Video Fitness

Hips, Thighs and Abs (BSS3)

Pam Cauthen Meriweather

There are no reviews of this DVD so I thought I'd do one, since there are few workouts out there featuring lower body floor work. There are two workouts: 20 minutes of lower body floor work followed by a 10-minute ab routine. Libby provides modifications. Although the workouts can be done separately, there is no chaptering on the DVD.

The workouts themselves are pretty good. The main problem with this DVD is that it features two of The Firm's least popular gadgets: the Sculpting Stick and the convertible "death box." However, the workouts can be easily done without either one. For the Sculpting Stick you can substitute a dumbbell (you will need regular dumbbells for some of the exercises anyway) or a body bar. A regular club step with risers, Fanny Lifter, High Step, plain weight bench or just the floor will work in place of the box (which I don't own). Whatever you use, you will want something like a folded towel or yoga mat to pad the surface (for some reason this isn't mentioned until we hit the ab work).

The participants do this workout barefoot, which I don't think is a good idea with weights. I suspect the main reason was that it is easier to balance the SS in the arch of the foot during side leg raises.

After a short warm-up (which includes static lunges and squats -- I just keep these shallow), lower body work begins with the box in the full upright (14 inch) position. We do the following (1) front leg raises while supporting the upper body on the step or floor; (2) kneeling while holding the SS overhead (a little like Lotte Berk knee dancing); (3) bridge work with feet up on the box; (4) table work atop the box, raising the leg out to the side (can be done on the floor -- just less ROM); (5) side leg lifts with the SS while lying atop the box (I moved to the floor for this one, and I used a dumbbell held on my thigh because I kept poking myself in the stomach with the SS -- LOL!).

The box is then changed to the slant position. With a club step you can recreate the slant, but after trying this once I didn't think the slant really added to the workout for me. Next we lean over the high end of the slant for rear leg lifts (I did these on the floor on my elbows and knees). For the last exercise you lie sideways on the slanted box for more side leg lifts with the SS (I again used a dumbbell and just did these on the floor). A few stretches conclude the lower body work.

Ab work begins with elbow planks, alternating knees to floor -- challenging! Next we lie supine on the slanted box for loer body crunches, leg walks and leg pulleys. I did these on the floor because I am cautious with my back.

Next are upper and lower body crunches on the floor. The SS is disassembled, with the middle part held under the knees, and a "twig" in each hand (for pushing overhead or rib cage pullovers during some of the crunches). Libby modifies this section by using no weights. Some of the crunches are done laterally. The abs workout concludes with a side stretch, but nothing for the abdominal wall, so you might want to add that in.

Overall I liked these workouts, although I don't usually bother with a workout requiring much modifying. The length of the workouts make them good add-ons. I especially like that lower body is done separately from abs (unlike Tracie's Sculpted Buns, Hips & Thighs). However, I doubt I personally will ever use just the ab workout alone, since it is not separately chaptered and I'm too lazy to use the time search function on my player.

Despite its drawbacks, this DVD should be considered by anyone wanting lower body strength work without squats, lunges or tall box climbs.

Instructor comments: Pam looks very different from her old Firm video, very thin and muscular, but led this workout in a clear, professional manner.

Sandra

May 28, 2005

Firm Hips, Thighs and Abs uses the BSS3 incline box and sculpting stick to work your entire lower body. On my DVD (with the original white cover), the workout is chaptered into Floorwork and Abs. I like using it as an add-on to other workouts. There are brief warm-ups for each segment which I usually fast-forward through.

I donít have an incline box or sculpting stick, so I use a club step (on 3 pairs of risers for outer thigh work and on an incline for abs), ankle weights, dumbbell, and padded barbell.

I actually feel a little silly doing this workout WITH shoes, since everyone in the workout is barefoot. I did use my padded barbell for the inner and outer thigh work, and it was uncomfortable without shoes, but other than it was fine.

Sandra gave a good breakdown of this workout. I agree with her that you could easily do this without a step or sculpting stick. It took me a while to figure out exactly what to use, but adding ankle weights really made the workout challenging. You donít do a whole lot of reps, but you do hit every area with a few different moves.

I find the ab work to be pretty challenging. The leg walks and lower ab crunches on an incline really are harder than on a flat plane, as Pam says. I donít use weights at all during the ab work, though they hold the sculpting stick with their legs while lying on the floor and hold the twigs in their hands.

I hope the Firm comes out with another floorwork video. I tried Lower Body Sculpt 2 and just couldnít make it worthwhile, even if I added ankle weights. Hips, Thighs, and Abs is a little more unique. It good well with the other BSS3 workouts, or even some of the Firm cardio-oriented workouts, since there isnít floorwork in most of the newer Firms.

Instructor comments: I really like Pam. Iím sure itís partially nostalgia for the old Firm. She seems different to me than some of the other instructorsómore authentic, less scripted? She does make some comments about how well the sculpting stick or incline box work for certain moves, but the comments really didnít bother me. Sheís cheerful and encouraging throughout the workout.

Pratima

9/18/05

This is a 30 minute addon from the Firm BSS3 system, which has 20 minutes lower body and 10 minute ab/core work. The workout has already been broken down by other reviewers.
The warmup is done standing and the body of the workout is all floor work. They use the firm box -- I used my club step with a mat on top of it, which works well. I liked the inner and outer thigh raises on the inclined step -- it was different than I had done, and it felt effective. I used an 8 lb body bar resting on my foot while doing the lifts (I think Cathe does this in Pure Strength.) Pam does donkey kicks and cross-backs while resting your forearms on the higher part of the inclined step -- I didn't see the advantage to doing it this way over the usual way (on the floor) but she comments that it is more comfortable -- Maybe for taller people it is, but at 5'3" it is just as comfortable on the floor!
The ab work is done on the incline, and was tough. I like that it's not just crunches, and it felt effective.
It's too bad the DVD isn't chaptered because the ab work is seperate from the lower body, and would be good as an add-on.
The lower body work felt much tougher than Libby's Lower Body Sculpt 2 (from BSS1 addon). It's a nice workout to have in your firm collection.

Instructor comments: Pam gives good pointers and tells you ahead of time which exercise she will be doing.

Jo

7/7/06



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