The Firm Basics: Abs, Buns & Thighs

Stacy Millner-Collins
Year Released: 1997

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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If you are new to the Firm or coming back after a long break due to - well, life in general. The BASICS are a great place to start. If you are at a high intermediate or advanced level, you will not find this workout as challenging. But you can add weights instead of the dowel to amp it up.

Ann M


This is a 46 minute cardio and strength routine that focuses on the lower body but does include upper body strength work. Stacey leads in the mansion set with a group of exercisers. You will need dumbbells, a Fanny Lifter, and optional dowel for this workout.

You begin with a warmup and floor work: crunch variations, pelvic floor work, knee pushups, low back spiderman, lying inner thigh pulls & raises, and bridge work. Standing work includes: hover squats, modified box lunges, kicks, v-step, kick & punch, march, dowel dips-bi curl-knee up, lat row, good mornings, dowel pliets, calf pumps, light 4 limb aerobics, standing inner thigh & glute raises w/ bi curls, French press, rhomboid pinch, overhead press, seated oblique work, and concludes with a stretch.

This is a high beginner routine. There are stretches interspersed into the workout low impact cardio. The lower body work does not use weights but you can easily add dumbbells or ditch the dowel for a more intense workout. Some of the cardio work also utilizes the dowel, but I find this optional as well. I received this dvd to review.



I have had this tape for years, but recently started working out again after a three- or four-month period of sloth. This is probably only the second time I have ever done this video (I do not remember the first), and it will be my last. During the four-limbed aerobic periods, Stacey is hopelessly off-beat. Hopelessly. One of the other reviews discussed this, and it is no exaggeration. I think it is more serious than just being behind the count. Each aerobics section has no rhythm, is awkward, and is not at all like the Firm. It is peculiar that they even used this footage. This isn't a cueing error- she just doesn't have any sense of the music AT ALL during these pieces. I wonder if they even used the soundtrack during the filming - that is how 'off' she is! It seems as if the rest of the class is torn between following her or following the music. The weights section is very good (and uses the music well!), especially for a beginner/intermediate tape, but that aerobic section is botched. Royally. There are just too many other Firm videos to use instead of this one.

Instructor Comments:
She is pleasant and elegant, despite the rhythm issue.



I have read the previous reviews of FIRM BASICS Abs, Buns, and Thighs workout with Stacey Millner-Collins, and totally disagree with the reviewers. I am a huge fan of THE FIRM and love all of their videos, but I honestly feel that this one should have never made it to the market. The reason why is because Stacey in only in time with the music for the beginning warm-up and for the rest of the video she starts EVERY sequence one beat ahead. In other words, instead on starting on beat one she starts on beat eight. It is really evident on the low-impact sequence when the beat is very strong. I feel just plain sorry for her when she does the plies to the flowing classical tune, because she literally has to say "pause" because she started wrong; and her face shows it. What makes it worse is she counts out loud and is totally off!! I almost can't blaim her because the music in the video is weird and does not provide a nice steady beat. It took me a few times of doing this video before I figured out why it was so irksome. I can't stand this video and am truly amazed that with all of the people involved in production, that no one told her she was a beat off. Anyone who owns this video needs to look at it again to see that I am right. I e-mailed THE FIRM and told them my findings, although they never responded. While the exercises are great in this video, I simply find it grating on my nerves that she is not on the beat. I give this video a failing grade of "F" and think that THE FIRM should recall it and give all owners a replacement. I also have the FIRM BASICS Fatblaster, with Stacey and Jennifer Carmen, and Stacey does just fine in that video. Unless you can ignore the music and Stacey's horrible job of cuing, DO NOT buy this video.

Christine Eason


I've only done this video twice, and I think my favorite thing about it is the music. It is less cheesy and more workout-like than the other Firm tapes.

This is a good tape, but I am going to put it on the exchange just because it is too basic. Even when I add weights, I just don't feel like I've worked out when I'm done. I had the feeling that would be the case when I bought the tape, but I wanted a new Firm.

