The Firm: Super Cardio

Allie Del Rio, Jen Carman, Carissa Foster, Dale Brabham
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance



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This workout has already been well reviewed and I admittedly don’t have much to add, but wanted to reiterate that this is a pretty high intensity workout (lots of jogging, high knees, and plyometrics) along with some 4-limb and short (4”) step work. Lately it hurts my feet to do so much high intensity work, especially for 55 minutes, and I find this workout to be moderately adaptable to the rebounder. Especially since the instructors do a lot of arm movements with the steps, you can follow along on the rebounder, and do the 4-limb and step work regularly, which makes a great workout that’s not as hard on the joints. I did that this weekend and got an energized, fun workout that didn’t leave me feeling run down.

Also, as Beth mentioned, the DVD is customizable so you can remove sections that you may not like. I think the DVD is high quality and you can pick it up fairly cheap if you get it used (less than $10). I still prefer some other Firm cardio (Fat Blaster, Cardio Killer, and Maximum Cardio are my favorites) which I can do as is (no modifying) without as much pounding on the joints, and which the choreography is a little easier to follow. But Super Cardio Mix is more advanced and is definitely a bigger calorie burner, even while utilizing the rebounder! I also like that the workout has a lot of continuity (it’s not a compilation-except at the very end when they bring in a clip with Jen with obviously different outfits, and Carissa’s stretch). The music is really pretty good but I don’t like it as much as some other BBH-era Firms. I think at this point, the Firm was trying to become a little more mainstream and the music choices reflected that. It is filmed in the mansion set, but the outfits are significantly less dated (no crazy 80’s thong leotards LOL!) As others have mentioned, this really is a must have for big Firm fans, such as myself. Grade A!

Instructor Comments:
I like all of these instructors and have used them in other Firm workouts (most notably, Super Strength with Jen, Carissa, and Jen-and Nancy in place of Allie). Carissa is my favorite because her Maximum Cardio is one of my favorite workouts, but really they are all very good. Allie is refreshingly serious in this one and doesn’t use the baby talk she does in other workouts. For some reason I get a little confused on Jen’s choreography, but on the whole they all cue fairly well.

Emily B.

07/11/2011

This is a 63 minute ALL cardio workout by the Firm. The set is the old Firm set with a lot of background exercisers. All four leads have their own little segments-about 15 minutes each. The dvd is well chaptered so you can fast forward to skip segments if you choose. This is all original footage! The last segment everyone is wearing different outfits but it isnt a parts video. For this dvd you will need a weighted ball (I uses a 5# ball), a set of light dumbells, and a step or short box.

This is actually 60 minutes of straight cardio! No barbell work, no ab work, no sculpting! Some of the sections are more challenging than others but really, in 60 minutes of cardio you are going to burn some calories and work up a nice sweat! I really really enjoy this w/o! The music is super upbeat and motivating and all the leads do an excellent job-their cueing is spot on and they all have a good energy about them in this one that really makes you want to keep moving. This is a must have for all Firmees IMO!

The cardio work includes: step aerobics, 4 limb work, high impact floor cardio, low impact floor cardio, and cardio with the ball. Jens section is the best IMO, super fun and great combos. But hers is at the end and by that point Im usually a bit tired out. I would prefer hers at the beginning so I could truely enjoy it!

I would rate this a lower advanced workout partly just due to the length of this sucker-60 minutes of nonstop cardio! Like I said, some of the segments arent as challenging but most of them will really get your heartrate up!

lindseylu8

03/16/2010

NOTE: I have the DVD version of this workout, which is title Super Cardio MIX.

I am a bit of a latecomer to this older Firm video. Even though the dated look of the mansion-style Firms tends to put me off, I decided to trade for this DVD because 1) it was supposed to be intermediate-to-advanced, and 2) it was billed as offering 50 full minutes cardio, something that is surprisingly hard to find in a video.

A previous VFer, Kim Sleeth, provided a nice breakdown of this workout, but some of the times I recorded are a little off from hers, so I’ll share my info along with some additional details. For the most part, the transitions between the different segments/instructors flow smoothly, with the exception of a few instances as noted below.

4m, Allie: 3m w/u includes toe taps & full form squats, etc.; ends w/45 seconds of stretching
3m, Allie: short box work with weights includes straddles w/biceps & squats w/overhead presses
3m, Allie: ball aerobics is high impact with jogs and power jogs (i.e., high knees)
2.5m, Allie: plyometrics; includes little jumps out in & bunny hops
Abrupt transition!
2.5m, Carissa: floor aerobics with squats, lunges, kick-ball-changes
2m, Carissa: short box work includes climbs, repeater glutes, & jacks
2.5m, Carissa: “impact aerobics”—little hops on toes with various punching movements
2.5m, Dale: 4-limb work includes side-back-side, front-back lunges, kicks
2.5m, Dale: floor aerobics w/sambas, pivots, kicks, & hi/lo jacks
2.5m, Dale: “low impact” aerobics w/hop steps, v-steps, & skips
2m, Dale: 4-limb work includes marches w/triple steps & power jumps
2m, Jennifer: sports drills with balls includes shuffles, running, plyos
4.5m, Jennifer: low impact aerobics w/hamstring curls, v-steps, & plyos (a lot of TIFTTing!)
2.5m, Jennifer: short box work with turn shuffles, press steps, glute lifts, & mambos
3.5m, Jennifer: 4-limb work includes toe taps w/upright rows & hamstring curls with biceps
3.5m, Jennifer: high impact aerobics includes jogs, knee ups, &kicks (felt like cheerleading)
3m, Jennifer: 4-limb work w/sambas, side-step-side, squat & overhead press
2.5m, Jennifer: short box work with knee repeaters & heel digs
Abrupt transition!
1.5m, Jennifer: quick stretch using step
2.5m, Jennifer: abs work on floor, including obliques and brief plank work
3.5m, Carissa: final stretch, including yoga-like moves (e.g., bow pose)

