The Firm: Volume 5: Abs, Hips & Thighs Workout

LaReine Chabut
Year Released: 1991

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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After a few years of using the other Firm Volumes regularly, I finally chanced trying Firm Volume 5, which had scared me off because of all the three-count moves (as opposed to four-count like all other videos in existence use!) But it was a leg day and I was feeling adventurous. Actually, I thought the moves were fairly easy (or not as bad as I thought) to follow. This video is 45 minutes which seems brief for a classic Firm, especially because this workout had a generous amount of floor work. This workout was of course filmed in the mansion set with over a dozen background exercisers (including Kelsie I believe!), and the music is an interesting mix of rock and tropical island themed instrumentals. Not the best music the classics, but still very good and in synch to the exercises.

Only about the first 25 minutes are spent standing, including 5 minutes spent on a warm up which included static stretching, and another 15 minutes on three step aerobics tunes to pre-exhaust the legs, then a heavier, pretty tough, leg press+squat segment (the one used in Standing Legs), and a set of French press, before moving on the floor. [The French press seemed out of place to me given the leg emphasis of the workout, so I subbed plie squats since the inner thighs were not yet worked Ė this worked great!] The step aerobics tunes were easy to follow and LaReine moved slowly to really preexhaust the legs. The first set is unweighted while the second two sets use very light weights and work the arms. There were some three count moves but it felt like triple steps which helped me to follow along. The leg press section is excellent and has two sets of 12 reps on each leg, sandwiching a set of 12 squats, before moving to the other leg Ė so all in all 24 sets of leg press on each leg and 24 squats!

Floor work included a very long ab work set, two sets of table work (the first being a heavy set and the second being lighter with long lever lifts), two sets of pushups (16 reps total), a bridge set, and a very long inner/outer thigh lift set. LaReine went through all of the moves on one leg before moving to the other leg, to really max out each leg at a time. While there were less reps here than with Susan in Volume 1 (whose leg work on the floor is of a comparable length) LaReineís reps were slower and more controlled, making them pretty intense. (Although Volume 1 remains champion of the most challenging floor work in my book). LaReine follows a six slow-four quick rep routine throughout her floor work. The floor work was certainly effective and I was feeling thoroughly worked out by the end! The final stretch is mostly for the legs, appropriately.

Other notes:

(1)-There is a rewind option for the step aerobics and let press+squat segments, for you to reset your VHS to 0:00 minutes then rewind that ~20 minute portion to make the workout more like 65 minutes. I didnít use that option this time, but can see myself using that feature in the future to really intensity the workout! I thought that was a pretty creative option!

(2)-Also, like Volume 6, there were NO lunges in this workout. Thatís pretty darn impressive especially considering it was a leg focused workout. Although, I was disappointed that there was not more standing work for the legs Ė I suppose hover squats hadnít been ďinventedĒ yet by the Firm but they could have done standing leg abductions, more step aerobics, or even some floor aerobics might have helped bulk up the workout somewhat.

(3)-While I could follow along okay, the three count moves were sort of annoying. Hopefully this will get better as I get more accustomed to the workout, it was somewhat confusing (especially with the ab work-which I felt went on too long-ugh!) and the six count slow/four count fast was just strange and not what I was accustomed to. Iím glad the Firm found this to be a mistake and didnít try to do that again.

(4)- I was surprised that this really just wasnít as intense as the other Volumes. I was expecting it to be as intense (if not more, being leg focused) than the other volumes, and even while using heavy weights, and 8Ē step for the aerobics (instead of a 6Ē), and using heavy ankle weights during the floor work, it wasnít AS challenging as I expected (although it was still an intense workout).

(5)-There were no high intensity jumps or plyometric jumps in this one. It was entirely low impact. That, paired with the complete lack of lunges, was great for those with knee problems (like me!) It was comparable to Volume 6 in intensity although that one had more standing/less floor work.

In conclusion, itís another good classic Firm workout although certainly not one of my favorites. Itís recommended for Firm believers like me who will have a lot of patience with it and will appreciate the variety, but thereís certainly better leg-focused AWT workouts out there (Firm Better Body and Buns is fabulous). I probably wouldnít recommend it, although I will continue to do it on occasion to spice up the variety. I would classify it as intermediate but can be modified up or down depending on poundage used. Using the rewind option (along with using heavy poundage, ankle weights, and a tallish step) might up the challenge to high intermediate-low advanced. Overall grade B.

