Video Fitness

The Firm: Lower Body Split

I am truly a Firm Believer. I was anxiously awaiting this video. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed. The warm up is taken from the Strength series lasting about four minutes. There are alot of squats and lunges, in various forms and an excellent abs section.

The workouts are taken from various Firm tapes. Although this bothered me when I first began w/the Firm, I think I have finally come to terms with the fact that one still gets an excellent workout even though they are not really creating anything new. Just a compilation from various other good tapes.

The scenary is excellent as always;music remains the same (not really noticeable).

I'm an advanced exerciser and as always found the Firm to come through w/what they offered. I just wish they would really create a new tape from start to finish and stick w/one instructor (like a master class).

Be careful one might get what they wish!

Sandy Brookens

The Lower-Body and Upper-Body Split Tapes are the best FIRM tapes I've seen in a long time. Actually, since the Cross Trainers series. I had become very disenchanted with the FIRM, but now I'm starting to think more favorably of them again.

This is a review of the Lower Body tape only, but the Upper Body is just as good. You do three "giant sets" of leg work, including squats, lunges, leg presses, and floorwork. There is ab work, too. Also, each "giant set" (FIRM terminology) is separated by a short aerobics section. The aerobics aren't too bad -- while I'll never really ENJOY Firm aerobics, the routines here serve as a nice break from all the leg work. In fact, the first aerobic segment helps warm up your legs for the upcoming strength work, which, for me, is necessary to avoid muscle cramping. However, you can skip some of the aerobics sections with no loss in the workout. I skip the later ones sometimes.

The one drawback to the tape is that when you're doing the third "giant set," which is mostly lunges, it just seems SO LONG. By that time, you've already spent about 45-50 minutes working your legs. Then they do I-don't-know-how-many sets of lunges. It's probably not REALLY so many, but by then I'm getting tired, and I think they could have cut some lunge routines out. The total length of the workout is 70 minutes, so it's not like you haven't worked out long enough.

Now that I think about it, I guess there is one other drawback. This is not a tape you can easily do in segments if you're short on time. There are several instances where you do an exercise on one side, and then maybe 20 minutes later, you do it on the other side. So you pretty much have to do all or most of it if you want to be balanced.

This tape is made up of routines from previous Firm tapes, including the Cross-Trainers, Tri-Trainers, and the Blast series. I like all the instructors, especially Carissa Foster, but I think Tamela Hastie is the most un-convincing instructor ever! This is not meant in a mean-spirited way; I find it kind of amusing. It's like her words don't match her facial expressions. But her instruction is fine.

Overall, I'm happy with this video and it's upper-body companion. Grade A.

Instructor comments: All the instructors are fine, but I'd really like to go back to the old format where there's a single instructor for the whole tape. I can't give a good reason why I prefer that, I just do!

Annie S.

This video is so much better than the Blast tapes or Upper Body Split. It is very well-thought out and I only caught two editing errors. In general, the cutting and pasting of Firm segments is done better in the Split tapes than the Blast tapes. Having said this, I want everyone to know that I like the Upper Body Split and the Blast tapes despite their flaws (although I'm lukewarm with Bust & Butt). I just wanted to point that out so that you know I'm a Firm Believer therefore this review will be positive. It will also be very long so you get an idea of what the tape is about and decide for yourself whether you like it.

In comparison to Cathe's Pure Strength Legs & Abs, this tape is more endurance or cardio-like. Cathe gives you rest breaks in between sets so you can lift very heavy. There are no rest breaks here. The rest segments are leg exercises with no weights or cardio segments. You will definitely sweat with this tape. You can still lift heavy but not as heavy as with the PS tape. You can lift the same amount of weights as you can with Standing Legs.

This video is more fun than SL though. I also think it's better organized than SL. Unlike the Blast series, the warm-up and cooldown are nice and long. The warm-up is taken from the Strength tape and BB&B. The cool-down is from the Strength tape. The two noticeable errors are when Tracie Long says to get ready to do abs but we're not and when Tamela says to get rid of the weights after her lunge/plie section but we need them because Pamela's lunge/dip section is next. But there are so many more nice transitions that I would like to point it out. There a three giant cycles of leg exercises. They all start out with cardio sections. These cardio sections focus on the legs so you will do karate kicks, squats, and plyos. One of them is Tracie Long's karate/plyo section from MBS which I really like so I'm glad that they included it here. The first cycle works mostly the left leg. You will do two sets of leg presses with tall box climbs in between, lunges/dips and floor work for the left leg. The second cycle is the same but it works your right leg. What's nice is the floor work is taken from the Hare workout so Tracie does give you time to put on the ankle weight. I was afraid we would have to stop the VCR to put our ankle weight on.

