Video Fitness

Real Fitness: Ultimate Step

Warm up: 7 min
Step: 33 min
Cooldown: 3 min
Abs: 7 min
Cooldown: 4 min

I really like this video. It has fun and interesting combinations without being too complicated. It is divided into three sections. At the end of the first section there is a perceived exertion check and a heart rate at the end of the second section. Several levels of intensity are shown, and one exerciser even takes out a riser at the begining of the third, most intense portion. The aerobic portion ends with a very challenging set of lunges that pushes my heart rate into the anaerobic zone.

After the very intense ending I could use a longer cool down and more stretching, but I just stop the tape until and do a cool down stretch of my own until my heart rate drops and I am ready to do the ab section. The abdominal section is short, only seven minutes but it is the most challenging ab workout I have ever done! Talk about intense! I think my abs are on fire by the end! I love it! Lower intensity options are shown. The second cool down is more of a visualization, relaxation technique, not really a stretch or cool down.

I do have a complaint, Keli never says left or right which I found very confusing at first, but after about the third time this was no longer a problem.

I think a few of the backup excersizers were on the original Step Rebook video. They don't say much but their faces are much more animated!

This video continues to be challenging after three months, as I am just now able to do about half of the power moves. I think of this video as a transition to push me into the advanced level.

Tonya Bednarick

I bought this tape years ago, because I liked Keli so well in the Cher workout. I was not disappointed, and I'm still doing it after all this time. The workout starts off with fairly basic choreography, but later you're doing turn steps, straddles, lunges, etc. The intensity is intermediate/advanced. There are three sections, and you can quit after any one of them, depending on your fitness levels. So I guess beginners could do this as well, and just stop after level 1. If you do all 3 levels, you have 32 minutes of aerobics. The warmup, cooldown, and abs brings the total workout to an hour. The ab section, as usual with any Keli tape, is very good. And the ending is great -- you've already stretched some after the step, then at the end, she does a guided relaxation thing. And it is very relaxing. I really enjoy this tape, and give it an A.

Annie S.

This workout is divided into 3 sections, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. It is then followed by a short cooldown, and a nice abs section. This is a good tape for those, like myself, who are just getting started in step, but need a higher intensity workout. Choreography is fairly basic. Once you get these routines down, you can throw in the "intensifiers" earlier on, and get a very good workout. Kelli's cueing is really good. Her attention to form is also wonderful! It would be nice if she specified right or left in her cues, but I can work around it. For the most part the moves are athletic. There are a few box steps and grapevines, but those are in the warm up and cool down sections. If I could change one thing about this tape, it would be to do a longer cooldown before starting the abs work. The abs section has some unique (to me, anyway) exercise positions. I can only think thta is good,. It should help provide a slightly different way of working the muscles, so they stay "confused."

My grade for tis video: A-


I, too, give this tape an A-. (Minus for slightly confusing cueing).

This was my very first step tape. I haven't attemped step since 4 years ago when I lasted about 10 minutes in a step class. They were using large wooden boxes at least 8 inches high. So, attempting step again was a little daunting.

Since the tape says it has three sections, for beginning, intermediate, and advanced, I half-expected to stop after the first section. I went easily through all three. What I really love about this tape is that it confirmed for me that with adequate instruction and cues, and with fun choreography, and a bench closer to 6 inches, I *can* do step aerobics, and get a great workout. Some aerobics classes and tapes are so confusing I spend most of my time trying to figure out the steps rather than working out - not so with this tape.

I really like how Keli taught the leg movements first, with simple arm movements, and then the arms get more complex. The arm movements aren't just for show, either, I feel some slight muscle soreness afterwards! The only thing that threw me off is that she doesn't always say when to start on the right or left, but it was easy to get after a few times.

The other thing I appreaciate is that Keli sweats in this video. My main video experience being the FIRM, I was pleasantly suprised by this bit of realism! A great video, that will take me a long time to get bored with!