Overall, my impressions of this workout were mixed. Here’s what I liked/didn’t like:

THE GOOD
*As mentioned above, I liked having a long cardio workout of decent intensity.
*I enjoyed the varied, short segments, as you are constantly changing things up, so you never really get bored (or, if you do, like I did with Jen’s long TIFFT segment, you’ll soon be moving on).
*I liked the different equipment changes; again, this variety helped keep the workout fun and interesting to me. I do have the Firm Fanny Lifter, so I was able to use the low portion of this for the step work, but you could substitute any type of low step or even modify the step work to do on the floor. I also really enjoy incorporating my medicine ball, but again, you could substitute a small dumbbell or skip the ball altogether if desired.
*Although some other reviewers complained that the warm-up was too short, I actually liked this; I find that some Firm warm-ups drag on. I prefer to warm-up quickly and move right into the workout!
*I like that for the most part, the cardio is athletic in style.
*I enjoy doing the plyometrics. I think that the instructors did a nice job with these, as they aren't too overwhelming—i.e., there are usually little breaks between each plyo set, allowing you to catch your breath.
*Finally, the programmable option. The DVD allows users to choose from amongst the 17 different chapters to customize their own workout.

THE BAD
*Although the total workout time is reported on the DVD case as 63 minutes, with 49 minutes of cardio, my actual recorded times were 58 total minutes, with only 46.5 minutes of cardio—a good workout, but not quite the 55-60 minutes that I was hoping for.
*As mentioned, the cardio portion of this workout was shorter than I had expected. I would have preferred to leave out the abs segment entirely--after all, the title of the DVD is "Super Cardio Mix." Give us more cardio!
*An ongoing issue that I have with The Firm is their overly choreographed arms movements--this was especially evident in Jen's one high impact segment, which made me feel like I should be on the sidelines of a football field. :(
*Although I liked the plyos, I didn't like all of the other high impact work, especially the high jogs, etc.; combined with the cheesy outfits and the overdone set, these moves made the workout feel even more dated to me (the actual release date for this workout is 1999, although the segments are taken from previously-released videos). However, experienced exercisers like myself should find it fairly easy to modify the workout to suit their own tastes as I did.
*For the most part, the music really was not very good; the best I can say is that it sounded like upbeat elevator music. One of Carissa's segments, which included some vocals, was a bit better.
*Finally, although this DVD is programmable, it is otherwise not very user-friendly. The Main Menu does appear immediately when you start the DVD, but if you select “Play Workout,” you are forced to watch outdated Firm advertising that you can’t skip or fast-forward through.

In summary, this workout was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because the cardio wasn't quite as long as I was hoping for. However, I am keeping this video for now, as I did enjoy the variety of the different segments, and I think with the programmable feature, I can find a way to make this DVD work for me.

Instructor Comments:
My feelings about the instructors were mixed. I liked Allie the best; I thought she cued well. I had no problems following Carissa's cuing either, although I've always thought she was a bit understated, especially for a Firm instructor. Dale comes across as very stiff to me, and I did not think she lead her sections well at all--in fact, during her first segment, which was somewhat dancey, the camera focused mainly on the background exercisers, particularly Carissa, whose form was MUCH better than Dale's! Finally, I know people really love Jen, but I actually found her cuing the most difficult to follow; she often seemed to cue late to me. Also, as a background exerciser, she just seemed WAY too over-the-top.

Beth C (aka toaster)

09/29/2009

What a great workout! I think this is one of the best FIRM cardio tapes widely available. Others have described it in detail so I won't say too much here.

The DVD is fully chaptered which makes it a really versatile workout to have. I often do only the low impact segments for a shorter workout. If you don't have the ball, and don't want to substitute something else, you can always skip those segments.

There is a great variety of moves done throughout the workout: high impact, low impact, step, ball etc. Each instructor brings her own style which really makes it fun.

One thing I really don't like about this workout, and many other firm tapes, is that the stretch is not very good at all. There are two stretch segments here, and both are well choreographed, but neither does a full range of stretches or holds them long enough. I always need to add on more stretching afterwards.

Otherwise, not much to complain about! Another good production from the FIRM.