Instructor Comments:
LaReine was a pretty good instructor. She gave good form pointers and mirror cued. She was sort of flirtatious and smiled coyly for the camera (which didnít bother me). She didnít seem to have any annoying tendencies. I didnít have a strong opinion for or against her really.

Emily B.


This is a 40 minute lower body & ab focused AWT workout led by LaReine with a variety of background exercisers in the original mansion set. You will need a variety of dumbbells, ankle weights, a short and a tall box for this workout. This workout also has a bonus rewind segment where you can do the standing portion 2ce to make this a 60 minute w/o. It was the VHS version of premixes.

I like this workout though its not a favorite classic for me. I only do the 40 minute version because the 60 minute rewind version is really quite grueling IMO. After a long warmup she goes into standing lower body work (with some upper body work interspersed). You will do leg press, lunges, squats, aerobic stepping and some lighter weight higher rep upper body work mixed in there. Though most of it is strength work my heartrate sores during this section!

After the standing work (that goes by fairly quickly really) you go down to the floor for a lengthy ab section-mostly upper & lower crunches-nothing very fancy but I sure feel it! From there you move into weighted & unweighted donkey kicks, inner and outer thigh leg lifts, some bridge work, and a few token pushups for good measure before you finally start your final stretch.

I would rate this w/o a high intermediate or low advanced-it really packs a punch in 40 minutes and besides the lengthy w/u there is really NO time wasted. My lower body is definately feeling it today. I like LaReine as a lead though her cueing (as w/ most the Classics instructors) is a bit off for whatever reason-its like they all cue a bit too soon or a bit too late. But none of the moves are hard to catch onto.



Vol. 5 was one of those workouts I wasn't sure I wanted to own until I tried it again. As the title states, this is a lower body intensive workout. It also includes a 10 minute rewind section for the aerobics, a novelty at a time when there were no DVD players. I sometimes use this feature, but more often than not I'm trying to survive the tall box climbs, lunges and killer ab section. Again, I don't get some of the comments about the instructor because in the course of any workout, I'm more focused on making sure I'm doing the right thing at the right time than whether or not the instructor is perfect. A good, solid lower body workout.

Instructor Comments:
LaReine is a good instructor who givse good cuing and instruction.



I usually do this workout minus the floor exercises; for me the begining portion, with the aerobic "rewind", and the abdominal workout is sufficient. I agree that the "Double Aerobic" option is VERY lame. I would have preferred an extended aerobic workout, without having to repeat the same workout. Instead The Firm markets the rewind option as if it's a breakthrough in the fitness industry. How stupid do they think we are?

I use a regular step, not The Firm's stool; the stool seems dangerous. I also don't think that it's necessary to step up 10 or 14 inches for an effective workout.

I buy my videos at garage sales and second hand stores. This one cost me $2 - money well spent and I use it regularly. Results come quick, it's fun.

Thank you

Instructor Comments:
Ms. Chabut is okay, not exactly warm, but she does a decent job.

May Shatavsky


This tape has been broken down-so this is just my opinion about it. I bought this video from the Firm when it first came out, and had not used it in years, since around 1993. I just started using it again-this time, I decided to use much lower weights, and a 12" step for tall box and a 6" step for the short (10 minute) aerobic section. I use 3lb ankle weights, eventually working up to 5 lbs max. I really like this tape-combining it with a straight cardio workout, like Leslie Sansone's Two Mile Walk, or Jane Fonda Step and Stretch. (I don't rewind and do the aerobic section twice.) I have been using it for about a month-I think what I have finally figured out about the Firm is not to start off with too heavy weights! That is why I had shelved the tapes (the classics) for so long, cause I was using too heavy dumbbells for my fitness level. (Intermediate)

Instructor Comments:
I like her and Jayne Poteet in Volume 6. The instructor does not make or break a tape for me.

