PARROT REVIEW: CORE de FORCE

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There have been many workout series thus far that have decided to answer the call of the inner-warrior.  Rushfit, Tapout and UFC Fit are but to name a few.  And while Beachbody has in the past come out with Les Mills Combat, it tasted like an MMA sandwich with too much cheese and served in a noisy bar.

Thus we arrive at Core de Force…Beachbody’s second foray into appealing to the masses who dream of walking into quiet Roadhouses and ripping the necks off unsuspecting bikers.

What you get

The usual items are included: Three dvd’s, 30 day calendar and a small meal plan booklet.  If you decide to go all in and spend money put aside for your spouse’s Christmas present ( don’t recommend it ), the deluxe package has some extra workouts, an agility ladder which harkens back to the days of Asylum, and some leftover food containers stolen from Autumn Calabrese’s garage.  No broken pool cues.

bb_containers
One of these days I'm going to ram a Big Mac into one of these things just out of principle.

MMA Speed

Time: 26 Minutes

The first 2 weeks start off somewhat easy before you are asked to do 2 workouts a day for the last two weeks.  Joel and Jericho will be our trainers and they are unquestionably up to the task.  Joel comes off as the every-man and always maintains a friendly demeanor without being over the top.  Jericho is an atomic ginger who never enters the unholy realm of being a happy-go-lucky cheerleader.  For that, I thank you as I was legitimately concerned it would go there.

MMA Speed didn’t come as too much of a surprise. It’s jab, crosses, punches, knees and lots of hip rotation.  It’s like a non-sucky version of Kenpo-X ( but then again, what isn’t? ).  There’s no high impact here whatsoever but the twisting and turning might tweak your knees if you get too floppy.

I honestly can’t say this one appeals to me that much.  The whole punch-combo aspect of many MMA workouts is very, very similar and as such it felt like another drive around the old block.

mma_speed1
The familiar layout of a Beachbody set gets the job done.

5 Minute Core on the Floor

The name pretty much says it all doesn’t it.  Just take note that this is not really an ab workout but rather core. Planks and side lifts are what is expected and time goes by fast.

cdf_core_floor
Core of the Floor makes the most of five minutes.

Dynamic Strength

Time: 47 minutes

Twelve 3 minute rounds that are mostly push ups, squats and balance.  There are some MMA style moves like kicks and Uppercut Crunches but it’s pretty subdued.  The second half of the workout repeats the first with a little added complexity.

Power Sculpt

Time: 36 minutes

Lots of low impact plyometrics in nine three minute rounds.  Where this one shines is enhancing mobility in your core by going from lying down to getting up quickly into a stance.  Might require a few go-arounds before your body decides to play nice with this one.

cdf_mma_power
If you're new to high kicks, start slow and follow the modifier lest you give the groin muscle a bad day.

MMA Shred

Time: 37 minutes

Muai Thai inspired workout with lots of knees, elbows and kicks.  Nine 3 minute rounds of fury.

MMA Power

Time: 47 minutes

The workouts begin to demand more time and effort into week 2.  Now we do 12 rounds of core combos.  That means a whole lotta kicks, hooks and crosses.  However, the kicks will dominate your time today.  There is very little downtime here so be prepared to work.

MMA Plyo

Time: 47 minutes

12 rounds of explosive core rotation.  While there is some getting off the ground, it’s not really plyo like you would get from Tony Horton or Shaun T.  This is very low impact.  So much so that I would say a better name for the workout is “Twist”.

5 Minute Relax

Pajama party everyone!  Joel and Jericho dim the lights and put on the comfy flannel for a short on-the-floor stretch.  It’s mostly hamstring work which is a nice way to end the day.

cdf_relief
Nobody here but Joel, Jericho and our Shakeology cups.

Learn It

For a few workouts there are “Learn It” segments that quickly go over the more subtle details of the moves in the related workout.  While any dumb mule can throw a haymaker, it takes a true individual of class and distinction to obliterate a rib-cage with a well placed roundhouse.

cdf_learnit
Make those punches and kicks look sweeter by getting a solid foundation.

