Video Fitness

Firm Tri-Trainers: Better Body & Buns

3 min. warmup; 22 min. interval training; 6 min. floorwork; 7 min. pushups/abs; and 7 min. stretch. I like this video for it's emphasis on the lower body, and for not being hard on the knees. Although there are a lot of squats, a two-by-four is used to elevate the heels, which makes it easier on my knees while working my glutes to the max. The ab work is done in the very beginning, which I thought unusual, but nice for a change - there's an emphasis on breath control here (breathing in through the nose for two counts and out through the mouth while the abs are contracted). The aerobics include plyometric jumps, tall box climbing and step downs, as well as squats. There's also floorwork (6 minutes) with 5-lb ankle weights. I think this video is easier than Standing Legs, only because the variety of moves didn't make my knees sore. There is also some upper body work, using heavy dumbbells to work the shoulders, biceps, and triceps, which makes this video a full-body workout (as emphasized in the beginning title sequence).

Instructor comments: All three are easy to follow and have great form. Peluso is a little annoying for some reason - I think it's her breathy voice. My fave was Carman - she seems the most enthusiastic and is in great shape.

Amy
May 20 1998

Great workout! Kicked my butt (while compared to some of you is not as hard to kick). I used 25 pounds for the lat rows and the French Press. I used 20 pounds for the squats and leg press sequences. For the military presses I used 15 pounds. I did the pushups on my knees because by the time they came around, I was pretty much gone.

I love the jumps, the tall box steps and the leg press sequences make this workout as hard as Standing Legs to me.

Buy this tape if you are a Firmie! Anna Benson has created another masterpiece! For the time you invest in this workout you will get a short, total-body workout that will leave you wiped out if you use heavy weights! This one is sure to become one of my favorites because it is brief, hard, and fun!

It was nice to see Summer Sparkman in the cast too! I would like to see her lead a workout some day!

Level: Advanced

Grade: A+

Instructor comments: Jen Carman is great--she is in the best shape of any of the instructors on this video. I like her style and hope to see her in future videos as a lead.

Taber Bruner's deep voice is really nice and reminds me of Heidi Tanner's voice. She is also very graceful and flexible. She must have had dance training. I like her a lot and envy her grace and flexibility.

Peluso is waif-like and the least fit of the instructors. I am surprised that she was featured as an instructor because her voice and body really are not that great. To me, she is way too thin and not very graceful.

Amy R. Steppe
05/23/98

A Winner of a short workout. the warmup/stretch is 6 min, Abs and floorwork is 13.5 min, and standing leg work with some upperbody is 22min and the final stretch is 3.5 min. I LOVE this short workout. I love the music too! I found all three instructors to give a little of there own personality to the workout. It is very well rounded. I was thrilled to finally see some new tall box work with new music. It has been years since the last Firm Crosstrainers Cardio and Strength.

This workout just flows. I wasn't bored at all. The warmup was fun with great music and the stretch was soothing to classical music. Then Jennifer P. does abs. I love getting the abs out of the way first thing. Ever since WWWendy said that she does her abs first thing, I think this is the best way to stay consistant with abs. The abs were tough in this video. Lots of different variations to keep you from being bored. Thankyou Firm!

The squats were very tough using heavy weights. I used my heavy barbell and it was very intense. Jennifer C. squats regular and also does hover squats using the tall box with heels on a 2x4. The tall box work is also intense because after your first set, you do tall box climbing without weights. Then you go back to the second set of tall box work on the same leg. I used very heavy weights and my buns were burning.

In this video, Taber does the tall box work for your right leg and Jennifer C. does the other set on the left leg. There are some outer thigh leg lift without weights which I felt were too easy so I used ankle weights.

There is the similiar leg lift that was in Firm Strongheart/Cardio. Where you lean over the tall box and extend your leg up. Except Taber doesn't use an ankle weight. I put ankle weights on for me. Then Taber does plies. THANKYOU Firm for putting plies!!! They work wonders for your inner thighs. I used my barbell and boy did I feel it. She also does that plie pinch where you push your legs back during the plie. Like Firm 3. I was wondering when they would bring that back!! Then Jennifer does pushups on her toes! YAY!! And then Jennifer P does what I call her sexy table work and leg lifts sweeps. It was very entertaining to watch while I was dripping all over the mat. I loved the seducing music that goes with the floor workout. It was like it was picked just for her to instruct. I'm not putting Jennifer P. down. I really think she brings a hint of sexy instructing that I love like Susan Harris in Firm 1. It's a nice change.

One thing I noticed about this workout is that it goes sooo fast! So make sure you have all your equipment near by and make sure you have a towel because you will need it!!DRIP!DRIP! This is an A+ workout. I like it a lot more then Tri Trainer All Cardio. The instructors in Better Body and Buns do a great job at instructing. I like it how they focus on each one of the instructors feeling the burn! Watch Jennifer P during the bicep curl. She looks pumped and look at Taber and Jennifer on the last set of tall box. You know they feel it! I'm not the only one!

Instructor comments: Jennifer Carmen is the BEST of all three in this tape. She is just a breath of fresh air! Her cueing is wonderful, her form is outstanding and her smile is out of this world. She is very tan and has the greatest muscle tone. Very inspiring. She has come so far from my last review of her. What a difference from her Firm Basics Fat Burning tape. It is like night and day. I hope she gets a lead all to herself. Jennifer C. leads the squats, upper body work, lunges/dips and tall box and then does pushups.

Jennifer Peluso reminds me so much of the way Susan Harris led the Firm 1 video. Sexy! She is a cross between Claudio Schiffer and Grace Kelly. I really liked her alot. They do this close up of her all sweaty during the floor work. She leads the warmup and abs and table work and leg sweeps.

Taber Bruner is a refreshing new face for the Firm. She is very pixie looking with her ponytail. Her deep , low voice reminds me of Heidi Tanner. She has a very graceful looking body. She is very sweet natured. She does the first stretch, Tall box work and leg lifts and lat rows and then the final stretch.