Susan Daiber


This video was by far the worst of The Firm videos. I have Vol's 1,2,3,4,5 & 6, The Hare, The Tortoise, Firm Strength, Firm Cardio, Core Cardio 1, Core Cardio 2, Fat Blaster, 5 day Abs, Upper Body, Lower Body. I can enjoy each of these workouts tremendously. I do not feel like I get any kind of workout using #5. The warm up is a few movements that barely get your body warmed up. The aerobic section is all step and it is only about 10 minutes long. To get a longer aerobic workout you have to rewind your tape and do the same sequence over again. I always thought the beauty of The Firm workouts was the low repetitiveness and the 'non-boring' moves. To me, I don't want to do the same thing I just did for 10 minutes, give me something else please. Also, I had a hard time following her cuing. I never felt like I could do this video without watching and for most of them after years of doing them I can. This one I cannot. I do not recommend this video to anyone who had thought of purchasing it. Save your money.

Instructor Comments:
I did not like this instructor at all. I felt like she was more interested in how she looked than in being fit and healthy. Also, she has poor cuing.



I've been doing this video for over a year, so I guess I've gone through it at least 35 times. It's the only one of the Firm "classics" that I like, although I'm also extremely happy with Tortoise, Hare, and Firm Cardio and Firm Strength.

Let me get my only real complaint out of the way first -- the "rewind" option for "double aerobics." They sound so proud of this at the beginning of the tape. Uhmm, guys, isn't the whole point of video workouts the fact that you can rewind the tape? I can get double, triple, quadruple aerobics with any tape at all! This is not exactly revolutionary here. Personally, it kind of bugs me to pay 15 bucks for what is supposed to be a complete workout and then have to do part of it twice in order to really get the complete workout. Too, I have a psychological problem with it -- I enjoy the feeling of doggedly working my way through an entire tape, and to have to rewind and pretty much start over is frankly discouraging.

By the way, has anyone ever noticed that on the back cover there's a picture of LaReine doing a move that is not in the video? Could it be that there used to be more to this workout that was deleted for some reason or another, and some marketing type came up with this bright rewinding idea?

Anyway, in spite of my grumps about rewinding, I really like this tape (I just do another cardio tape before I start this one, and then I don't have to deal with rewinding). The aerobics that are there are easy to do, mostly just step-ups and variations thereon. Other people have reported problems with the cueing, which I personally have never noticed; however, it may just be that the choreography seems so simple to me (especially if I've just done, say, part of a Cathe Friedrich tape) that I don't really need much cueing and so don't notice when it's off.

After work on the short "box" (why does the Firm insist on calling something that is so clearly a stool, a box?) there are leg presses and squats and french press. The leg presses are done in sets of 12, which shouldn't be hard after doing 16 reps on other Firm tapes, but somehow these always really get me; perhaps the tempo's a bit faster here.

The ab section is truly nasty (and I mean that in a good way). Hits upper abs, lower abs, and obliques. You keep your heels elevated on the tall box for the first part. Mostly crunches, reverse crunches, twisting crunches, lifting your hips with your legs extended up (this always kills me), and "leg walks" (which hurt even more).

The leg work is also quite grueling. First there is table work, then lying side abduction and adduction. You can throw on ankle weights and also plop a dumbbell on your leg if you're really into suffering. There are two sets of 8 pushups thrown in during the leg work, presumably to make this a more "total body" workout (but it really isn't -- you want to work your upper body to death, buy Tortoise or Firm Strength). And a little bridgework, which has a drum and some other, ummm, strange sounds keeping time.

I can see why many people find the original Firms cheesy -- the set's really BRIGHT, everybody is SMILING, and the music is, frankly, loud and icky. (There's one part near the end of the leg work, when I'm absolutely dying, where I swear it sounds like that dang saxophone is laughing at me.) But at least with Volume V I got used to that, and now it doesn't bother me. I think the tape offers good lower-body toning that you can keep making more difficult by adding more weight, so I'm not likely to stop using it any time soon.

