The Firm: Volume 5: Abs, Hips & Thighs Workout

LaReine Chabut
Year Released: 1991

Categories: Lower Body Strength

After a few years of using the other Firm Volumes regularly, I finally chanced trying Firm Volume 5, which had scared me off because of all the three-count moves (as opposed to four-count like all other videos in existence use!) But it was a leg day and I was feeling adventurous. Actually, I thought the moves were fairly easy (or not as bad as I thought) to follow. This video is 45 minutes which seems brief for a classic Firm, especially because this workout had a generous amount of floor work. This workout was of course filmed in the mansion set with over a dozen background exercisers (including Kelsie I believe!), and the music is an interesting mix of rock and tropical island themed instrumentals. Not the best music the classics, but still very good and in synch to the exercises.

Only about the first 25 minutes are spent standing, including 5 minutes spent on a warm up which included static stretching, and another 15 minutes on three step aerobics tunes to pre-exhaust the legs, then a heavier, pretty tough, leg press+squat segment (the one used in Standing Legs), and a set of French press, before moving on the floor. [The French press seemed out of place to me given the leg emphasis of the workout, so I subbed plie squats since the inner thighs were not yet worked Ė this worked great!] The step aerobics tunes were easy to follow and LaReine moved slowly to really preexhaust the legs. The first set is unweighted while the second two sets use very light weights and work the arms. There were some three count moves but it felt like triple steps which helped me to follow along. The leg press section is excellent and has two sets of 12 reps on each leg, sandwiching a set of 12 squats, before moving to the other leg Ė so all in all 24 sets of leg press on each leg and 24 squats!

Floor work included a very long ab work set, two sets of table work (the first being a heavy set and the second being lighter with long lever lifts), two sets of pushups (16 reps total), a bridge set, and a very long inner/outer thigh lift set. LaReine went through all of the moves on one leg before moving to the other leg, to really max out each leg at a time. While there were less reps here than with Susan in Volume 1 (whose leg work on the floor is of a comparable length) LaReineís reps were slower and more controlled, making them pretty intense. (Although Volume 1 remains champion of the most challenging floor work in my book). LaReine follows a six slow-four quick rep routine throughout her floor work. The floor work was certainly effective and I was feeling thoroughly worked out by the end! The final stretch is mostly for the legs, appropriately.

Other notes:

(1)-There is a rewind option for the step aerobics and let press+squat segments, for you to reset your VHS to 0:00 minutes then rewind that ~20 minute portion to make the workout more like 65 minutes. I didnít use that option this time, but can see myself using that feature in the future to really intensity the workout! I thought that was a pretty creative option!

(2)-Also, like Volume 6, there were NO lunges in this workout. Thatís pretty darn impressive especially considering it was a leg focused workout. Although, I was disappointed that there was not more standing work for the legs Ė I suppose hover squats hadnít been ďinventedĒ yet by the Firm but they could have done standing leg abductions, more step aerobics, or even some floor aerobics might have helped bulk up the workout somewhat.

(3)-While I could follow along okay, the three count moves were sort of annoying. Hopefully this will get better as I get more accustomed to the workout, it was somewhat confusing (especially with the ab work-which I felt went on too long-ugh!) and the six count slow/four count fast was just strange and not what I was accustomed to. Iím glad the Firm found this to be a mistake and didnít try to do that again.

(4)- I was surprised that this really just wasnít as intense as the other Volumes. I was expecting it to be as intense (if not more, being leg focused) than the other volumes, and even while using heavy weights, and 8Ē step for the aerobics (instead of a 6Ē), and using heavy ankle weights during the floor work, it wasnít AS challenging as I expected (although it was still an intense workout).

(5)-There were no high intensity jumps or plyometric jumps in this one. It was entirely low impact. That, paired with the complete lack of lunges, was great for those with knee problems (like me!) It was comparable to Volume 6 in intensity although that one had more standing/less floor work.

In conclusion, itís another good classic Firm workout although certainly not one of my favorites. Itís recommended for Firm believers like me who will have a lot of patience with it and will appreciate the variety, but thereís certainly better leg-focused AWT workouts out there (Firm Better Body and Buns is fabulous). I probably wouldnít recommend it, although I will continue to do it on occasion to spice up the variety. I would classify it as intermediate but can be modified up or down depending on poundage used. Using the rewind option (along with using heavy poundage, ankle weights, and a tallish step) might up the challenge to high intermediate-low advanced. Overall grade B.

Instructor Comments:
LaReine was a pretty good instructor. She gave good form pointers and mirror cued. She was sort of flirtatious and smiled coyly for the camera (which didnít bother me). She didnít seem to have any annoying tendencies. I didnít have a strong opinion for or against her really.

Emily B.