The Firm: Maximum Cardio Burn (BSS2)

Allie Del Rio
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

This was my least favorite of the BSS2 set when I first got them, but now that I've advanced a bit I actually find myself reaching for it on cardio days. The fact that it combines a bit of strength training with the traditional aerobics helps to break of the monotony of an hour-long all cardio workout, and I still find it gets my heart rate up there!

The segments have been broken down well, so I'd just like to add a bit of personal experience to the pool. First of all, I all but stopped using the sculpting stick once I graduated to bigger weights, so I use five pound weights for the tall box step ups and four limb segments. Doing so, I find that first four-limbed section to be hard on my arms, especially my forearms, by the time it finishes. However, this allows me to modify somewhat the moves (I don't see a difference in her bicep and tricep curls, so I do them more traditionally with the free weights and add some delt work if my forearms begin to get too tired).

I really appreciate the tall box step ups. They are in fact slow enough to add weight, and I can really feel them in my legs. I wouldn't say it's the same thing as adding a set of leg press to the workout, because I mostly feel a deeper burn in my quads, but I feel like I'm doing more than the tall box step up in Maximum Body Shaping, for example.

The aerobic segments themselves are alternately uninspiring and different. I have almost no emotion for the kickboxing-inspired first segment, or for either of the step segments, though they are tiring and keep my heart rate up. The hopscotch-style jump up and down third segment is the low point of the workout for me, I usually just try to grit my teeth and get through with it. There's nothing wrong with it aerobically, I just seem to have an intense dislike for it.

Many people have complained about the standing leg work as ineffective and an excuse to show off the sculpting stick- I had so much trouble getting the sculpting stick to work for me that I just decided to forget the whole thing and do a short, heavy set of floor legs. I go with heavy dumbbells and then do a set of outer thigh lifts and pulses, a set of inner thigh lifts and pulses, and then some bridgework. I don't know if it's all that effective, but I doubt it's any less effective than the standing leg work!

The ab work, on the other hand, is great. It's a long set and includes pulleys, which I love, and planks, which I desperately need to do more of. I'd say the ab segment is on par with Emily's from CAWT in length, and definitely as difficult, as long as you really concentrate on putting your all into it.

Overall it's a good, hour long cardio workout with some incorporated strength "stuff". It might not be for the cardio purists, but for those of us who only do our cardio because it's good for us, it's nice to have a variety like this which is interesting and gives you enough breaks to keep you from quitting.

Instructor Comments:
Ali is cute and generally decent. She's not overly inspiring, but she's not annoying, either. Her cueing in this video is good enough that I neither remember it nor remember the video being hard to follow. I realize this makes it sound like I don't like her, and that's not true. . . I do like her, but she doesn't inspire a tremendous amount of loyalty or emotion in me.