J. Phelan


It seems like more and more Firm 5 fans are coming out of the woodwork. While this isn't my favorite Firm for the fun factor, it's great and very effective as a lower body workout. Unlike some other reviewers, I really like the double aerobic rewind function. That way I'm able to get in about 11 extra minutes of aerobics, extra high rep/low weight work for the delts, and extra leg presses (!). After doing this section twice and then going on to the lower body floorwork, my legs really feel like jello! I really feel like I've blasted my lower body after doing this tape. I especially like using the dumbbell behind the knee during the tablework--I can really feel my hamstring working to keep the dumbbell from flying across the room! The bridgework cracks me up every time--I just keep hoping that no one walks in on me during that part! ;) The abwork, while not the most interesting the Firm has ever done, is long and effective. This is not a total body workout, but being that the title is "Abs, Hips and Thighs Sculpting," that's to be expected. Just combo it with an upper body tape, or alternate it with a tape that emphasizes the upper body, and you'll be fine. After not having done this one in quite awhile, since the Firm has put out their 90-day rotation, Firm 5 has once again found a home.

Instructor Comments:
As with most of the instructors from the Classic Firms, LaReine does not give many form pointers (I don't think they were included in the script). Some reviewers mentioned that LaReine was off-tempo in the warm-up; I think it's more that the music changes tempo without warning. After a couple of times through the workout, it wasn't a problem for me. I like LaReine's athletic look (athletic as compared to Janet Jones-Gretzky and Sandahl Bergman of Volumes 2 and 3). She does seem comfortable in front of the camera. Her cueing leaves a bit to be desired, but this IS the Firm we're talking about. None of the choreography is complicated, so not a whole lot of cueing is necessary.

Kristin Aziz


Ok, I admit it, I'm another Firm Vol. 5 fan! I have several Parts tapes with segments from this video, so I was always curious about it. I finally got it through the exchange, and I love it! Others have commented that there is not enough upper body work, but it is called "Abs Hips and Thighs" for good reason! As other reviewers have suggested, adding Upper Body would make a great combination. The box work is great - it gets my heart rate up, especially on the double rewind. I really dread doing those leg presses twice, though! I also like the floor work. It is very intense. And the abs - wow! This is the hardest ab section for any Firm. I'm really glad I got this video. It is just perfect for me (intermediate level) and I think I can increase poundage as my fitness level increases. If you need work in the buns/hip/thigh area, I highly recommend it!

Instructor Comments:
I really like her a lot. I like her personality - she seems very sincere and serious about the workout. Her cueing is not the best in the world, but I caught on pretty quickly.

Rebecca Stallings


Ok, I admit it, I'm another Firm Vol. 5 fan! I have several Parts tapes with segments from this video, so I was always curious about it. I finally got it through the exchange, and I love it! Others have commented that there is not enough upper body work, but it is called "Abs Hips and Thighs" for good reason! As other reviewers have suggested, adding Upper Body would make a great combination.

The box work is great - it gets my heart rate up, especially on the double rewind. I really dread doing those leg presses twice, though! I also like the floor work. It is very intense. And the abs - wow! This is the hardest ab section for any Firm.

I'm really glad I got this video. It is just perfect for me (intermediate level) and I think I can increase poundage as my fitness level increases. If you need work in the buns/hip/thigh area, I highly recommend it!

Instructor Comments:
I really like her a lot. I like her personality - she seems very sincere and serious about the workout. Her cueing is not the best in the world, but I caught on pretty quickly.

Rebecca Stallings


I have all of the Firm Total Body and Parts videos and I really do like them all - even this one! I must admit that I was a bit surprised to see so many negetive comments about this tape. Most seemed to be directed towards LaReine Chabut. I guess I never really paid that much attention to the instructor's like everyone else. I am more concerned with how tough and good the workout is -and this IS a good workout. You start out with a warm up which is a little silly, but no big deal. I usually cut some of the "waltzes" out and do more streching. The aerobic part is tough. I use 5 lb's each for the lower box segment and 15lb's each for the tall box. I always do the rewind to repeat the aerobics- even the french press segment. I timed it and it's just under 25 min. So you do get a decent aerobic workout then. The abs are great! Long and challenging. I also really like the floor work. When it starts to get easy, I'll add more weight. I use 5lb ankle weights and a 10lb weight on my thigh for those exercises. For the bridge work, I use 2 -15lb weights - and boy do you feel that! I read in someones review (I think in another FIRM video review) that they thought the FIRM emphasized the pelvic area too much. I think it's great that they do the "internal flutters" and pelvic holds. I just had a baby, and anyone who has knows that "that" area could use some firming up! It really does help!