All three of these instructors make it a pleasure to workout.

Mandy Lee
5/22/98

Out of the Tri-Trainers, this comes in second to All-Weights, which is my absolute favorite. That said, its a great lower body workout. Some sections in particular that I liked on this tape was the ab work, which incorporates Pilates-type exercises. I loved every segment that Carman instructed, IMO she could easily take the place of Tracie Long leading a video. She lead the squat segment, forward lunge/backward lunge combo, and I think the left leg press work (Taber instructed the right side), she also did the slight upper body work and a plyo jump segement. I liked Taber's plie segment which is tough if you use heavy weights.

There is one segment that sticks out in particular that I didn't like, is where you lean over the tall box and squat forward then extend legs back into a stretch. Maybe this is some kind of range of motion thing, I don't know, but I'm not sure if I'm doing them correctly, (i.e. standing too close or too far away from the box). Besides this minor detail, its a great tape I use when I need some variety, or extra leg work.

Instructor comments: Next to Tracie Long, Jennifer Carman is next in line as one of my favorite Firm instructors. I hope she solo leads a video in the future. I also liked Taber Bruner, as someone said, she kind of reminds you of Heidi Tanner. I can't put my finger on it, but for some reason, Jennifer Peluso gets on my nerves.

Wendy M
06-04-98

The abs are at the beginning of this workout, following the warmup/stretch. I kind of like having the abs at the beginning, because there are occasionally times when I get to the end of the workout, and don't do the ab work (and believe me, I NEED the ab work!). I think of the 3 Tri-Trainer tapes, this one has my favorite ab section. I think it works the abs the hardest. Besides the breathwork (which I'm starting to feel more), it has good oblique work, and it also has the rock & lift movement, which I think is challenging.

Obviously, the weight work is targeted primarily at the lower body, but there is some upper body work. The weight work starts w/ a combination of squats and side lunges. I like the squat segment a lot. You use your box and a 2x4. You sit on the box w/ your heels on the 2x4. Then you do a series of hover-stand-hover-sit squats, followed by hover squats, followed by half-time squats. Side lunges for the right leg are next, and then another squat segment. This time the sequence is reversed, and then side lunges for the opposite leg. Next are leg presses (16) followed by the tall box climb, and then 16 more leg presses. I can really feel that second set of leg presses. Plyo jumps are next, followed by some upper body work w/ militaries, french press, and biceps. Next are dowel squats w/ leg abductions. No weights/no ankle weights. Then a lunge/dip combo w/ heavy weights. This is similar to a sequence in Maximum Body Sculpting. You lunge forward w/ the right leg, then dip back w/ the left so that you're working the same leg/glute. She finishes this w/ pulsing dips. Before turning to the other side, you do some step squats. Next is the leg press/tall box climb combo again. After the additional leg work that's been done, I can really feel it. The hamstring/lat row sequence that comes next is similar to the one in Firm Cardio (Strong Heart). The lat rows are fine, but I'd rather do deadlifts to work my hamstrings -- I feel them more. The plie section is tough. There are half-time plies, pulses, glute pinches, and combinations of those. Next are pushups, and then it's on to floorwork. I'm not a big floorwork fan, but this isn't too bad, especially since I change it a little. There's table work (supported by the tall box) with ankle weights. Then she does abductor work which is a little different from the type of abductor work they've done before. They don't use an ankle weight for these, and basically, you're just sweeping your top leg back and forth. I do the standing abductor work with a dowel that they taught us at the studio. (Sharon Muha describes it very well in the Columbia Firm report she submitted.) Then there's the final stretch. I think this is a good workout, but I think I like Maximum Body Sculpting a little more. (They make an awesome combo when you do them back to back, though!)

Instructor comments: I really like Jen Carman a LOT. I think she does a great job. I also like Taber Bruner (and she does sound like Heidi Tanner). All three instructors do a good job of leading you through the exercises. I wish Jennifer Peluso would have given more instruction during the breathwork in the ab section, but that probably wasn't her fault. I'm sure she read what was on the script. Fortunately, I've printed out Laura Harper's instructions!

Melissa F
6/5/98

This video has been described in detail already, so I'll just give my overall opinion. I think this workout is fabulous! I love the tall box press combined with the tall box climb; it doesn't even bother me to keep picking up my weights and putting them back down again. I am a bit confused that there are two or three segments that don't use weights (I think two sets of lunges, and floorwork); some days I add weights anyway, some days I'm thankful I don't need to use them! Even though this workout is only 45 minutes, it's pretty fast paced so I still feel like I'm getting a full workout (I'm a brat, I'm used to doing a full hour!). I highly recommend this video, it's both entertaining and effective.

Instructor comments: Jennifer Carmon is my second favorite Firm instructor, next to Tracie Long, so I was ecstatic that she leads (or co-leads?) this workout. She is in excellent shape, and her personality is upbeat throughout the workout. I didn't like Peluso the first time I did this workout, I don't know if it was her voice or the fact that she's almost too thin, but after several dozen workouts, she grew on me! I'm indifferent about Taber, I think she's fine as an instructor, I just can't rave about her like I can Carmon!

Jane
06/15/98

Because the types and sequence of exercises have already been described in earlier review, I would just like to add some general comments.

The workout was fun to do, and I liked the music, set and 2 of the instructors. With very heavy weights, it should be pretty effective. Overall, I liked the video quite a bit.

I was disappointed, however, because I thought it was supposed to be more advanced, and it sure didn't feel like it. I used a 40 lb. barbell for the tall box presses and most of the squats, and would start to get a good burn, but then they would switch to a much easier exercise, such as tall box hip extensions without weights, and in the end, I wasn't sure if I got a really good workout or not. I guess I was just expecting a really challenging workout, and this wasn't it.

