FIRM--Power Cardio and FIRM--Maximum Cardio
Since I enjoy The FIRM videos more than any other, I broke down & bought these even though I have no interest in high-impact aerobics. I figured that The FIRM would find a way to make them original & innovative. Wrong. I haven't seen some of these moves since the 1980's. Boring!
I have always found that the other FIRM tapes gave me a terrific cardio workout. Too bad they didn't stick with what works.
Fortunately, there are some interesting "Four-Limb" segments--the kind that The FIRM excells at, but not enough to make these tapes worthwhile.
Sunday night I did one of the new FIRM cardio tapes that had been sitting on my bookshelf screaming “Open Me!”. After getting advice from some of my friends on the FIRM list I chose Maximum Cardio with Carissa Foster. From what I heard, this was the one with the least impact and the one you can easily modify.
I am 33, overweight , asthmatic, and a little on the uncoordinated side, this was much needed advice. I am also a FIRM believer with 68 videos (41 are FIRM). In the past 10 months since starting with the FIRM (started 3/2/99), my body has changed so much! I describe my fitness level as intermediate.
I previewed the tape and the advice I received was right on the money. The equipment used was the short step, tall step (for tall box climb) dumbbells, barbell (or dummbells held at the shoulders). This is a fun tape. Carissa looks radiant…geez, she has legs up to her bustline! Her form is impeccable and she seems like she is genuinely enjoying the workout. For a while, I thought that instructors did NOT sweat, but girlfriend proved me wrong! She cues well, in my opinion (mind you I am a klutz!) My favorite part of this tape was the box aerobics. The “sports drill” with the ball was killer! I had to drop the ball for part of it because halfway through, my arms were calling me nasty names! The floor aerobics had some moves that I am still working to get down pat, and they definitely get your heart rate up.
There was some leg work with the barbell (dips and lunges). The upper body work consisted of shoulder work rows and clean and press moves with the barbell. Also, there were some biceps and tricep work.
She was very encouraging throughout the workout saying “great job!”. At the end of one of the segments, she smiles and says, “You did it!”
One fault of this tape: I don't think the tape worked the abs well (it did "core stabalizer" moves). I suggest using 5day abs or doing your own ab work.
I absolutely loved this tape! I look so forward to doing it again real soon! I give it 2 biceps up!
I can't wait to preview Power Cardio with Dale Brabham.
I never liked the Firm before this, and there are 2 things that kept me from buying their videos. 1. I'm a cardio nut; Firm tapes are not really cardio-more like muscle endurance(IMO) 2. I have a front shoulder injury which prevents me from lifting at the gym; so, lighter weights and more reps was my solution to getting strength work.
Maximum cardio starts out with a short warm-up and oof ball aerobics(that's what I call it). You continue to use the ball into the first hi/lo, which includes runs, pivots and calf pumps. This changes to short box taps and lunges with small weights. This progresses into ham curls/rhombois squeezes, hesitation repeater and clean & press. After that, you do V steps around the box and glute squeezes. No weights are used for a floor routine which shuffles side to side, heel digs, pseudo jope roping, and rock kicks. In the latter part of this workout, plyo jumps, power knees and power runs are used to get the heart rate up. Near the end, there are barbell hover squats, bent over rows and lunges & digs done a short box. A few push-ups are put in for good measure and "twisting" oblique crunches are featured in the very short ab section.
I did like this workout, but it is very similar to Cardio Burn and Power Cardio(hence they're sold as a set). While I did like this tape, I enjoyed the other 2 more(I don't know why). The intensity is intermediate(too many "changes" of equipment make this seem closer to an interval workout).
Instructor comments: Carissa seems like any other Firm instructor; stiff. This is a fault that I'm still not used to, and dislike. But she still conveys to you, that she's having a good time.
I really love the new cardios and since I have every FIRM video I think that says a lot! I think this series is better than the Tri-Trainers in intensity as well. I consider myself intermediate in strength and cardio so it is right up my alley.
This is my second favorite of the three cardios, Cardio Burn being my favorite. I really think the aerobic session is one of the more difficult ones from the FIRM in intensity. It is 25 minutes long and includes short box, low-impact with some power jumps (sort of high impact then), box work with and without weights, and sports ball drills. I prefer the ab section in Power Cardio to this one, but it is a good little section. The music is fun and I like the dip/upper body work/lunge/upper body work sequence at the end. Two biceps up from me.
