Video Fitness

FIRM Cross Trainers: The Hare

The Hare is tons of fun; however, it isn't enough to keep me in target zone, even on a 6" step.

Roberta Kagno

Tortoise and Hare are very similar to me. They are dancier but still intense. The instructor is also very good.

Annie Jen

I've been doing the FIRM's Strong Heart and Strong Body for a while now. Recently, I temporarily traded them with a friend, so I could try out her copies of Tortoise and Hare. I haven't done Tortoise yet, but here's what I think of the Hare.

Tracy Long is a terrific instructor. She gives well-explained form pointers and good cues. She is in great shape! I love her choreography in Strong Heart and Strong Body, but I don't know what she was thinking when she put together the Hare!

The Workout: Although I love this instructor and am a diehard FIRM fan... I don't like this workout, and I really don't like those bizarre ballroom aerobics. They don't feel natural and they don't challenge me aerobically. I even used an eight inch step instead of the recommeded four inch step they use, but my heart rate never went up to an aerobic level. I didn't even break a light sweat! I thought the point of The Hare was to give a faster more aerobic routine. I was disappointed!

One nice thing I will say about the Hare... I did enjoy the floorwork at the end. It was more varied than most of the FIRM's standard floorwork.

I probably won't do the Hare again... in fact, I already miss my Strong Heart tape (after only 2 days)!

Christine Letsky

I have the same complaint about this one as everyone else; those silly ballroom dance routines. I'd much rather have regular aerobics. It wouldn't be so bad if she took the time to break down the steps, but she doesn't. At first, we'd be halfway through the dance routine before I'd catch the hang of what the movements were. I'm finally getting it, though! I can now do a "Tango Close" the first time -- wow!

The workout is good -- weight routines mixed with aerobics. Once you get over the frustration (if you do) of the dance routines, you'll enjoy it, as well as get some good toning and cardio benefit.

Annie S.

The Hare is one of the last Firm tapes that I have bought. I loved the Tortoise, except for the ballroom aerobics, and I think Tracie Long is a very good instructor with the best body of all Firm instructors. I think the Hare is a good tape to do the day after a very hard workout. The day before I tried it, I did Step Max (Cathe Friedrich), plus Lethal Abs, a Tony Little arm workout, and Standing Legs (just the leg press segments). So the next morning I was happy to do a less strenuous routine and the Hare fit the bill. I love the floor legwork and the ab work is very good even though it is done in two segments. As far as the ballroom routines go, I really dislike them too, but you can improvise and do your own little routine. On the whole, I enjoyed the workout and will do it on a light day. I find it similar to Volume 2 as far as being less strenuous than other tapes and a light workout (I use 5 lb. dumbells for a light workout).

MaryAnn Parker

I am a long-time Firm user. I own Vol. 2-6 in addition to the Tough Aerobic Mix, Not-So-Tough Aerobic Mix, and Variety Strong Body. I was very disappointed with The Hare on a number of levels. As I said Tracy Long is fine, but the ballroom step aerobics can only be described as hokey! They don't manage to raise my heart rate and I feel very self concious doing them! I was also irritated that a 6" step was required - I own enough Firm exercise equipment as it is. Furthermore, I didn't like the look of the video. The class is small, the lighting is dark, the clothes are dark, it's way too somber for me! Since I own this video, I will continue to do it when I need a lighter workout. The leg work on the tall box is very good as is the floor work, but there is very little upper body toning and as I said earlier the aerobics just aren't tough enough for anyone other than a beginner.

Anne B.

Now that I've made it through this tape (mostly) twice, I feel competent enough to review it from the beginner's point of view.

I agree with the tape's description that it is appropriate for beginners in that it is not terribly difficult to master all the moves - with the exception of the infamous ballroom aerobics. This exception is due not to the complexity of the steps, because once you get them, they are easy to remember. They are only a problem because Tracy does not bother to break them down *at all*; she just assumes you know what "Tango Right Close" means the first time she says it. :-) That lack of breakdown, combined with the switching around of different types of steps, means that by the time you've figured out what she wants you to do, she's moved on to something else. I finally gave up and started doing basic marching and step-touch just to keep my heart rate up until we moved on to something I could follow better.

