Video Fitness

Firm Total Muscle Shaping (BSS3)

Stephanie Huckabee

Total Muscle Shaping is part of The Firm's Basic Sculpting Series 3 (BSS3) set. I think it is marginally the most diffcult of the three that come with the set (DVDs and 3-in-1 box). Really though, I don't notice much of a difference between this and Total Body Sculpting as far as intensity goes.
The workout alternates strength exercises with cardio work. The cardio is short: each segment is about 3-5 minutes long. The first segment is done on the floor, the second on the box, and the third on the box at an incline. The cueing seems OK-- the moves are not that complicated, so it is not that much of an issue.
The strength work will probably keep your heart rate as elevated as the cardio. It opens with a series of squats, rows, shoulder presses, and leg presses. The leg presses are done with your leg coming to your side rather than behind the box. The second group of strength exercises includes work for the biceps, triceps,and more leg presses. I think there may be some squats performed with legs close together. The leg presses are tough-- you perform bicep curls and abduct your leg as you are climbing the box. This is hard!
The final group of strength exercises is the longest. There are lunges, clean and presses, push ups, crunches, planks, french presses (lying down), and chest exercises such as flys, bench presses, and pullovers. I used lighter weights than I usually do for these exercises. Many of the exercises are done on the incline box.
I really like this workout.
It is short-- about 45 minutes, but I always feel I get an excellent workout and no body part is shortchanged.
The music is different than your typical video. I really liked it. At a few points it veers off in the direction of music that might be more appropriate for a parody of 70's porn, but even that stuff was ok.
The set is uncluttered.
The box seems sturdy enough. I don't know imagine it will last as long as my club sized step, but that thing is indestructable. I don't see the Firm Box falling apart any time in the future. That being said, I don't feel it is necessary. The incline cardio and strength does not feel any more effective than that done without anmincline. I don't really feel it targeting any muscle in a new way.
I do like having a bench that is 14 inches for leg presses. I also think the bench is great for tricep dips.
I purchased the entire set for 60 dollars and feel like it was money well spent.

Instructor comments:



I'm disappointed by all these BSS3 videos. It's almost like, if you have 2 firm tapes, you have them all since they just keep recycling the same moves over and over again with different set, instructors and outfits.
My money could have been better spent branching out and buying other workouts NOT by the Firm.

Instructor comments: She just doesn't do it for me.


July 6/05

I have a lot of Firm workouts, and of the newer ones (Goodtimes) this one is one of the tougher ones. The incline Firm box is used (the infamous "death box",) but I used my high step (you can use the fanny lifter) and the workout works well. Stephanie alternates strength with cardio segments. The exercises hit all the areas except inner thighs. There are some compound movements - leg presses with biceps and hover squats with medial delt raises (those were tough!) Stephanie does back rows, lunges, dips, bicep curls (and hammer curls), clean and press, pushups, squats, tricep dips, rear delts, pec flies, pullovers, chest & tricep presses and finishes with abs.
The ending stretches are good, but they are not held long enough. The music was ok, and included some vocals. The workout is about 45 minutes, and goes by really quickly, and I felt totally worked out, but not exhausted.

Instructor comments: She seems relaxed and gives good cues. She often reminds you of the modifications for beginners.



This is a good workout. For some reason, Stephanie doesn't get on my nerves. Maybe it's all those muscles that inspire me to keep exercising. The workout has a lot of weight training and less aerobics. The incline box (Reebok step without one end seems to work fine) is a nice change. The choreography isn't boring.

Instructor comments: Well, I guess beauty has some value (my husband stopped in his tracks). Actually, she's a good instructor and seems genuine.

Elizabeth P.


This workout just goes to show that you cannot trust someone else's review. This is, by far, the best workout of the BSS3 series, and one of the best FIRM workouts I've ever done. The dark set issues and weird camera angles of the other BSS3 workouts were resolved. The music is great. And this workout is T-O-U-G-H.

I'm an intermediate exerciser, probably a "low intermediate," because I'm getting back on the fitness train after nearly 9 months off. While advanced exercisers and Cathe-ites seem to pooh-pooh nearly every FIRM workout because it isn't like Cathe, beginners and intermediates will find this workout tough and rewarding.

I used the TransFIRMer instead of the FIRM Box, and enjoyed the lunges on the incline. They hit a different part of my legs than traditional lunges. Paired with upper body work, they made for a killer workout. By the time I got to pushups, also done on the incline, my arms were twitching. I finished the pec flies and other chest work done on the inclue with 5 lbs. and barely finished. My arms were twitchy goo! And I started out trying to use my "heavy" weight of 8 pounds.

Ab work on the incline is the toughest I've ever done. I can do lower body crunches all day on the floor, but on the incline can crank out about 10, if I'm lucky. Variations that had you raising and then opening the legs had my abs on fire.

I also like that this workout, along with all the post-BBH FIRMs, work more than just deltoids and biceps. Triceps dips of the box, rear delt raises and all sorts of lying triceps and chest work gave me a complete upper body workout. This was a flaw in some of the classic FIRMs, and I'm glad they've moved forward.

A+. This is one of the best FIRM workouts ever, as tough as the Classics as far as I'm concerned.

Instructor comments: Stephanie is an incredible instructor who gives perfect cues, has great form, and gives good form pointers. She's like a blonde Tracie Long. :D



Video Fitness copyright © 1996 - 2009 Wendy Niemi Kremer    All rights reserved