The Firm: Hi Def SculptAnnie Lee
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Strength Training (Total Body)
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
This dvd was originally released in the Firms TransFirmation Cardioweights system (BSS5) but is now available individually. The full length version is 46 minutes and the express version is 25 minutes. Annie isn't the best lead but the workout is still good. This was her first time leading and she is definately uncomfortable in front of the camera.
There are four background exercisers, all Firm Master Intructors. Sue Mi shows the beginner modificaitons. The set is hardwood floor with white brick walls and foggy windows.
The workout is solid and she hits every muscle group. It is strength only (no cardio). She does intersperse some stretching throughout the workout (I could have lived without that) and closes with an additional stretch. My main pet peeve is she uses her medium weights the ENTIRE workout. She goes at a nice slow pace and you can EASILY heavy up-and I do.
There is a lot of shoulder work. She does a set of pushups and one set of pec flys for chest work. There is a lot of compound moves-most of it is appropriate so you can do both moves w/ the same set of weights. She does side lunges with rows, lunge and twist/ chop, squat with rows, side lunge w/ front raise, etc. There are a few sets of lat rows, there is some standing ab work interspersed as well.
After about 25 minutes of standing work you go down to the floor for a few minutes. On the floor she has you doing a "power press" move-tricpes tummy toner (crunch with a bench press into an overhead tricep extension), and some bridges with triceps work. Then you are back to standing work for a bit and you will end with some crunches, side crunches, and lower ab work.
This workout is part of the newer 'pink' Firm series. Annie Lee was a new instructor to me, and I enjoyed my first workout with her. The workout has an 'express' option, which I chose. I finished the routine feeling like 'that was quick!' but it's nice to have the option. I do have workouts that pack a bigger punch into thirty minutes though! If you compare the sweat/exhaustion factor to something like Ten-Minute Trainer, there is no contest!
The 'express' routine had about four sections, each working one body area. There were compound moves to keep you busy, but Annie tended to favour one side at a time exercises. So you would for example squat to the left while doing a biceps curl on one arm, then in a later set, switch sides. Generally, you did a few where it was one rep at a time, then you did another set where you paused at the bottom of the leg move and did three reps with the arm. It was a good format, and if you used heavy enough weights, you'd get a nice burn.
This routine had no cardio, and was a lot less choreographed than some of the other Firm routines. I didn't have to 'think' at all. I appreciated this! Some Firm workouts are just too complicated for my choreography-phobic brain!
It's a pleasant, solid little routine, but it's not going to rock the world. And if you have a a short workout slot and REALLY want to push it, I don't think this would be the choice for anyone---there are plenty of other workouts which push you harder in the same amount of time. This would be a great strength workout for if you were coming back from a break, however. Or, if you were (like me when I reviewed this!) sore from whatever you'd done the day before.
Annie seemed nice. Firm workouts really are not known for showcasing personalities; she did the job without calling attention to herself :)
I wasn't sure what to think of this workout at first. I'd just finished the TransFIRMer series, and I felt lost at first without some sort of box and those omnipresent leg presses. The plain white loft style set reminded me of Sonic Yoga in NYC, and the Cardio Weights just didn't seem over the top enough to be FIRM. Add in music that reminded me a little of Project You, and I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into. This morning, however, the DOMS in my hindquarters left me sure that I'd done a FIRM workout, even if it was unrecognizable from any Classic FIRM except for Allie.
Hereís a brief breakdown of the workout:
*Warm up comprised of marches, step touches, alternating arm circles and side to sides, full form squats, spinal rolls, heel digs and punches to side and top. Hamstring stretches with body waves make you think the warm up is over, but then there are four count dips, side lunges, knee ups and side lunges raising your arms.
*Medium weights are used for squats and bicep curls, followed by dead lifts and rows. Push-ups and then a four count pushup done on toes or knees follow. Then forward lunges with ďscoopsĒ, front arm raises with palms up. Dips and then triceps kickbacks follow. Then you end with a stretch.
*Next, side lunges with overhead presses followed by side bends with one weight. Plies and delt raises are followed by twists to the side, a move I remember from FIRM Volume 2 years ago. More dips are followed by overhead presses on the same side. The set ends with another stretch, this one for the triceps and side.
*Third set gives you more lunges and a move called a wood chop (reminds me of Kathy Smith Matrix Sculpting) done mercifully slow while you hold the lunge. I felt this in my rear, and didnít have any problems with my knees because the slow pace helped me maintain good form while lunging.
*More twists while holding weight in center, then plies and squat plies followed by side bends (no weights). Repeat lunges on opposite leg.
*Floor work is seated crunches and stretch.
*Back up for more lunges and biceps, followed by hinges with rows (I LOVED these!)
*Step squats with wide rows follow with a shoulder stretch holding one arm across the front.
*Chest work on the floor follows, and this was my favorite section. Flies then one arm flies on one side reminded me of the TransFIRMer series.
*Hamstring curls are doing with one weight held between the feet (wear shoes!). They moved too fast to the floor, so I skipped the weight, but Iíd done this with the express option, and itís a good move.
*Triceps extensions and one-legged bridges follow. I loved this section also; I missed bridge work and the one arm extensions with the medium weight had my triceps shaking by the end o the seat.
*Believe it or not, you get back up for more plies with upright rows. This set is followed by side lunges and front raises on both sides, then reverse lunges and with military presses are followed by neck and shoulder stretches.
*Finally, you get down for the last set of floor work. Chest presses are combined with crunches, a nice efficient move. Then twists follow, and finally lower ab crunches before the final stretch. I didnít know when the workout was going to end because the music didnít change to give me the cue.
Annie was a little stiff and missed a few cues, but it was her first time leading the series. I ended up doing an extra set of lunges with military presses because I didnít follow the screen and did them all on one side, not getting a cue to switch sides. If youíre new to this workout, definitely use somewhat lighter weights until you figure out the moves, then prepare to heavy up.
I say it: advanced exercisers may find this workout too easy unless they heavy up significantly. The Cardio Weights are not going to be sufficient, period. I used my 8 lb. dumb bells for a lot of the early sets of rows, dead lifts and lunges, then dropped back to my medium 6 pound weights for the remainder of the workout. When I finished, I wasnít sure if I liked this workout or not. I wasnít completely wasted, panting or gasping for breath like with the Classics or Body Sculpt. The ab sections seeme more functional fitness focused, but I think this workout will be a nice complement to the harder stuff from the TransFIRMer series and the earlier FIRMs.
I give this one a B+.
I liked Annie in her first venture out of the gate, even though she seemed a little nervous, but her arms took my mind off of that. I'm interested in her next workout.