I think this would be a good choice for an early morning workout when you may not have the energy or time to go all out, or this may be good in conjunction with the Tough Cardio Mix or a Cathe Friedrich video. It's just too bad that the video itself isn't what I consider a tough workout. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe this workout would be enough to get or keep someone in great shape, but I doubt it. I recommend this video, but with the disclaimer that buyers should be cognizant of what they're really getting. It's a solid, fun workout that, in my opinion, is probably more geared to an intermediate level exerciser, or for advanced exercisers who want a light workout some days.

The Firm hit a grand slam when they produced StrongHeart and StrongBody, and I hope to see more workouts like those in the future. I was hoping the Tri-Trainers would be more like SH and SB, but in intensity, they feel more like somewhere in between Prime Power and SH and SB.

Instructor comments: Jennifer Carman was terrific. She looked like she was having fun, her cueing was excellent, and she radiated health. As others have already stated, it would be nice to see her have a solo lead.

Taber Bruner was very good, too. I liked her voice (is she somehow related to Heidi Tanner? She sounded so much like her!) I would have liked to see her do more segments.

Alas, I did not care for Jennifer Peluso's style. It wasn't just the fact that she was very thin and didn't seem as fit as other Firm instructors; it was her voice, cueing, and the come-hither looks she kept giving the camera. At times it felt like I was watching a cross between a porno flick (due to the sultry looks at the camera) and a Betty Boop cartoon (due to the voice and weird pronunciation of certain words, for example the dragging out of the word sweep-p-p-p-p-UH!). I'm a bit puzzled why The Firm chose Jennifer P. for a lead. I would much rather have a more athletic instructor with a more pleasant voice. Oh, well. To each her own.

Katie O
6/13/98

I love this workout. Even though the body of the workout is only 35 minutes, I really felt all the leg work and the minimal arm work. It really is a total body workout for a light day. It begins with abwork (which is day 1 of the New Five Day Abs tape). The last section on the floor was a little different for me - no ankle weights and side leg lifts on the floor to different tempos. I welcomed it after the tougher leg presses and squats. Fun, entertaining, tough - all in a short amount of time.

maryann parker
6/18/98

Positive comment first: I love the abs section. Before I gave this video away, I tried to memorize the segment. It's tough, thorough, fun, and the music is perfectly matched, but the moves are not uncomfortable and annoying as many tough ab workouts are.

Negative: I don't find this workout challenging. Every time I did this tape, I'd find myself saying a number of times, "That's it???" The segments would end just as I was getting started. Then I'd think to myself, "I could be doing "Standing Legs"a tape I find very thorough and complete.

My grade: A- for beginners; C- for everyone else.

beth
7-20-98

I feel that Better Buns is a wonderful 45 minute tape. The first time I did this workout, I made it through and didn't really break a sweat. BUT after doing this tape 5 more times, I can honestly say that it's a killer and a keeper!

The hover squats and side lunges burned my legs. Then right after that Taber comes in with leg presses! Then Jen Carman does plyos and heavy upper body. But WAIT-it doesn't stop-she goes right into leg press on the other side. Everytime I do this section I'm thinking, "If I can just make it through this ,I can finish the tape."

Jen Carman's section on lunges and dips is tough as well. I'm glad they do one lunge and then a dip to the back. This helped me stabilize before going to another lunge & dip!

Finally-Jen's pushups (18??? of them) were all done BIG BOY style! I think the only time I've seen this from a REAL Firm instructor was Susan Harris on Vol. 1 & 4!!! This says alot to me!

The floorwork was led by Jennifer Peluso. I still haven't figured out how to make me "feel" her exercises. I've tried leg weights and it still doesn't seem to work.

All in all, I think that Jen Carman carried this workout. I really think that the Firm needs to look at the potential that they have with her. She's healthy, she's strong and she shines!

Instructor Grades: Jennifer Peluso-B, Taber Bruner-B+, Jen Carman-A+ Instructor comments: I enjoyed the variety of the three instructors. Taber and Jen Carman worked very well together on their sections-they just seemed to "flow" together. I must say that the ab section was tougher than I first thought. My abs were sore the next day!

Lesia English
7/24/98

I really loved most of this video. It had tons of leg presses (at least 32 on each side). I'm still not sure how I feel about the Tall Box Climb. Sometimes I seem to catch my toe on the box as I'm stepping up... especially when my muscles are feeling fatigued. I'm also not crazy about the leg floorwork. (but, I generally don't like floorwork!). I liked the plyometric sequences. The lunges alternated with dips were great. Ab work was done first. This tape had the best ab work of the three Tri-Trainers. All in all, I found this tape to be a challenging workout packed into 45 minutes. I did notice that the entire Tri-Trainer series has a faster tempo than previous FIRM workouts. I know this because during these workouts I have to pause the tape to get a swig of water. (normally I don't have to pause the tape). The music was good, and it was really nice to have the old FIRM set back!

Instructor comments: I liked all three instrcutors very much. Each of them represented a different healthy body type. I thought all three instructors cued nicely. I really enjoy the "team-taught" classes!

Christine Letsky
7/13/98

This video comes the closest to being an advanced workout of the three new Tri-Trainers. It reminds me of Standing Legs alot. I like it! It is a very good weight training workout for the legs with abs and some upper body thrown in. I really like how the abs section is at the beginning. Almost all other tapes do abs last. If I've done a good lower body workout, my legs are shaking so much that I can barely keep them up to do reverse crunches or leg lifts. This was a wonderful change. I wouldn't consider this tape to be a total body workout. There's not enough upper body exercises. I just add on another upper body tape to round out the workout for me. I recommend this tape if you are looking for a fun lower body workout that includes abs.

Instructor comments: All three of them did a good job of cueing and giving pointers on how to properly perform the exercises. Jennifer P was a little annoying with her sexy looks at the camera although it didn't bother me too much. I must admit that it shocked me to see her as an instructor. She is not nearly as fit looking as past instructors of Firm videos. She is very thin and I don't really feel fits the image. However, there are a couple of instructors in this new batch of videos that I think don't look as fit as instructors from past videos.