Conclusion

Hats off to trainers Joel and Jericho as it would have been unbelievably easy to throw a box of corn-dogs at this.  Instead they decide to act like normal humans who are there to train hard and encourage without resorting to gimmicks.  Likewise the cast is not showing off their expensive dental-work but instead get busy.  I appreciate that.

Neither trainers really joke that much, although smiles are always present.  In contrast, Les Mills Combat felt like too much clowning around was happening and that was hard for me to incorporate into a martial arts theme given my traditional ways of training in the past.

sensei
Sensei disapproves of laughter.

Of course, being a martial arts veteran also makes it easy to be jaded with programs like these.  From my perspective, Core de Force offers practically nothing in terms of any martial arts training at all.  That’s not meant to be a criticism, but rather an observation.  One should always keep in mind that 30 days of punching the air will never be a substitute for a caring, megalomaniac ex-military Sensei with good training advice.

sensei
Such as always sweeping the leg.

But I’ll also assume that most of us are intelligent enough to know that NO home workout series will not prepare you for the octagon unless your job is the waterboy.  This is intended to be MMA “themed” so keep your expectations of joining the League of Assassins in check.  Boiled down, Core de Force is cardio with a lot of punch/kick/knee combos…which in all fairness is about as much as one can ask for in a home video series.

Music too is well done.  Nothing over the top and it’s reminiscent of something you might hear in 21 Day Fix.  Same also goes for the set and overall camera work.  Beachbody pretty much has production values nailed and the old days of hokey sets and cheap camerawork are long past us.

Much like a Disney Marvel superhero movie, Core de Force follows a tried and true formula.  It’s not groundbreaking or new, and as such will easily fit into any workout regime.  Even many Beachbody sets are starting to look familiar, albeit with a fresh coat of paint and decor.  It’s hard to come down too hard on that as the formula is working with many new offerings.

One potential downside to a workout program like this is that after 30 days, you’ll probably desire to move on.  Workouts like P90X for example, tend to have staying power beyond their allotted times.  Niche workouts like this generally get relegated to occasional use or get mixed into a hybrid regime quite soon.

Final score is 3.8 Feathers out of 5.  For people who like to shadow box and get a little ruff-and-tumble, this is a solid workout series.  Any day in your expanded schedule that requires core or cardio, these workouts would be a slam dunk fit.  For those who are die hard MMA enthusiasts, Core de Force might come up a little short compared to Tapout XT, UFC Fit or RushFit where MMA is woven into every aspect of the workout.  But CDF comes out ahead of the pack with superior trainers and production values.  All and all, an excellent addition to your regime.

© 2016, John Paul Parrot. All rights reserved.

7.8 Solid Core

Core de Force lives up to its claims with non stop core work. While it won't make you a killing machine, it will make you stronger and more maneuverable.

  • Production Values 8.5
  • Music 7.5
  • Value 7
  • Strength 7
  • Cardio 8
  • Trainer Skill 9

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • RC

    Thx for the review, I was looking forward to seeing this one. Understanding that the CDF workouts get harder as one progresses, how do some of workouts compare to P90X3 MMX?. I do like the MMX workout for low impact cardio. Gets my heart rate up, breathing hard and a good sweat on. I am planning on 6 weeks of Rushfit for a change of pace and lower impact after starting 2017 with 90days of P90X/Insanity hybrid and 60 days of Asylum 1&2. How does CDF compare of Rushfit? Will it give you anything Rushfit won’t?

    • I think this would be on par with X3 MMA for the most part, although some of the 45 minute workouts definitely turn it up a bit more. Comparing to RushFit can go two ways…first, the production values and variety are generally better with CDF. However, RushFit is a bit more aggressive and probably a level higher in difficulty. The trainers in CDF have a cheerful demeanor while in RushFit they are stone cold serious…but that is also a matter of personal taste. Some days I like one over the other.

      Sounds like you have a killer hybrid in the works! Have fun!

