The Firm: Prime Power: Lower Body Shaping

Kim Bartlett
Year Released: 1997

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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The name is Lower Body Shaping, but I found it to be more of a full-body workout. There is arm and shoulder work as well. The lower-body work consists of dips, squats, a few (very few) lunges, some bridge work, and some "kick-things." For the kick- things, for lack of a better name, you stand with one knee raised as far as you can raise it, and then you slowly extend your leg with your foot flexed. The instructor says you should feel it in your glutes, but I don't - I feel it more in my quads.

This is an intermediate-level workout. All levels of exercisers can do the arm work by varying the size of the weights. For the leg work, beginners will have a hard time keeping up and advanced will not find it very challenging.

The set is bright, colorful, and a wonderful change of pace! There are lush green trees and a pretty blue sky. It makes me want to go on vacation!

The total workout is about 45 minutes. I think this is great for an intermediate-level exerciser, or for a beginner who wants to work his/her way up. This would be a good introduction to the FIRM way of workout out.

By the way, they don't call this a FIRM workout on the label. It's copyrighted by "Bodylab." I wonder if they're changing their name?

Instructor Comments:
The instructor is fine. She seems "friendlier" than the instructors in the early FIRM tapes.

Annie S.


What I liked about the workout:
- I liked using the towel for neck support during ab work. This is really a comfortable alternative to traditional crunches.
- The warm-up was fun. I think both the Prime Power tapes have great warm-ups. In my opinion, they are the best warmups the FIRM has done to date.
- I liked the triple-count squats w/ rear and lateral leg lifts. You do these exercises with the dowel. The music during this segment was nice.
What I DID NOT like about the workout: (here we go...)
- Too many dips. You do dips, then more dips and then dips again. Dips on the right, dips on the left, dips with a kick, dips with a curl, etc. etc. etc. I was bored out of my mind from doing sooo many dips. There are plenty of other exercises that work the hips, buttocks and thighs. A little variety would have been nice.
- I did not like the "range of motion" exercises. You sit on the stool, touch your toe with the opposite hand, then reach back. I don't really know what range of motion these exercises are beneficial for, but they felt kind of useless to me.
- I thought there were too many exercises that work the quadriceps. Personally, I have a tendency to overbuild my quadriceps, and I typically try to avoid doing exercises that emphasize working the quads. Quadricep exercises in this workout consist of standard squats and dips, plus these seated and standing "kick lifts".
- I thought the aerobics segments were too repetitive. They were pretty boring, with the same combinations time after time.
Just, FYI, this Prime Power workout runs about 42 minutes. Another thing I noticed with both of the Prime Power tapes is that the cast is more varied. The exercisers don't look as lean as typical FIRM people. In fact, one or two of the cast members in the Lower Body Sculpting tape looked like the average woman off the street. Also, men are included in this workout series.
Personally, I was quite disappointed with this tape. For lower body sculpting, I think I'll mostly stick with Tough Tape. I think the Prime Power companion, Fat Burning, is a real winner... but LBS comes up somewhat short.

Instructor Comments:
Kim Bartlett looks like the an updated, aerobically-conditioned version of Betty Crocker. I don't know if it's her hairdo, or her "glazed over" eyes, or the way she smiles... but she looks like she stepped right off a box of cake mix. That aside, she is in great shape, but I really thought her instruction and cueing left a lot to be desired. Especially during the dips with the dowel rod, I was left wondering, "what hand should I hold this dowel, what hand does the weight go in, and what leg am I dipping with now?" Basically, I did not think too highly of this instructor.

Christine Letsky


I've only done this video once, but I know a lot of people are wondering what it's like so here goes.

This is not the type of strenuous workout that most Firm users are used to, but I think it would be a good tape for those days when you don't want a really vigorous workout, but still want to feel like you've done a decent workout. The tape is about 45 minutes long, so it's also good for those days when your pressed for time.

The equipment used includes: a dowel rod (about 48") -- a mop or broom handle could be substituted, dumbbells, stool, and towel.

