The Firm: Cardio Overdrive

Alison Davis
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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I used to do Firm workouts all the time; my favorites where the post-Classics. Then, Firm workouts changed and I've been in search workouts by this company that I like ever since. I've had an especially hard time with Pink Firms and after. They all seem the same and even if I like a workout, I'm not likely to reach for it ever again. However, I've begun to find a few that I like and will do periodically. I purchased The Firm Ultimate Fat-Burning Collection, and about 3 workouts from this DVD are ones that I enjoy and do. Although Allison Davis is one of my favorite Firm instructors these days.

I am a low intermediate with bad knees and bad hands. I look for workouts that either have a modifier and/or are easily modified and I found that this workout fit that criteria. The modifier was pretty good. And, one of the things that I liked about this workout over other Firm workouts is that Allison encourages you to choose your level without ALWAYS referring to anyone who follows the modifier as a beginner. overall, I enjoy this workout and feel like I get a good workout from it. It doesn't seem as long or repetitive as some other Firm workouts. Don't get me wrong, they do repeat moves, but it doesn't drag for me.

In general, the workout alternates cardio sections with sections comprised of strength-oriented cardio moves. There really isn't much that I would classify as purely strength. I enjoyed the combinations and found a number of the moves fun. Allison tends to start with the lower body part of a move and then add the upper body. She'll combine a couple of moves, do them for awhile and then add 2-3 more moves.

Instructor Comments:
I really like Allison and pay attention when she leads a new Firm workout.

Laura S.


I recently purchased The Firm Ultimate Fat-Burning Collection, and this workout was one of the four selections including on that DVD. Although Allison Davis is not my favorite Firm instructor (more on this below), overall, I found this to be an enjoyable workout that kept my heart rate up. Allison works out in the newer Firm studio (wood floors, fake windows) with four background exercisers.

The 5-minute warm-up didn't drag like some of the Firm warm-ups tend to do, and it flowed right into the first cardio combination. (Note: each segment of this workout lasts approximately 5 minutes, and although there are no chapter menus, there are internal chapter breaks so that you could uses the skip button of your remote to move forward & back if desired.) The initial cardio segment includes step taps, knee ups with a leg sweep, and a "quad star" (rather than the usual tri star) with pony arms. This is followed by the first AWT segment, with Allison and crew using light weights. The first move is what Allison calls the "back & bun burner," a side squat with row. Other exercises in this segment include a clean & press with a front kick, a squat with biceps curl, and a front lunge with a side/rear delt raise. The transitions felt a bit rushed here, but the HR does stay up.

After this, it's back to cardio. The first move involves a side step forward and back with hip shake or optional skater jumps. This is followed by a front/back/front kick, a glute/knee/glute raise, and finally, a samba with bow & arrow arms. The next cardio section was my least favorite. It was mostly high impact (although Sue Mi showed low-impact options), with power jogs, high knees, and plyos, but I just didn't find the choreography to be very much fun.

Next comes another AWT segment. This one begins with a dip and scoop combination and then a side/front lunge "corkscrew" move. Moving on, Allison adds knees up with a triceps press and crunch plus a side step with upright row. After this, there are just two more cardio sections to finish. The first begins with a back V-step and moves into jacks and knee repeaters. The second starts with a back-side-front step and then adds in a leg swing, a glute extension, hamstring curls, and twists and swings to finish. The 6-minute cool-down consists of flowing moves and dynamic stretches, bringing the total workout time right in at 46 minutes.

This is a decent workout that I would rate as low intermediate. My heart rate stayed within my working zone the entire time, yet I never felt worn out or like I was gasping for breath. I found most of the choreography to be fun, but sometimes the Firm's arm movements feel a bit "fussy" to me, and some of the moves in this workout felt overly rushed. Still, I thought this was a solid cardio workout, and I would recommend this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Even in comparison to to some of the other Firm instructors (who can be a bit Stepford-wife-like), I find Allison to be a bit bland. I also find her cuing to be a bit late--she does cue, but she seems to cue right on the new move rather than giving me a little bit of prep time, and as a result, I felt like I was constantly trying to catch up to her. :o

Beth C (aka toaster)


Cardio Overdrive is a 46 minute AWT (mostly cardio) w/o led by Alison with 4 backgrounders; Sue Mi shows the beginner modifications. This dvd was originally released with the TransFirmation set but is available individually now. The set is white brick walls and hardwood floors. They use one set of light (3 lb) dumbells.

