This review is from the point of view of a very intermidiate exerciser; I've been doing The Firm intermittently for a year, as well as Cory and Rachel McLish's tapes. I am recovering from a severe upper back injury and resulting inflexible scar tissue (ripped my trapezius), and just couldn't keep up with the other workouts. I've completed this tape twice, which is a total of 400 workout minutes, and intend to keep it in my routine.
The premise of this tape is rather laughable and would turn most serious exercisers right off; that this will deliver in ten minutes what is accomplished in an hour at the gym. They explain this by saying that most people who go to the gym talk with friends and spend time waiting waiting to use various weight machines instead of just doing straight exercise. This is, to me, the kind of claim that people feel they need to make to catch the attention of a public who is allergic to exercise. It doesn't hold true for the experienced exerciser, especially Vidiots who are used to keeping up with Cathe and Cory! Still, I found this workout easy to follow but challenging. Each section really does take only 10 minutes, which almost anyone can squeeze in and still feel like they did something good for their body that day.
The first twenty or so minutes of this consists of Frank Campitelli (who I have *never* heard of) telling you why you should use this tape and buy his (expensive) soft weights and portable weight bench. Fast-forward through this. I used 5 and 3lb dumbells, a short step bench, and my Rubbermaid tool box/step stool and wasn't interested in a poorly-delivered sales pitch.
Still, this tape does deliver a sound workout with traditional dumbell and body movements (push-ups, pull-ups, crunches). The workout is done by a female model who is using 15 to 20 pounds of weight. She demonstrates the movements while Frank stands by giving form tips and other useful information. The tape is split into 20 different workouts, each working a different area of the body. It's divided up like this:
Deltoids, Biceps, Triceps: Workouts 1, 5, 9, 13, 17
Abs and Calves: 2, 6, 10, 14, 18
Upper Back and Chest: 3, 7, 11, 15, 19
Legs: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20
There is no warm-up or cool-down, but each section ends with a short stretch for the body parts worked on for the section. Cuing leaves a lot to be desired, too; I would love it if they would think to say, "Ready, begin," but no -- the model just starts working and you have to hit the rewind key to start over. They also aren't great at telling you how many reps you'll be doing; I hate it when I have stopped at 10 and they keep going, saying, "Oh, um, we're doing 15 reps," almost as if they can hear you getting mad about it!
I began by doing 2 workouts a day but soon started doing all the upper body exercises on the same day. The next day, I do the leg workout and I add 10 minutes of glute and ab work from my other tapes. This gave me a solid and balanced 30 minute strength workout. One could also do 4 workouts in a day for a respectable (not stellar, respectable) full-body workout that would take less than an hour.
The tape does get progressively more challenging; you begin the tape with only one or two movements per body part and end up with up to four movements per body part. I would like to have seen a piece at the end of the tape on how to continue to progress; if the idea is to build your strength, you don't want to rewind the tape and start over doing the simple beginning moves again. I guess you could increase your weights, but I am not able to do so.
The tape also comes with some nice extras like a low-fat cookbook (good recipies) and 20 picture cards with each workout on them. I use the cards when I visit my parents. They also give advice as to how much weight you should use depending on your fitness level, from 5lbs to 20lbs. It's nice that they recognize how strong women can become.
I think that advanced exercisers would fall asleep using this tape; it's not the killer workout MIS is, neither in difficulty or sophisticated production. It's a good place for intermediates, though, and is a great place to start if you're a beginner. Both my sisters were allergic to strength training, but this approach felt very accessible and so they ordered copies of their own. It's considerably longer than any other tape on the market, too, so you can think of yourself as getting more for your money. I paid $20 plus shipping, and I consider this one of the best fitness investments I've made all year.
I was not very impressed with this tape. I only tried
the first few segments before I got bored, so it might
get better later. But what I saw was way too easy. In
each segment he does very few exercises and in 10
minutes, one can get a lot done if they try. I thought
I could do a few segments at a time for a thorough
workout, but he spreads out the body parts in such a
way as to prevent this. I am saving this tape because
my mom, who has never worked out before, might want
it. But I can't see myself ever using it. Hey, a tape
that is too easy for me---does this mean I am not a
beginner any more? :-)
I LOVE this video! I'm a runner but wanted to add SOME strength training to my normal running schedule. I am not coordinated so anything that involves dance moves is OUT. I'm also a tightwad so didn't want to spend mega-bucks on weights or equipment. I even found this video at a Goodwill store for 50c!! Frank tells you that you can use household items as weights and benches. There's the sales pitch at the beginning but then that's it so I don't consider it hard sell at all. I am interested in his weights though, but haven't been able to find them anywhere so if someone reads this and knows where to find them, please email me!
I'm AMAZED at the difference I can already see in just 10 minutes a day. Because of running, I'm very in-tune with my heart rate/respiration so I KNOW my body is working hard while doing just 10 minutes worth of exercises.
These are exercises that ANYONE can follow with no previous experience... but they do WORK! I do agree with another reviewer that it would have been nice to have a bit of warning on when to begin but after a couple days of playing catch-up, I know now to just be ready to start right away.
I don't understand how anyone could get bored...it's only 10 minutes!! I plan on doing the whole set through and then increasing my weights. My video was missing the picture cards but once I memorize the exercises, I can also add more reps along with increasing the weights. And I never even thought of just doing 3, 4 or more days' worth of workouts right in a row if I want a longer workout. Thanks for the good idea! To me, with being able to increase weights, reps or frequency of workout, this video has almost limitless possibilities! I hope to be doing this same workout 10 years from now = )
He's cute...he's not so perky that he's obnoxious...he's encouraging... he's believable! I just wish he right there with me while I'm doing the exercises so that I could know if my form is good!