporated into the workout. At one point, she incorporates hand weights into the exercise, but it's only for a brief segment and the exercise is also do-able without weights if you don't have them.
The main fault of the program is the camera work, which is unfortunately often counter-productive. It's not very useful to get a close-up of the instructor's upper body when you want to see how she's moving her legs! While the shifts in focus may be more film-like, in an exercise program I'd much prefer a mainly static camera that lets me see the instructor's whole body, all the time.
This volume of The Trainer's Edge offers satisfactory image quality. The picture is fairly soft with some edge enhancement, but it's not really necessary to get fine detail anyway: it's a workout video. What matters most is that the image is bright and clean, which it is.
The Dolby 2.2 soundtrack is only adequate. The instructor's voice is sufficiently clear and understandable throughout the program, and the music is kept to an appropriate level, but the overall sound has a weirdly flat quality to it.
As a special feature, the DVD includes a 12-minute yoga workout with Baron Baptiste. It basically serves as a preview for Baptiste's Long and Lean Yoga DVD, but it's a lot better than a generic trailer, because it's a decent little mini-workout, focusing on stretching and extending the core abdominal muscles.
If you're looking for a briskly paced, fun workout to get your heart rate up and tone your upper body, Cardio Interval Training with Petra Kolber is a good choice. The 38-minute program gets right to business, so you can get a concentrated workout that still includes a decent cooling-down period. The bonus 12-minute yoga workout is good as well. Recommended.