Instructor comments: I really like her. I think she has a great smile, only thing that threw me off was her cuing in the warm up saying step left and she goes to our right; but, that's not as big an issue for me now as it used to be as I am much more coordinate LOL. She has great smile.
Firm Maximum CardioCarissa Foster
I couldn't wait for this video to come out!!! I loved her section's
in Core Cardio 1 and 2 and Bust and Butt. This is an all Carissa
fabulous workout! The workout starts off with a fun warmup using a
weighted ball and then goes into a fun ball aerobic segmant that is more
low impact. This workout is not as high impact as Cardio Burn(Tamela)
and Power Cardio(Dale). I like that! Carissa's step section are the the
best! Don't expect her cueing to be like Cathe Friedrich's. But if you
do the workout over and over, you will get the step. The step uses light
weights and also no weights. It really gets my heartrate up! The music
is fabulous!! Very upbeat:) Then comes 2 really fun floor aerobic
sections with excellent music. Can you tell I love the music in this
workout?!! The choreography is 1/2 low and does have some higher jumping
moves and a rock kick move that is higher impact. She also does some
marches with weights and some great plyo hopping moves. This really gets
the heartrate up. Next comes another ball aerobic segmant which is very
high impact but you can modify it to low marches and still keep your
heartrate high because you are pushing a 3lb ball up and to the front
alot and this really works the chest and shoulders. The side hover
squats using light weights are great for the buns and legs and then you
do tall box climb's (but not as many as Tamela's Cardio Burn TAll Box
work). This really burns the the butt to do tall box right after the
side hover squats. For the rest of the workout, Carissa uses a light
weighted barbell(looks like 15lb) and she does some bent rows and hover
squats and tricep dips( this is all she does for the triceps). Next
comes dips using a short box but I use my 14 inch box. In between each
set of dips she does a set of barbell curls and upright rows. The final
ending is my absolute favorite. It is lunges onto the short step and she
does pushups in between each set of lunges. Carissa is dripping with
sweat all over her tights and I am dripping with sweat too:) The ab work
is very short but the music seems like it should be in a motion picture.
Wish it was longer. The ab work is side oblique crunches laying on your
side and also some upper and lower ab crunches. The cooldown is very
relaxing and fast. The stretches are all done sitting on your box and
standing too. This Firm video delivers a great 45 minute cardio workout
with light dumbbell/light barbell work. It's entertaning with excellent
music and a incredibly gorgeous instructor. Carissa is wearing a green
exercise outfit. Her golden brown hair is pulled back in an elegant
ponytail. The set is the famous mansion setting with a blue background.
Instructor comments: Carissa is my favorite Firm instructor. Not only
does she do an excellent job leading a Firm video but she does it in an
elegant and classic way. On every aerobic section and every toning
section, her posture is perfect. I love it how she is dripping with
sweat in this video. That is rare for Firm instructors. She has the
longest legs and she is a Natalie Wood clone! I hope she continues to
lead the Firm video's because she is the best!
review of both The FIRM- Maximum Cardio and Cardio Burn
I was very disappointed in these tapes. I am a long-time FIRM fan, and
own several classic and newer titles. I concede that you will get a
decent workout (as usual), but the combinations are sooooo BORING. It
has gotten to the point that all of the tapes sound and look the same.
From the prissy, pretty, robotic instructors to the up/down, lunge/squat
moves, the yawn factor is high!!!! I've seen the same combos since Firm
4, (which I bought for $49.99- you know how long ago that was!!) The
Benson sisters consider themselves "Rennaissance Women." Come on girls,
get wih the program, drop the 80's attitude, and try something new.
This is one of the 3 newest Firm releases. I was pretty excited to get
this tape, but it was very disappointing to get a brand new tape that
has the feel of an old over used tape. Many of the sections from
Maximum Cardio have shown up in multiple firm parts before the actual
workout was release to retail markets. I own many of the "parts" and
with all the repeating footage this tape just wasn't either "new" or
The workout is approximately 50 minutes in length. This includes a
short warm up and cool down and the workout itself.
Like the usual Firm production it includes a large class. The workout
includes an aerobic phase that alternates floor aerobics, step aerobics,
and four-limbed aerobics with lightweights. Most of the aerobic
sections are fairly easy to learn and to execute. As apposed to its
counterpart Cardio Burn, the aerobics is moderate impact with plyos and
high impact mixed in. The weighted ball is used in the warm up and also
in some of the floor aerobics segments. You don't have to have the ball
you can substitute or use nothing at all. I don't really think that the
ball adds much to the workout; it's just a nice addition to the routine.