Instructor Comments:
At first I wasn't sure if I'd like all of the instructors in this workout, but after doing it a few times my thoughts changed. All of them have fun, upbeat personalities that really shine on camera. They're great.

Megan

09/27/2004

I didn't enjoy this one near as much as I liked Super Sculpting. Perhaps it's because I am not very big on cardio…nonetheless, I will do my best to review it here.

The workout did get my heart rate up…but I felt it was a struggle to keep going because I was just not enjoying myself. The instructors are Jennifer Carman, Carissa Foster, Allie Strickland (Del Rio), and Dale Brabham. I really enjoyed Dale's sections (but I do love Dale's no-nonsense style alot in any video she is in).

The breakdown is:

Warm up: 3 min
Stretch: 1 min
Cardio: 49 min
Cooldown/stretch: 3.5 min
Abdominals: 3 min
Final stretch: 3.5 min

Total: 63 min

You need dumbbells, fanny lifter, and an optional weighted ball (although the ball does definitely make those parts unique and kinda fun). The music is great (right up there with Super Sculpting) and it is one of the more modern feeling Firm workouts that were filmed in the mansion set. I don't like it, but many people here at VF do so it might have to be your own judgement call.

Cori (ziggy2306)

02/25/2004

This is a wonderful video. The workouts are strenuous enough to build muscle tone and get your blood pumping. I was power walking/jogging 4 miles a day until I was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. I had to switch to another exercise routine that was softer on my feet. I do this video with 6 lb weights and adjust the exercises so they are low impact. I do not use a step and rather than jog, jump, or hop, I do kicks. (I have to confess, I do the plyos even though they're high impact because they're fun.) It's been a very easy adjustment because the timing still fits the video. I love the music. I can't wait to do the routines each morning. I have noticed a difference in my thighs, rear, arms, and back since starting the video 3 mos ago. If you suffer from foot problems as I do, the exercises can be adjusted in this video for low impact while still giving you a heck of a workout.

Sunny

12/17/2003


If you use "real" weights, you will also get an arm workout. To keep it a "cardio day" workout, though, you can use very light or no weights at all, and still get a good workout.

A medicine ball is used in a couple segments, but a light dumbell can easily be substituted.

The set is the pleasant, pre-body sculpting system set, with the oriental carpets, statues, and large paintings in the background. I like it. The background exercisers are wearing pretty modern workout clothes, and for the most part so are the instructors, although Jen and Allie wear some pretty bright, weird stuff (leotard, turtleneck-like top) in a few of the segments. (That's a funny thing about the workout: all of it looks continuous, except for two short segments where all of a sudden, everyone's wearing something new).

The music varies. There is some annoying-but-bearable techno music, some normal, barely-noticable music, and some fun rock music.

Now for the one thing that I dislike about the workout: There is no cool-down! We're in the middle of a step cardio section, and out of nowhere, we're told to stretch. It's not that the cooldown is poor; it's nonexistent! I just quickly go back and do the warmup over again, but this would be a pain for someone who has the workout on VHS.

The stretch after the short ab section (which I usually skip) is okay, but not great. Some of the stretches are too yoga-like for me, but some of them feel really good.

Instructor Comments:
They're all good, to varying degrees. Jen Carmen is my favorite as a background exerciser because of her great form and inspiring looks. Allie, with her perky, fun voice is my favorite lead.

Natalie

11/24/2003

This tape is wonderfully cued together. I did buy Cardio sPlit 1 before these two. One thing that puzzled me was in Cardio Split #1, during the ab section, there seemed to be a part where Jen does this crunch lifting upper/lower, then together-was not in Super cardio or super sculpt. And im still wondering where that ab section came from. (unless they had put it in before or saved parts they never really used in the Super Shapers and put some in Cardio SPlit #1-like the upper warmup with light weights when Jen is warming up the upper body-thats not in Super Shapers at all. And the end of Super Cardio they are all of a sudden in different outfits that fall out of scenery since its all nice with brown colors-to then bright colors and messy hairstyles...Libby is in it though!! Shes a nice surprised. It just made me laugh at Jen's last step section. And the abs came after the strech which i wish came before. Overall GREAT and FUN workout (Except i think ill fast forward that very last step box segment right to the abs). I do like that the moves arnt too high impact. So far Cardio Burn and Tough Aerobics mix are the most high impact ive ever seem (besides Core Cardio 1 also). But i love how this is the longest cardio tape from the firm besides the core cardio tapes...i also have Super Sculpt and i say these two are the BEST Cross Trainers with a close second of Upper SPlit and Lower Split. I will also alternate these super shapers with Cardio Split #1. GRADE AAAAAAA!!

