The Firm: Calorie Explosion

Alison Davis
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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This workout has been broken down nicely by previous reviewers so I will just add my thoughts. This dvd is completely customizable; there are four segments and you can choose whichever you like in any order. Warm-up and cool-down are automatically tacked on. One of my pet peeves is short programmable segments which include a warm-up/cool-down within the segment (think 10 Minute Solutions), using up my workout minutes and needlessly bringing down my heart rate. So, this format is great. I have been using this one frequently and I just pair up a couple of different segments each time. My favorite is cardio kickboxing which is truthfully one of the easier segments. The others can have quick transitions and more intense moves. One move I loathe is a side burpee, can't remember where it's found. I substitute regular burpees, which are bad enough. This delivers a great workout in however much time you have and is quite versatile. I would rate it high intermediate, though modifications are shown. Quite a bit of plyo. Reccommend!

Instructor Comments:
I enjoy Alison. She comes across more natural than I've seen in various Firm offerings (other instructors too, not just her)and is likeable. Cues decently, encourages well.

Melissa P


“Calorie Explosion” is a 57 min. athletic cardio (w/ some bodyweight resistance & light dumbbell exercises) workout led by Allison Davis-Mclain. It consists of 4 segments (each w/ a different focus: Athletic Drills, Explosive Power Moves, Cardio Kickboxing, High Intensity Moves), and they can be played together (as full workout) or customized to play single segment or combination of others. I have only used the full workout, and even though it is long in duration of time, it moves quickly (but not a frenetic pace) & has a good flow. I really like the variety of exercises, and the athletic, functional feel to it (no dancy moves or awkward combination exercises). I don’t generally like Allison as a lead but find her good in this one (not overly peppy or repeating Firm-esque phrases, more no nonsense), she cues well. I have not cared for most of the newer Firm releases, but enjoyed this one. I could see myself using the individual segments as add-ons to other workouts, in the future.

Cast: 2 females, one demos low impact/intensity options.

Set: simple set, wood flooring, blue walls.

Equipment: pair of light dumbbells

Marches> V-step> step touch w/ small hop> step, knee lift> knee lift, front kick (other leg)

V-step> step touch w/ small hop> step, knee lift> knee lift, front kick (other leg)

Front lunge, rear lunge (same leg)> Front lunge, hinge at hips w/ rear bent knee, front leg extended (hamstring stretch)

Squat w/ knee lift> add torso rotation w/ arm sweep to rear.

Double step touch> add arm sweep> marches.

Kick-Butt Athletic Drills
Step squat, alternating sides> add overhead press, reverse to sides of body.

Narrow stance squat> elevate heels on lift, elbows bent overhead> add Basketball toss (arm extension) on lift of squat> no weights, squat w/ basketball toss arm motion> add jump, slow pace, then fast pace.

Alternating low kicks to front> step touch w/ small hop> add knee lift> lateral jumps> marches.

Step & alternating rear lunge, dumbbells held in front (bent elbows)> add single arm punch to front, then 3 alternating punches w/ pulsing rear lunge> front lunge (dumbbells held at sides)> lunge plyo
Football shuffle> fast feet> add jump shift to side, return to front> marches.

Lateral lunge w/ single arm reach to inside of leg> add placing dumbbells on outside of legs, walk forward & back, pick up dumbbells w/ lunges, walk up forward & back> add jump in & out w/ the dumbbell lowering & picking up.

Rear step tap, same side arm holds both dumbbells> step rear, knee lift> add row, opposite arms pulls & reaches forward> Repeat lateral lunge sequence.

Lunge, pivot to face other side (dumbbell held at chest level)> extend arms (woodchopper motion)> overhead swing> add alternating knee lift.

Explosive Power Moves
Side lunge, rear lunge (same leg)> add torso twist/bent arms w/ side lunge, dumbbell reach to floor w/ rear lunge> run in place> high knees.

Squat, place dumbbells on floor, 2 squats, lower & pick up dumbbells, stand> add 4 hops in place of squats.

Plies> add alternating heel slide on lift of exercise> Plie plyo (heels touch w/ jump).

Staggered stance of legs> lower to crouched position, place hands on floor, extend legs to side for plank, stand w/ overhead arms> add hop into plank & to reverse motion.

