The Firm: Volume 4: Time-Crunch WorkoutSusan Harris, Kai Soremekun
Year Released: 1990
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
This is a FIRM Classic and will be 20 years old in 2010. I use it regularly because like all classic Firms the music choices are excellent and are seamlessly synched to the exercises, both strength and cardio. Other reviewers have already broken the workout down: about 42 minutes of brief warm-up with Kai, stretch with Susan, then alternating aerobic with Kai (generally two aerobic tunes, a floor section and a step section) and strengthening with Susan, with final abs and stretch with Susan and the famous “dork dance” with Kai after the final stretch (lol!)
The aerobics are a mix of high and low impact on the floor and incorporate light weights on the 8” step. They recommend 3-5 pounds for the step aerobics but they move very fast (and I am very choreographically challenged) so I prefer to use no-1# weights instead and still feel like I get a high intermediate intensity workout. There are a variety of exercises for the legs: squats, lunges, dips, leg abduction to the side and back; and for the upper body: upright row and biceps with plie squat, overhead press, french press, bent row. The step is only incorporated for the aerobics, no step is used for the strength except to lean over for the bent row. I prefer to work my legs with the tall leg press so I incorporate this move in lieu of the lunges and dips, which my knees greatly appreciate. The final set of abs is an excellent assortment and the work is balanced between the obliques, lower and upper abs. For this reason and for the creativity of the moves, I personally think this ab set is the best of the 6 original volumes. This is the only volume that does not include floor work for the legs (which I miss but I understand they were trying to squeeze it all in to a shorter time than the usual ~60 minutes).
In comparison with the other classic Firms, this seems easier, but I think that is just because of the shorter length. It is an excellent workout that packs a great punch, gets the heart rate up, and hits all of the big muscle groups efficiently and effectively. Highly recommended, especially for Firm fans that linger at the intermediate/advanced level like me and enjoy AWT workouts. The usual high production quality, music synchronization, instructor cuing, traditional strength moves, and easy to follow and mixed intensity aerobics that can be expected with the Firm. Mansion setting with a large class. Grade A.
Susan Harris from FIRM Vol.1 and Kai Soremekun both have great cuing. Susan is more formal but friendly and Kai is energetic and encouraging. It is a shame we never saw Kai again because she was a great lead.