Instructor Comments:
All were wonderful. Cueing is off a lot since they hardly tell you some of the different moves. I did not like at the last segment with Jennifer Carmen when all of a sudden you see everyone in different clothing and ruggy hairstyles. Alli's hair looked messy all of a sudden and she was suddenly wearing bright colors and her pantyhose color didnt go well with her real tan (that looks really well)....plus i feel they just added that last segment just to have another segment..i skip this one. Sorry everyone just suddenly looks so messy in the very last segment.LOL

anonymous

10/17/2003

I only recently bought Firm Super Cardio and was pretty happy to find a relatively newish Firm that continued in the old tradition. I bought the DVD that can be programmed, but I'm finding that I like to just do it straight through as is. After doing this DVD twice, I really like it, but with a few reservations. This workout has a LOT of plyo jumps. I can't say I'm fond of doing quite so many plyos and usually modify some of them. What really gets me is when the instructor will say "prepare for low impact aerobics" and then start plyo-ing like crazy. Argh!

Some of the moves were really fun such as the skippy jumpy thingie. Some of the segments were too repetitive, such as Jen's V-step plyo thing, but luckily segments were not too long, so the boredom was short-lived. That's the beauty of DVD also--you always have the option of skipping it quickly or programming it out altogether.

Dale led a section that included mambos and cha-chas, which were not a good fit for her. She was too stiff and would have done better with something more athletic--not dancy. She has a great body and these moves did not do her justice. She'd be better on a weights video.

Near the end, they all magically have different outfits and a rotating cast, making me think that this was a parts video at first. I still am not sure if the end was tacked on from another video or if it was made just for this one. It's strange, but I have come to associate it with the video being almost over, so it's a relief for me.

I'm troubled by the sudden stretch with no cooldown directly folowing vigorous aerobics. Isn't that dangerous? I pause the DVD and walk around for a minute or two, but I wonder how this would bode for someone who doesn't know any better and just stops cold with them.

Carissa's stretch is odd. I liked her during the cardio segments, but it seemed like she was vamping it up here--rolling around seductively rather than truly stretching. I substitute my own stretches during this time and for a while afterward.

This workout wipes me out (I think I'm mid to high intermediate), which is good. It's kind of funny-Jen will some on and for the last few segments I'm saying PLEEEEEASE let this be the last one! Despite my complaints, I still like this workout a lot. I like that it is a series of short aerobic segments instead of long continuous ones; it makes it easier to get through the really hard parts (plyos, anyone?). I like seeing Allie's sweat near the beginning. I like playing with a ball. I like a lot of the music. I like that there are some easier segments in there to give me time to catch my breath. I like the rotating instructors (adds variety). All in all, an enjoyable workout.

Instructor Comments:
Jen is one of my favorite instructors and keeps up the good work here. Not sure what to think of Carissa or Dale. Allie is likeable.

Beth

10/05/2003

This is a very good, very tough all-cardio workout from the FIRM. Although I usually prefer dancier aerobics, this is a great one for those days when I simply want to sweat and am not in a dancy or TIFTing mood, and the workout has a nice variety of routines and instructors that keeps me from becoming bored.

This is certainly the toughest cardio workout from the FIRM that I have tried, and it would be best for experienced exercisers. There are many, many plyo jumps, jumping jacks, and all sorts of hops, so if you do not like high-impact, you would need to modify or avoid this one altogether. Both the warmup and final stretch are too short for my liking, so I usually do the warmup twice, and stretch on my own after the workout.

Compared to other FIRM workouts, this one doesn't require that much equipment, and you can get by just fine with a step and a set of dumbbells. Since I do this one on my cardio days, sometimes I just skip the weights on this one altogether, since all the impact gives me plenty of intensity anyway. They use a medicine ball in 2 routines, but I doubt that I would go out and buy a ball just for this workout if I didn't already have one on hand.

Unlike the newer FIRM workouts, this DVD actually has chaptering and some programmable features, which is nice. The DVD also includes the FORM POINTS instructional segment, which the FIRM used to give away with an order.

Instructor Comments:
The workout features Allie, Carissa, Dale and Jen Carmen, who take turns leading about 4 sections each. Overall, they all do a pretty good job, and I don't recall any major cuing problems.

Mary K.

07/08/2003

Whoa, this has to be one of the hardest cardio aerobic workout available on the market!!! I am an advanced exerciser, but beware of this workout, you will be sort of jacked-up for the rest of the day. Not recommended for beginners of any kind.

First the good. Minimal equipment is needed for this workout (unlike other Firm videos), just a ball (I use a regular basketball), pair of dumbbells (I use 5 lb) and a step (I do not own a Fanny Lifter, I use a regular 6 inch step). Music is fun and some of the step routines, particularly J. Carmen's towards the end are different. By the end of approximately 12 to 15 minutes you will be sweating, guaranteed. In fact, this workout is so challenging, I actually have to keep my movements small and the plyo jumps low so I can make it through the entire tape. D. Brabham's section is well-paced and pleasant too.

Now the bad. Warmup by A. Stickand is very short, take advantage of that fact and use this time wisely.
Same goes for the ab section and cool-down, too short for the workout in my opinion. Some of the segments are taught without regard to a first time viewer who may not be familar with Firm aerobics, cueing being very quick and with no advance notice.

That being said this still is the DVD to chose if you want to kick it up a notch for the day. The DVD is chapted so that you can choose several segments at a time if you are pressed for time. Well worth the $20 I paid for it at Target.