  • Constanza Álvarez Espinoza

    Thank you Parrot for your review!
    Is there any good substitution for Kenpo X here to throw in a hybrid?
    I’m interested in this program, but I’m thinking about another round of P90X and that’s definitely a workout I want to replace.

    • Truly, ANY of these could swap out Kenpo X. Not a fan of that particular workout at all. If you wanted me to pick one in particular, I like MMA Plyo. Lots of movement and combos.

  • ABHIJIT NAIR

    Thanks for your review. I completed the insanity program today and results are good. No injuries or pain except for some discomfort in knee joints which I think will be fine after a few rest days. My waist size reduced from 39 to 33 inches , but some belly fat is still present. I was following a calorie deficit diet. I m planning to start a new program from 2017 onwards. Which program should I do – body beast or asylum or masters hammer and chisel or Max 30. I m more inclined towards doing bodybeast but I don’t want to bulk up, so I intend to follow calorie deficit diet. Another concern is my chest size has reduced from 43 to 40 but fat deposit on side still exist. So what do you suggest ?

    • If you’re looking to stay in the high-interval training zone, I would opt for Asylum or Max 30. If you want the best of both worlds then maybe give Hammer/Chisel a try as that will have enough muscle work to give more chest development.

      • ABHIJIT NAIR

        Thanks. I have decided to do asylum , it’s more challenging and Working out with Shaun T is fun

  • Raj

    Suggestion for a write up: a review of different equipment and their pluses/minuses, and the workout prgrams that are best suited to different equipment. Kind of like your hybrid workout article, but centred around equipment. The reason why I thought this would be useful is that often programs recommend equipment that isn’t needed, but there is something you lose without it. For example, I was looking into Body Beast and while intrigued, is it really worthwhile if I don’t have a bench or EZ curl bar? I mean, it sounds like you can do it without, but wouldn’t a Tony Horton workout be better because it is optimized without these things? It seems to me a helpful strategy is doing workout programs that optimize the equipment you have, then moving on to other equipment/workouts that provide more diversity/specialization. For some starting out with at home workouts, maybe a program like Stronger makes sense before they buy equipment. P90 is great for beginners because of the intensity, but a side bonus is all you really need is bands for resistance,

    • Sounds like a good idea worth putting in my to-do list!

    • Elchupinazo

      You can definitely do Body Beast without the dumb curl bar. Replacing the bench with a ball is also doable (I’ve done it), but it’s not especially fun and there are some exercises you miss out on (step ups, etc). Given that it’s BeachBody’s only dedicated lifting program, I’d tentatively say it’s worth doing, even without the bench.

  • Thanks for the review — well done. I might give this a go and mix it in to my other workouts. What would you say is the best cardio workout that one could use weekly on cardio days?

    • Not sure if you mean cardio program or singular workout. For CDF the best workout feels like MMA Power. As for overall program, Max 30 is king.

  • David Meltcher

    I completed CDF 2 weeks ago and your review was spot on. I have completed 2 rounds of P90x3, a round of P90 and 2 rounds of 22 Min Hard Corp. As you can see, I tend to lean towards the shorter workouts. Having a 12 round, 47 minute workout followed by a 16 minute Core Kinetics was a challenge to me. More so because of the time involved as I do this at 4:30am before work. You were also spot on as this will now be incorporated into a hybrid routine with my favorite other workouts from the previously mentioned programs. I will be using the 5 min Core on the Floor workout following the 30 min P90x3 workouts and the 16 minute Core Kinetics workout will follow the 22 Min Hard Core workouts to keep the time shorter. I will also be doing the 47 Dynamic Strength, followed by the 16 minute Core Kinetics on days I don’t go into work. This was a great program but is better served as part of a hybrid. Thanks for review, nice to see I’m not alone in how I felt about this.

  • Scott Delicious

    Thanks, great article. If you had to choose one MMA inspired workout from CDF, UFCFit, RushFit, both TapouT’s and Les Mills Combat, which one would you pick? Keeping in mind that fancy visuals and likable trainers are secondary and most important is workout itself.

