The Firm: Super Body Sculpt

Stephanie Huckabee
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Total Body Workouts

I was one of the original “Firm Believers.” I bought each over-priced tape months before it was available. And … I have to admit … I did get results.

But then … something happened. The tapes were too long for me to fit into my time-crunched mornings. The endless lunges, high impact, and other unsafe moves started to bother my joints, and the endless tall box climbs made my butt and legs bulk too much. The extremely rehearsed quality and the Stepford Wives-ish instructors bored me. I tried other tapes and discovered Gin Miller, Kari Anderson – tapes that were fun, that didn’t make my joints hurt – and quickly traded away all my “classic” firms, except for Volume 4 and the Tracie Long ones.

Recently I’ve heard so much about how the “new” firms were so different than the “old” firms. Much of the talk has been negative. But I began to think, if the new Firms are so different, then maybe I’d like them.

The first one I tried is Super Body Sculpt with Stephanie Corley. I LOVED THIS! In some ways, it is very different than the original Firms. The set is bright, Crunch-like (large fans in the walls), and very clean. The instructor and co-exercisers are not Stepford-like at all – they seem more like the (buff) girls next door. There are no ta-da’s, flourishes, “rodeo” moves, “dork dances” or other moves that would make you feel silly or self-conscious doing this in front of someone else. And Stephanie’s cuing is excellent.

The tape is divided into three sections. All toning – no cardio. Each section has a warm-up and cool-down.

The first 15 minute section is upper body. They suggest 3, 5, and 8 lb weights, which would provide a good intermediate workout. The second time I did this, I used 5, 8, and 10 lb weights. It’s not the toughest upper body workout I’ve ever done, but it does feel like a quality workout, working your different muscle groups evenly. They use the “fanny lifter” to do pushups – I did the pushups on the floor, as it felt better to my wrists. They also did most of the upper body work seated on the fanny lifter – a chair would also work. I liked doing it seated as it allowed me to concentrate and use heavier weights.

The next 15 minute section is lower body. They used medium (5 lb.) and heavy (8 lb.) weights; I swapped up to 8 lb. weights for most exercises and 10 lb. weights for the squats. You do need a low step for some of the exercises and a high step or fanny lifter for two sets of tall box climbs. These exercises struck me as much safer and easier on my joints than old Firms – for examples, lunges are done with one foot on the low step.

The third 10 minute section is abs. This seemed to be pretty decent – although I’ll probably skip this section in the future, as I do a lot of Pilates for this area.

This is a tape that packs quite a lot into a short time. I definitely see myself using this in the future – as a 30 minute upper and lower body workout, or using individual sections as “add-ons” to other tapes.

Catherine Brown