Joyce Thurman
7/23/98

This tape is much like other Firm tapes, combining aerobics and weight work (with an emphasis this time on the weignts) with some new moves (such as a Pilates-type ab exrecise). A 12-14 inch box is used extensively for leg presses. There are also a lot of lunges and squats.

Instructor comments: Though the three instructors are pleasant, I had the feeling I was watching the Stepford exercisers! Almost every time the camera focused on one of the participants, they had (or put on) a frighteningly giddy-looking smile. As I've just previewed the tape and haven't worked out to it yet, I don't know how much this is going to continue to bother me. Also, a bit of the atmosphere of being in a class is taken away by the fact that the camera focuses mainly on the three instructors (even when panning the participants, most often the two non-leading instructors are shown).

Kathryn
8/11/98

This is a nice change of pace. At first I didn't know if I would keep it, because it's not as hard as some of the other lower body videos I do. But I do enjoy it, so I decided to keep it for those days when I just don't have a lot of energy for the more strenuous tapes.

Like the "All Weights" tape (or whatever the current name is), this seems to be at an intermediate level. You can add heavier weights to make it tougher, but I still don't consider this new series to be in the same league as the original FIRM Classics.

All in all, it's enjoyable, and I give it a B+.

Instructor comments: All three instructors were good, although I think they smile more than is realistic! I like smiling instructors, but sometimes you can go a bit overboard.

Annie S.
8-22-98

Other reviewers have broken this video down very well. I'm a high intermediate/low advanced exerciser, so I'll provide my comments from that point of view.

This is a terrific workout for the lower body. When Jen Carman gets to the step-squats before the final set of leg-press, my legs start shaking -- the first time I did the video I almost had to stop and rest before finishing them. This surprised me, since I do Tough Tape at least twice a week, and Firm Cardio and Strength at least once each per week.

I love the plio jumps. I didn't like them at all in Firm 3, and in Firm 4 I never paid any attention while I was doing them. Something about Jen Carman gets my enthusiasm way up, and I jump up and down with this crazy grin on my face.

The one thing I really don't like about this workout is the table work with Jennifer P. I'm 5'7", my thighs are 17" long from hip to mid-knee, and my arms are about 18" from shoulder to wrist. (I only know this because I measured them after doing this video a few times, when I was confirming what the problem was.) This makes it so when I put my chest on the 14" box for support, I have to lean over with my butt sticking way up in the air (at least it feels that way) and my arms flopping about or else braced wide somehow. Then I can't breathe because I can't use my bottom knee for support since I have to move it out behind me to get my back flat. I really tried to find a way to use the darn box, but now I just do the table work on my forearms like usual.

I agree with other reviewers who've said they have trouble with Taber Bruner's hamstring move leaning over the tall box. I wish she would've explained it a little better, so I would know where to put my feet, and when and where I should feel the target muscle.

On the whole, I have few complaints. I really like those lying-side kicks that Jennifer P leads. The first time I went through the video, I didn't feel them very well -- I think I was just swinging my leg. On subsequent tries, though, when I slow down and concentrate, I can even feel it the next day!

This video has gone into my regular rotation, and it'll stay there for a while.

Instructor comments: As other reviewers have said, Jen Carman is fantastic. She is very fit and she works hard -- motivation galore! Someday I'll do the push-ups like her.

Taber Bruner sounds so much like Heidi Tanner, it creeps me out to actually look at the TV during her segments. It's like Heidi's voice has been dubbed in or something. She is a good instructor though, clear, and not annoying.

Jennifer Peluso confuses me. I think that she actually IS quite fit -- if you look when she's using dumbells, you can see quite a bit of muscle -- but she is so waif-like. This isn't very motivational to me -- Jen Carman's body is -- but I have some friends who think that Jen Carman and Tracie Long are way too buff-looking. They think that Susan Harris has a much better look, and I think that it is for those people that the Firm chose Jennifer P. Her outfit doesn't help at all -- it doesn't look in the least bit athletic. I think that's part of the problem.

Cat S.
10/20/98

What's good:

There are some different moves in this, such as the hover squats and the side lunges. This workout is lower body- the few sets of upper body aren't worth doing. The ab workout is killer. I'd say your heart rate stays up through most of the workout, too. This video left me a little sore, probably because it's so different than Cathe's MIS, which is what I usually do. It's a great video for cross-training.

I absolutely LOVED the warmup. It's done ballet-style to classical music. What a fantastic change! It's done with a workout dowel, but I use a mop.

What's bad: I wish they'd just left out the upper body stuff-- it's not worth doing. But here's what I do: I do this workout and in place of the upper body sets, I just do lat work. Then, I do an "arms" tape like Cory's Get Hard Arms and Shoulders. This way you get a full-body workout plus a little cardio (Cory leaves out back and chest, so you feel a little cheated). But this is a great combo.

This tape is intermediate/advanced, I'd say. It's definitely a new vista as far as the Firm is concerned.

Grade: B+

Instructor comments: I must be in the minority, but I found all three of these instructors hard to take. Jen Peluso has already been discussed. Jennifer Carman was just a little too plastic and her smile was plastered on. Taber Bruner is alright. My husband described them as being like watching robot cheerleaders. But I got used to it-- the workout is good enough to ignore them.

Sara Whitney
12-4-98

I've noticed about complaints about Jennifer Peluso- now as far as personality goes, that's beyond me, I think she's ok. It's the comments everybody makes about her body that irritates me- has anyone ever heard of PETITE?? Some people are born short & small- & even if they wanted to get big they can't! I should know, I am too, & it's not because I starve myself either! It's called genetics!! Besides look carefully at her arms, there is muscle definition, & if the Firm producers choose her to lead in a tape, I think they would agree as well. Thanks for letting me vent, & lay off!!

