The Firm: Crosstrainers - The Tortoise

Susan Harris, Tracie Long
Year Released: 1995

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

Tracy Long is a great instructor, but her instruction technique just wasn't enough to make me like this workout. I borrowed the Tortoise and Hare from a friend recently, and was quite disappointed.

I'll start off by saying that I enjoyed the strength training portions of the Tortoise. I have a barbell, so I can stack on quite a bit of weight and make this workout *very* challenging. I didn't like the early ab segment (right after the initial stretch). I've always been taught to work muscles from the largest to the smallest. Ab muscles are small, and it feels more natural to do all ab work near the end of a workout.

Also, I strongly disliked the ballroom aerobics on the 4" box. I felt very strange going from tough squats, lunges and military presses to a wimpy little waltz followed by a curtsey. (yes... Tracy Long actually tells you to curtsey!) In my opinion, the weight training in the Tortoise is fairly serious, and the ballroom steps seem almost comical in contrast!

Unless you have some particular desire to do ballroom-style aerobics, I would advise passing on Tortoise (and Hare). I love the FIRM series in general, and own all of their Total Body tapes (with the exception of Tortoise and Hare). Anyone interested in FIRM-style cross-training should try the Strong Heart and Strong Body workouts. They offer fun aerobic segments and challenging strength work.

Christine Letsky