The tall step moves are wonderful - easy to follow but they work you hard. My Fanny Lifter substitute is the Jane Fonda step I picked up for $20 a while back - it has built-in extenders that jack it up all the way to 12" - and it filled in nicely for what they were using.

I agree with the earlier review of this tape that the floorwork at the end is more varied and original. By the time my leg was ready to drop dead on one set of reps, it was time to switch off to something else. I like the idea of working through steadily decreasing intensities of floorwork as a cooldown from the aerobic moves. When we had finished the last rep on the left leg (or was it the right leg? Tracy gets confused sometimes!), my heart rate was right back down to where it was supposed to be.

This tape really makes me want to get the Tortoise tape I've heard so much about here. Of course, I got this one at the used book store for $7, so I can only hope I'm so lucky again. Otherwise, I'll wait until April like everyone else who hates shipping costs!

Don't be afraid of the ballroom aerobics - do the ones you want and modify away the rest of them. Maybe on my next try I, too, will be able to do that "Tango Right Close" the first time!

Michele H.
3/97

This is actually one of my favorite Firm workouts. It's nice for a break from all the intensity of most of the other Firms. The first segment is mainly floor and step aerobics, with some tall box leg presses. On some parts you use light dumbbells. The intensity level is pretty basic, and I think beginners could handle this just fine. I'm an intermediate/advanced exerciser, but I find that it's pretty easy to make things more intense. I just do the same moves, but use a higher step and add power. For example, instead of "step side, step forward, step side, step together", I do "step side, leap on step, step side, triple step". I get a good solid 28 minutes in my aerobic zone. About every other sequence is ballroom dancing, and I know some people hate it, but I actually quite enjoy it. The music and the steps are something different from the usual stuff, and I'm actually a little bit of a ballroom dancer wannabe. I will warn you that Tracie does not do very well at teaching these steps and talking you through them; I pretty much learned just by watching her many times. The second half has some butt-kickin' floorwork, which you do using ankle weights. Again, I like a change of pace from all the standing work of other Firms (Tortoise, Strength, Cardio). You start with table work, then do outer thigh work on the same leg, then do inner thigh on the opposite leg. Then some really tough ab work and some bridge work, and on to table work, outer thigh, and inner thigh on the other leg. Finally, there's a little more ab work and then a stretch. One of my favorite things about this tape is the music. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems a little more rockin' and not as cheesy as the other Firm music. There's also a lot of variety. For example, big band music during the swing, and during the outer thigh work, there's this cool music that's kinda like the Mission Impossible theme. It inspires me to push to do those last reps. This tape doesn't do a whole lot for my arms, but if you're looking for a tape with a "lighter" aerobics section and some killer floorwork for legs, butt, and abs, this tape is for you.

Instructor comments:

Mary Truscott
1/12/98

This is my favorite of all of the Firm tapes, mainly because I love the choreography. However this does not have much upper body work, so I alternate this tape with the Firm Volume 4 or the Tortoise.

I've found after doing this tape for over a year that I can now do the dance segments with a 10" box instead of the recommended 4" box for a more challenging cardio workout; however, I would definitely recommend starting with the 4" box until you have everything down perfectly.

The floor work section is excellent I found the leg and ab work simple to follow but challenging.

I think the weak point of a lot of the Firm videos is the bland choreography, but I've found that the Hare and the Tortoise have the most fun choreography (if not the most challenging) of any exercies tape.

Instructor comments: She's the best Firm Instructor so far.

Flossie
4/13/98

I finally bought The Hare a couple weeks ago, previewed it, but had no desire to do it til today. I've been mildly sick for a few days and hadn't exercised in a while, so I thought a light workout might be nice.