I have had this video for a while.The first time I did it, I thought, "yea yea, big deal" and put it up for a few months. I really don't know why. At the time I was trying to conquer Kathe and Kari, and I thought if it didn't totally confuse me, then I wasn't getting a good workout. Then I hit a plateau-- I refused to do step for a while because I was just so frustrated (looking back it was obvious that I wasn't ready for the complex choreography offered by the other tapes--and THAT'S OKAY!)and after about two weeks I made myself do Keli Roberts' tape-- and I realized--it was fun!!!And I was sweating, my heart rate was up there, and I wasn't cursing her and crying because I couldn't follow the moves. This really is a great tape. Part of my problem has been solved in that I've accepted you don't have to be dying to be getting a good workout, and this one, don't get me wrong, is tough. It's designed for begginer/intermediate/advanced (beginner section--15 minutes stepping; intermediate section- 25 minutes stepping; advanced section-35 minutes stepping; and a short warmup and cooldown). After the stepping and the cooldown (which is too short, I think) there is an abdominal stabilization part-similiar to Keli's "Abs and more" tape. Following that is a nice relaxation portion. One thing that's good about it is you're not looking at the screen, and I think they were counting on that, because Keli has the goofiest look on her face! Anyway, I really like it and I think it's good for those of us who are "Cathe-challenged" because it has some of the same elements of her workouts that are great, but not as daunting.

Instructor comments: I like Keli Roberts alot. She has just the right amount of enthusiasm and cues well (even though she doesn't use "right" and "left"--she uses "front leg" and "Bcak leg" ) but I never got lost.

Sarah Engledow
8 Feb 1998

This tape didn't wow me the first time I did it, but now, after a few tries, I just love it! It's a good growth tape. There are 3 segments of step (Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced). I noticed she uses that short home step put out by the Step Company. The set has a sort of Australian look to it. The cast seems to have fun. You can start slow and work up in so many ways. Plus, it's sooo fun. Even though the choreography isn't super-though or dancy like Kari Anderson, it's got flavor to it. I have the Keli Roberts Abs & More tape (which I love), and I was expecting her to be the same on the step tape. She isn't. She's funky and fun! The quiet soothing voice is gone until the end when she does Abs then a relaxation segment. I love finishing this. It's great from start to finish. I think that one day, this tape will be in the Hall of Fame, where it deserves to be. It's one of my favorite Intermediate tapes ever. Go buy it! A++


I just did this tape for the first time yesterday and I love it!! I got it off the exchange (thanks Glynis!) and after hearing all of the wonderful reviews I couldn't wait to try it. I've actually had it for about a week now, but I've just been watching it (you all know how that goes!!) Since I'm somewhat of a beg/int as far as step is concerned, I was really happy to see that I could get through all three sections without stopping too much. A few of the reviews talked about Keli's cuing as being off, but I ended up on the correct leg most of the time. The moves are fun and easy to follow and I worked up a really good sweat. I agree with everyone who said that the cooldown should be a little longer (my heart rate was still up there when it came time for abs). The ab section was great (not long but extremely intense) and I really love the end relaxation thing she does. It's such a great way to end a solid, sweaty workout. In fact I like it so much, I'm going to include it at the end of ALL my workouts from now on!! I hope this tape makes the Hall of Fame, it deserves to be there.

Instructor comments: Keli seems like a friendly person and that quality carries over into her teaching. She makes the workout basic enough for a beginner, but adds modifications for the more advanced stepper. But basic doesn't = boring. This workout is lots of fun and one that I'll continue to use (even if only for the relaxation at the end....I love it!)


Was this tape made for me? I LOVE IT. I've had this tape for several months but just never got around to doing it because I've grown kind of tired of step aerobics, but I really liked this workout. I guess I just needed a new tape.

I like a variety of moves, but I never have been one to like complex choreography. That's probably the number one thing I like about this tape.

There's a good warm up and cool down, but the stretching is a little too short for me. But I loved the relaxation segment at the end. That's a real plus.

And the ab section.... GREAT. I felt it hard. She does a lot of the moves that are in the Abs and More tape, but more intense and shorter workout.

Overall, AWESOME tape. I just fell in love with it. Like I said, this is exactly what I was looking for in a step video and will become a favorite. A+ (and that's rare coming from me.)