One thing I think they should have done differently is show more modifications with weights. For things like squats and bridge work, they didn't use weights at all. I think it would have been nice to have one exerciser use weights for these moves and point out that eventually you may work up to using weights - that would give more of a feeling of being able to grow with this workout.

Jen Blaske


I was so pleased with this video, in production, exercises, intensity and instruction that I convinced my step-mom to buy a copy for herself, recommended it to my grandmother (who's been curious about the FIRM) and bought a copy for my mom. I almost bought another for my aunt, who likes the FIRM, but says it hurts her knees! The pace is slow enough to not scare away beginners, but doesn't skimp on using weights to sculpt the body. A dowel is used during dips and lunges, and hover-squats. The aerobic sections are very easy and are just enough to keep the body warm (perhaps more intense for beginners).

The FIRM still has an odd selection of music, in my opinion, but this one was the least cheesy of all the FIRMs I've bought. They include everything from techno to classical! At this point, their musical quirks are endearing.

Instructor Comments:
Good, clear instruction on weight use, but even though the aerobic sections were incredibly simple, I found her cueing off.



I have done FIRM videos for a while. I like what they do for me, but usually I think they are so cheesy. This video and instructor were a nice change from that. Stacy Millner-Collins is very "real," and I appreciated the comments she made about form. I have often avoided the lunges and dips because of knee problems I've had. Using the dowel helped a lot. I also found the music to be much better than most of the other FIRMs I've used. I give it an excellent rating. Even though I can do harder videos, I think it's really good to do easier ones sometimes and really concentrate on what is going on. GO STACY! I hope we see more of her in the future. I may have to go out and buy the other one she is in. Oh, I also really liked the motivational segment at the end of the tape. A tip: the FIRM Basics were only $12.95 at Target.

Instructor Comments:
I think I like her best of all of the FIRM instructors I've seen, even better than Pam Cauthen.



I found this video to be the easiest of the three FIRM Basics. The exercises are sequenced quite differently than most other FIRM videos. There is a warm up, followed by ab work, bridge work and lying adductions. I also noticed that they tend to work the left side first. There are only two short segments of low-impact aerobics in this video. This video also has more of a "toning" emphasis rather than strength building. There are lots of squats, lunges and dips in the video.

The music is fun, and has a lot of variety. The production quality is excellent (as usual). You will recognize some of the cast from other FIRM videos. (there is a woman from Strong Heart/Strong Body, a man from Prime Power, and lots of people from the other FIRM Basics).

I enjoyed this tape, and like the other FIRM Basics, I would definitely recommend this video to any beginner. Very motivating!

Instructor Comments:
Stacy is fast becoming one of my favorite FIRM instructors. She has a very soothing voice and calm demeanor. Like Mandy Lee said, she's very elegant.
Additionally, she gives good, clear form pointers in this video. My only slight complaint about her teaching in this video is that her cues seem to come a little bit late. Instead of announcing a new step several beats before the change, she announces right on the change. This may cause some mis-steps in the beginning, but once you learn the routine, the late cues shouldn't be an issue.

Christine Letsky


Those of us who have been doing the Firm for awhile, particularly Crosstrainer series won't find this video challenging enough -- but then, it's a beginning workout, so it shouldn't be. The Basic series has a place in my video library for a number of reasons. (This tape in particular because I hate lower body exercise -- I think it's dull and tedious.) The moves in Abs, Buns, and THighs offer variety -- from lunges, squats, dips to dowel aerobics, some upper body, etc. The pacing is very good and the transitions smooth. While not strenuous, I felt like I had gotten a good workout at the end. If you're an advanced excersier, you can increase the intensity just by taking the moves a little deeper or by adding weight. Another good thing about this video is the emphasis on form. I discovered I was doing a few minor things wrong. Overall, I was able to improve my technique -- which I didn't think needed it but ... I was also able to 'ease back into excerise' after a bad flu bug with the help of this tape and the other Firm Basics. (ANother reason I'm glad I opted to buy them) They may be easy on intensity but they are a good segue to the harder stuff like FIrm Cardio and Firm Strength. It's a great beginning for someone new to the FIrm, okay for a light day, and definitely good for when you have to take time out from exercise due to illness.