    • Scott Delicious

      To be clear, I meant which workout program would you choose not which workouts from each of them. Thanks.

    • I think I would give the edge to Tapout XT2. It has variety and is a killer for sure. After that I would choose Rushfit then UFC Fit. As of yet, Beachbody hasn’t really cracked the MMA workout code.

  • Firfitr

    Thanks for another great review! I have a couple of questions for you. What is your opinion on the “warm ups” in this program? I understand that a lot of people are looking for an “in and out” workout but I feel they are almost laughable. I’m 41 years old and feel that my body (especially my back) needs a little more TLC before these workouts. I’ve been using the P90X2 dynamic warm ups before CDF workouts because I love the foam rolling. Also, could you see any of these workouts being implemented with P90X2? I’ve been wanting to change up my routine a little with X2 and was thinking of using MMA Power or MMA Plyo to replace Plyocide and add another cardio day to my week. Thanks DP!

    • A lot of Beachbody warm-ups lately leave a lot to be desired to be honest. In an effort to save running time, warm ups are cut down to next to nothing. Technically, 22 Minute Hard Corps would be more like 35 minutes if a decent warmup was included. Core de Force too suffers from this, although to a lesser extent. Being 45 myself, I find I need to prep myself about 5-10 minutes before I even push play lest I become more prone to injury.

  • Meg

    Thanks for another great review! Always informative and always entertaining! Will you be doing/reviewing the deluxe workouts?

    • Possibly, although I’m in the process of getting DeltaFit reviewed. I only got the basic program for Core de Force but sometimes associates of mine go the extra mile and loan me a copy. If I get ahold of it, I will certainly do a supplemental review.

  • Elchupinazo

    I really, really enjoy these workouts when I’m looking for an intermediate, mindless cardio workout. They’ve been showing up in the BOD “challenge du jour” list recently, and they’re fine for what they are. But I think as a whole program it would be monotonous.

  • Erica Wanis

    Hey there Mr. Parrot, I posted about a month ago on your 22DHC thread, re. looking for a new program to add a cardio element into MHC. You suggested P90X3 but honestly… I just can’t with Tony Horton, on so many levels. I don’t enjoy that program at all. I’m currently just sort of haphazardly rotating through Max 30, T25 Gamma and some of Chalene’s Turbofire HIITs on my cardio days but would love to try something new (actually, shoutout to Autumn b/c Chisel Cardio is actually pretty on point!). I’ve discovered that I’m getting the most aesthetic results from the weight training but I need that cardio to stay shredded as I bloat and gain so easily. What do you think? CDF? Cize? Back to old T25? I actually quite enjoyed Turbofire b/c I’m a girl and loved the dancey component but I also have two kids and would prefer to keep my time more around 30 mins. Would love your thoughts!

    • Might I recommend STRONGER by Nicky Hollander? It’s a body weight plus excellent cardio program. It’s totally free and you’ll be astonished how well it is made. http://bit.ly/25AezLm

      • RC

        I will give a big thumbs up to Stronger…excellent program!

  • Bonnie Worrick

    Have you ever done and reviewed program’s from bodybuilding.com?

  • Philip Salomon

    Hi Parrot, have you heard about the Athleanx program? It would be interesting if you reviewed that.

    • RC

      I would be interested in an AthleanX review as well. Checking out their website they seem to try to bill themselves as a better P0X with online streaming vs DVD and an ever-growing library of workouts for a one-time price as far as I can understand. Maybe I got that wrong?

      • matt g

        the design of athx program is i think is garbage for the price he sells it as. it’s strictly online, and there is no follow along. its a 5 second clip of one rep per exercise, his recommended circuit set up, and you do with it what you will an record it on the website under your account. the exercises are wide in variety but the package as a whole is—i think it was a waste of money.. much rather use the athx six pack abs cuz its 3.oo instead of 70+ and you actually just press play on the cellphone and go right along with it. 90 days of 5 minute ab exercises. that does work, where the athx program is strictly point and click and log your progress via website. horrible.