Sydney Haughton

06/13/2003

(this is a review of the DVD version: Super Cardio Mix)

I am an intermediate exerciser. Right now, my main health goal is weight loss, so I am doing a lot of cardio, and trying to make much of it longer cardio (45 minutes to an hour). That is one of the reasons I LOVE this workout, because it gives me about 50 minutes of heart-pumping cardio. The options on the DVD for choosing the sections you want to do look great, but I haven’t used them because I’ve wanted the whole workout. Someday, when I scale back on the length of cardio I’m doing, I’ll use them.

This DVD gives a great cardio workout. It is varied in the type activity you do and in rotating the instructors, but, unlike some Firm workouts, it does not make me dizzy from the instructor switches. I really like how each instructor has a block of time in which she leads several routines in a row and then they switch instructors. The choreography is fairly basic and easy to pick up on (something good for us choreography klutzes!).

It does require some floor space since you have to move sideways, backward, and forward in some sections. Also, I like to set my step up off to the side so that I don’t have to always be moving it. THAT would be a pain.

I modify many moves in this workout to low impact. The thing that irritates me about it is that they don’t even seem to understand what “low impact” means. In one “low-impact” section, they have you jumping and coming down. She even encourages you to put some air under your feet. However, any moves that I consider higher impact, I have had no problem modifying to a lower impact.

They do require some equipment. You need: a step, light dumbbells (I use 5 pounds), and a weighted ball (I use a 5 pound one, up from the 3 pounder I started with). You could substitute dumbbells for the weighted ball, I assume.

I know a lot of people hone in on the music. All I can say about it is that I liked it. It seems to be more upbeat than some Firm workouts and I feel it enhances the motivation I have in several sections. It is all instrumental.

Laura S.

04/12/2003

Super Cardio is part of the super Shapers set, which is worth their special price of 31.97 for both. This was the first time I ordered from Firm Direct(I never much cared for their workouts before). I love cardio, and Firm cardio is not true cardio, but something different and I found enjoyable.

It starts out with a short warm-up, but still thorough. Allie starts the aerobics short box/light weight movements-straddles with bicep curls, squat/shoulder presses and squat pulses. There are many equipment changes, going from low impact/floor, to hi impact floor, a small segment of short box/fast tempo no weight movements. There is a smattering of everything(dips, lunges, power jumps, bunny hops, tri-star, jogging, power runs, hop steps, V steps, tap side/ball change....you get the idea. It's all simple basic moves, that are easy to follow, but still fun. And the music is good. Still Firm techno(that's what I call it), but some songs you'll recognize and upbeat. The intensity is intermediate, but combined with another video, it's great.

Instructor Comments:
As I continually say, Firm instructors are "stiff". some people call it "sexy", but they come across as snobbish( I don't know why the Benson sisters do that to these instructors). But, I have to say, as far as their abilities as teachers, are concerned, they do a nice job.

germaine

02/06/2000

Just adding my 2 cents. I really, really like this Super Shaper series. It's what the Blast Set should have been. Some of the routines are in CC1 & CC2 but with different instructors and exercisers. (Allie leads a ball-aerobics segment that Carissa leads in CC1.) The continuity is much better because the cast is pretty much the same and the instructors are all exercising in the background too. There's more time to get and put away the various equipment necessary for a Firm video so this doesn't feel like a compilation of several tapes. The warm-up stretch is about 4 minutes with a 3 minute Yoga style cooldown. Even the intensity queen, Cathe F. has lengthy warm-ups and cool-downs for intense exercise. If anyone is debating whether to Get CC1, CC2 and Bust & Butt or Super Shapers, get Super Shapers which consist of Super Cardio, Super Sculpting & Cardio Split. (Besides, you save a few bucks.)

Instructor Comments:
Allie was first seen in the Crosstrainer's Firm Strength and Firm Cardio working out with poundages too heavy to handle(or so it seemed.) Her girlish voice in Fat Blaster was irritating she was a competant instructor.l She's much better in this series. Dale looks and moves like an athlete. I thought she had the best cueing in CC1 and CC2. If and when the other Firm Cardios are released, hers would be the one I would buy. Carissa has the longest legs since Susan Harris. She leads the yoga- style stretch that was supposed to be at the end of the Blast Set. Jen Carman really comes into her own in Super Shapers, very high energy, genuine smiles and great rapport with the exercise.

Jean L. Wakefield

01/21/2000

Surprise, surprise! I ordered this video based on the reviews it had received so far and because of the deal the Firm offers for the Super Shapers set. However, I was not expecting to be very challenged by this tape, because the Firm is not known for its tough cardio workouts. I figured I could use some cross-training, since most of my longer tapes are step tapes and this one is primarily floor aerobics with some step sections thrown in. Well, much to my surprise, the Firm CAN make a challenging cardio workout! There were a few sections where my heart rate dropped a bit (Dale's section where you step side to side and do a triple step in the middle comes to mind), but it never dropped out of my THR zone. Also, if it's a concern for you, there are only a few high-impact sections (mostly plyometric jumps), and it seems they would be easy enough to modify. You could do some low jacks during the jumps, for example.