There were a few things I really liked about this tape. I usually don't like Firm warm-ups, but this one was really fun and had some likable, non-cheesy music. The music overall was pretty good, and the light weight sections were a nice change of pace. "The Swing" was also notably fun - but all the dances feel too much like "learning a cute dance step" instead of doing a workout.

The workout was perfect for me today, but I can't imagine doing this tape when I feel relatively healthy, unless I combine it with another tape, and then why bother? I may keep this one around if I feel I need a "getting over an illness video," otherwise, expect to find it soon on the Exchange.

Instructor comments: Tracie Long is likeable and seems like she's having fun at times. I just wish her hair wasn't pulled back quite so tightly here!

Jen Blaske
12-22-98

I really enjoy the format of the Hare. I just wish that the workout itself were more intense. I like to do videos with as few modifications as possible, and I find myself having to modify this one a lot. For example, I do the workout on an 8" step and add power moves throughout in order to keep my heartrate in the low end of my target zone. However, I do like the ballroom aerobics. I think with steps like these, you either really enjoy them or you hate them. This is a good tape to use the day after a heavy workout, as has been mentioned before. I really like the floorwork, except I'm not fond of splitting the ab section into two segments. For me it's more effective to do it all in one segment to really fatigue the muscles. The tablework, floor leg work and bridgework is great! I like it better than the floorwork of the earlier Firms, since it is slower and more controlled. I do prefer to do inner thigh lifts with an ankle weight and an added lighter dumbbell above the knee (Tracie uses no ankle weight and a heavy dumbbell above the knee). I find it easier to control the movements this way. Overall, I have mixed feelings about this workout, but I will keep it since I can modify it.

Instructor comments: Although her form pointers are adequate, Tracie does not cue the steps in the ballroom segments very thoroughly. After doing the video a few times, though, this probably won't be much of an issue. Tracie even breaks a smile and says, "That was fun!" a couple of times here.

Kristin Aziz
KAziz@prodigy.net
3/16/99

The Tortoise and The Hare: The Firm

These videos work in tandem, and I only use them as a team, so I'll review them together. I do think I like the Tortoise better, but its just personal style and not a reflection on the quality of the Hare. These are both very complete workouts, only calves and rear shoulders are shortchanged. The ab work is good. I always feel it. And I don't mind the ballroom aerobics. They're nice for a change of pace and are actually pretty simple. Once you've tried them once or twice, you won't get confused by the terms like tango close, and will out your own spice into the cha chas and hip rolls and the like. I really dig the charleston and quick step. Susan has really picked up the flair and expanded the charleston beyond the usual step that tons of videos do. Susan does a good job of leading the stretches and the charleston, but I really liked Tracie and felt she was doing a fine job. I couldn't understand why the change was made. Its not a big deal, though. Also, I don't use a barbell, and use dumbbells instead. This does make a difference on form. I wish they'd have an exerciser or two demo the moves with the dumbbells as well. I think it is more common for women to have dumbbells than a barbell (and the Firm barbell is so expensive!) and barbell sets are big, expensive and awkward (I know I couldn't fit one in my apartment). ON the plus side, the aerobics are primarily low impact, with power options if you want them, and weight work is thorough and tough if you want it to be, or easy going if you prefer. A great workout. the Firm's best...

Instructor comments: Tracie is a thoroughly professional instructor. She is motivating and friendly, without being pushy or cheesy. Her form is impeccable, and she does instruct well enough that a novice to the Firm could use this tape. (I'd still recommend the user have some resistance experience, however). Her physique is amazing.