This video should not be over looked because of a not-so-enthusiastic instructor. If you do the video a few times, you will see that the off cuing is nothing major - you will easily figure out what to do. It is an excellent lower body tape. Not much for upper body, but that's ok. You're not supposed to work out all body parts everyday anyway. Besides, the FIRM Total Body tapes are supposed to be rotated within each other (one tape may emphasize lower body more and another tape may emphasize upper body or arobics more). After I do this tape (if I had not just done upper body work the day before), I will do FIrm Upper Body parts afterwards.

I really think anyone who currently has this tape and doesn't care for LaReine should reconsider the good workout you'll get and start using it again!

Instructor Comments:
I don't mind her as much as others. She's ok. A little off on her cuing sometimes, which was confusing when I first did the tape, but it's no bit deal now.

Diana mason


This is my first Firm video and my least favorite. (I bought others despite this one). As with all the Firm tapes, I can't stand the two-minutes of self-congratulations at the beginning. I bought this one for the ab work (my trouble spot), and I have just never felt the ab work on this was was very effective. I won't say anything more about the instructor. I skip the floor work every time: The "table work" is too long, especially because I can't look at the screen while doing it (My floor is not all that exciting) and the inner thigh work seems to do nothing for me. (I DID find my legs seem to be stronger than I thought). My only other criticism is with the artwork (fake "Old Masters"). While I know all the nudes are there supposedly to inspire us with the beauty of the perfect form, why is the one painting purposely done so as to emphasize the bare female breast. (The original work that this work is based on is not so but the Firm creators purposely edited and arranged it so the moulding emphasizes it.) I appreciate great art, but somehow I find this to be tacky.

Instructor Comments:
Her first name means "The queen" in French and I just have this feeling she knows it. Although another reader called it a "secret smile", sorry, I can't help but think of it as a superior smirk. Yes, she is an actress and a poor one. I never got the feeling she was doing anything more than reading the script. (In addition, in the beginning when she is opening the doors for the rest of the crew, I can tell she was told to touch each person on the shoulder in a "caring" gesture. It just rings so false). Sorry to say it, but it's what I think.

Laura B


Here I was this morning....thinking how much I love this tape.... and how it seems like everyone on the Forum knocks it...and how it is the BEST tape for combos that I have ever done...and how I really should write a review letting everyone know how I feel....and then I logged on the the New Review Page! And there was a review from Mandy Lee, saying almost actually everything I feel. Her review is so true, in my opinion. So I have to back her up here.

This is also my favorite Firm tape (just beating out Tough Tape and Standing Legs). I use it more then any other tape I own. This is the ultimate combo tape as far as I am concerned. I use it almost every time I do cardio. I love the fact that all the box work is done at once,(my favorite section is the straddle and bicep section) and I agree with Mandy- done with a 10" box and 5 lb weights, it is tough! It will get your heartrate jumpstarted! It works faster to get you going then any other tape I have. Plus using your barbell for a fast segue into the tall box leg presses will keep your heartrate up there. Then once I am done with the tall box, I will pop in my cardio choice for the day and plunge right into Cardio Heaven!

What's really great about this tape is that you can use it with lower impact tapes and it will help to make them much more intense. Your heartrate is already going after doing the aerobics and tall box work, and it seems like adding on a lower impact will not bring your heartrate down that much. (as long as you are doing a lower impact that also keeps moving). I love to use Not-So-Tough Aerobics with this tape. If you leave out the abs and floor work, you end up with a 45 minute really intense low-impact work-out! I call it my own version of the Firm "All Cardio". I also like to use it with the last three sections of Gilad's Step Tape, or the first two sections of Step Max. Oh what the heck, I like to use it with ALL my cardio tapes. It's one way I avoid the warm-ups I hate.

After cardio is done- you can pop Vol 5 back in for a TOUGH set of ab work and great floorwork! I always feel this ab work! Or else I save the tape for the next day and do the end of the tape after my strength workout.

