The Firm: Maximum Cardio Burn (BSS2)

Allie Del Rio
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

I think this is a fun video and pretty challenging. I would classify myself as a low advanced
for cardio. For instance, I would have to modify impact for Cathe videos (my feet and my
poor heart just canít keep up with her!), but I have no problem with the aerobic level of,
say, Christiís Hi/Lo Heaven. This video is more than enough to keep me in my heart range
throughout the aerobic section. This is strictly a cardio workout, not weight training.

Since my DVD player does not have a very handy time tracking feature (either that or I
am too technologically challenged to use it correctly), I was not able to get the exact time
of each segment or for the whole video. I can approximate the length of each segment, I
hope with some accuracy (may be a little off). The cardio portion clocks in at about 26
minutes, according to my heart rate monitor. The back of the DVD claims it to be a
35-minute interval training segment with 6 minutes of standing leg work after that and
then 6 minutes of abs.

Allie del Rio leads this tape. Emily and Jen are behind her, and Su Mi and Suzanne in the
very back. Suzanne, at the back right side of the screen, shows beginner modifications.
For example, she uses the purple (6-inch) portion of the ďFanny LifterĒ (FL) for the step
routines when everyone else is using the blue (8-inch) portion. She also shows low impact
floor aerobics when the others do higher impact. Su Mi seems to be doing lower impact
demonstrations also, but she uses the blue portion for stepping.

They all wear red tops and black pants. Allie wears a full-length top with shorts. The
others wear exercise bra tops of varying styles, some with full-length pants and one (Jen, I
think) in capris-length. The background has tan and pink panels in the center with white
panels on either side. They exercise on a shiny white floor. The music is okay. I prefer
some of the music used in the other two videos that came with this set, but I didnít find
anything objectionable about this music. I havenít heard it before.

The warmup is indeed approximately 6 minutes total. The blue section of the FL is used.
This segment consists of the following movements:

Calf pumps with arms up from side to top
Body waves with squats
Heel lifts (toe taps) with forward shoulder roll
Step close with backward shoulder roll
Back cross foot with double bicep curl
(The above are introduced and alternated)

Then knee lift with opposite forward punch
Knee lift with arm sweeping side
March in place

V-step around blue portion of FL
Add toe taps and heel digs on the FL
Stretch with heel on FL, then do pelvic tucks, stretch shoulder, repeat stretches for
opposite side
Push-ups on blue portion of FL
Standing back rolls

This is not my favorite warmup. I felt that all the stepping side to side while rolling the
shoulders forward and then back was kind of restricting. I wanted to move across the
floor a little more and swing my arms more freely. Too many shoulder rolls, IMHO.

Now itís time for the first aerobic segment, which is approximately 3.5 minutes. It is
four-limbed movement using the fully-assembled (8-pound) stick held with an overhand
grip and the blue FL portion. The following movements are used:

Squat, then stand and push stick forward
Tap alternating toes to FL
Lunge back with alternating legs (not full dip, just stepping foot back) with what Allie
calls a tricep exercise but resembles a biceps curl more
Adduct legs to each side with biceps curls
Plies with biceps curls
Alternate these moves then end with plies and biceps curls

The second section is about 2 minutes long and uses the fully-assembled (14-inch) FL with
the full stick held in the right hand, right leg leading. *This section will be repeated later
with the stick in the left hand and left leg leading.* Because of knee problems, I have been
using a 12-inch step stool for anything requiring the fully-assembled FL. It would also be
possible to do this segment on an even lower height, which I would definitely recommend
for beginners, although then the slow pace would not keep the heart rate up as much. The
pace is slow, but this still amounts to a stepping routine on a 14-inch height, in my
opinion! The routine consists of the following movements:

Step up right foot tap left toe then exit, step up right foot left knee up then exit, step up
Alternate these moves
Step down, adduct one leg, then alternating legs
Alternate squats with alternating leg adductions
Toe taps on FL to finish (and give hips a break)

The third section is done on the floor, no FL, no stick. It has a kickboxing flavor but not
overly so. Itís about 4 minutes long. Toward the end I would call it ďsurprisingly
challenging.Ē It pooped me out! The following movements are used:

