The Firm: Volume 6: Forever FirmJayne Poteet
Year Released: 1992
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
This is my favorite of the Firm Classics (Volumes 1-6) and the slowest-paced with heavier weights. Jayne Poteet leads a mixed-gender and mixed-age class. Equipment used is low (aerobic-height, 4-10") box and high (leg press, 12-14") box, plus dumbbells and a barbell. The High Step is a perfect substitute for the Firm boxes, and all the barbell moves can be done with dumbbells. Workout also uses a chair and a towel for stretching; neither is necessary.
After a brief dynamic warmup and static stretch, the workout alternates between aerobic bursts and weights. After a short floor cardio session, you use the low box for simple step cardio, then an alternating step-down with light-moderate dumbbells for biceps work. Then comes the first of two killer leg segments: an extended session of squats and hover squats using the barbell, with upper body work (overhead press and upright rows) to break up the nonstop legs. You will use the high box for this segment, then switch back to the low box for another quick step-cardio segment. Following this is the second tough legs segment, using the barbell and high box: two sets of leg presses per leg, broken up with some mid- and upper-back shrugs and pinches with the barbell. There is then a brief standing/sitting weights section (triceps kickbacks, rows for back and rear delt flyes) using the tall box and dumbbells. This ends the cardio-weights section of the workout, and I am always dripping with sweat by now!
The rest of the workout is on the floor: an abs section (traditional, lots of crunches, reverse crunches and oblique twists), chest flyes and hip raises and pelvic floor work. The workout ends with a seated stretch.
The workout has very basic chaptering: warmup and static stretch, cardio/weights, floor work, and stretch. If you want to do the abs only, or the standing legs sections back-to-back, you'll have to fast-forward.
This workout does show a few signs of age. Current research shows that static stretching should NOT be done before weights because it decreases muscle strength, so I skip from the warmup to the cardio/weight section and tack on the static stretch at the end of the workout. There are also a couple of moves which are contraindicated according to current research: upright rows with elbows raised high and barbell brought the the collarbone; and barbell overhead presses with the barbell coming behind the neck between reps. Both are easy to correct: I go no more than bra-band high with my weights when doing upright rows, and keep the barbell in front of me when doing overhead press.
Music is true to the Classics: choreographed carefully with each segment. I remember reading that none of the Volume 6 music is original; all is taken from the previous Volumes. It still works perfectly.
I'd grade this workout as intermediate, though it's very approachable for beginners and advanced can up the weights (I use 8# and 15# dumbbells and a 25# barbell as a high-intermediate and feel plenty worked out by the end).
Jayne Poteet is lovely to look at and has a nice voice. Her cueing isn't the best and there are very few relevant form pointers, but the moves are basic and she demonstrates excellent form.