At first, I wished they would have put a different floorwork section since this section is already in the Hare and LD&WO tapes. I was thinking of Heidi's floorwork from the Cardio tape. But then we wouldn't have time to put our ankle weight for one of the legs because Heidi works both legs at the same time. I like the floorwork from the Hare anyway. You can really feel the burn in your butt especially after working the same leg on the standing leg portion. In addition, the first cycle has weighted squats with side lunges with no weights while the second cycle has weighted squats with basic training squats (from Strength tape) with no weights. I thought this was clever since these two sections were taken from two different tapes but they both had weighted squats in combination with leg exercises with no weights. The third section mostly had lunge/dips for the standing leg work. I wished it had more leg presses instead of one of the sets of lunge/dips. For example, Pam's lunge/dip combo is already in the Strength tape and Tough Tape 2, so it would have been better to have leg presses instead.

After the standing leg work, Heidi has us do bridge work. Then we do bridge work with Dale using the ball. Then we keep the tall box so that we can do Heidi's ab section with the tall box. Then Heidi says to remove the tall box and instead of doing her floor abs, we will do abs with Lisa Kay. This transition is really smooth since Heidi states to get rid of the box and then Lisa will say "Get ready for your second set of abs" (which it is, I know I'm getting too excited about transitions).

I'm glad they put in Lisa's ab sections because I really like the rock/lift move with the extend & twist. Carissa's abs section is the last ab section. All three sections are very diversified so it's not boring. You will work all sides of your abs. The final smooth transition is that Carissa has you change directions after her ab section & you will end up on the correct side for Pam's cool-down. I think Anna B. is really good at putting segments together. That's why I was surprised that we caught a lot of errors in the Blast tapes. With this tape, you won't need to substitute any of the exercises like you have to with the Upper Body Split tape. All the segments emphasize the lower body.

I already listed some of the things that I don't like above. Other things that I dislike is Tamela's lunges. They are too fast. Her plie section is good though. I really felt the burn in my inner thighs and buns. There is no calf work which some people might like. I need to work on my puny calves so I wish there were some weighted calf raises.

Finally, since this is a parts tape, I have to work on my rotations so that tapes with the same sections are not done on the same week. Otherwise, I get tired of certain segments because I already did them that week. When are we going to get brand new tapes??? Even the retail version of the Blast tapes won't seem new since we've seen parts of them already (if not all of the segments).

Instructor comments: All instructors are o.k. in this video. Tracie Long is still my favorite. Instructors cue better for muscle conditioning than aerobic segments because they don't have to rush to try to cue on time. It helps that we don't need to know choreography either. Like other Firm videos, there's not a lot of form pointers. So I wouldn't recommend this video for beginners. The intensity level is not for beginners anyway.

Helen Stephens

This is a Firm parts video taken from Firm Strength, Cardio, Bust and Butt, Core Cardio 1, Maximum Body Sculpting, Hare, Better Buns. You won't be able to buy this tape in the stores or through Collage catalog. It's special Firm believer edition video. Made for the Firm advanced exerciser.

The warmup is from Pam Cauthen's Strength video and the stretch is from Taber Bruner's Better Buns. As an advanced exerciser, this tape really challenged me! It is an awesome workout. The Firm carefully pieced together this workout so that you fatigue one side of your glutes and legs and then you go to the other side. All with cardio in between segments. Even a fun kickboxing cardio segment led by Traci Long.

Carissa starts off the workout with some fun marching with light weights and plyo hops. The tall box is taken from Better Buns. IT's tough because it has 2 sets of 16 reps with tall box climbs in between for ONE leg! When that leg and glute is tired, you keep getting it to failure as you squat andlunge and dip with the same leg. Then if you think you are finished, no, you go down on t and do floor work for your outer and inner thigh and butt(taken from the Hare floorwork). By the time this is done , your left leg and glute are are fire. Then you repeat and do the right side. This is a very very effective way to work the leg.

