The Firm: Power Half Hour

Emily Welsh
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

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This is a short 31-minute Pink Firm workout led by Emily Welsh. I did not pick up this workout for a long time because out of the workouts it was issued with (Firm's Get Chisl'd and 500 Calorie Workout) it seemed to have gotten the least favorable reception. The complaints summed up to the choreography being complicated and the exercises being too fussy for a 30 minute workout. But lately I decided I could probably keep up with the choreography, and I found it cheap secondhand, so into my collection it went! And I am very pleased with this purchase. I can see how people would have complaints about Emily's cuing and the tricky choreography, but in return for that you get a very creative, fast moving workout that is fun and packs a great punch.

Emily leads with Stephanie and Kelsie as background exercisers. Kelsie was the beginner modifier and used no poundage, and kept the aerobic moves low intensity. The background is the open and airy studio with windows in the back portraying a California scene, just like the other 2008 Firm workouts. The music was particularly good in this workout (for a Pink Firm, which has notoriously bland music, IMO) with peppy fast moving instrumental (some country themed?) tunes which reminded me of Barry's Bootcamp fat blasters. Also the music was loud and clear, unlike other Pink Firms in which the music is very faint and gets lost in the background (example: Firm Dangerous Curves Ahead, which has good pumping music but you can barely hear it at all).

There was a warm up (about 4 minutes); separated strength and cardio intervals: first strength, then first cardio, then second strength, then second cardio (of about 5 minutes each totaling 20 minutes, making up the meat of the workout); a quick standing ab routine and plank work following the final cardio segment (about 3 minutes-no poundage used here); and a final cool down/stretch (about 4 minutes).

The warm up was quick (appropriately so for a 31 minute workout), and included very quick moving marches, knee ups, punches, and squats. This was a little tricky to follow, and I can see how people would get frustrated (even in the warm up!), but having done so many Firms myself, the moves seemed somewhat intuitive. I am definitely not a choreography queen; in fact I generally have two left feet, but am getting a little better. I don't think the choreography was as tricky as the SPEED in which Emily executed the moves (i.e., VERY FAST) which lasted throughout the whole workout.

The two strength portions utilized light and medium hand weights (only once combined for a heavier poundage for a one arm lat row) and I found it was difficult to use much higher than 3-5# weights because of the combination moves, balance elements, fast paces, and full range of motions (sometimes multi-planar). Emily takes combination moves to the extreme here - forget two moves paired together, she liked to combine three moves at once and execute it quickly to boot. For instance, she did a curtsey lunge+one arm French press+lateral leg lift; side lunge+laterally extended biceps curls+inner thigh lift; dips+shoulder press+front kick; plie squat+biceps+inner thigh lift; one arm back row+balance on one leg+back kick. Nearly every move was combined in this fashion although there was one set of pushups (and even that was a plank/pushup combination set). Her moves were quick and efficient and all of the major muscle groups were hit at least once during the workout. The abs were only quickly addressed: side reaches in a plie squat to work the side waist and a brief plank segment. No floor work which was again very appropriate for this length of workout.

The first cardio tune was kickbox inspired and included a SLEW of side, front, and back kicks paired with punches and jumps. Again the moves were very quickly executed making it tricky to keep up, but the choreography was fun! The second cardio tune was more dancy and included side to side and front to back cha-chas with triple steps, plyometric jumps, and explosive jumps paired with V-steps. The second cardio tune was primarily high impact and upwards to advanced in level, in fact at the end of the second cardio tune she tells you to go full out for a couple of minutes of intense high intensity moves (jumping, plyos) to max out your heart rate before the cool down. The cool down was very brief and included general athletic stretches.

Since I used lighter poundage (again I think that was necessary) it gave me a great cardio punch while keeping the muscles feeling warm and fluid throughout. One might use slightly heavier weights (I would not recommend exceeding 8#!) after you have completely mastered the workout--maybe, but in general I would recommend keeping the poundage lighter and getting more of a cardio/4-limb workout of out this, to ensure safety while executing the tricky moves. For that purpose, this workout was fun, quick moving (absolutely NO down time to get bored or for your heart rate to lower), and very creative. Due to the choreography, high intensity of the cardio, and balance elements of the strength, I would say this is a solid-high intermediate workout even
when using light weights. I would NOT recommend this to any beginners because they would get frustrated with the quick pace and tricky choreography (additionally they might not have the stamina or balance to execute many of the moves safely); an advanced exerciser might use this for an easier or moderate day when they are short on time, or maybe as an add-on cardio workout. This is definitely a keeper for me and a fun challenge for my intermediate skill. Overall grade A-!

Instructor Comments:
Emily is not my favorite Pink Firm instructor (that would be Kelsie) but I do prefer her to Rebekah, Allie, Annie, and all the others (I might tie her for second with Alison). She is IMO known for her tricky choreography and lack of cuing, which I think is deserved, BUT if you can keep up with her, you will be well rewarded with her creativity which far outshines all of the other Firm instructors. Her workouts are intense and she mirror cues. She does not give form pointers. She is enthusiastic and smiles a lot. I think her short stature makes her adorable, also I am biased since I share her name (LOL). Seriously though I think she is talented and I hope to continue to see her lead some Firm workouts. She continues to shine as much as she did in her Firm BSS2 days.

Emily B.


This is a quick 31 minute cardio and sculpting interval workout (the cardio and sculpting sections are seperate). It is quick moving and will give you a good workout. You can heavy up a bit in the strength work or you can keep it light and use this as a cardio workout. You will need a variety of dumbbells for this workout. There are 2 background exercisers with Kelsie providing the beginner modifications. The set is the hardwood floor, window scenery, white wall set.

Emily moves fast and at times is just all over the place-one rep of this, one rep of that, add a jack here. I think she would have been better off doing fewer moves with more reps of each move to avoid the rushed feeling and confusion on the users part. The workout is so short that by the time you figure out her little routines, its time to move on to something else. If it werent for this-I think I would really like this one.

The cardio segments include some power bursts like flying jacks and plyos so you can get your heartrate up nicely with this one. The strength segments are mostly combo moves with a lot going on- a side lunge with a bicep curl and an inner thigh leg sweep. I do think the strength segments are more strength oriented than just light 4-limb work though.

I would rate this higher intermediate because of the power bursts and the tricky choreo in some spots. This could easily be modified up or down to fit your needs though.



This is a 30 minute workout with alternating cardio and sculpting intervals. Emily geats a little (too) creative with the moves, so there is a learning curve, which I know frustrates some people when they are trying to do such a short workout. But I found the overall workout to be a lot of fun and worth learning the moves. Su Mi Powell is the modifier. I liked the music in this one. The warmup song has a worldbeat sound to it. The rest of the music varied so there was good variety.

Instructor Comments:
Emily is good but maybe could have broken down her creative moves better.