My current favorite Vol 5 combo is to do the Vol 5 aerobics & leg presses, and then do the first two sections of Step Max at 8". This way I avoid Cathe's funky warm-up (which I hate), plus I avoid section 3, which is too high impact for me. What a workout! The sweat is pouring down my legs with this one! That's the ultimate to me- when my legs are actually covered with rivers of sweat!

Some people complain about the cuing. I admit she makes some mistakes. But mainly I think that the pace is different from other Firm Tapes. Plus the routine is not complex and it is easy enough to learn. I have found that even Cathe F does not cue well all the time, so the cuing on this tape does not bother me at all. It is certainly easier to use then many other tapes out there.

You can use this tape in so many ways. Each section is a small gem to me!

Instructor Comments:
I find that I like LaReine Chabut very much. She seems really focused on the work-out, and I really like that in an instructor. She seems nice and friendly. I don't find her to be stiff at all. She has a healthy glow and a healthy figure.



This is my favorite Firm. I know a lot of people don't care for it but it's perfect for me because I can always add more cardio to Firm 5. I love CIA step workouts and Kari Anderson's Great Moves step and hi/lo workouts for cardio so I can add it to Firm 5 and really have a fun workout. I love the Carribean style music in Firm 5 and the bright set. The standing aerobics is just 12 minutes but the Firm put in a double aerobic rewind so you can repeat it and make it 24 minutes. But I never do that. It would bore me to repeat it again. The standing workout starts off with basic stepping on a 10 inch step,then you pick up 5lb dumbells and do some more stepping( really fast) while doing side delt lifts and upright rows. This really gets my heartrate up and really fatigues my upper body. The next exercise is doing bicep curls while you step down off the step. I have to go up in weights to really challenge the bicep. Then you do some intense tall box work! 2 sets of 12 reps for each leg with squats too. This is very very tough! I can't imagine doing this twice! Then the last upper body work is French press. The ab work is the toughest and longest of all Firm's. You do lot's of crunches, oblique work, and lower body crunches. I love the floor work. You do table work, and pushups. Then you do some more floor work for the legs, including side lifts, shoot outs inner thigh work. Before you do the other leg, you do some really tough bridge work with heavy weights( where you lie on your back and squeeze the butt to tempo of music). The music goes faster and faster and faster like the Firm wants you to get to some orgasmic exercise climax failure or something. It does help you endure the pain of the glute muscle:o) The cool down is done with a towel and is not very long. LaReine then poses with one hand behind her head and her arm pointing forward and says," Great job!"

Instructor Comments:
I like LaReine's teaching style. She is friendly with a "secret smile" attitude. She know's how to play with the camera. You know she is an actress. Everytime she says,"steady" on the final stretch, I think to myself that she must be equestrian. The only thing that bothered me was her form on the tall box. Her knee juts out way over her toe. But since I already knew how to do Tall box correctly, I just made sure I didn't follow LaReine's form. LaReine's body is just very beefy and healthy. She isn't super thin like Jennifer Pelouso in Better Buns. LaReines got muscle and that's what the Firm is all about!

Mandy Lee


This is my most least liked FIRM tape! I don't think the supposed aerobics section is long enough or hard enough to be of any real benefit. The toning section is rather bland, there are many other videos which provide a better lower body workout. I did this tape a full 10 times to ensure that what I felt was so since it was a FIRM, but it didn't get any better and I have since given this away.

Instructor Comments:
She is likeable enough but her cueing is not great by any standard. She will definatly confuse you the first few times you so the workout until you figure out what she is meaning to say is not what she is saying!

Cinnamon Conrad


I am a Firm believer, and I love most of their videos. After reading the reviews, I decided I wouldn't buy this one, but I'd try to get it in an exchange. I'm glad I got it, but also glad I traded for it instead of buying it.

This video has its good points and its bad points. First, the bad. I just do not like the aerobics portion at all. It's very basic choreography, and the arm work done with weights is done too quickly for me to feel in control. I don't really feel I get anything out of it. Now, let me qualify this by saying for years all I did was the Firm, but in the past year I have gotten into Cathe Friedrich and CIA videos big time. So, good old Firm choreography doesn't quite cut it for me anymore.

