FitPrime Weights First

Tracie Long
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

The FitPrime workouts were created by Anna Benson, co-founded of The Firm workouts. When these videos were first released 5 years ago, there were many debates about whether the workouts were innovative or just plain weird. I've always been in the former camp, as for me, the FitPrime workouts contain mainly uniquely effective moves, and I've always found them to be a lot of fun. However, only recently did I have the chance to try Weights First, the very first video in the FitPrime series. It's led by Tracie Long, a former Firm instructor who has since moved on to her own line of workout videos. In this workout, Tracie uses a barbell, dumbbells, a tall step (The Firm Fanny Lifter works well), a medicine ball (one that bounces), and a stick or dowel (primarily used for balance, so you could make do without).

Tracie begins using the ball for the 6.5 minute warm-up sequence. In the first half of the warm-up, she uses the ball and dowel for a toss/catch series, and in the second half, she moves the ball out to the side while doing a 1-legged squat/back extension. I enjoy medicine ball work, and so I found the warm-up to be fun. Tracie then begins the weights work using the barbell, performing a series that includes good mornings (which some people consider to be unsafe), squats, and clean and press.

At this point, Tracie begins a sequence of lower body work, staying with the left leg only. Exercises include a front lunge/dip combo, 1-arm tricep french press (also on the left), another front lunge/rear dip sequence that includes ball bounces (if you have non-bouncing ball like I do, you'll have to modify here--tossing the ball instead works well), and a leg press/single leg squat sequence (2 full sets of this series are performed--very tough!). Next, Tracie leads you through a brief cardio burst which combines marches with little hops while holding light weights. Following this, you'll continue to work the left side with yet another front/rear lunge series and then move on to biceps work with the barbell. More upper body work follows, including a 1-arm lat row, push-ups with one hand on the box and one on the ball, and triceps pushups on the box. At this point, Tracie performs some very brief yoga stretches (<1 minute).

Going back to the lower body work, Tracie has you do side squats with abduction (both sides) and then plie squats with a biceps curl. Finally, it is time to switch to the right side of the body, starting with the first lunge/dip combo, then the tricep french press, then the second lunge/dip combo with the ball, and then the tough leg press sequence. Following this, there is another brief cardio interval which Tracie calls "light cardio": using no weights this time, she performs marches with jumps in and out. She then continues with the last lunge/dip series and upright rows with the barbell (another move which some consider to be unsafe, as the barbell prevents the arms from their natural rotation).

With about 15 minutes left to go in the workout, Tracie begins a nice abs segment. Using the stick under the knees, she does roll ups/roll downs, and then with the ball between the knees, she does upper and lower crunches. Finally, there is a crunch with ball toss--this was tough but fun! Tracie does about 3 minutes of abs work on one side, spends 4 minutes stretch, and then does another 3 minutes of abs work on the other side; the little break in the middle felt nice. One thing I did NOT like about this workout was the final 6 minutes of yoga stretching. Tracie seemed a little stiff here, and it moves a little too quickly, so I will probably do my own cool-down in the future.

Overall, this is a nice addition to my growing FitPrime collection (I now have 8 of 12), despite the fact that the production values aren't quite as good as the later FitPrimes (eg, the set is too busy, the camera angles aren't always the best, etc.). There is a definite lower body emphasis here--the first time I tried it, my butt was sore for days afterward! Although the many lunge/dip sequences might look overwhelming, because of how they are broken up, they are very doable, and thus I don't have a high dread factor for this workout. This is definitely a workout for intermediate to advanced exercisers who enjoy the quirkiness of the FitPrime workotus, want to blast their lower body, and don't mind VHS (Weights First was never released on DVD).

Instructor Comments:
This is the earliest video that I've seen Tracie in to date (I've never tried any of her Firm videos). Although she is professional, she is not nearly as polished as in even the later FitPrime workouts. Also, as mentioned above, this video doesn't look quite as good as the later FitPrimes: the set, which includes a zebra rug, is quite busy, and the camera angles tend to be a little jerky, with too much zooming in (ie, so that you can't see Tracie's whole body). On the other hand, I didn't notice any editing glitches. Finally, there is are some nice musical selections, including some pieces that Anna re-used in her WHFN series.

Beth C (aka toaster)