This tape is also a lot of fun. I never got bored because (again, in typical Firm style)the instructor kept changing and because you keep alternating between floor and step aerobics, and between using weights and not using weights. If you want variety, this is definitely the tape to find it on!

All in all, I really enjoyed this tape, and I think it will become a regular part of my rotation. It's a ton of fun, it offers plenty of variety, and is a nice change of pace from all those step videos I normally use for my "long" cardio days. No, it's not as intense as Cathe's tapes, but it IS challenging if you use full range of motion. It's a nice length, too--right around 50 or so minutes of cardio (not including warm up and cool down). One note: the abs section is a joke. It's short and not very challenging at all. But, I usually do abs on my strength days anyway, so this did not really bother me.

I think this tape would be a great addition to your collection if you are looking for some variety and if you don't mind the "Firm approach" to exercise videos!

Instructor Comments:
All the instructors were likeable and had beautiful bodies, as is typical with a Firm video. However, tere were sections where their cuing could have been better. But, this is also typical of a Firm video!

Renae Brock

01/19/2000

This is the longest aerobic tape from The Firm yet; 53 minutes! For some reason I don't get as wasted with this tape as with Core Cardio 1. I suppose it's the way the segments are put together. There's a bit more opportunity to catch one's breath, but it's a great workout! I'm so thrilled The Firm is making longer videos again. The only thing that surprised me was for the first time they recycled old routines. When you've made this many videos I guess you start to run out of new ideas.

Instructor Comments:
No one annoyed me this time. What can I say?

Lena Yester

01/14/2000

When I first heard from other viewers that this tape featured repeat choreography and music from previous FIRMs, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed and leery. But now I can honestly day that this is a great tape, repeat choreography and all! I've even done it on days after CC2, but with the different instructors doing the moves, they do seem new. What baffles me is why the FIRM didn't just use different music? Did that thought never occur to them? They could've easily just switched a familiar move with new music and used the previously heard tunes for the new moves and no one would've been the wiser. That is, assuming that they just HAD to use the same music, however, last time I checked, there were about a billion different songs in the world.

Anyway, the workouts are fun, fresh, and challenging. You'll definitely get a good sweat going.

But be forewarned, this is another parts tape. The FIRM now has this irritating thing where they're selling their parts tapes before the originals come out, which makes the prices higher for us FIRM Believers. Since the workouts have been broken down already, let me just say that my least favorite is Carissa's high impact where she does the plyos with the chest press. For some reason, I always feel that the beat of the music is too slow for those moves, and it feel akward. But I just love that "cover girl" smile that she has on her face during Jen's ball drill segment. She looks like she's having so much fun. I always smile when I see that. Let me also thank the genius who put Jen Carman's segments at the end. I love that girl! She is fast becoming my favorite instructor (behind Susan Harris, of course!) She just radiates honest enthusiasm. Because I'm not used to cardio workouts that long, there have been many times where I've been tempted to stop early, but then Jen's segments will come up, and I just have to do them just to see her smiling face! She's really encouraging. Also, I think she performed the repeat segments much better and with better form than previous segments. I felt that the beginning and ending stretches were way too short, but overall this was a fresh and fun workout and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Instructor Comments:
All good, especially Jen Carman. I hope to see her as the single lead in a FIRM video one day.

Genelle

12/31/1999

This is SO MUCH BETTER than Bust & Butt/Core Cardio videos! In Super Cardio, there are still the dreaded plyo jumps, but not as many, and some (but not all) of the moves are similiar but the sequencing makes it much more enjoyable. The music kicks and they give the instructors 2-4 songs in a row instead of switching them out all of the time. Most importantly the editing of this set of vids is far superior. One of the reasons I no longer have the B&B/CC in rotation is because they gave us all these props to use but give us no time to strike the old ones and get the new ones. I hated having to "pause,rewind,play" in between every freaking song. Super Sculpt feels like the Firm Strength (or Strong Body) video without the cardio moves. The only thing I didn't care for is the "yoga style stretch"; it went way fast for yoga and the move from lying down with your legs spread to quickly sitting up made my lower back creak and I don't have back problems.

The only other thing that bothered me was that in Super Cardio the instructors took the time to breakdown a simple step like the "tri-star" move before adding arms, etc. yet they didn't take the time to break down the more difficult moves like the step "shuffle X3, press, leg extension, mambo back step change, repeat! I'm not necessarily blaming the instructors because they don't design the workout. I'm just questioning the designer's logic. Definitely worth purchasing! My new faves! They will remain in my rotation.

Instructor Comments:
The instructors were great as all the firm instructors usually are. I read in a review earlier that someone had a problem with an instructors breast enhancement and "what kind of message is that?" And that another one looked to "butch". Frankly, who cares? Sometimes we women are our own worst enemies. Did they do a good job or not? I thought they all did great, especially Jennifer Carmen! The Firm should do a video with her, Susan Harris and Tracie Long as the primary instructors.

