The Firm: Complete Aerobics & Weight Training (BSS2)Emily Welsh
Year Released: 2003
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
I have had very little experience with The Firm, but lately, I've been enjoying videos that feature aerobic weight training (such as the FitPrime and WHFN series), so I decided to give this a try. Complete Aerobics and Weight Training is a 58-minute workout which combines cardio segments with cardio/sculpt intervals to give you a great workout; it's led by Emily Welsh. Equipment used in this workout includes The Firm "Fanny Lifter," a 2-part step (both the full step and the low position are used here), 3 sets of dumbbells, and The Firm "Sculpting Stick" (dumbbells can be substituted and/or you can use a wall/mop for balance).
The workout begins with an basic 6.5 minute warm-up that quickly gets the heart pumping, especially with the set of push-ups at the end. Next comes 4-limbed toning work, combining squats and dips with shoulder presses and bicep curls. Upper body only work follows, and then it's the first cardio segment, which includes some fun punches and flows nicely from one combination to the next.
More lower body work is next, this time incorporating the bar for balance--you could double up with the weights and forgo the bar, but this section is tough even with it! The stick is also used as a weight for hover squats, but I just substituted heavy dumbbells, which worked fine. The next cardio segment uses the low portion of the Fanny Lifter. Because I don't do step aerobics, I had a little bit of trouble picking up the choreography here, but still, I found the moves to be fun and especially enjoyed the kicks.
Alternating lower and upper work follows with plies and bicep curls. The stick is again used for balance leg presses with abduction. There is also triceps work with the french press and triceps kickbacks--the latter set is short, so you probably want to use both arms for the entire set instead of alternating as shown. The final cardio segment uses the ends of the sculpting stick, or "twigs," but just pick up light weights (I used 3#) and you'll be fine. Again, the moves are kickboxing-inspired, with punches, side kicks, and a fun little hop move.
The final toning work is on the floor and includes a 1-arm triceps push-up, flies, pullovers, triceps press, and chest press. The floorwork finishes with a nice abs section that moves quickly through several different crunch variations. (During this section, I recognized some of the music from the Crunch Fat-Burning Pilates floor segment.) A nice final stretch is performed mostly on the floor; Emily is thorough, but none of the stretches are held very long (although I did really enjoy the final neck stretch!). I felt great at the end of this workout--nicely worked out, but not exhausted--and I was pleased to see on my heart rate monitor that I had stayed in my target zone for a full 40 minutes PLUS had burned 341 calories. I really enjoyed this workout and know that I will use it often; I will be looking to try other Firms as well.
I thought Emily was fine overall--not too bubbly, not too bland. She generally cued well, although I could've used a bit more guidance during the cardio segments and there was one time when she miscued her right and left mirror cueing