The Firm Parts: Cardio Step Mix

Lisa Kay, Nancy Tucker, Tracie Long, Heidi Tanner, Jen Carman, Tamela Hastie, Carissa Foster, Dale Brabham, Allie Strickland
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Step Aerobics

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This is one of my go-to workouts when I want fun cardio that's not complicated and not draining. It's Firm-style cueing (i.e. not good if you're not used to it - infrequently do the leads remind you "left" and "right" and they have Firm-only names for some moves). Having said that, if you have passing familiarity with the complete Firm workouts from which this Parts tape is made up, you'll pick up the moves fast.

All of the step moves are very basic: up-down, L-step, over the box. This workout is definitely more athletic stepping than dance-y, though Jen Carmen's final "mambo-shuffle" has a little more floor cardio than most. You'll need a High Step topper or short end of a regular Club step, 4-8", and a pair of light dumbbells, 3-8# maximum. The dumbbells are used for simple "four-limbed" movements like overhead press or biceps curls when you're doing simple footwork on the step. Nancy Tucker uses a dowel for balance for one section but you can easily do without it.

In addition to almost 50 minutes of mostly low-impact step, there is a 6-minute ab workout before the final stretch.

This is one of the compilation Firms that I don't find to be choppy. The edits are smooth and the step sections flow well from one instructor to the next. Tracie Long's sections are my favorites, and I also like the two step sections that Heidi does from CrossTrainers Cardio and the Lisa Kay step sections from Fat Blaster.



This is another Firm Parts compilation. Is is comprised of Step (box) segments from a lot of the newer firms. Included parts from Firm Cardio, Super Cardio, Fat Blaster, the 3 New Firm Cardios, and the Hare. There may be other parts Im missing.

I find it odd that the Firm released a Step Mix, since all along its tooted the virtues of there videos since its not all steping up and down repetiously. With that im mind I was really wary of a Firm Step Mix. But i am very surprised at how much I enjoyed this tape. If you are looking for a low choreographed but moderate insensity step mix, then this is the ticket.

It alternates instructors, temp, and style. There is a lot of straight step aerobics with some 4 limb step aerobics included. I ususally do high intensity step on a 6 inch bench, but for this tape I use 8 inches. The choreography is simple, but you can really add intensity with power and big arm movements. And by using the full sized Step Co. Step the over the top moves really are a lot more powerfull than if you are using the small dimensioned Firm step up box.

Some of the featured sections are the step section , the knee up -- over the top section from Firm Cardio, the aerobic finale from the Hare, The pulse -- over the top -- lunge section from Cardio Burn, The hesitation repeaters from Max. Cardio, and the mombo cha-cha from Super Cardio. It also ends with a moderate ab section.

I did not think I would enjoy an all Firm Step tape beacuse I didnt think I would enjoy it because of the simple choreography. But with the ever changing instructors you never get a chance to get bored with the section. Before you know it, its time to move on. The varied instructors and syles make this tape good.

All in all a great tape and a keeper.

Instructor Comments:
All instructors were adaquate. Each could have cued each segement better, since many cued late or not at all. But each insturctor has there own 'style' and 'attitude' wich is great.

Susie F.


Cardio step mix is a parts tape. I am 7 months along in my pregnancy and this so far is my favorite cardio tape!! It is all low impact except for one section(Tamela) but it's easily modified to low impact lunges on the step. I was surprised that the Firm came out with an "all step" video since they often criticize stepping up and down 400 times being bad for the knee. But this tape isn't just stepping up and down. There are some sections where you use light weights and step around the box.

I wasn't that thrilled to see the same sections of Fat Blaster and Tough Cardio Mix as well as Firm Cardio. It seems like these tapes are recycled so much into parts tapes. But there is alot more in this tape from the newer cardio tapes like Max CArdio, Cardio Burn, Power Cardio and Super Cardio. I love all these step sections. This tape also has 2 sections from Hare and Tortoise. Not the ballroom stuff, just the jazzy last tune in Hare before tricep work and then the warmup in Tortoise.

I like the constant change of instructor, music and fun stepping with and without weights. The workout goes by fast because of this. It's a very long workout so prepare to sweat! There is a good ab section at the end with the same stretch as Hare, Tough Tape and Sculpted Buns Hips thighs. If I could redo this workout, I would take out the Firm cardio step sections and add Jen Carmens other step section from Super Cardio and Nancy Tucker's step section from Fat Blaster.

I am getting so tired of the Firm recycling the old crosstrainers. But I still love this workout and think the Firm did a good job on splitting and splicing other video's to make an all step tape.

Instructor Comments:
Super fun variety of instructors doing basic but intense(depending on step height)stepping. If you like variety, you will love this tape since there are so many instructors.

Mandy Lee


I never thought that I would like a Firm Cardio tape. They are more known for their strength segments. I wasn't even going to buy this tape. But I wanted to take advantage of their Buy 3/Get 1 free special. I'm so glad that I bought it. This tape is fun. It has a lot of my favorite step segments. It has the finale from the Hare tape. This section does not have ballroom aerobics. It's funny though because I remember it being the toughest section in the Hare and in this tape, it's one of the easier ones. It also has Carissa's step segments in the Blast series. I love those hesitation repeaters and the music in her sections. Other favorites are Dale's & Tamela's step sections with karate kicks and Jen's mambo/shuffle from Super Cardio.
This tape is good for people who want a low impact tape. It doesn't have any plyos which other Firm cardio videos have. It is not really tough but it can be made more difficult. One can always add power/jumping to some of the moves. There are also some step segments where I use the long side of the bench. Most of them are the segments that have over the top. They are Lisa's L-step/over the top, Heidi's over the top with some squats, and Tamela's over the top with lunges. When I did Tamela's section this way, the lunges went laterally like what Cathe does in Step Works. Whew, that made that section really hard!! I also used the step the long way for Jen's mambo/shuffle. It didn't make that section tougher but I just love that shuffle move that I wanted to enjoy it more. As Tamela would say, "That was fun!"