This is one of the longest Firm video's with the most Firm instructors in one video. It's about 70 minutes long and you will work your lower body liked you've never worked it before. This workout ends with bridge work from Bust and Butt and then 3 ab sections (Heidi, Carissa and Lisa) which have great music! The stretch is Pam Cauthen's Strength which is one of my favorites.

I highly recommend this Firm workout! Even though the section aren't new, I still love the way the Firm spliced this tape together. Excellent for any advanced exerciser!

This video has the most Firm instructors. Everyone of them did a great job! I call this the BLT Firm workout. It's packed full of delicious advanced lower body exercises with tons of Firm instructors. Love it!

Mandy Lee

Pam Cauthen, Taber Bruner, Carissa Foster, Jen Carman, Tracie Long, Heidi Tanner, Tamela Hastie, Lisa Kay, and Dale Brabham

All I can say is Whew!!! This tape is killer. It's a really long tape (for the Firm) about 70 minutes. There are three giant supersets with the first being the longest. This section ends with the floor work from the Hare but seemed alot more intense after all the squats and lunges preceding it. I used my 5lb. ankle weights like I usually do for the Hare but found myself barely finishing because of the pre-exhaustion from the other standing work.

The second giant set has you do every lunge section put on Firm tape. (Maybe it just felt like it :-) It had me sucking some serious air there for a few minutes.

Then the final giant set is bridge work and abs. I was totally drenched at the end of this tape. It's a very thorough lower body tape that is a great alternate to Cathe's Pure Strength Legs. It is the toughest Firm tape to date (up there with Tough Tape) in my opinion. Grade A+

Instructor comments: Lots of variety in the instructors on this tape. This tape is another Firm Parts tape that is well edited and just flows nicely. Tracie Long has several sections which I like, she's my favorite Firm instructor.

Kathy G

Since the video has already been described I would like to add my 0.02. I think it is an awesome endurance leg workout, by the third giant set your lower body will be screaming for a rest; but like another reviewer said that last giant set is so long and IMO boring. I mean squats, lunges and dips; and it just seemed to go on and on. I was glad when ab work started.

One thing I really LOVE about this tape is the FIRM has a longer stretch section at the end which is something they haven't done a lot of recently, it's from FIRM Strength AKA Variety Strong Body with Pam Cauthen. I also enjoyed the cardio/aerobic sessions thrown in as I feel that they let you loosen up for awhile before getting back to the hard work.

Instructor comments: They all cue pretty well, but typical FIRM instructors sometimes right is mistaken for left. It does have Pam Cauthen and Heidi Tanner who are two of my favorites so I was happy.

Stephanie Bridges

Workout Format:
I think this is a really great workout, and is easily adaptable on the DVD because it is well chaptered. You can skip ahead to jump to the next chapter if you want to skip the cardio sections or one of the many sections of lunges.

Here is a summary of what each chapter has:
1 – Warm-up, Stretch & Cardio
2 – Leg Press Left & Tall Box Climb
3 – Hover Squats & Side Lunges
4 – Lunge Left & Dip Right
5 – Floor Work – Left Side
6 – Cardio: 4-Limed Aerobics
7 – Leg Press Right & Tall Box Climb
8 – Squats
9 – Lunge Right & Dip Left
10 – Floor Work – Right
11 – Cardio
12 – Sections from several workouts. This chapter is balanced left to right, and contains lunges, dips, squats, and plies. The whole chapter is about 10 minutes.
13 – Bridge work and abs
14 – More abs
15 – Stretch

The chaptering allows you to easily skip the cardio portions. Additionally, it would be fine to skip chapter 12 to shorten the workout by 10 minutes if time crunched.

About me:
I’m low advanced in strength work, but have a harder time with endurance workouts. I’m more intermediate in cardio. I have had Lower Body Split for a couple of years, but I recently did it for the first time in a year or two. It was a pleasant surprise!

My opinions:
In general I think this workout is good because many of the sections are slow enough to lift relatively heavy, and by then end, you have done so many reps that your legs are fried. I have to take many pause breaks to make it through this workout. I think it is a nice workout to crosstrain with Cathe strength workouts because it switches back and forth between exercises opposed to Cathe’s method of doing all the squats, then all the lunges, etc.

Instructor comments: The instruction is typical FIRM: relatively straightforward, but they seem to choose some odd names for some moves. After previewing the workout, it should be easy enough to follow along. Although you switch between a variety of instructors, the transitions are pretty smooth.

Catherine O'Neill


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