MICHELE WARD

12/23/1999

Okay, I have mixed feelings about this video. On the one hand, it is fun and I like it. On the other hand, I think the FIRM is kind of misrepresenting it.

They sell it as "low impact (also *very* minimal high-impact plyometric jumps)". And, while the video is fun, it is NOT low impact. It is quite clearly a hi-low workout, with running, skipping, and quite a few plyo jumps. Anyone who needs low impact should know that.

Also, I can't speak to the point of how much of the choreography in this video is lifted from the Core Cardios, because I didn't get them. (Because they were advertised as high impact, I might add.)

That said, the video is FUN! The segments are short and flow together well. So, at least for me, even when I start a high impact segment, I know its going to end in about 3 minutes.

The higher impact also makes for a pretty intense workout. I can pretty much work out as hard as I want to with this one.

Oh, I have to say I was distracted by that stupid little oof ball. I just don't get the point of that, but it is only used in a couple of segments. (I mean, what is THAT about? Maybe they figure women are always juggling things, so we'll feel more comfortable if we're holding something? But why a ball? Afraid they'd get sued if we were slinging around babies and we accidentally tossed one out the window? Maybe I should do the workout holding my purse...? THAT would add some intensity! Sorry, I've digressed.)

The ab work at the end has some unusual (at least to me)reverse crunch hip twists in them. I'm not sure how safe those are, because I feel them a little in my lower back.

Bottom line: Its a fun workout, but I probably won't do it very often because my knees won't let me. (And I'm sure NOT going to go buy a dumb little ball for it.)

Instructor Comments:
As (almost) always, the FIRM instructors do a good job.

Laura (LCC)

12/13/1999

My new addiction: I wish I could do it every day. The music is outstanding, and even though the routines are from other tapes, it doesn't bother me - I love all of it (49 minutes not including warm-up and cool-down). Lots of plyos, jumps, high impact to satisfy this cardio nut. Jennifer Carmen's last 21 minutes is so great, I may do it twice until I get sick of it. I love her two step routines and can imagine her doing a step video - she would be amazing. This tape has surpassed Core Cardio I as my new favorite Firm tape.

Instructor Comments:
All high on my list of favorites, especially Jennifer Carmen.

maryann parker

12/08/1999

After purchasing Cardio Split #1 and loving it, I decided I would splurge and get both of the Super Shaper videos. I have to say that I am not disappointed. I have not been thrilled with many of the Firm tapes since Strength and Cardio, but I think the Firm did a great job with this series.

Kim did a very thorough breakdown of the workout, so I will just add my opinion. I consider myself an advanced exerciser, and this workout had me sweating. What stands out the most to me is the music - it is the best the Firm has used yet. Another music note; it is LOUD...I hate it when you cannot hear the music in a video. I liked the fact that each instructor taught several segments - none of that switching back and forth constantly. At first I was disappointed that they used some of the same choreography from the Blast series - same stuff, different instructors. But, I can honestly say, that after a few times through the workout this does not bother me. The "repeated" segments blend in well with the "new" stuff, and it really is a great workout.

I would not call this a low-impact workout. They use a lot of plyo moves; so if your knees are looking for a gentle workout, this might not be the one for you.

I hope the Firm keeps producing these types of workouts. Not to worry, this video will NOT be on the exchange. My video budget is happy with me.....wait, WHAT budget?

Instructor Comments:
Jennifer Carmen has the longest segments in this video, and I can see why. She just shines! I don't know why, but I enjoyed Dale more in this video than the Blast series. Maybe it is the hairdo....who knows, I am fickle.

Suzanne M.

11/30/1999

This video is from the Firm Super Shapers set. Supposedly it was a brand new video - but it is obviously a "parts" type video taken from at least 3 other tapes. Not a bad thing though. Here's the breakdown:

4:00-Allie: warm up & stretch
3:00-Allie: low impact step w/lt wts
3:00-Allie: low impact with ball (same as Carissa in CC2)
3:00-Allie: hi/lo (lots of plyos) (same as Dale in CC1)
2:30-Carissa: low impact including lunges, dips & squats
2:30-Carissa: low impact step with repeaters
2:30-Carissa: low impact
2:30-Dale: low impact w/wts including lunges & dips (same as Dale in CC2)
3:00-Dale: low impact w/sambas, pivots, kicks & hi/lo jacks
2:30-Dale: low impact w/hop steps and v’s
2:30-Dale: low impact with lt wts, marches with triples & power jumps (same as Carissa in CC1)
2:00-Jennifer: ball aerobics: running, plyos
4:00-Jennifer: low impact with hams, v’s plyo’s (same as Tamela in CC2)
2:30-Jennifer: low impact step, shuffles over board, etc
3:30-Jennifer: low impact w/lt wts: rows with step touches & hams with bicep curls
3:30-Jennifer: hi impact with arms: running, kicks, knee lifts: fun!
3:00-Jennifer: low impact w/lt wts, sambas (same as Tamela in CC2)
2:30-Jennifer: step with low impact
2:00-Jennifer: stretch using step
3:00-Jennifer: abs including holding oblique twists
3:00-Carissa: yoga style stretch

I purchased the Super Shapers set after receiving Cardio Split #1 and totally loving it. I thought if CS1 was taken from Super Shapers then they would be great videos. Super Cardio is a GREAT video. Time totally flies while doing it. It’s about as diverse as an exercise video can get. It’s not tough (I am an advanced exerciser) but for me it’s a lot of fun.