Linda

7/6/99

This video is so much fun! I had a ball with those ballroom aerobics!! What a hoot! I just adore Tracie and believe that I would do just about anything she shows me on video no matter how dorky I look!! I've even got the rodeo down pat from her basics tape. This was a fun, but not too complex, mostly aerobic workout. There was some weight work but it was pretty light, IMHO. There is also some great floorwork at the end along with ab work. There have been some comments about the ballroom aerobics being confusing or a little complex. I, for one, had no trouble whatsoever with her cuing or the steps themselves. I do, however, like complex choreography (even though it takes me a while to learn Christi) so that may be why I had no trouble with this video. Beginners, don't let the "advanced" status of most Firm videos scare you off from this video. The weight work is minimal for an intermediate or advanced exerciser but for a beginner would be just about right. The length of the tape would be the only thing that a beginner might have trouble with, I believe it's slightly over an hour long In that case a beginner should just do half of the tape at a time, if they wish.

Instructor comments: Well, what can I say about Tracie Long. She ROCKS!!! I'm am a die hard Tracie fan, always will be. That being my personal opinion, some may find her to be very dry like Karen Voight and somewhat rigid in her delivery. These are some of the things I like about her. I think she is very professional and really knows her stuff. I've learned a lot about form and lifting technique from doing her videos.

Donna Mc

7/26/02

I can see why some people were disappointed with these videos, especially if they expected the same tough workouts Tracie is rightly known for. Personally, I like the different tone of these videos. I don't mind the "hokey ballroom dance steps" at all. I also didn't find them hard to learn. I found things about each video to like and things that I could take or leave. When I want to have a bit of light fun - I'll throw in The Hare. When I want to work harder, then The Tortoise is fine (although I don't think it works all the major muscle groups to failure which is one negative about the video). All-in-all, I find them a nice addition to my Firm library.

Instructor comments: I can't say anything bad about Tracie. I have all her videos, and am very happy with her personality, her instruction, her choreography and tempo. She is an inspiration and produces GREAT videos!

Rox

2/10/03

The Firm: The Hare

Tracie Long

I just had to add my two cents about this workout: Overall, I find the ballroom aerobics fun but not too challenging, and I imagine that beginners and others who need lower intensity (pregnancy, post-partum, recovering from illness, etc.) might find it a good fit. However, there is one section that drives me crazy: the cha-cha. Tracie doesn't do the steps on the beat. Cha- cha music has a built in "cha cha cha" in the beat pattern, and that is where the triple step goes. She doesn't do it there, and it is completely disorienting to me. I have to stop watching her and do the moves on my own (on the proper beats) until the segment ends. Considering the usual meticulous care the Firm gives to maching music to workout, this makes no sense to me. But overall, it is a fun, lower-intensity Firm offering with good floor and ab work as well.

Instructor comments: She has always been my favorite.

Lor

12/2/03

As far as my preference in Firm strength workouts go, I prefer mine slow and heavy. I have traded this one and reaqcuired it about 4 times and I will probably let it go one of these days. I love Tracie Long and rank her among my favorite instructors, but for some reason, the ballroom segments that I enjoy in Tortoise, annoy me in Hare. The energy I feel when I do Tortoise is drained from me in Hare.

Tracie Long is her usual wonderful slf and she is brilliant as always. It is filmed on the old Mansion set with the large class.The workout uses a large variety of equipment, including the barbell, short box (for ballroom aerobics) and Tall box, as well as dumbbells. It is a fast and light weighted workout, although I don't even really consider it to be too fast-paced.

Every now and then I wil get a craving to do this one, but not often enough to keep it around. When I want a Tracie fix, I always have Maximum Body Shaping and Tortoise...this tape might be for some people, but not me.

Cori (ziggy2306)

February 25, 2004

I had not done this workout since 2000, during my first 90 Day Rotation (remember those), and I'm amazed at how quickly it flew by. There has been plenty of talk about the Ballroom Aerobics, but I found my heart rate got up there just fine, and they were a nice break from the normal step touches and side to sides that make up most aerobic choreography. The floorwork at the end was surprisingly hard. For those who do nothing but Cathe, why review a FIRM workout when you know going in it's not as intense? Beginners, intermediates and those recovering from injury or illness need to workout, too! I give this one a solid B.

Instructor comments: Tracie is the instructor's instructor, and her form is impeccable.

theurbanhippie

6/25/08



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