You could use a variety of dumbbells if you wanted to up the strenght work. I used my 8's throughout to keep it a light AWT cardio w/o. This is a good little workout, lots of unique and fun cardio moves without being overly choreographed but still "fresh & fun." The bulk is cardio but there are 2 or 3 "strength" sets thrown in.

The cardio moves includes V-steps, hip shakes, skaters, plyos w/ punches, knee ups, kicks, side knee repeaters, quad stars, double step touches and other straight forward cardio work. The strength work is mostly all 4-limb so it can keep your heartrate up nicely if you up the intensity a bit. You will see lunges, dips, and squats combined with rows, bicep curls, OH press, clean & press, french press, etc.

I would rate this an intermediate workout that can easily be modified up or down to suit your needs. I like Alison as a lead; she has a way of adding in fun twists to tradition Firm moves to keep the w/o's fun but not confusing. Her cueing is great and overall its a good little fairly unique light AWT w/o.



I really, really loved this workout. Great music, great set, great instructor. I apologize in advance for not offering a break down of each section and some of the exercises, but I was having so much fun I didn't have time to even think about stuff like that. :D

This workout made me forget all about the older FIRM cardio (Tough Aerobic Mix et al) that were basically chopped segments from Total Body workouts. And my knees love the break from the TransFIRMer and Fanny Lifter.

I also loved the music. The segment for the 3rd cardio section had the percussion line from Salt N'Pepa's "Push It" and even though I was wanting to modify after the first two sections, I got a new burst of energy, which came in handy for the 4 limb section with the cardio weights. The new 4 limb moves, including the back and butt burner, are a welcome addition to years of overhead presses and delt raises with side touches.

There are also some great functional fitness moves for the core using the weights in that section as well.

I also saw, for the first time, a nice sweaty glow on some of the background exercisers. I read a few reviews that said this workout was too easy, but I disagree. Like most FIRM workouts, you can always heavy up on the 4 limb for more of a challenge, but I did just fine with the 3 lb. light weights.


Instructor Comments:
Allison is my favorite of the new FIRM instructors. Her cuing is great and I never missed a step.



I just bought the newest Firm DVDs 2 months and LOVE them. The best part-NO equipment needed except the new cardio hand weights. Which are easy, and very nice grip when you hold them.

The workout is hi/lo cardio with some light toning, but your heart is never stopping. Like other Firm cardio workouts, this one keeps you motivated and interested! The whole running time is 52 min. The workout it self is 39.

What I love about the warm=up is it isnt too long-then you go straight into the workout! The first segment is a fun move doing a "cone touch", which is just stepping to the side, while bringing the leg back. Some knee lifts, and tri-stars. I LOVE the part where you do calve pumps and the "pony" at the same time-great move!

The next segment, there is this great new move called the "back and butt burner", where you start out like you are doing a dead lift, then lifting one arm at a time to do a row, then walking at the same time-you can really feel it-and the music is GREAT in this one!! She also does a new move called the "step n scoop" where you do a reversed lunge-while lifting one arm up at a time doing a "front rasie" (used to tone your front shoulders). There is also some good heart pumping fun jacks with lots of other fun moves-NOT your typical Firm workout like before-and no stepper needed!! And the best part is-the music has REALLY improved! You only need 3 pound weights with this one-although I used 5 my second time. I wouldnt recomend going higher since it is a cardio workout. It's under an hour, but long enough to where you feel its a good cardio workout that is longer than 30 min at least. And the time just flies by! There is NO boring repetitions like some of the other Firm cardio workouts. It isnt an advanced workout, but inbetween inter/advanced.

Try this video-well worth it! Grade A+

Instructor Comments:
Her cueing is VERY excellent in this newer Firm. As tiring as the workout is in some segments, she says things just at the right time. I'd give her an A!!