  • caroline

    I just finished CDF and really liked it! I have found other MMA-style workouts overly macho and off-putting, and I liked that this was mellower cardio + more of an emphasis on upper body strength than insanity. I enjoyed the MMA aspect in the sense that there was some kind of skill (i.e. punching and kicking) that I could noticeably improve on over time. Whereas with insanity, I found it really hard to stay motivated, as I am less interested in getting better at a dozen different ways to do a squat jump. Also, I felt like I could never improve on the pushups in Insanity b.c. they happened so fast when I was already out of breath, whereas I actually managed to improve in CDF: by the end of the month, I was able to do full pushups the entire time in the dynamic strength exercise.

  • David Garcia

    Can you please review Inferno and Black Fire from DailyBurn? Regards!

    • There are a lot of these streaming services popping up lately. They make it hard to review as it’s not like I can sell my old workouts to buy new ones. Still, I may take advantage of their 30 day free trial and get a review in all the same!

      • Rece

        Hello Mr. DP – Consider selling videos that you no longer care to keep on amazon. Someone may buy it and it will clear clutter for you. :)

    • holyguy7

      I did Black Fire and really enjoyed it. There are a LOT of workouts in that program. It should be a 90 day program. I am seriously considering getting a Daily Burn membership soon. Of all the streaming ones out there, it seems they have the best production value.

  • SauronTheOk

    I don’t use nor do I have the desire to use any of the workout videos you write about…. yet here I am reading your reviews, simply because they are so entertaining 😂

  • Zuki

    pretty quiet lately. no new reviews DP?

    • Things have been a bit insane around here the last little while, but I should be able to get back into a regular review schedule soon!

      • Zuki

        Ok. Looking forward to it!

  • Slavko Desik

    Hey John,
    A fellow Beachbody reviewer here :) is there a way to contact you via e-mail?

  • Garrett

    No CDF “Core Kinetics” review?

  • Lopresti

    Another “so so” MMA themed program from our buddies at Beach Body.
    Listen, invest in the Bas Rutten Workout DVD set.
    Has a variety of rounds type workouts(Boxing, Muay Thai, MMA)and do that with a few days of lifting weights and your all set.
    I mean where does it stop?
    Everytime a new workout system comes out there are people spending a lot of dough on stuff they don’t need.
    Get up off your lazy arses and just start working out and follow a good eating program.
    Sustain as you train and results you will gain.
    That’s my modest and honest opinion.

  • Andrea Pavletich

    So i am well versed in beachbody workouts, I’ve completed p90x3 (twice), 21day fix multiple times, 21 day fix extreme a few times, hammer and chisel, 22 minutes hard corps, country heat and am currently finishing up core de force. I was thinking about trying out T25 since I haven’t done that program, but I need something that’s going to keep challenging my strength since I found (with country heat) that i lose results and muscle fast when i do cardio only programs. Would T25 be a good option to try – should i skip alpha and start with beta? Or should I go back to p90x3 or 22 minute hard corps – what are your thoughts? And thanks for you response – i just happened to stumble across your page and really love your reviews :)

    • T25 is good, but given your experience you may want to skip right to Beta/Gamma rounds. T25 is not really all that geared towards strength so if you want to keep challenging strength you may want to consider other options. I just finished reviewing LIVE to FAIL by Dailyburn, and it sounds like it might be exactly what you’re looking for.

  • Ajay

    Hey Mr. Parrot, thanks again for the awesome site. I have an easy question for you: I have been pairing cardio focused workouts with more strength/weight based workouts. For example, I’ll do a hybrid of insanity Max 30, with P90X3, or my own weight cycle, or other free stuff (recently I have been using the DailyHiit on YouTube). I’m close to finishing my second round of Insanity Max 30, and was wondering if this workout would fit the mould of being a fairly intense cardio workout for my cardio days? I know it would be a drop off from Max 30, but maybe it’s still relatively?

    If not, do you have any other suggestions as a relatively short cardio video set (i’ve done insanity, Max 30, T25 and 21 Day Fix Extreme)?