The sequence of exercises is similar to Strongheart and Strongbody. It's primarily strength training, with some aerobic segments interspersed. I wore my HR monitor in order to see if the workout kept me in my target zone. I found that it usually stayed in the lower range, but once or twice dropped below my target.

I'll try to give kind of rundown of the sequence and the types of exercises. It starts with a pretty basic warmup (marches, toe taps, fast squats) and moves into the stretch , which uses the dowel for balance. The first section after the warm-up/stretch is low-impact aerobics with light (3-5 lb) weights. Next are dips (backward lunges) with 1 heavy weight and the dowel for balance. Dips are used extensively throughout this workout, sometimes alternating with frontal kicks, or glute contractions. Next come squats (w/the dowel), then back to dips. Hover squats are next, first with the weights held at your sides, then on top of the thighs. The one section that I really didn't care for was next. You sit on the stool and alternate leg lifts (interspersed with "power breathing") My heart rate went way down during this section. Maybe that's okay, but I really didn't feel like the leg lifts were doing anything for me. Next are more dips, then plies (sp?). The plies are done with upright rows. Dips again, then more low-impact aerobics with light weights. More dips, squats, then range-of-motion exercises sitting on the stool. BTW, the only squats that are done with weights were the hover squats. The rest are done with the dowel, either planted vertically on the floor in front for balance or held horizontally in front while you squat.

One thing that I wanted to mention with the dips, is that I felt like I was able to dip lower because of the dowel rod and the balance that it gave me. However, I also found that I really needed to pay attention that I didn't use the dowel to come back up, that I use my front leg instead, in order to get the full benefit from the dips.

Ab work was pretty basic, although a towel is used to cradle the head/neck. Basic crunches, lower crunches, and oblique crunches. This is followed by bridgework (very similar to the bridgework in Strongheart), and then stretching is done while sitting on the stool.

I thought the set would be distracting, but it really wasn't. I did this tape back-to-back with the Prime Power Fat Burning tape and I felt pretty good when I was done. I felt like I had gotten a decent workout. While I was doing the Lower Body tape, I didn't really feel like it was very strenuous, but when I started the next tape, I could feel that my legs had done some work.

I don't think these Prime Power tapes will be my favorite Firm tapes, but I do feel they make a good addition to my exercise tapes.

Instructor Comments:

Kim Bartlett has excellent form; however, I wish she would give more form pointers when doing the exercises. She looks like she's in great shape!

Melissa F


The new Prime Power videos are great. They are each 45 minutes in length and give a total body workout. While you are doing the exercises you don't feel like you are working as hard as you really are because you are getting the support from a dowel (I use a broom handle-it works just as well)But after the workout is over I know I have worked hard. I get that sensational feeling in my arms and legs like my muscles have been put to the test again. Another great feature in this new set is the use of the stool. (I use my step up stool- the one my husband built for me to look just like the FIRM's.) It is used as a support for stretching and during the hamstring exercises under your trunk to help keep the back straight while you excercise the legs. Can you picture yourself laying across a stool doing leg lifts? At first I thought it was crazy until I realized that the hamstrings were really being worked properly because I didn't need to worry about holding myself up on my hands and knees. This is another terrific innovative idea from the FIRM. They really do have some smart ideas.

I own all of these tapes: Volumes 1-6, Not So Tough Aerobics, Five Day Abs, Tortoise, Hare, Strong Heart, Strong Body, Tough Tape, Ballroom Aerobics,Lie Down and Workout, and now the 2
new Prime Power tapes. You know all this about not liking the Ballroom moves on the Hare and Tortoise is not true for me. I don't get exhausted with the Hare as some of the other videos but I truly enjoy it and think it is fun. It is something to look forward to when I don't want to work out too heavily. I like having all the variety. The Prime Power workouts are not as long and I like that aspect. They are also a little different from any of the other videos. There is wide variety of music. The settings take on a jungle look,and all the exercisers are wearing bright colors like the feathers of parrots.

I am not interested in any other form of tapes or workouts. The FIRM does it all for me. I'm always ready for the next new thing the FIRM comes up with. I think they do the job like no other fitness industry.