Squat w/ arm reach to opposite foot (dumbbells held in one hand), clean & overhead press> add hop on lift of exercise> snatch (after lift, in lowered position w/ overhead arm).

Squat, small tuck jump, squat, stand> tuck jump, fast pace.

Alternating lunge in plank> add torso rotation w/ elbow bend> single bent arm pull in plank> alternating arm extension, walk feet in & stand up> add hop in place of walk in.

Cardio Kickboxing
Shuffle> jab to side, opposite arm cross to same side> add 3 knee lifts> add power/hop to knee lifts.

Step touch> bob & weave to move front, hops to rear> Spin & Squat (Speedbag arms w/ hops in narrow stance, then squat to move rear) & then in place (blast)> jump rope.

3 front kicks (low, medium, high), jump rope> add rear kick w/ opposite leg> lateral jumps w/ jump rope arms.

Crescent kick, squat, kick to side, alternating jabs to front in lowered position of squat> alternating jabs (blast)> add jumping rope & jumps forward & back in between the kicks.

Alternating knee lifts> knee lift, other leg front kick, jumping jacks> add hitch kick to front kick.

Step tap> step, other leg, attitude lift (face side)> add reach to floor w/ hip hinge to side tap (face side) & tap to foot w/ attitude lift.

High-Intensity Moves
Squat> add overhead press> 2nd set at faster pace> 3rd set, add jump.

Alternating rear lunges> add bicep curl to lowered position> 2nd set at faster pace> 3rd set, alternating lunge jumps.

Push Up w/ alternating bent arm pull> 2nd & 3rd set at faster pace.

Alternating Front lunges (dumbbell held at chest level)> add chop motion to outside of knee> 2nd set at faster pace> 3rd set, alternating lunge jumps.

Alternating step out to side lunge> add tricep kickback to lowered position> 2nd & 3rd set at faster pace.

Diagonal lunge (step rear on angle, front leg straight, rear is bent)> add single arm upright row> 2nd set at faster pace> 3rd set faster pace than previous.

Alternating step tap> Jumping Jacks w/ overhead arms> 2nd set, jacks w/ criss cross feet> 3rd set, fly (air) jacks> 4th set, split stance jumps/jacks w/ arm sweep overhead & waist level.

Overhead arms w/ inhalation & reverse motion w/ exhalation.
Knee hug> hip flexor stretch (bent legs in staggered stance, pelvic tuck) w/ side bend> hinge at hips in staggered stance w/ arms held to sides> runner’s lunge w/ same side wrap under leg> turn out rear leg, overhead arm & rotate torso, other arm extended> extend legs for hamstring stretch (split leg stance)> stand up w/ overhead arms> repeat sequence on other side> triceps stretch> w/ side bend.



Sadly, I don't have as much time for my workouts as I used to, and I was looking for good, tough cardio that could be done in a shorter amount of time, and this fit the bill! The drills were as tough as some of Cathe's or Tony Horton's (with a lower impact modification shown for many moves) but I can make this fit better in my current schedule by choosing one segment (19 min. with warm-up and stretch) or two segments (31 min. with warm-up and stretch). Great, versatile workout!

Instructor Comments:
Alison's sweet but motivating personality kept me going when I was getting winded.



This cardio dvd is divided up into four 11- 13 minute segments with seperate 4 min w/u and c/d. The dvd is programable but automatically adds the w/u & c/d to the beginning and end of your workout. Alison leads w/ Rebekah, and Emily as backgrounders. Emily shows some beginner modifications. The set is new- hardwood floors with nice blueish walls. I liked it :) You will need light dumbbells for all but the kickboxing segments.

This has got to be the toughest Firm Ive done in a long time! Definately more challenging than most/ all the Pinks. The segments are: athletic drills, explosive power moves, kickboxing, and high intensity moves. They are all challenging and she adds a lot of intensity to each segment. All the segments have little routines that build on each other and include power bursts or intense intervals. While there are plenty of plyos and impact-there are also quite a few lower impact but high intensity moves.

Some of the moves include: a spider plank twist (new to me), flying jacks, flying lunges with a bicep curl, some kettlebell inspired moves, picking up & putting down your dumbbells with a jump, flying heel taps, tuck jumps, jump roping, high intensity punches & kicks, and more! She does include recovery time but not enough so that you are wasting any time. This is a very efficient workout and Alison gets right down to business in each segment!