Jackie
12/15/98

I guess I'm in the minority here but I thought this tape was weird. I don't like the tag-team teaching, although it doesn't bother me as much in the Fat Blaster Tri-Trainer so I have to believe it has something to do with the workout too. I guess my general feeling was that it just didn't flow well. I also don't like the fact that they throw in some upper body training but not enough to really do much good. But...I knew about that before I exchanged for it so I guess I'd have to say my main complaint is that it just doesn't seem to flow well to me. I think it is reasonably challenging, especially if you use heavy weights but I just felt dissatisfied when I had finished it. I think this one may be going back on the exchange!

Instructor comments: I don't know what it is about these three but I just did not connect with any of them. I guess the cueing was okay and I can't pinpoint anything specific that I didn't like.

Dana Shepperd
12/22/1998

I really enjoy this workout as a total body workout that emphasizes lower body work. What a nice change of pace to have abs first! The ab segment is different, fun, and effective. It reminds me a lot of the abs in Method tapes but it moves at a faster pace. I really enjoy the squat and side lunge combination--I really try to isolate the muscles in my inner thigh so I can feel it. The hover squats are killer! As far as the hamstring work leaning over the tall box goes, I'm used to doing it a la Heidi Tanner in SH (with ankle weights), so I just add the weights at this point and keep them on through the plie squats, pushups, tablework, and lying side abductor work. I know that the participants don't use ankle weights during the leg sweeps--it's very Pilates' inspired--but in order for me to feel it I have to (maybe I'm just not doing them right, though). Regarding the upper body work, there isn't much of it, but the moves are slow so you can use heavy weights. I wouldn't choose this video alone often for a total body workout since it is lacking in the upper body department, but it's a wonderful lower body workout (my legs were trembling by the end of the video). I use it in combination with Not So Tough Aerobics (which has quite a bit of upper body work for a "cardio" tape), or Tough Cardio Mix. Adding an upper body tape would also round out the workout. I do enjoy this one a lot--the set is bright, the music is fun, and there are some different variations on classic lower body moves that keep this tape interesting.

Instructor comments: I really like the combination of teachers that this tri-trainer has. I think that it really makes the video fly by! I enjoy how the different styles of the three instructors complement each other. Jen Carman is fabulous--so fit and energetic. Taber Bruno is also very good--others have hit the nail on the head when they have said that she is reminiscent of Heidi Tanner in SH. I like Jennifer Peluso as well. Her style is definitely different than that of the others, but for me it provides a nice change. All three offer helpful form pointers, but I would have liked more instruction on the Pilates-inspired moves that Jen P. taught (especially the Precision Toning-like ab breathwork and leg sweeps). I also got a little confused as to which leg I should be doing the lunge/dip combos on. Cueing was otherwise fine.

Kristin Aziz
KAziz@prodigy.net
2/5/99

Everyone else has done a good job summarizing the video. I thought the samba warm-up was really fun, although a little tricky to catch on to. I'm writing in defense of Jennifer Peluso. Look, as a Southerner, I think some of this reaction on the bulletin board is a response to how we talk. I recall comments about Susan Harris, Jayne Poteet, and other obviously Southern accented instructors being "weird" in a way people couldn't put their fingers on. Look, it is just a manner of speaking! We don't complain when New Yorkers squack in other audio-media (well, OK, we do, but still), so can't we all just get along? :)

Susan

2-24-99

Despite the peculiararities of the instructors, I love this tape. At first I was disappointed that the Firm doesn't seem to be releasing any more hour long workouts, but now I'm enjoying the shorter videos. In Better Body and Buns the lower body exercises are very challenging and very aerobic. There's just enough upper body to keep you from feeling slighted. The only thing about the routine that bothers me is after the first two sets of leg press on the right leg you do a set of pliometric jumps, following upper body work you do more jumps, squats, lunges and dips on the left, fast squats, and lunges and dips on the right. By the time you get to the left leg press you're thoroughly exhausted and may not be able to complete both sets or do them with the same good form you did on the right. Otherwise, I think this workout will be one of my favorites for a long time.

Instructor comments: Is it just me, or does it seem like Taber Bruner and especially Jennifer Peluso were let loose from a mental institution? The tones in both their voices and those sincere looks make me laugh every time. As for Jennifer Carman she sounds like she's from Mars. With that smile glued on her face and the way she gives cues, it's enough to make me wretch all over my tall step. Good thing the quality of the workout makes up for these three.

Lena Yester
shoqura@mindspring.com
3/1/99

Better Buns & Body has been thorougly reviewed, so I'll just add a few comments. This is one great video! It is quickly becoming my new favorite Firm. It leaves me sore for days. The only thing I don't like is how the leg presses are broken up. You do 2 sets of leg press on one side, and then come back to do the other side like 10 minutes later. By that time, I am sore and my other leg/glute is worn out!

Other than that, I love this video. It is the perfect level of intensity for me (intermediate) and it really kept my heart rate up. The pylo jump portion is fun, fun, fun, the tall box work is tough, and I really like the abs section.

Instructor comments: All three of them are great! They each have different styles and body types, and I think the combination definitely works. Carman is really enthusiastic, and I love it when she whoops during the plyo jumps! It gets annoying when other instructors whoop constantly during videos (which is why I love the Firm!), but she only does it twice, not enough to be annoying. My 2nd fave would be Peluso. She has healthy untanned skin and really great muscle tone for such a thin person.

