The Firm Express: AccelerateRebekah Sturkie
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Strength Training (Total Body)
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I have pretty much completed a rotation and I wanted to post my comments.
I have not done the abs or 10 minute cardio DVD.
First, I bought this set after reading the reviews here. I get good results with the Firm and liked the idea of 20 minute workouts.
I bought them for maintenance. I'm not trying to lose weight. Judging by the fit of my clothes, the system delivered. I don't feel like I gained muscle strength but I didn't lose any.
I am super time crunched - work - law school - family - so even getting in 20 minutes is challenging.
I'm not going to break the workouts down since I know this has already been done.
These workouts were all I did with a little yoga mixed in. If someone had more time, on the alternate days you could easily add in a longer cardio or yoga or pilates workouts. That was my original plan but I just never got the time. I had planned to use longer Firms or Cathes on the weekends but time got away from me. It still was nice knowing that I had a total body 20 minute workout that I could do.
Pros - I love that they all have cardio. If getting more cardio into your day is important, these are great.
The packaging is nice and not cheap.
The nutritional plan included is healthy and doable.
They really do hit the total body.
They are great for exercise ADD.
The rotation that goes from light, moderate to heavy weights is well thought out.
They are very motivating. Because they are only 20 minutes, there were a few times that I mentally tried to talk myself out of working out but knew that the workouts were only 20 minutes so I popped one in.
They are very versatile. Because they are so short and do work your entire body, there is time to add on other workouts and "get it all in." On those days I had more time, I was able to add on a 20- 30 min yoga workout.
To change things up, you could mix and match them and do two or three in a row.
My heart rate was up the entire workout and I felt completely worked out. I would say that my perceived exertion was always between 6 or 8.
Cons - I do feel that because the exercises are not taught, and the fast pace and combo moves, these are for intermediate advanced exercisers.
These are high impact. The modifier is non-existent. Toward the 3rd week it was getting annoying when they said watch the modifier because they don't show any modifications.
If you can't do lunges or squats, pass on this set.
I modified when I needed to. I've been working out long enough to know how to substitute moves but a beginner may not. modification of high impact to low impact high intensity is not difficult; Turbofire does a fantastic job.
I also think that some of the moves are dangerous. For example, that move where you start in a kneeling position and then you get up on one knee and alternate getting up on the other while doing military presses is IMHO dangerous and not for anyone with bad knees. I had to modify - I just subbed in standing lunges.
There were other moves that I questioned, but right now I can't think of them. I do remember that in some of the workouts, I took out the lower body and just did the upper.
Also, they combine bicep and shoulder exercises in the same superset. The Firm is not the only system that does this. I don't understand this because most people can lift much heavier for bicep than shoulder. I have to lower my weight for shoulder so my bicep suffers.
Overall I'd give them a B. If they truly had modifiers and safer moves, I'd have given them an A.
The Accelerate cycle w/o's are led by Rebekah. There are three 20 minute dvds; a cardio, sculpt, & cardio + sculpt. The Accelerate workouts feature moderate to high impact and allows for heavier weights. There are 2 backgrounders, one shows beginner modifications. The set is really cute-kind of looks like a basketball court floor w/ nice wood & light colors in the background. You will only need dumbells for the Firm Express series. All Firm Express workouts feature 8 second power bursts w/ a 12 second recovery.
Accelerate Cardio + Sculpt: This workout combines cardio, strength, and 8 second bursts. The bursts include: explosive V-hops, speed squat-shuffles, & plyo pliets w/ arm scoops. Other work consists of low & hi impact cardio and combo strength moves: soccer kicks, low walks, squat -dip- floor touch, V steps & hops, diagonal lunges w/ rows, squats w/ hammer curls, pushups w/ tri kickbacks, standing to kneeling w/ bicep curl & OH press, leaping lunges, static pliet w/ scoops, hinge & row, upright row w/ abduction, pliet w/ French press, volleyball set & bumps, squat w/ low reach and hops, and concludes w/ standing ab work.
Accelerate Sculpt: This is a strength w/o that includes 8 second cardio bursts. The moves in the 8 second bursts are: skaters, a fast plank lunge, weighted power side lunges, and weighted power lunges. The strength work includes 1 legged squats- into lunge w/ row, pliet- curtsy dip combo, static side lunge w/ tricep kickback, deadlifts, bicep curl variations, & concludes w/ static pliets w/ side bends/ side chops.
Accelerate Cardio: This is an all cardio w/o with 8 second power bursts. The bursts include a quick quick run move, power squat /turning power squat, a Mt. Climber type move where you kick your leg out to the other side (kind of a side plank/ Mt Climber combo) fast X jumps, & a high knee w/ punch. Other cardio work includes: hi and lo jacks, X jumps, walk forward w/ a kick, a squat rear kick punch combo, cross country skiing, power lunges, and finishes w/ lunges & core work combos.
While Rebekah is one of my fav instructors- I could have done w/out her continual high pitch "WHOOOW-ing" in these. Also she seemed to only go 6-7 seconds on the power bursts- (theres a timer). The actual Accelerate w/o's are solid, unique, and I like them even more than the Ignite w/o's. I really enjoyed all three w/o's!!!!!! I love how these (& Ignite) cooldown w/ some quick standing ab work.
Part of the 12 second recovery is used for set up- no wasted time- quick recovery and back to work! These workouts move right along and you will work up a nice sweat in the 20 minutes. Time flys even combining 2. I rate Accelerate solid-higher intermediates that (like all Firms) are really easy to modify up or down. These contain fun new moves so they are different from other Firms, but still athletic and combine strength & cardio work as Firms always have. The intro is quick and says "I am Gaiam" and moves right into the menu- so combining w/o's is pretty painless! I received these dvds to review.