March with ďdukesĒ (fists) up
V-step forward with alternating jab
V-step backward with elbow jab backward
Alternate these
Alternating knee lifts with elbows pulling down
Kick and jab forward and backward
Calf pumps
Change lead leg to do pattern again
Add calf pumps and bunny hops
-Pattern changes now-
2 squats right, 2 squats left
Jab forward with front leg boxer shuffle
Squats side to side, jab forward other arm and leg
Calf pumps and bunny hops
Squats become plyo jumps for advanced
Come back down with squats and alternating leg adductions and kicks

Now comes the fourth interval. Itís a step routine with the blue portion of the FL. Itís
about 3 minutes and consists of the following:

Side step taps, over the top alternating
Pattern of step up straddle, directly into a repeating pattern of one foot to the step, same
foot to the side, same foot back, same foot to step, same foot to side, etc.
Step kicks
Knee repeaters
This is woven into a pattern alternating sides

Time for number five, which is low impact on the floor. I have done this video 3 times and
am just now ďgettingĒ this one better with my mind. For some reason it confused me a
little at first. Iím sure most everyone else will be fine with it! I particularly liked the step
and scoop move in this one. Itís about 3.5 minutes long:

March with side taps
March wide
Heel lifts with arms held up
Foot lifted up and forward with opposite hand touching it
Foot lifted back with opposite hand touching it
Alternating sides
Then one leg front/touch, back/touch with other knee doing repeater
Step and scoop, low jacks
Jump rope (pretend)
Repeat pattern with other leg leading

The sixth section requires your blue FL step. It lasts about 2 minutes and consists of:

Basic step, tap, change lead leg
Step up straddle, step up and back
Straddle, stay down with side-to-side toe taps on step and arms swinging
Add alternating knee lifts on one side of step
Come off and do low jacks, then change lead leg

The seventh section consists of repeating the pattern done from the second segment but
holding the stick in the other hand and other leg leading.

The eighth and last aerobic segment is four-limbed movement using both ďtwigs,Ē the
2-pound weights from the end of the stick. I stayed in the lower end of my training heart
rate when I tried it with twigs. When I used my own 5-pound dumbbells, my heart rate
was up a little more. It would be possible to use 3-pound weights also, if you wish. This
lasts for about 4 minutes:

Plies with medial delt lifts (arms bent and lifting to sides)
Static dip to one side with hammer curl
Back to plie with lateral straight-arm raise
Static dip to other side with bicep curl
Turn to one side with one leg forward, one back, and lift back knee with triceps
kickbacks, slow then fast
Turn front with side-to-side bicep curls
Turn other side to lift back knee slow and fast with rhomboid pinch

The ninth section is the standing leg section. I think itís about 6 minutes, and although it
isnít long enough or thorough enough to stand alone as the only weight training you do in
a week, it was challenging for me and I enjoyed it. This segment consists of holding the
fully-assembled stick in one hand and resting the other end of the stick on the outer side of
your leg. Then you lift that leg in an abduction, fairly slowly. I donít remember the number
of reps. You do that for the other leg as well. Then, still holding the stick in one hand, you
cross it behind you and rest it on the back of your opposite heel, then bend your knee to
raise and lower your foot behind you. Allie states that itís important to keep your knees
together, and when I do I really feel the work in the hamstring! Then you also thrust your
foot backward for severalk repetitions. This is then repeated for the opposite hamstring.
Suzanne, as I recall, uses the stick for balance in this segment while the others are using it
for resistance.

The tenth and final section is abdominal training. I did not keep track of specific
movements in this one and have only done this segment a couple of times. I found it pretty
challenging, but I am just getting back into abs after having shamefully neglected them for
a long time, so I follow Suzanneís modifications. I donít remember any specific moves,
but I donít remember it being anything super surprising.

I have the DVD version. It is not chaptered at all, which is a disappointment, but the
production quality is good and Iím happy with it. Allie is a pleasant instructor, fairly
typical Firm style, and I found the workout quite effective (effective = heart rate up), if a
bit short. A-.