Rebecca Stallings
rebecca.stallings@enform.com
3/23/99

This video is OK-- of the Tri-Trainers, it's my least favorite. I thought that 45 minutes of mostly lower body work would be extremely tough, but it isn't. That said, it is a decent workout. You do sweat plenty. There is about one set for each upper body muscle, a very good ab section and then the rest is lower body work. There are two sets of leg press. These are tough. So are the two sets of hover squats. Yeow! The rest of it is kind of pointless, I think. There are these side to side steps with no weights that I didn't feel at all. There are squats with the dowel. Again, nothing. I substituted regular weighted squats here. There is some decent, though short, weighted table work, and some worthless leg extensions with no weight-- like 5 on each leg-- didn't feel a thing. Then Jennifer Peluso does these strange "leg sweeps" lying on your side, combined with her "cleansing breaths" (I thought she had a cold when I first watched this). She has no ankle weights on for this. I kept my ankle weights on and these did burn a little. There is also tall box climb, which is good, and a series of plyometric jumps to keep up your heart rate, and a set of lunge/dips.

The music in this is also excellent, including classical for the warmup and cooldown and some neat new-agey stuff near the end.

Still, I am waiting for Standing Legs to arrive and I'm sure that once it does, I won't do this video much anymore. Once in awhile it fits the bill. Whenever I do this video, when I reach the end I say, "Is that ALL?"

Instructor comments: I really don't like any of these three instructors. Taber is OK. She's got a nice voice but she's extremely fake-- like she's reading right off a cue card (which she is!). Jennifer Carman is a little too enthusiastic and Jennifer Peluso-- well, what can I say? :) She is the most bizarre instructor the FIRM has ever picked.

Sara Whitney
fssmk2@uaf.edu
4-17-99

As an "active" beginner, I suprised myself by being able to get through this video as easily as I can. I've been using weights for several months, so I am not completely new to strength training.

After doing this tape several times, I have learned to make some modifications to keep from being too sore the next day. In fact, without modifications, I would be too sore to do any more weight work for anther week!

Anyway, I eliminate the weights during all of the tall box work and I eliminate the second set of leg dips (?) on the tall box for each leg. (Just fast forward over that section). I also eliminate any ankle weights.

Even though the tape does not spend a lot of time on upper body work, I find it to be enough for me. I just have to be sure to use heavy enough weights. For example, today I used 8 LB dumbells for the bicep curls, and I wished I had used 10.

This tape can also be modified down in other ways. For instance, you could use a lower, box (6 or 8 inches) and you could eliminate weights during squats.

I really enjoy the way the tape puts the ab section first. I do this tape infrequently enough that the abs are still a pleasant surprise every time.

This is the kind of tape that an "active" beginner could use while making lots of modifications and then grow into it without modifications.

-Jennine

Jennine
JAuerbach@UBMail.UBalt.edu
10/26/99

I loved this video. It's not an hour long tape, however, it gives a great lower body workout. Long-time Firm users will need to "heavy-up" on the weights, particularly those who love Tough Tape, but it gets the job done.

All three did a great job - they were enthusiastic and motivating. My only complaint was with Jennifer Peluso's hair and make-up - she looked ready for a cocktail party, not a workout!

Anne Bearden
beardens@swbell.net
10-20-99

Definitely a great tape for the lower body -- buns and thighs. I saw results fairly quickly and felt the strength in my legs dramatically improve. My second favorite Firm tape. Just wish they'd do one that concentrates on the "core" a la Pilates to strengthen and beautify the back, which seems to be neglected on most tapes.

Instructor comments: Jennifer Paluso is very distracting, but sadly not in a positive way. I wonder if she has fantasies of being discovered by a movie producer -- what else could explain her grimaces and pouts at the camera? Her favorite pose, with her head tilted down a la Princess Diana, could be dangerous while exercising. And that voice... I don't need to be distracted by silliness while I'm trying to concentrate on doing a routine properly.

Pam
beliefs@earthlink.net
11/1/99

The workout has already been described in depth. I use medium dumbbells when learning a video. Once I understand the pacing I go to the heavier weights. I love this video. It's intense and gets the job done. I'm always wiping sweat off the floor when I finish. This video does only one set of upper body work for biceps, shoulders and lat rows so use the heaviest weights you can handle with good strict form. The incredible leg presses are back. I sometimes do the first set on the left leg for variation. Plies finishes the standing work You will feel these if you put your mind into the muscles being worked. The swinging leg work would seem useless to those not used to ballet or Pilates types exercies. Jennifer Peluso, who leads this is a certified Pilates instructor. When done correctly, it's a good compliment to traditional weight training. Overall, it's a good, concise workout.

Instructor comments: Three different instructors with three different body types and personalities. Jen Carman seems to be taking over Tracie Long's role as the Firm's Master Trainer. (I"ve done Super Shapers and she sparkles.) She's had some voice work and doesn't have that kewpie doll/Bernadette Peters voice anymore. She's very muscular like Tracie long and may have a body type many women cannot achieve. Taber Brunner has a deep boice like mine and moves gracefully. She leads the cool down and is very flexible. Actually , she is the most waif-like of the three but has a darker coloring than Jennifer Peluso's fair blonde coloring. Jennifer Peluso is quite fit, she also does push-up on her toes or was everyone too busy complaining about her sexiness to notice? As for as her on camera persona, well that's what film directors are for.

Jean-Leslie Wakefield
Jean Ebyrd@AOL
12/19/99

I nearly passed this one by. After reading the reviews I decided that this was an "easy" Firm workout, and I seek tapes which will challenge me - otherwise, why bother? I got this tape through one of the Firm's quantity discount deals. It was a freebie. I figured I could always trade it if I didn't like it.

After doing Better Buns several times, I've decided that it's definitely a keeper.

While I consider this tape to be easier than Cathe's PS Lower Body tape and the Firm's Standing Legs and Lower Body Split tapes, Better Buns is by no means a walk in the park. It's the perfect tape for those days I balk at doing a lower body workout (not my favorite thing to do) and yet want to feel I've put my time in toward strengthening my abs and lower body. I seldom characterize lower body workouts as "fun," but I feel Better Buns is one of the most fun strength workouts I've ever done.

My only complaint has to do with the upper body work. It's so paltry that you may as well skip it.