Instructor comments: I liked Keli in the Abs and More tape and thought I would try one of her aerobic tapes. I think she is great. Don't have much more to say than really likeable and good cuing. No hooping and hollaring is a plus.


I wanted to add another good review to this so that it would be pushed into the Hall of Fame. I still love this video after having it for 4 or 5 years. It is more repetitive than the more advanced videos (Cathe Friedrich, for example), but it's still a great workout. I'm at a high intermediate level, and when I did it this morning I was in my aerobic zone for the full 33 minutes of step. I think it's because Keli uses full range arm movements which helps to get the heart rate up. I remember when I first got this video that my arms would be so tired during the workout, but now that my strength and endurance has increased, its not a problem. Also, the choreography seems easy to me now, but when first learning it, it was a slight challenge. I think her cuing is good. She tends to point to where she wants you to go instead of saying left or right. One negative is that she starts all combos on the left leg and being right-handed, that mixed me up at first. Alot of the moves are just plain fun (the rear-end slap and the kick over the side of the step come to mind). Also, she adds various high impact moves throughout (jacks, hops onto the steps, runs on the step) that you can do if you want, so beginners could do this workout without the high intensity if they need to. I love this video because it's for all levels, has a great instructor with a great personality, good upbeat music, and a great ab section. I also love the relaxation at the end but whatever you do, don't watch Keli during it. It doesn't have a stretch at the end, so you'll have to add your own. I give this video an A+.

Instructor comments: I think Keli is a great instructor. I think her cuing is good and I like how she encourages you to keep trying through the more difficult choreography segments. She seems to really enjoy herself and that helps me enjoy myself too.

Chris T. Jackson

I got this video off the exchange and just tried it this morning. I am a big Cathe Friedrich fan who was looking for a decent intermediate workout. Although this tape is not as exciting as a Cathe tape, it has basic choreography that is somewhat easy to follow. Keli keeps the intensity up by adding in arm combinations. It did get a bit confusing at times trying to get the arms right - I do think Keli's cueing could have been a little better. One other thing that bothered me was she always started with her right foot, which was my left foot. I like videos to lead with my right foot instead.

The tape has a throrough warm-up and stretch followed by three 10 minute stepping sections. Keli shows an arm/foot combo and then does it multiple times so it is easy to learn. Each section is progressively more difficult and the last section adds some optional power moves to get the heart rate up. Keli's style is very linear. She throws in a few turn steps but nothing more complicated than that.

I would definitely recommend this tape to an intermediate-beginner stepper. Since Keli does the moves many times, eventually you catch on. I would also recommend this tape to an advanced stepper looking for something less intense. The choreography may get a bit repetitive but it did manage to get my heart-rate up and it's a good tape for days you just want something basic.

One big plus on this tape is the ab section at the end. It is similiar in style to Keli's Abs & More tape. She does the reps slowly and really guides you through how the moves should feel. It is not a difficult ab routine but Keli really gets you to concentrate on the right muscles. I liked Keli's Abs & More but it was a bit too long for me. That's why I was pleasantly suprised to find a similiar, shorter ab routine on Ultimate step.

Overall, a good basic tape for a variety of fitness levels.

Instructor comments: Keli is a good basic instructor. Her moves aren't very complicated and she loves arm combinations. She has got such great form and can move her body in some interesting ways. She almost looks to be double jointed. Her cueing could be a little better - there were a few times I wasn't on the same foot as Keli because she didn't tell me, but the moves are fairly simple so it's easy to get back on track.

Janet W.

This video rocks!!! If you are looking for a great step workout but don't want to spend all your time learning complicated steps, I highly recommend this video! Keli is a great instructor. This tape manages to be fairly easy to learn but NOT boring AND it makes you sweat!!! The first time I did this workout I got such a rush during the third level. I felt great!!! And if you need to work on those abs...Keli is the one to help you do it! A definite A+

Instructor comments: Keli is very motivating. You can tell she really loves working out.

