The Firm: Advanced Cardio Blast (BSS3)

Lisa Kay
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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This dvd is from the Firm Body Sculpting System III. It features the Firm Box (aka deathbox) but I use my TransFirmer with it. They are both step boxes that can be set up on an incline. Love the idea-and love the TransFirmer that came out later but the Firm Box had its issues-hence the "death box" nickname.

Lisa Kay leads with 4 background exercisers. Libby does the beginner modifications. Lisa's cueing is good in this one-better than many of her others. The set in this system is a tiny bit dark. The ladies are each on their own little round platforms and they often turn their boxes to the side. I think that was a bad idea-makes it too hard to see them and to see your TV if you turn your box to the side. I just keep mine facing front and am able to follow along just fine

This is a 30 minute cardio only routine. Its one of the few Firms that dont use any weights at all. There are floor aerobics, box aerobics, tall box climbs, and incline box aerobics sections. Its a typical Firm in some senses-straight forward moves, non dancy and athletic. Easy to follow-if you have taken a step class in the past, most Firm w/o's should not be too tough to catch onto. What does make this one different from other Firms the lack of dumbbells-no fourlimb work, no cardio breaks.

Its quick moving and will burn a lot of carlories in a short time. It is low-advanced IMO. Its not Insanity or anything but I dont think a beginner or out very of shape person could keep up.

Instructor Comments:
I like Lisa as a lead. Sometimes her cueing is off but it was pretty darn good in this one.



The reviews on this one are great. Not much to add.

I hated this the first time I did it (too different). The second time I did it I can't imagine why I didn't like it. It's more intense than any other Firm cardios I've done (BSS era and pink firms).

Also this is a real space hog. You use the front of the box quite a bit (kicking out) and travel around it. For the space-challenged this may not be the best choice.

Instructor Comments:

Coleen (cjo42a)


I received this video as a trade and very glad I did it! The workout although short- 30 min, makes you feel that you've done a good amount of cardio! The first segment starts out with tall box step ups and then some fast push-outs while you put your hands on the 14" step then push your legs out then you start stepping back up to the 14:" step...this one REALLY gets my heart rate up! I also enjoy the second segment with the toe hops and lots of jogging and plyos. The best thing about this workout is there is no weights (although I generally love using light weights with cardio)...but this one gives you a break! So I only need the Firm box, and it's time to work! This one is a keeper. Very short, very intense, very fun. I give it an A+ for a short cardio workout. :)

Instructor Comments:
Lisa as always performs and instructs very well. Very vibrant, happy and her voice puts you at ease.

Daisy Sormick


This is one of the BSS3 workouts which used the first incline box. I used to do the workout with my club step at an incline until I got the newer Transfirmer. It takes a little time to change the position of the Transfirmer, but I donít mind. It feels very secure and works well for the BSS3 workouts. Because of the way the Transfirmer is stacked, I positioned it head-on rather than sideways like the incline box used in this workout.

There are three things I donít like about this workout. First, Lisa doesnít cue very well or sometimes not at all. Second, itís hard to follow sometimes because when theyíre on the incline, they face sideways. Third, the steps arenít always logical. You may end on your right foot and then again use your right foot to step back up on the box. This makes the workouts a little hard to follow.

That said, I do really like this workout. I think itís one of the toughest BSS Firm cardios, and probably one of the few pure cardio workouts. Itís absolutely a high impact workout and even though Libby shows modifications, I donít think they make the workout much easier or low-impact.

The warm-up is done with the platform at 14 inches. It has an odd little move where you squat, sit on the box, kick one leg up and then the other. There are also some light stretches. The rest of the workout is basically as follows:

COMBO 1: Tall box climb, alternated with burpees (like in Slim Series and Catheís Bootcamp)
COMBO 2: Plyo, double step hop to side, jumprope, alternating tapping toes on box, lunge side-to-side, calf pumps.
COMBO 3: Go over the box the long way, then back. Go up and lunge side to side the long way. Turn sideways, straddle the box, knee up, then repeater. Go over the top the short way, then back, squat, hop on top of the box and then back down.
COMBO 4: (Incline) Run with right foot on box, jumping jacks on floor, run with right foot tapping box then behind you. Heel jacks, press-press one foot on incline, heel-jacks, then hop over box.
COMBO 5: (Incline) Step on incline, knee lift. Turn step (hard to follow), toe taps.

The cool-down begins at 28:26 minutes and ends at 32:39 minutes.

As you can probably tell, you start with high-impact moves right away. I alternated this workout with Lisaís Fat Blasting Cardio for a few weeks and boy did that combination get me in shape! But, even if you do this one by itself, itís a great short workout thatís pure cardio. They donít even mention using weights.

I would really caution beginners to avoid this one, as itís difficult to modify to low-impact. I would also recommend using the Transfirmer rather than the ďdeath box.Ē Also, because of the negatives I mentioned, I would definitely say you need a lot of experience with step workouts to do this one, unless youíre willing to be on the wrong foot or lost a lot.

Instructor Comments:
The rumors are trueóLisa just doesnít cue very well in this workout. But I still like her, and I really like the workout. The other instructors look so scrawny in this series (besides Libby, who looks good) that Lisaís more muscular, filled-out look really appeals to me.



Warm-up: Low impact, box at 14". All on floor except a couple times when sitting on box doing leg extensions/kicks.

1st Combo: Tall box climbs, squat thrusts/burpees using box to hold onto, knee ups, knee repeaters, double pushups (using box), leg extensions.

2nd Combo: Impact (this is what Lisa Kay calls it). Uses box at 6". Run on floor, plyos, double step-hop side to side, jump rope, toe hops (fast toe taps on the box), side lunges, doubles (side lunge doubles), calf pumps all while moving around the box.

3rd Combo: Box work (again what she calls it). Uses box at 6". Over the top, up & lunge side-to-side, step-knee straddle with a hop, knee ups, knee repeaters, corner to corner, hop turn, squats.

4th Combo: Incline segment. Run on the floor, one-legged runs onto the box, jacks on the floor, run up & back onto the box, heel jacks on the floor, heel-toe-heel to the box, tap overs on the box, press-press or push-push onto the box.

5th Combo: Incline segment. Alternating heel taps, straddle, turn step on box (up the incline), turn step on the floor, triples on the floor, hamstring curls on the box, ham-knee-ham on the box, plyos on the floor, toe hops (fast taps on the box).

It doesn't look overly high impact on paper, but pretty much everything is done with a hop. You can hardly ever see the modifier (Libby in this workout). In the third combo, the cueing is a little off and in the fourth and fifth it isn't mirror cueing as the box is facing sideways for the incline work and she cues you to be on the same leg she is on. It is a fairly fun workout, clocks in at approximately 30 minutes, and there are no weights (I know, unbelievable for a FIRM workout!).

Instructor Comments:

Karen (Rhae)