Michelle Easton
October 26, 2000

I only lasted 10 minutes of this tape before I had to stop it. The instructors and the set were so annoying I couldn't continue. I immediately gave this tape away because I know I could never endure such annoyance for an entire workout. Disappointing, because it got such good reviews.

Diana Chen
8/16/01

FIRM-Better Body and Buns

Taber Bruner, Jennifer Carman, Jennifer Peluso

WHERE DID ALL THE BAD REVIEWS OF THIS ONE GO?

I know I saw them. I used to have this video. USED TO! I kept it since it first came out until this year (maybe 3-4yrs) and then traded it away because I could NEVER like this tape! I am a huge huge FIRM believer, I own almost every FIRM on the planet, and I have HATED this one forever!

I agree w/ the last review that said that she was sad because it got such great reviews!
Don't get mad, but I think the general consensus between FIRM believers is that this video is bad. Maybe those not used to "FIRM style" might be the ones w/ the good comments!~

Maybe the workout might've been better w/ better music and different instructors.

As others know, Jen Peluso is NOT the typical FIRM instructor. I know that there are women who just can't build muscles and are naturally lean, but for aerobic weight training, I hope to look up to women (like Tracie Long) who are sculpted and TRUELY represent what weight training can do.
Peluso (I have heard) is a pilates instructor. Of course the same would be true for Pilates, except in reverse. If one was looking for a lean, ballerina ish body, you would be puzzled to see Tracie leading the class, and one might want to see someone like Peluso leading the class because she represents what pilates can do ..

Anyway, BBB is hard to find now. I guess I am just trying to give someone a perspective on this video before they go over to ebay to look for it! There is a reason Fat blaster is still available (the other Tri-trainer) and this one isn't !

FB is the better of the two. Maybe it is the tri-trainer thing, but it ain't workin in this video!
Super Cardio /Sculpt have four instructors though, and that works MUCH MUCH better, although the tape is cut and spliced w/ no intros to the next person

I haven't reviewed the tape because others have already told about the moves.

I HATE HATE to part w/ any firm video but I GLADLY got rid of this one.
Bon Voyage BBB!
janna

Instructor comments: The only instructor that is great (but NOT in this video) is JEN CARMAN. She is a very great instructor. I can NOT stand instructors who just read the telepromptor, I like to have instructors w/ some oomph!
Jen Peluso HAS been discussed in great lengths, but she is HORRID
her form is awful, she is a MAJOR MAJOR camera poser and she is plain weird! I LOVE EVERY SINGLE FIRMS, even Tortoise and hare w/ the weird ballroom aerobics, but this video seems stale and sterile, almost icy and cold.
Taber Bruner=Heidi Tanner, don't cha think? No comment either way

Janna

5/5/02

Wow, I am sooo surprised to see that this video made the hall of fame! NOT IN A GOOD WAY!

This video felt very cold to me. Icy, as if there were robots exercising on the screen and i wasn't part of the class. Well, I am not physically, but there are those great videos where you feel as though you are right there with them (aka Super Cardio/Sculpt Vol 1 Tough Aerobic Mix and many others)

Jennifer Peluso.. wow.. i know small people have defended her, but at least they should've put a little self tanner on her! Maybe she is strong, but I don't see it at all. I am VERY surprised (like many other reviewers) that the FIRM chose her. Have you noticed that she isn't featured in any other video? There is a reason for this. As another reviewer said, she is the strangest FIRM instructor they have ever chosen. I have NEVER thought any other instructors are weird, and this is the main problem with this video!
********************************
also, this video is VERY easy.
I am advanced, and i agree with others that it is an intermediate/high beginner video.
The music is offputting, and this video is bland.

This FIRM is discontinued. This FIRM can not be found on most websites, except trades and ebay (maybe a few more) but Fat Blaster is still made.

Other videos (for intermediates if you are) that would be better are MAX BODY SCULPTING or FAT BLASTER or if you want to work harder SUPER SHAPERS or CLASSICS.

This is just my opinion, maybe I am waay off, but how many times do you hear this video being mentioned as a favorite to others?

Instructor comments: Jennifer Carman is great, but ..not in this video. Until I recieved Super Cardio/Super Sculpt
I didn't realise how good she really is. I really didn't "connect" with this video. I think you have to connect in order to keep wanting to do it over and over. I think for example VOL 1 has a big pull for people because they enjoy Susan Harris and are bonded with her in a way, that is why they keep exercising with that video!
Jennifer Peluso.. what can I say that hasn't already been said?
She is weird, she seems to try to be in a porno and when she does her ab pilate work thing, she sniffs to show proper breathing, but after a while, this starts to sound gross! I can figure out how to breathe after the first few examples! Taber Bruner is OK. Heidi Tanner is much better. (the doppleganger) The only instructor we still hear of today is Jennifer Carman. hmm.. why is this? :)
It is true.. the other TRI TRAINER, fat blaster, ALL THREE instructors have been used in new videos-Lisa Kay in AbSculpt, Allie in Super Cardio/Cardio Sculpt and Nancy Tucker in Super Sculpting.

Marin

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to review this since I think its out of print now, but there do seem to be copies out on ebay and other such places so, maybe this will help some prospective buyer.
First of all, this is probably the worst Firm outside of Cardio Burn, but it is also a great example of what was wrong with old Firm videos. Those problems were just writ large in this video. First of all, the instructors, except Jen C., don't use great form and many members of the cast illustrate even worse form, so a home user should know good form before using this video to be safe. This is a common problem in early firm videos, and it is amplified by the fact the firm instructors typically don't instruct on form, and that is certainly true in this video. There is very little instruction. There also seems to be a lot of wasted time in this video as instructors rotate from exerciser to leader. Although I didn't like the order of exercises here, they are classic firm exercises, minus the (short) cardio components most firms have. Squats, lunges, plies, tall box work, some upper body work- they're all here. i thought the order of exercises interrupted the flow, and I never felt like my work out mojo got going when I used this tape. What really bugged me was listening to the instructors. Taber's sing song voice sounded like she was reading to little kids, which I found irritating and condescending. Jen Peluso used this high pitched childlike voice that was breathy- it didn't sound professional, and then she sniffed through her floorwork like she had a bad cold. Jen C. had good form, and offered some helpful form pointers, but typically sounded like a porno star, especially when she says "do it again." My husband used to hang out when I did this tape to hear her say that and then would laugh himself silly on the couch. I think he probably burnt more calories laughing than I did working out with this tape. This video is best suited for people who love the firm and want to collect all their videos. While it isn't a bad workout, it does have tried and true moves that pop up in all or at least most firm videos. However, there are many more firms, not to mention other videos, that are better, with better insruction, and more logical sequence of exercises.