Instructor Comments:
It's nice to have a variety of instructors. It makes the time go by fast. Carissa could have cued better in her walk the box step portion. Tamela could have cued better in her lunge portion. But if you do the tape often enough, you can get the moves.

Helen Stephens


I love this video. The video is another parts video by the Firm. It takes all the step sections from Core Cardios, Fat Blaster, Firm Cardio, and some from Super Cardio. There is only one section from the Hare and it is the "aerobic finale" part of that video. The cool down is the warm-up from the Tortise. There are some light weights used in some sections. The choreography is moderate, not dancey and not a plyo in sight. The tape ends with a six mintute ab section taken from Cardio Burn(also in Butt and Bust) and the second ab section from the Tortise. It ends with Tracie's stretch from the Hare.

Part of the reason I enjoyed this tape is the 49 minute aerobic phase. After the first ten mintutes my heart rate stayed in the 150 to 160 range. (I consider my self high itermediate to low advanced). As I've gotten older I find many video to hard on the joints. This video has minimal impact.

Instructor Comments:
All the instructors are great. I had no problems with cueing at all. (Allie Strickland, Nancy Tucker, Tracie Long, Carissa Foster, Jen Carmen,Tamela Hastings, and Dale Branham)



I really love this parts tape. It has 49 minutes (not including warm-up) of cardio step from past Firm workouts and is put together in a way that is a lot of fun. I do some of the segments with 8 lb. dumbells, and since there is a good 6 minute ab section (Tamela and Tracy), I use this as a total body tape for a day short on time.

Instructor Comments:

maryann parker


I've been exercising for only about a year, and I consider myself an intermediate exerciser. I cannot do high impact moves, so I love step aerobics because I can get my heart rate up without the strain on my joints. Also I The Firm so when I discovered they had an all step aerobics tape, I was ecstatic. This workout is primarily low impact, but does have some high impact moves. I found them fairly easy to modify. I think this tape is suitable for both intermediates and advanced. For beginners, you could do what I started out doing when I first did step aerobics: Do one segment on the step and the next on the floor and alternate until you are fit enough to do the whole thing on the step. The moves aren't complex on this tape so almost everyone can do this workout.

What you need: Short Aerobic step (the firms usual 14" box is not needed in this workout), light dumb bells, a dowel and a towel for the stretch at the end.

It starts with a thorough warm up from Fatblaster with Allie. Step aerobics begins with Hiedi from Firm Cardio. Then some fun fast paced step low impact with some kicks, punches and mamba moves with Dale from Power Cardio. Back to Fatblaster with Nancy Tucker taking us through dips, knee lifts and kicks with a dowel for balance with one weight in the hand not holding onto the dowel. Four limb movements, using step as a prop more than an aerobics step from Maximum Cardio with Carissa. She then has us put down the wieghts for some basic but fun step moves. Tracie takes us to the only segment of The Hare that has traditional step aerobics (as opposed to ballroom aerobics), which is also fun. Then Lisa from Fatblaster, with more low impact moves that are very basic (advanced could probably step these up by hopping when traveling across the step). As for me, its perfect for my low-impact-happy knees. Allie from The Supershapers series takes us thru some 4 limb on the step. (Loved the music in this segment).

Then Tamela from Cardio Burn does some punches and kicks on the step. This part really got my heartrate going. This instructor seems to be suppressing her enthusiasm. I got the feeling The Firm format is almost a little stiff for her. She seems ready to burst with energy!

Back to fatblaster with Lisa. This segment bored me a little with 3 moves repeated over and over. The next 3 segments are Carissa, there are some higher impact moves through here and more 4 limb. Then we go back to Firm Cardio. I like Heidi's instruction. She has a soothing voice.

More 4 limb with Nancy, not using the step much in this section. I used heavier weights in this section and concentrated on my arms since my feet werent doing much.

On to Jennifer from Supershapers, "shuffling" across the box. This is one of my fave sections. The music was really cool, but the segment was too short. Back to Tracie from the Hare in another non-ballroom segment. This is pretty much the cool down.

Then we hit the floor with Tamela. I hate doing abs but Tamela seemed so happy doing them that I figured the least I could do is try to keep up and maybe I'll be that happy to do abs (yeah right). As I sighed with relief when this segment ended, Tracie showed up and made me do more. Advanced may not find it that difficult, but personally I didn't find it to be that easy. Tracie then takes us through I nice thorough stretch, which felt great.

In closing, anyone who likes The Firm but has been hoping for primarily aerobics, this may be what you've been wanting.

For those who want to know, 3 min warm up, 49 min of step aerobics, 6.5 min abs, 3.5 stretch. There are no significant toning sections in this tape. I bought this tape with The Firm Boot Camp 3 in 1, which i havent done yet. They were having a sale on Firmdirect.

Instructor Comments:
All the instructors are excellent in their cueing and they all have great form. Jennifer, Heidi and Tracie are my faves, but the other ladies do a great job as well.