Traci Baurberg

This is an int/adv level step video with moderately paced, athletic moves. The warmup is fairly long and is followed by about 30+ min of aerobics. The cooldown is followed by a 6-7 min ab workout that stresses trunk stablization rather than the usual crunch, crunch, crunch moves. This workout is similar to Step Reebok but is a little more intense and has a greater variety of moves. I think this tape would work for all steppers except for the very advanced. There are three step segments, each a little harder than the last. A beginner could do the first or first two segments, an intermediate could do the first two segments at 8" and drop to 6" for the 3rd section, which is step toward the tv with side to side lunges, and an int/adv stepper could do the entire tape at 8" with the optional propulsion moves. I ordered this tape from for $5.45 with free shipping and received it less than a week later. The ab workout alone is worth the cost of the tape. Seems like's prices go up when they restock so the tape may be higher now.

Instructor comments: Keli's cueing is consistently flawless throughout this video.


This is a 50 minute workout that gradually gets more intense by including power options as the workout progresses. Here is a detailed time breakdown of this workout:

Warmup - 7 minutes
1st Segment - 11 minutes
2nd Segment - 10 minutes
3rd Segment - 9 minutes
Cooldown & Stretch - 4 minutes
Abdominal Section - 8 minutes

There is also a 3 minute relaxation meditation at the end of the tape.

The video is set in an exercise room that opens out onto a mountain view where the sun is setting. It was very pretty and had a "western" feel about it, like I was doing a step class in the old west. Keli and her crew (I call them "backgrounders") stepped on small sized steps. I was always worried that one of them would slip off that little ol' step and break an ankle, but no one did. Some of the music that was used was in Crunch's Master Class Sculpt. It was o.k., nothing special.

The 1st segment wasn't too hard. It wasn't dancy and Keli used no power moves. As an intermediate exerciser, I felt like the 1st segment was kind of an extended warmup. The 2nd segment had some power for those who wanted it (not me, I have a bum knee). It was a bit more dancy than the 1st segment. It got my heartrate going a bit. After a heartrate check, you re-position the step with the long end facing the T.V., which I find fairly unusual. I've only seen that in Donna Richardson's Step and Awesome Abs. It gives the step workout a whole new perspective. The 3rd segment had more power options and the choreography seemed more complex than the first two segments. Maybe it was because of the step being turned around. Anyway, this segment got my heartrate up quite a bit and I got a decent sweat going. Then we had a way too short cooldown and stretch. My heart was still thumping along after the cooldown. I could have used a few more minutes cooling down before the miniscule stretch segment.

The ab workout was pretty good. Keli really knows how to work the abs! She uses the step to give you more ab stability. Although Keli had great form, I noticed that some of the backgrounders did not. Some of them were jerking up with their heads, instead of their abs. Be sure to watch Keli for the proper form.

Finally, there was a 3 minute relaxation exercise where you're lying there on the floor and Keli says things like, "picture white fluffy clouds" and "find your peace". Personally, I prefer to find my peace somewhere other than on an exercise tape, but that's just my opinion.

Overall, I'd say this is a decent workout for a low to mid intermediate exerciser. The cooldown and stretch should have been longer, though. I wouldn't recommend this workout for beginners unless they were used to step choreography, but's it's good for the intermediate exerciser who likes a bit of power and prefers more athletic than dancy choreography in their step videos. I'd give this one a B for the workout, but an A for Keli Robers, the instructor. She's great.

Keli is an attractive blonde with a pleasing Aussie accent. She's a no nonsense instructor with good cuing skills. She always has good form and she's good about giving the viewer pointers on how to achieve good form as well. A very pleasant instructor.

Patti S.


I like this straight-forward, nuthin' fancy step workout because I can vary the intenisty so much. Done straight out of the box it is solid intermediate.

Options are:

6" or 8" step. The tempo is Reebok-slow, and the choreography is simple enough that I don't stumble on my step at 8".

Plyo options. Keli introduces each new move w/o power moves. You add them if and as you are ready.

Length. The workout is divided into three progressively more intense sections. Do 1 section(12 min) 2 sections (22 min) or all three (32 min). For a longer workout I rewind and repeat one of the sections. It's no worse than a CIA 'take it from the top' tape. (I don't mind aTIFTT)

The step is followed by an 8 min ab section which emphasises core stablization. My favorite move is the 'dead bug' - raising and lowering one leg. I can really feel this one in my lower abs.