The cueing in many of the step aerobics could have been cued better.
Cueing was either late, or inaccurate. Making some of the transitions a
little sloppy. So you may find you were alternating legs while Carissa
was doing one leg at a time. Its not a big deal, but you will notice
it. The floor aerobics sections use moves like grapevines, shuffles,
jump roping, and drills with the ball doing jogs and high jogs. The
step sections are mostly variations on a basic step, with some pivot
turns and lots of repeater moves. The four-limbed aerobics on the step
included moves like lunges and glute lifts on the step and the floor
four limbed aerobics used squats and alternating squats and marches all
using light weights and traditional upper body moves like overhead
presses, delt lifts and bicep curls.
After the aerobic and four limbed sections you move on to weight work.
The weight work is really not worth mentioning. You don't fully work
any of the muscles that are hit upon. It's almost an after thought.
The weight segments is approximately 10-13 minutes long. I think it
would have sufficed for this tape to have more cardio and four limbed
aerobics rather than the weight work at the end.
All in all I would rate it as the best of the 3 new Firm Cardio's. It's
not as high impact as the other 2 tapes. I give this tape a B+; it just
doesn't stack up the stellar workouts they produced with Cardio &
Strength. I will say that if you really love the Firm Style I think you
will find this tape more to your liking.
I really wish that the Firm wouldn't use parts of a "new" tape in the
compiled parts series before the workout is released.
Let me start out by saying that I am a FIRM newbie, and I'm directing this review primarily at other newbies. I always stayed away from the FIRM because of the original ones with their very suggestive approach (I want a workout, not soft core). Well, somehow I ended up buying this, hoping to use it as cross-training cardio for my step. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. (It appears that the suggestive approach went out the window some years ago.) I did find the FIRM's shorthand version of cuing somewhat difficult to get used to. I also think that doing weight work at the speed that the FIRM does it could be a problem if your (MY) form isn't good. Still, I find this video an enjoyable change of pace from step, because the choreography is varied and fun. It's even inspired me to do a little weight work(I usually feel that I don't have the time) and other FIRM tapes now.
In summary, if you are thinking about trying out the FIRM, this might be a fun one to start with.
I receieved this tape about a year ago and have never been happier. Cardio Burn is a really fun workout but not easy to do all the time since the impact is SUPER high. Max cardio i feel ive done a superb cardio workout without feeling so burned out. I sort of wish they had a little less weight section and more abs..like just cardio and abs at end. I also find a lot of Firm videos who have abs in the beggining of a workout like Core Cardio, Better Buns, and Hare and Tortoise much better than a warmup.
Carissa starts out with a fun warmup and you use a weighted ball (more like my daughters' play ball for me) its baout 7 minutes.
Then she starts out with some step lunges alternating legs quickly-more of a cardio based while holding the ball in her hands while pushing forward and up. Then jogging back and forward and some light jumps.
Next comes 4 box stepping segments..the first one you just toe-step while holding 5-8 pound dumbells while lifting them to your shoulders..this is performed slow and steady and i like this one.
Next comes another set of box alternating V steps with your dumbells as you alternate upright rows, along with alternate step lunges on box. Then some light delt lifts. Then more step ups with delt lifts and leg lifts.
Then after that she steps pretty fast and steady holding 2-3 pound dumbells doing lat rows pretty quickly. Then some stepping on box with no weights alternating hamstring curls. this is where her cueing is a bit off. But i could keep up..and if you cant on this one..just march or step to your own thing while she is doing this one.
After that she goes back to floor aerobics where you do light jumping and jogging and then comes some marches with light dumbells and plyos!! Then her last high impact with the oof ball again doing high jogs and light jogs...this is where youll start to sweat the most! But its a fun workout with LOTS of variety..and thats what i love about the FIRM. Her last cardio is some slow step ups on the tall box..remember,,if you cant do these then do some lunges on the floor the way youd be if stepping ....its just as effective..and she does this very shortly so dont worry.Cardio Burn does the fanny lifter climb for a long time...almost feels like 10 minutes!! But its more like 3 or 4. But Max cArdio is way cool and never keeps me board one bit!
Next comes some lunges, lat pulls with barbells (use dumbells if you dont have a barbell), tricep dips with tall box step, more dips and pushups and then Abs which i wish werent so short...but you can always do some of your own abs or another ab set from a different tape i recommend 5 day abs from the Firm. Good Luck...this one is worth it!
She is a joy to watch although her cuing in one box step is a little off...she is pretty much easy to follow