The Firm: Maximum Cardio Burn (BSS2)

Allie Del Rio
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

This is my second Firm video from BSS2. I should mention that I am a relatively newbie to both The Firm and to step aerobics (although I'm familiar with using the tall box, aka "Fanny Lifter," for toning work). This workout is led by Firm master instructor Allie Del Rio and is about 52 minutes long. The only equipment besides the Fanny Lifter is the Firm Sculpting stick, which is sometimes used for balance, sometimes for weighted resistance. I don't have the stick, so my substitutions are described below.

I found the 6 1/2 minute warm-up to be a bit long and repetitive; it ends with a set of push-ups on the box. 4-limbed cardio with the stick comes next, and I found this to be a bit awkward without a stick--my 5# dumbbells were too heavy, and just using a dowel felt too light, so I'm going to need to experiment more here. Then comes toning work with tall box climbs on the step. I really enjoyed this segment, feeling it both in my glutes AND my outer thighs. Allie uses only the stick for balance, but you could try holding weights to make it even more challenging (I found it challenging enough without!).

Then it's back to cardio with a kickboxing segment performed without equipment. This was fun, and I liked the little hops added in towards the end. Step aerobics with the short box follows. As I said above, I'm a newbie to cardio with the step, and so I had a bit of trouble with the choreography here, but I slowly started to pick it up--Allie's great cueing helped. Then it's more low-impact aerobics without the step; this wasn't as fun for me as the kickboxing moves. Next, Allie does another step aerobics segment, and this time, I found it a little easier to follow along.

You then repeat the initial leg press series on the opposite leg before moving on to the final cardio segment, which is 4-limbed cardio using the "twigs" (ends of the sculping stick)--my 3# dumbbells worked fine as a substitution here, but some of the moves felt a little awkward to me. Before going on to abs, Allie does a nice segment of standing leg work, which was great for me since I hate floor work! The sculpting stick is used for resistance; I plan to use ankle weights next time. Allie does some nice brief stretches for the legs and then moves on to the floor for abs work. Although the abs exercises appeared pretty standard--mostly basic crunch variations--I was SHOCKED by how tough they were--I consider myself to have a pretty strong core, but I had to modify here! Allie finishes with a nice, full-body final stretch.

I did like this workout, although I was a bit disappointed that I was only in my target HR zone for about 22 minutes; this might improve as I become more familiar with the moves. Also, there were segments of this workout that felt a little too much like traditional hi-lo floor aerobics for my liking. Overall, however, I felt that I got a good workout, and I do plan to continue using this video.

Instructor Comments:
I found Allie to be a bit on the serious side, but I thought her cueing was excellent. Also, I loved that she is muscular rather than skinny!

Beth C (aka toaster)