Second, the cuing issue. It is weird that the music constantly switches between waltz time (3/4) and march time (4/4), so that is tricky to get used to. Once you get what they're doing though, it's not too bad. The bigger issue is that LaReine is constantly late with the cuing. She doesn't cue before you do the move, she cues right on the beat on which you're supposed to do the move. Very frustrating. I'm spoiled by Cathe. I just had to keep doing this video enough times to know the routine well enough to know when to switch moves.

Now, why I went to all this bother learning this video. I think it is a pretty good lower body workout. After the aerobics, you do some standing leg work with tall box presses and squats, and you do floor work for hamstrings and butt (table work & bridgework), outer thigh and inner thigh. It's not as hard as other Firm tapes (I think Vol 1 & 2 have harder floor work, and the Hare does too), but it does the trick, and I do like variety in my workouts.

Second, I think this tape has one of the best ab segments of all the Firm tapes! Some others, my quads get tired from having my legs up in the air all the time. Some, I feel parts of the abs are being neglected. This one is thorough. It's one of the few ab workouts where at the end my abs are just burning and I'm not sure I can make it. But I do!

So, I use this tape in combination with others. I do either a cardio tape or an upper body tape, and then I skip the aerobics in this tape and start it when we go to tall box leg presses. It works for me!

Instructor Comments:
Well, she's nothing to write home about. LaReine's cuing is very monotone - I get the feeling that she is reading straight off the teleprompter. I don't get any sense of her personality. As in all the older Firm videos, she doesn't really give any form pointers. So, I'd say I like this video despite the instructor.

Mary Truscott


Something that keeps popping up in the reviews of this video is that the instructor's timing seems off. I don't think her timing is off so much as the music is tough to keep with. In the stepping section, the tempo goes from triplets to regular beating. It's really hard to explain, and really hard to get the hang of. I tend to think of it as a sabotage of the rest of the video. The rest of the video is pretty cool, and I like LaReine, but even as a musician, I have a hard time with it. I don't know if it was LaReine's idea to put it in, or if it was the FIRM's idea to mix up the tempo like that, but it makes the video hard to follow in that section. I think it would have been better to have a waltz tempo section, followed by a regular tempo, rather than alternating every other set. It is still a quality tape, but the tempo changes may mess you up the first several times.

Suzette Petty


Okay - so this doesn't provide a total body workout. I don't think this detracts from the exercise quality of the video. The Firm needs to re-classify this tape. I use this video along with Upper Body. I believe this tape provides the best of both worlds - standing and floor work. The standing legs section is intense, consisting of squats with free weights and inner/outer thigh toning. During the brief upper body segment, I step using my weights. The floor section is also intense. I especially like the lever lifts and the ab work. The floor work is very similiar to the floor work in Gilad's Best of Bodies in Motion (one of my favorite tapes of all time). I can feel this tape two days after doing it!

LaReine is much more animated than Janet Jones and less annoying than Sandhal Bergman (sp?). She also doesn't look like she's ready to fall out of her leotard. Her cuing isn't perfect, but that's the case with most of the Firm instructors. She doesn't speak in a sexual manner (what a relief!). To date, she is my favorite Firm instructor. (I have done Upper Body and Tough Aerobics).

Nancy Webb


This is one of those workout tapes I would use only in rotation with something else--like Vol. 4. I can't imagine using this tape alone, or making it a main workout tape. There is not enough upper-body work to make this a true total-body workout. This tape is about 45 minutes long. The warm-up is strange--it includes, I kid you not, a waltz move. Vol. 5 includes a "double-aerobics" feature--10 minutes of aerobics that you can rewind and do twice for 20 minutes of aerobics. I like this feature--doing the double-aerobics is tough! The aerobics section consists of stepping on the short box with hand weights and leg presses on the tall box. There are some squats, but no lunges or dips on the floor and no floor aerobics. Next, there is floorwork (leg lifts and variations), bridgework (set to really goofy music) and abs. LaReine uses a dumbbell behind the knee and ankle weights. This is a thorough, if somewhat boring, lower-body workout.

Another bland FIRM instructor who provides minimal to no pointers on form.

Elaine C.