Instructor comments: Keli's cueing is flawless.


This is such a fun video! It might not be challenging enough for an advanced stepper, but it's just right for someone who is a beginner or has two left feet (like me). Nice ab work at the end, too.

Instructor comments: Always looks like she is having loads of fun. She's cheerful without being perky. She acts very natural and genuine in front of the camera

Laura P.

I have had this workout for a few years now, but itís definitely in my keeper pile. I like to use this video when I donít want to work too hard mentally. The choreography is fairly basic, but the workout isnít boring because Keli moves from one combination to the next very quickly. She doesnít repeat the same combination too many times.

I think this tape is great for all fitness levels. You can do 10, 20 or 30 minutes of cardio, and you can modify most moves to be low impact or higher impact. This tape is also nice because itís a little shorter than most, I believe itís about 50 minutes. The abs section at the end is one of the best out there, if you ask me. I can really feel it.

Instructor comments: In this tape, Keli is very friendly and supportive of your fitness level and goals. She and all of the background exercisers seem to be having a great time, they all smile a lot! Her cuing is good and she shows different modifications you can do on the moves.

Mary Truscott


I really took the time to research step videos and when I bought this video I assumed I was buying an advanced and interesting step video. WRONG! I have done the video twice completely. I didn't find it very difficult at all. I built up a bit of a sweat but that was it. This video was not challenging in the least. I made myself do the video this morning and I was BORED. I shut it off half way through the video. Her steps are very basic. And I don't know if it is me or not...but it seems slow. I am use to high impact, fast and advanced step classes. To be bult....this video don't make the cut! If you are a beginner and are not confident with step aerobics this would be a great video to start with. But if you are an experienced stepper....keep looking...because this one will just collect dust...

Sarah Freel

I bought this tape from for $6.99 - what a steal!

I really like this instructor. I often get frustrated with step tapes because I hate the overly "dancey" stuff that is not cued well. Keli cues great and the camera focuses on her feet and step enough to keep me doing the right thing throughout. This is definitely a keeper! Now I am on the hunt for more of Keli's videos.

Kendra Burton

This tape proved to be just what I needed. I'm a runner who, last summer, needed a fairly low impact , intense step workout with simple choreography because of a foot injury. Cathe Friedrich/Kari Anderson whirls over the bench were simply out of the question.

One of the first things I noticed about 'Ultimate Step' is its high quality production. There is no "cheese" element here, no self-conscious exercisers, and no blah-looking set. Instead, the video has a well-lit attractive set, a cheerfully hip crew of background exercisers, and the incomparable Keli Roberts, who is careful to provide form pointers.

Best of all, "Ultimate Step" gave me a (mostly) low impact workout that really got my heartrate up there on an 8" step! If that's what you're looking for --- an I/A lower impact step workout - you'll be very happy with this. But you'll be terribly unhappy with Ultimate Step if you need intricate step choreography. It's repetitious. It can get very boring very fast. Hate to say it, but there it is. You've been warned.

Michelle Easton
October 26, 2000

I had a good time with this...
an intermediate workout that suited me well.

keli is really good in this
one, as always, and while she cued most of the steps very well, she was a bit late on cueing some of them. so while i could follow along perfectly for most of it, i had to watch a rep or two before i caught some of the other steps.

not that the choreography was difficult or anything like
that... actually the choreo was basic and keli increased the difficulty with interesting arm movements and a few hops here and there. i was able to do all of the higher impact stuff that she added so i was pleased with

i also really liked the music and the ab section was good

instead of doing much stretching at the end, she did a relaxation meditation and that was different.

i also liked seeing kathy
smiths background exerciser (Nancy?) and i think that one of the women doing the beginner mods was in the step workout that keli did with cher.

Carolyn Visser

I thought this was among the most boring videos I have ever done. It was super basic footwork with the arms changing over and over for no reason. The arm variations were boring too... you were basically just moving your arms in different directions for no reason. I was really disappointed in the video and plan on getting rid of it because it was awful. Very disappointing.

Instructor comments: She is very, very dry.



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