She does A LOT of new, fun, unique, and challenging moves in this one. I think this would be a great fit in just about any w/o collection because of its versatility-combine the segments for a kickbutt cardio w/o! Or use them for a day when you are time crunched but still want to burn some calories, or add it on to other w/o's. The moves are all athletic and easy to catch on to, not repetitive or boring at all.

I am really impressed with this one and hope this means the Firm will be amping up the intensity of their future releases! I will go ahead and say that this is an advanced w/o- I'm sure its no Insanity. Not a great fit for beginners but intermediates would be fine following Emily or just breaking when they need to. Alison does a stellar job of cueing and introducing new fun CHALLENGING moves in this one.



Each of the 4 workouts on this DVD has the same warmup and cooldown, which both play automatically before and after the workout when you choose a section. The warmup is about 4 minutes, and you can chapter past it. Sound and music level are good. You can program this DVD.

I did Athletic drills and High Intensity Moves (see below). I am not sure if I liked these workouts. There are a lot of very fast lunges, dips, and squats, and I don't think I like doing those any more. The music is ok, but I think the same song plays for the whole 12 minutes of the workout (there's a different song for each workout).

Intensity - I was surprised, this wasn't as intense as I thought it would be on preview. There are plyo moves, but not all that many, and there are a lot of breaks from what I can remember. I am sweaty, but I think mostly from the last section of High Intensity Moves that has all the jumping jacks and air jacks. I think I'd call this one solid intermediate.

Here are descriptions of the workouts:

Athletic drills: some plyo mixed with 4-limb, but they get a bit off beat sometimes (not all the time). With the WU and CD, the total workout is about 20 minutes.

Explosive power moves: similar to Athletic drills, but there are explosive upper body moves with the weights too. There are some twisting moves that look a little uncomfortable. There's some nice plank work. The music is something from another DVD (I think one of the Cathe MMA's). Total workout time is 20 minutes.

Kickboxing: standard kickboxing stuff w/some plyo (blasts) added in. Also 20 minutes total, looks like the easiest of the 4, but not actually easy.

High Intensity Moves: nice interval workout with more 4-limb. You'll do a less intense move, then bump up the move into high intensity (like lunges w/biceps curl, faster lunges w/biceps curl, and then split jumps while doing bicep curls with light weights). Also 20 minutes total.

Nyx Black


Calorie Explosion is led by Alison, blue room, black outfits, backgrounders are Rebekah and Emily. 3 min warmup, 4 12min sections {Althetic Drills, Power Moves, Kbox, and High Intesity Moves} followed by a short cooldown stretch. I thought it was a beginner workout at first, it is slow paced for an Alison workout, but the workout sneaks up on you, The moves, even in the Kbox are rather basic, nothing very complicated or even difficult to follow. Allison gives us a base move, adds on another and ups the intensity, while Emily modifies the impact. There are 'blasts' of higher impact moves to keep the HR up.

The menu gives you a 'play all' option, which plays the wu, workouts in order listed, then cd. The 4 workouts are listed individually and when played each start with the wu. There's a also a custom workout option which lets you choose which workouts you want to do, skipping the wu and cd between sections.

This is definatly a cardio workout, with a bootcamp/almost HIIT feel. Kbox seems the least intense, and doesn't use weights, has 2 or 3 combos starting with jab, cross, 3 knee repeater, repeat, bob/weave, jump and spin {speed-bag}. second combo starts with 3 kicks, back kick, cresent, side kick, alternate front punches. I modified out the cresent doing two side kicks.

Drills and High Int are very much alike, being the most bootcamp-y, with the usual 4-limbed moves, interspersed with jacks, tuck jumps, planks, pushups, lunges and dips. HI starts with a base move set, second set speeds up, and third set adds power.

Power Moves has a lot of impact {which I modify some out but keep some, depending on the move and how I feel about it}. I think this is the one that about 10 min in Alison has us go to the floor for planks/mt-climbers/plank-rows, since I can't go to the floor in the middle of cardio, I did something else. I know I did standing rows but the workout seems a blur now.