Instructor comments: Inconsistent!! Jen uses good form, but sounds like she's auditioning to be a dominatrix in a porno flick. Taber uses a sing-song voice that drives me crazy. And Jen Peluso- where to start? She looks like she can't control the weight she uses, has a breathy, child-like voice and sniffs through the floor work she instructs. I'm sure she was trying to emphasize the breathing pattern, but it sounded like she needed a tissue, and was really distracting. Overall, they were more annoying than effective and motivating.

linda

I have so many Firm tapes and a lot of lower body Firm tapes as i have Standing Legs, Buns, Hips, Thighs floor tape, Lower Body shaping (PArts tape), and vol 5 -with Larainne Shubet. All in all to me this is one of my favorite lower body Firm tapes. I feel more complete with this since it includes an ab section in it (when so many lower body segments dont include one) and i also liek that the abs are done in the beggining since you kind of get it over with and it seems like a better warm up more than a standard warmup. but usually i skip the warmups because they are way too long.This tape seems so fit together and i thought it was done smoothly. I like when they do the piles at the end where you are in a squat position but your legs are angled out and you press and squeeze your legs -that one is a burner and i wish the Firm had more of those exercises in their tapes. The floor work is short but nice and a bit different,,,nice slow leg sweeps. I give this tape a grade A!! I wouldnt use this as much for a total body tape, since some small upper body is done but only for about 5 minutes compared to the 38 minute lower body workout. But of course us ladys need a lot of butt and thigh help so this one is a good one!

Instructor comments: All instructors lead beautifully.Jen Carmon is always upbeat and energetic ( i think her make-up and hair is the best in this one ive ever seen her in) and i just love her dark tan! Jen peluso is a good instructor on form, i just think she is a little too on the thin side with not a lot of muscle shap.

eliz

10-22-2003

I have so many Firm tapes and a lot of lower body Firm tapes as i have Standing Legs, Buns, Hips, Thighs floor tape, Lower Body shaping (PArts tape), and vol 5 -with Larainne Shubet. All in all to me this is one of my favorite lower body Firm tapes. I feel more complete with this since it includes an ab section in it (when so many lower body segments dont include one) and i also liek that the abs are done in the beggining since you kind of get it over with and it seems like a better warm up more than a standard warmup. but usually i skip the warmups because they are way too long.This tape seems so fit together and i thought it was done smoothly. I like when they do the piles at the end where you are in a squat position but your legs are angled out and you press and squeeze your legs -that one is a burner and i wish the Firm had more of those exercises in their tapes. The floor work is short but nice and a bit different,,,nice slow leg sweeps. I give this tape a grade A!! I wouldnt use this as much for a total body tape, since some small upper body is done but only for about 5 minutes compared to the 38 minute lower body workout. But of course us ladys need a lot of butt and thigh help so this one is a good one!

Instructor comments: All instructors lead beautifully.Jen Carmon is always upbeat and energetic ( i think her make-up and hair is the best in this one ive ever seen her in) and i just love her dark tan! Jen peluso is a good instructor on form, i just think she is a little too on the thin side with not a lot of muscle shap.

eliz

10-22-2003

A great workout to get your heart rate up. Combined weights/squats with cardio and jumping. However, some moves are not for every fitness level.

Instructor comments: All were very pleasant and upbeat.

Jere Exline

Sept. 25, 2006

I liked this workout overall, but the thing that makes me give this a B+ instead of an A is the lack of cuing. The instructors were supposed to be mirror cuing, but I always seemed to end up on the wrong leg. Not a huge thing, but after Tracie Long's expert instruction in Maximum Body Shaping, it was noticeable.

Other than that, it's a tough workout for the lower body with enough upper body thrown in to give your buns and legs a break and to keep your heart rate up. I'm an intermediate exerciser who had a long period of being sedentary due to a sprained ankle and most recently a miscarriage. I use beginner weights of 3, 5 and 8 pounds, and I was quite sweaty when I finished. My husband said he heard me say "Oh no! Not another set!" a few times, which means I got a great workout. ;-)

The ab work, done at the beginning, focused mostly on the obliques. This is not a bad thing; it makes sense if you did BB&B after Fat Blaster (All Cardio) because it gives your lower abs a chance to recover from the rock & lifts of that workout. Jen Peluso obviously had some pilates training experience, and I had no problem following along with the breathing or cues.

I subbed the 8" portion of the Fanny Lifter for the 14" Tall Box because it's easier on my knees and allows me to heavy up on weights. I feel I have more control, and I feel my glutes working harder on a shorter box, go figure. My thutt, butt and all other "utts" were on fire after the first set of elevated squats and tall box climbs. One thing that stood out is there was upper body work and other stuff thrown in after the right leg was worked; I would have preferred to get it all out of the way, so to speak, by doing the left leg press after the right, but it wasn't a deal breaker.

Finally, I really, really liked the music in this one. Out of all the Tri Trainers, this one had the best tracks. They're a far cry from the 80s cheap guitar of FIRM Vol. 3 that I love to hate, and it's the best part of the workout.

A solid workout that I'll keep. B+.

Instructor comments: All three instructors were great. Jen Carman made her first appearance here, and she's radiant!

theurbanhippie

7/3/08



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