The Firm: Volume 4: Time-Crunch Workout

Susan Harris, Kai Soremekun
Year Released: 1990

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

I really love Volume 4, so this is not going to be a very objective review. I originally bought this video, which is subtitled the Time Crunch Workout, to do on those days when I really have a hard time squeezing in a workout.

Equipment needed 2 or 3 different dumbells, and a step (they only use an 8 or 10" box in this video) . They use ankle weights for standing leg work, but I'm not sure that they do enough of these to be of any benefit, so IMHO ankle weights are optional.

There are two different instructors in this video, Kai Soremenkun and Susan Harris, who also appeared in Vol 1 and Tortoise and Hare. They alternate portions of the class, essentially Susan does the stretches, abs and heavier weight work, and Kai does the more aerobic floor and step sections.

They could have almost labeled this video low impact, the only high impact moves are some jumps which are mixed in with the floor marching segments, you can easily skip the jumps and keep doing the marching moves, there are very few jumps.

There are three step segments, and you do use lighter weights (Kai says 3-5, I sometimes use 8 lbs) for these segments (don't tell the Reebok Police). Two of them are more traditonal step moves with delt, pec and bicep moves, one is more of a "leg press" where you start off standing on the bench and step down off the sides. You also do some arm moves during this segment, with weights.

This tape also has my favorite ab section. According to Collage's breakdown on 5 day abs, it has a shorter segment than the Firm videos, but for some reason I seem to feel this one more. Abwork is pretty traditional on all the Firm tapes, just curls, crunches and oblique curls.

I find the cueing on Kai's step segments to be a little confusing, I sometimes miss when she says to switch legs, and for example there are a couple of times when she says to alternate legs, where I start alternating right away but she means after the next rep. But I don't find this to be a real problem, because it's such a short portion of the tape, and since the choreography is simple, it's easy to catch up.

Kai also does a little dance thing at the end of this video, after the abs and stretch. I don't see the real purpose of putting it here, and after trying it a few times just to see if I could do it right, I quit doing it.

Susan does lunges, dips, squats and arm work with heavy weights. This video really wipes me out, I go as heavy as possible on the weights, and though it is a short video, I never feel like I 'cheated' on the days I do it.

Trish Ransom