Overall, I give this tape an A for the reasons stated above. I have recommended it, and the Basic series to two friends who have not exercised in years. Let's see if they take me up on it...

Instructor Comments:
Stacey Milner-Collins does a good job with Firm Basics Abs, Buns, and THighs. There were no real cueing gaffes that I could detect. (Usually the Firm has its share.) I enjoyed her pacing and I felt she did an admirable job of breaking this workout down. Lo and behold, after years of "Firming" I discovered my form needed work, particularly on lunges and dips. Stacey gave careful instruction that was easy to follow. She was in an enviable position -- she had an interesting workout to present, and one that had a lot of variety. Overall, she does a good job.

Debra Pellinacci


This workout is for the beginner excerciser, introducing them to aerobic weight training. It has the same mansion setting as the classic Firms. This video has the same color and painting background as Firm 1.

It starts off with a fun short warm up with great music. Then you go down to the floor for Abs, Pelvic tilts w/ Kegals, Pushups, a little back work. Then you do inner thigh work ( with no weights) and some more kegals. You finish off the floor work with hamstring work done with the tall box ( like Strongheart).

Then you stand up and do some hover squats using the dowel and tall box. All the standing toning( dips, squats and lunges use the dowel in one hand and a weight in the other. Similiar to the Prime Power video's. But the Firm does say that you can use a mop or broom if you don't have a dowel. The aerobics are low impact ( knee ups, marching, kicks). There is a very fun segmant called dowel aerobics. It combines squats, calf raises and leg adductions using the dowel.

Some other weight work includes, lat rows, biceps, tricep french press and kick backs. The tricep work is done to the Nutcracker music. Speaking of music , I love it! It has jazz and classical. All kinds! Some more toning includes double lat row and overhead press.. She does some oblique work where you sit on the tall box and reach sideways to the ground. This is similiar to Prime Power Fat Burning video. This is Stacey's other video. I find that this oblique work done on the tall box is great to keep the obliques in shape while pregnant. You can't get down on your back when you are in your late pregnancy so this is a great substitution.

I think this workout is perfect for the beginner. It is a total body workout.

Instructor Comments:
The word to describe Stacey is " elegant". Her cueing is perfect and she has a super toned body.

Mandy Lee


I'm putting these together becuase they seem to be meant to be used as a group. Each one sort of fills in gaps the others leave. Fat burning has more cardio. Sculpting with weights offers the best instruction I've seen for resistance from the Firm. There's a lot of floorwork in Hips Buns etc. (I like it the least for that reason). I used these videos to get back into exercising after I was hit by a car while crossing the street. Sculpting has some impact in the aerobics, but it didn't bother me, and its very easy to modify, most is used as a connecting step. Personally, I thought these videos had too much floorwork when taken as a whole. The fat burning could've done without most of it and the series would've had a better balance. Over all, they are a great intro to the firm and a good series for beginners who want to learn about weight training. I have several firm videos besides these, and after watching/doing these, I kvetch with laughter when they give instructions. "Strike all your props."???!!! These are perhaps the most overscripted videos around. The instruction in these is better than in previous firms, but the instructors don't sound natural, you can almost see little dialogue bubbles coming out of their mouths. Despite this, they provide a good workout and a solid foundation to help you advance.

Instructor Comments:
All three are very good, use good form and have completely different personalities. Tracey is in great shape, uses perfect form and explains things so clearly. An ideal instructor. Jennifer is bubbly, with a fresh smile and an energetic presence. Stacy is very elegant and calm. She is reassuring and has a soothing voice.

lal vanbrock