Video Fitness

FitPrime Up & Down

with JAC

For me this video had a high "what the ****?!?" factor. Some of the moves just seemed nonsensical, like that knee up/abduct combination that was supposed to get your heart rate up. Huh?

The set is way too busy, Jac's cuing isn't very good, the timing is off, the music doesn't go, and I have safety concerns about those one-legged hover squats, ankle squats, and good mornings with the weights on the shoulders. And I'm still not sure about the ball (which I also did not bounce. Plaster ceilings downstairs, enough said.)

Oh, one good thing--they didn't really go up & down as much as I was worried they would--so you don't look like deranged jack-in-the-box with weights. I had big fears about that. I still prefer to keep all the floor stuff (push ups, abs, any leg work) in a distinct section of the tape, but it wasn't too bad.

I don't like the "work one side and then we'll get to the other side in a half hour" business. And since Jac's cuing wasn't so hot, I actually ended up starting on my right for most sets and not realizing it until I was done. (A little reminder would have helped!)

Oh, and could we DO any more military presses? If you don't like militaries, avoid this tape!

I traded this away after doing it once.

Renee Drellishak


I've had this video for a couple of months and have done it about 3 times. I wanted to give it a fair shake before writing a review.

I really have mixed feelings about this workout and would say I am 50/50 as to how much I like it. On the one hand, I like that it has a lot of variety and it never gets boring. The music is great (as is true of all the FitPrimes) and I feel like it is a pretty throrough workout for the entire body and fairly advanced.

On the other hand, I found the pace to be incredibly quick with too many equipment changes at too fast a pace. In other words, I had to hit the pause button at least 3 or 4 times just to keep up with all the equipment changes and it got on my nerves quickly. The other negative thing about this video is that the cueing isn't consistent. Sometimes Jac cues well and other times I had no idea what leg I should be working and I think I may have worked the same body parts twice because of poor cueing. I also agree with another reviewer that some of the moves seem a bit unsafe. I did find, however, that with respect to the "good mornings" with the barbell, that it didn't feel that unsafe when I put the barbell more on my back and less right on the top of my shoulders.

When I finished this workout for the 3rd time, I felt like I was on the fence about whether to keep it or sell/trade it. I truly feel 50/50 so I guess I will try it a couple more times.

Out of the first 3 FitPrimes, I think Weights First is the best and I'd probably rank Core First as second and this video as least favorite.

Hopefully, the FitPrimes will improve as time goes on. I have heard that Strong Bear is great and I have ordered it and will post a review once I receive the video.


Instructor comments: I like Jac as an instructor. She has a really positive personality and I admire her physique. Her cueing needs work, however as mentioned in my review.


The FitPrime workouts were created by Anna Benson, co-founded of The Firm workouts. When these videos were first released 5 years ago, there were many debates on VF about whether the workouts were innovative or just plain weird. I've always been in the former camp, as for me, the FitPrime workouts contain many uniquely effective moves, and I've always found them to be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, Up and Down is the first FitPrime I've tried (I own 7 others) that didn't really click with me.

This workout is lead by Jeanne Anne Copelston (or JAC as she usually known); she was a background exerciser in several Firm workouts and later appeared in Tracie's Long's first video series. Like all the FitPrime workouts, Up and Down uses a tall box (the Firm Fanny Lifter works well) and dumbbells, but JAC also adds a barbell, medicine ball, and ankle weights. JAC begins the workout with a very brief (1-2 minutes) sequence of yoga poses; this felt a little odd to me, as she jumps right in without warming up. She then does a warm-up with the ball which was kind of fun, although I had to modify because JAC's ball is the bouncy kind and mine wasn't. Then, as the title of the workout would suggest, you go from UP (standing) to DOWN on the floor for abs work. JAC uses the ball again here, and I did find these moves to be fun and effective, although she targets only one side (you come back to the other side later). She ends the floor work with "head bangers" for the triceps.

Coming back to standing, JAC then begins a long sequence working the left leg only. Exercises here included tricep dips with one foot on knee, hover squat/good morning sequence (note: many people believe that good mornings are unsafe, so I subbed squats here), plie squats with heel lifts and foot drags, military press, bicep curls, and upright rows (again, many advise against doing these with a barbell, as it doesn't allow the arms to move naturally, so I subbed dumbbells). A cardio sequence follows in which you do rocks with rear leg lifts, still working the left side only.

Next comes a shoulder sequence which Anna must really like, because she uses the exact same sequence (set to the exact same music!) in her newer WHFN FitPrime Upper Body Burn Workout. It begins with a one arm lat row, one hand on the box, then moves up to a medial/anterior delt lift combo with one foot on the box, and it finishes with push-ups using one hand on the ball and one on the floor. Another cardio sequence follows, this one with ball tosses, squats, and plyos. At this point, JAC begins working backwards through the other side of the body, starting by repeating the shoulder sequence on the right. One more cardio series follows (a repeat of rocks with rear leg lifts, this time on the right), and then JAC repeats the military press/biceps/upright row series, the plie and hover squat sequences, and triceps dips. Finally, it's back to the floor to repeat the head bangers as well as the previous abs sequence.

This might've been a natural end to the workout, but instead, you get right back UP again to further work the legs, starting with a front lunge/rear glute lift/"duck squats" (with toes together) combo. The next sequence was military press with good mornings, and then there is a fun cardio series with ball tosses, lunge dips, and lunge plyos. This is followed by a leg press combination. The choreography of this sequence felt unnecessarily complicated to me: you start with a simple leg press, then add a squat, then add a leg abduction, and THEN change the squat into a one-leg squat--there just seemed to be too many elements here.

At this point JAC adds an ankle weight to the left leg only. From a kneeling position over the box, she has you do right leg lifts and then various moves for the left leg, ending with a side plank. Removing the ankle weight, JAC takes you back to standing for a front lunge/glute lift/squats combo and then a clean and press/squats combo. The final cardio segment repeats the previous one, but on the right side of the body this time. Finally, you repeat the rest of the work on the right side: first the leg press series, then add the ankle weight for the kneeling work, and finish with side plank. JAC conclude the workout with some yoga-inspired stretches which are nice but unfortunately at a very fast pace; the total workout time is just over 56 minutes.

My main impression of this workout was just that it felt too fussy: the exercise series were unnecessarily complicated, as was the set itself. Regarding the latter, instead of the simple setting used in the later FitPrimes, there is sort-of a busy Asian theme here, with an oriental rug and Asian-like wall hangings. There was just too much going on in all aspects of the workout. I did enjoy the cardio segments (although anyone who does not have a ball that bounces will have to modify these) as well as the abs work, but otherwise, there wasn't much here to interest me, and definitely not enough to make me keep the workout.

Instructor comments: JAC seems to be a favorite of many, but I've never really clicked with her (I admit, her squeaky voice bothers me a bit). Although her cueing is generally okay--she does well with the mirror cues--she just moves way too fast for me here, with too many unnecessary elements added to the exercises.

Beth C (aka toaster)

October 4, 2007

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