I am somewhat disappointed in the way the Firm created it. There are 6 segments that were taken from the blast series videos. Is it that expensive to come up with new choreography and music? Before they released Super Cardio they released Cardio Split 1 which had none of the “old” blast segments. Was this done purposely so we wouldn’t be “on to them” before Super Shapers was released? I just really have to question their motives on this one.

Instructor Comments:
Being familiar with the Firm style made the moves easy to catch on to. The cueing is mediocre. The set and the instructors (as usual) look great - especially Jennifer Carmen.

Kim Sleeth

11/29/1999

To set the context, I am at a low advanced level and, while I like the FIRM and have many of their tapes, would not consider myself a FIRM believer.

The cover of this video says that there are 51 minutes of cardio including "low impact (also very minimal high-impact plyometric jumps)". If this was minimal, I can't imagine what they consider a lot! It's a really challenging workout and most FIRMies will be thrilled. The cardio segments include a lot of leg work, especially the quads and calves.

The warmup is minimal, as is the stretch. By the end of the first twenty minutes of the cardio segment I was thinking I would be trading this one. Then, it started to kick into gear, getting much more fun, more interesting. There was more choreography, both on the step and the floor, as well as more arm work. Even some tri-stars from Volume 4! The cooldown is very short, as is the ab work.

In sum, even though there's some shortfalls in the warmup and abs, and a lot more high impact than expected, it's a challenging cardio workout. Great for FIRM fans that want something longer than anything else the FIRM has put out before.

Instructor Comments:
Each of the four instructors has something to recommend them. Each is encouraging and tough, and Jennifer Carman seems ready to go into a cheerleading routine she's so perky. None of them cues very well - you have to know the terminology of the various moves ahead of time, and even then, you get little or no warning of a change within the segment. As a side note, I am getting really discouraged by the number of FIRM instructors that obviously have had breast augmentation. What kind of message is that?

Celia M.

11/26/1999

Highly recommended! This video is great for FIRM lovers who want a more cardio oriented video.. I love the FIRM and I was waiting for the release of a more cardio video than in the past. Tough Aerobics Mix is the hardest FIRM in my collection (cardiowise) and this video is right up there too! I love the music.. I like the fact that FIRM is serious about working out. Lots of videos are like "k, lets go clap clap lets get energized!!" and it gets annoying over time. When you do videos like the FIRM videos, it feels like you actually are serious about working out, not only for fun, but for results! I love this video because it seems more non stop than other firms.. it is one section and on to the next quickly.
Each instructor has a block of songs that they do their thing to instead of switching off every song, and I like that.. This video, seems to capture parts of other FIRM videos that were hard, and somehow make them better..
(Like, in CARDIO BURN Tamela Hastie's plyo section near the end *KILLER!* and they make it harder it seems.. and then in MAX CARDIO Carissa Foster does the POWERJUMPS
and they do these again, but Dale does 12 jumps instead of 8 in the center of the exercise) Not all of the exercises are from previous FIRMS though, but what they do do from other FIRMS is great.. ALL of the new stuff is fab and the instructors look great as well..
If you love FIRM and cardio.. get this!

Instructor Comments:
The instructors in this video are great! I love all of them. Jennifer Carmen is very upbeat and happy during her segments and that makes you want to keep going. Dale is great because she is so sculpted, and her segments are no nonsense, but fun too! Carissa Foster and Allie Strickland are good too, they do alot of the early cardio work at the beginning.. and like the other reviewers I think Jen Carmen has the best sets of all of them especially at the end!

James

(no date)

SUPER CARDIO is Fabulous! If you are a FIRM believer, you HAVE to have this video! I don't know anyone that has it and dislikes it!
This video is very intense! non stop cardio really! Some firms, you have to stop, ...put on the ankle weights or take a small rest break , but for this video,it is one section to another! My favorite section is probably Dale Brabham's deltoid lifts while doing a side front side move then a dip with thumbs up biceps..also (i hate/love) the section of plyos with Jen Carmen. This is from CARDIO BURN, but Jen re makes this over.. I like both segments from both videos, but Jen Carmen 's makes me want to push harder and harder, and I have firmer thighs to show for it!
If there was one newer FIRM video to buy it would be Super Cardio because it is long and hard!
Also, the music in this tape is GREAT!

Instructor Comments:
ALL of the instructors on this tape are FABULOUS! I especially like Dale Brabham, I think she is often overlooked for Jen Carmen (who I also love) but Dale makes me want to be strong and fit! I like her segments in Super Cardio, because they are at a lesser speed than the others, a welcome break!
Jen Carmen is FAB too! She is very motivating, and I like that she can do her plyo section without cursing like me!

Naomi

(no date)