Video Fitness

Skills, Drills & Thrills

Tina Smalley

This DVD comes with yet another FIRM gadget, this time the balance trainer, aka balance disk. In the market for a balance trainer anyway? Just based on the cost alone I suggest you get this whole kit even if you're not sure about the FIRM.

The kit comes with the disk, a device to inflate it, and the 45 minute DVD workout. I had some patience issues with their inflater thingy and finished with a bicycle pump. It's hard to know when to stop inflating; you're not given any guidance. I tried to match what I saw in the DVD.

I'm pretty good anymore with balance work after doing it for so long. I love doing it and I believe it works since I haven't taken one of my patented spectacular falls in many, many years. If you are new to balance training, you're in for it here. The balance disk is wobbly-er than the Bosu or Coreboard, and you will probably feel as if you were thrown in the deep end on your first day at the pool. The first time I did this DVD, I saw how easy it would be to twist an ankle. Some moves involve jumping on the disk, and that is very challenging. By the second time, most my fears were gone and I was much more stable. You will improve quickly too, but I suggest anyone new to balance work do, maybe, every other rep until you feel more comfortable. There is a modifier too.

The DVD has widely been cited for being off the beat in places. I wonder if they corrected this problem in recent productions because some of us didn't have that issue at all. I'm lucky I didn't since I bought my kit used and couldn't have returned it.

The workout entails some basic step-style moves, some straight-up balance techniques, ab work, and a few plyo moves. You should only buy this if you are interested in a balance-specific workout that has some cardio and some toning. Don't buy it if you want a cardio or toning workout; you'll be disappointed unless you want a lighter day workout. That said, according to my heart rate monitor, I burned 220 calories.

The segments in this workout come in short bursts. You won't be terribly confused or lost often, and you won't be expected to remember much. And if you don't like a section, say, pushups or cardio, it will be over soon enough. One thing, these little segments go from standing on the disk to laying on the floor frequently. If you have problems with this, you might want to pause the DVD and march in place until you and your heart rate are okay to go to the floor.

If you just want balance work, you could easily make this a half hour workout. You would miss the abs section, which is short but sweet. I find using the disk helps to get a lot out of a few crunches. Supermans follow the ab work. I personally don't like doing them on the disk. It hurts my stomach, so I just use the floor.

You will, overall, use the balance disk in a thoughtful way in nearly every exercise, save for some jumping jacks. Sometimes when a workout is packaged with a gimmicky gadget, the gadget isn't utilized well, but I believe this one is. Even pushups and planks involve the disk.

I enjoy this DVD and find it great fun. Some do, some don't. I'll just remind you that it isn't a high calorie burn workout, there is a possibility you will find rhythm issues, and the balance work will likely require you to take it easy the first couple of times.

Instructor comments: She's fine, and I like her. Friendly but not overly chatty. She has good balance. Sometimes she trips me up a little by announcing "last one" just after finishing the last rep rather than ahead of time. If this workout could guarantee me abs like hers, I'd do it everyday.



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