#5 is not as well liked as other Firm tapes in this newsgroup. However I find LaReine to be my fave Firm instructor and this is an excellent excellent tape for lower body. Don't this one slip by.

Annie Jen


This is a good workout for legs and buns. There are aerobics, but they're fairly short -- about 10 minutes total. Some of the dumbbell work also can have aerobic benefit.

The floor work consists of abs, inner and outer thighs, buns, and hamstrings. The leg sections were tough with 10-pound ankle weights. Although I managed to get through all the reps, by the end my muscles could not have done another one!

The standing routines include leg presses on and off the bench, and some upper body work. If you're looking for an upper-body workout, this isn't it, because there's just not enough. But if you're looking for a good lower-body workout, try this one.

Instructor Comments:
There's really nothing exceptional about this instructor one way or the other.

Annie S.


I like all the instructors on the Firm tapes I have (Strong Heart, Strong Body, Volume 4 and Volume 5). As I commented in the next section, I think [La Reine Chabut's] timing must be off because I often have a tough time following her (find myself on the wrong foot, etc.) whereas I don't have a problem with the other instructors.

I started The Firm with two of the "Parts" videos, Standing Legs and Upper Body, which I liked so much that I decided to try other Firm tapes. I used the reviews on this Web site to help me decide which ones to order. I noticed that the only comment on Volume 5 was that it was "not as well liked" as others in the series, but that the instructor was the reviewer's favorite. The reviewer didn't say why she thought this tape was less preferred. Now that I've done it several times, I'd like to add my thoughts. Of the 6 Firm videos I have, this one is probably my least favorite. However, I don't dislike it by any means. LaReine's timing seems a bit strange and I find myself doing "Pause" and "Rewind" much more frequently than on other tapes. I do like the "double aerobics" feature where a signal comes on to tell you when to stop and rewind to repeat the aerobics section. The ab section is very good. I'm not particularly happy with one of the leg lift exercises where she suggests clamping a 5 - 8 pound dumbbell at the back of your knees. I keep thinking I'm going to lose control of that weight and it'll go flying somewhere. I'd prefer to add extra poundage on the ankle weights, or even another ankle weight band above the knee. I think this would accomplish the same goal without the danger.

I'll definitely keep doing this one.

Marcia Tremmel


Other reviewers have accurately described the content of this video.

I have done this video about a half dozen times now, and I have to say I think it is fairly mediocre. My main complaints: The warm up is practically worthless; the upper body work done during the arobic section is done at a pace too fast to use controlled movements; and the abdominals rountine is boring (and I don't think very effective).

I am currently doing this tape about once a week. I have ordered Strong Body and Tough Tape, and once they arrive I will probably retire Volume 5. LaReine is definitely a performer, as opposed to a fitness professional. She plays to the camera a lot. As someone else mentioned, her timing is a little weird. Also, her instruction as to proper form is nonexistent.

Kathleen Hayes


For a lot of people, this is the weakest of the six-volume original firm set. In isolation, I would agree.

There is very little upper body work so it can't be considered a total body workout. The cue-ing is always late which makes the cardio sections difficult to follow. To make matters worse, the choice of music isn't the best. Normally, counting in fours and following the beat of the music makes FIRM cardio easy to follow. However, one of the aerobic tunes in this workout has no beat which makes it really difficult to keep up with.

That said, I think this workout is a great compliment to the first four volumes and especially vol. 4. Its content basically makes up for shortcomings of the previous four. The first section is steady cardio, complementing the more broken up cardio of the first four. Next is some intense heavy lower body including tall box climbs which cannot be found to this extent in 1-4. After that, you go to the floor for the longest set of abs in the firm classics. Finally lower body floor work which was skipped in vol. 4. The entire contents of this video address shortcomings of the first four volumes in the set.

People also cite the rewind feature as being a problem with this tape. In a way I think that it is sort of silly but then again, this was made before DVD was available so they didn't have a lot of options. I think it does give the workout some added flexibility. You can do it as is for a 50-minute workout or double the cardio and/or standing
lower body for a longer workout.

Instructor Comments:
I don't think the instructors in firm classics should actually be called instructors. They're more like presenters. Which is okay as long as you are able to concentrate on proper form without instruction.