The Firm: Fat Burning Cardio Sculpt

Tina Smalley
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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I love band workouts. There's no logical reason for it, I just do. So, when I got to acquire this workout (just the DVD, no kit), I jumped at it.

It is a typical Firm workout in terms of the set, the music, and the background exercisers - the instructor had several background exercisers around her. There didn't seem to be a modifier, although the moves were fairly easy to modify for low impact when necessary.

I liked half the workout. You follow along with a fairly long set of moves. Then, the instructor says, "Let's do it on the other side." Why? I believe in balancing moves on both sides, but NOT in TIFTing for no reason. It got tiresome.

Instructor Comments:
She cued well and had a pleasing manner, in a bland way.

Laura S.


I purchased this DVD because I have been trying to do more workouts using resistance bands or tubing. Firm Fat Burning Cardio Toning (aka Cardio SCULPT) use the latter, called a "resistance cord" in this workout. (I believe that this DVD was originally packaged with the cord, but I did not purchase it that way.) The routine is led by Firm instructor Tina Smalley in a rather bland studio with papered over windows. There are four background exercisers, one of whom, Allie, modifies some of the exercises.

Tina begins with a fairly typical Firm warm-up that combines aerobic activity with dynamic stretching (note: the band is not used here). Moves include marches, step-touch, arm circles, hamstring curls, squats, squats with knees and abductions, and rear dips. The warm-up is somewhat lengthy at 6.5 minutes, but it is relatively fast-paced, so it does start to raise the heart rate.

Picking up the cord and stepping on it with both feet, Tina starts work that would be best described as aerobic toning. She performs a series which includes squats, biceps curls, back rows, side lunge with one-arm upright row, one-arm chest press, and hamstring work, then repeats the entire series on the second side, finishing with triceps kickbacks. Next, Tina ups the cardio factor a bit by standing on the band and stepping side-to-side while performing abductions to the side and to the rear. Holding the band in the hands, she repeats the leg movements while doing arm work such as lat pull downs and chest expanders, adding in lunges as well and then running through the entire sequence a second time.

Now Tina says that it's time to switch to abs work, but first she continues with some additional standing moves. She starts with the band under one foot for squats with abductions and one-arm overhead press; this is followed by a side lunge with one-arm triceps extension. With the band under the feet, she performs a standing oblique crunch, and then with the band in the hands overhead, she brings elbow to knee. Coming down to the mat, Tina begins seated with the band under the feet for rows and half rollbacks, adding a twist. Next, she performs work on all fours, including straight leg lifts, hamstring curls, and bent leg lifts (band around one foot).

The final 4.5 minutes of this routine are devoted to stretching. Tina uses the band, starting with a reclined leg stretch. After doing a prone quad stretch and cat/cow on all fours (no band), she comes to seated and performs several additional stretches with the band to finish, bringing in the total time at 30.5 minutes.

Overall, I liked this workout. I thought that Tina used the band effectively and led the routine well. i was a bit disappointed that there was not more of a cardio focus--with so much time spent with the warm-up and the matwork, the main part of the workout was quite short. Still, I would recommend this routine, which would work especially well as a travel workout.

Instructor Comments:
I was worried that I wouldn't like Tina, as I found her cuing quite poor in the "Skills, Drills, Thrills" DVD. She was much better here--much more straightforward and basic. I easily followed her cuing, and for the most part, I had enough time to transition with the band.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Note: this is not the title on the cover of my DVD but this video seems reviewed under a different title, and the box (with the cord) may have had a different title.

This 30 minute workout uses a resistance cord. It starts out with a cord-free warmup.

She does a lot of combo moves - lunges/side lunges/dips with overhead presses/french presses/front raises etc. - I can't remember the exact combos. There is a short AWT-like segment with lots of tiny steps to the side and back diagonal glute lifts. Maybe like a easier version of Cathe fire-walkers (which I don't have). There is some table work and some v-sit/twist stuff.

The stretch is nice. While the use of the ball in the toning workout felt a little forced, the cord is used to really good effect in the stretch here. I may pull out my cord for hamstring stretches in the future.

Like a lot of Firm, I feel this one works the lower body more than the upper body. It feels less challenging than Cardio Sculpt (but it's also shorter). It's not quite as fun as the sculpting ball workout and I think there's less ab work.

I was already happy with this purchase - I needed a heavier cord and I've used it for the routines in Basic Step/Body Fusion. The routine I've done sparingly - only 3 times. I thought I'd use this traveling a lot, but I've been traveling less. Now that I know how to fit it into the 90 day rotation I may use it a lot more.

Instructor Comments:
Tina looks very fit and lovely without being overly made up. She looks healthy - not too thin. She does not chatter and I find her motivating.

Coleen (cjo42a)


VFers are always looking for workout DVDs to take with them when they travel. This one fits the bill. I was able to do it in my hotel room in a very small space. I only whacked myself with the tubing once (which always happens to me, which is why I generally dislike tubing workouts).

There were some lower body tubing moves that I've never seen before that I liked. She used the same strength tubing for all the exercises. I was unable to do some of the shoulder exercises with the purple tubing, so you might need two different strengths of tubing.

Instructor Comments:
She was pleasant and clear. I didn't find anything annoying about her.

Pam L


I just got the kit w/ the purple bands. I really like them. They are sturdy w/ nice padded handles. I practice-previewed it and did it the next day. This is my initial thoughts based on the fact that all I wanted were new bands. I liked the workout. It was more than I expected since I wrote those 2006 FIRM workouts as just fluff. It is only 30 minutes, which is good b/c I hardly have any that are short and it's not very intense. It did get my heart rate up though.

The moves were easy to follow and I did not feel I messed up too much by doing it w/o previewing. I did not find the moves awkward (as some have said) although it did move quickly while I was trying to reposition the cords. I'll get the hang of it in no time, I'm sure. Tina did a nice four-limb warm-up. Then she did compound band moves like squats+bi's. IIRC, she also did lunges+front raises, standing rows, side leg lift+OH press on each side, side lunge+opposite side row, side leg lift+opposite tri, side steps w/ feet in bands (think Cathe fire-walkers, ouch), side bends w/ bands (for abs), seated rows & reclining sit-ups w/ bands around feet. The moves felt a bit fresh using the bands and challenging too (w/ the heavy bands) so I'm glad there weren't a lot of reps. The music was good w/ a nice strong bass throughout. I am pleased w/ this purchase. It was worth it to get a grape colored, sturdy band (that matches my other FIRM gadgets) + DVD for a bit over $10 w/ tax.

Instructor Comments:
Tina's cuing was good and she gave a professional presentation.