The Firm Express: OverdriveKelsie Daniels
Year Released: 2010
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts
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I am a big fan of the Firm (from the BBH-era all the way through the Firm Express series) and while I waited for a bargain, could not wait to get this series. I am a BIG fan of the short (30 minute-ish or less) intense, HIIT-style workouts, and these do NOT disappoint! The exercises are sort of all over the place (I would not recommend these for any serious strength training) but are fabulous for short cardio routines, even the strength workouts. Each workout in the system effectively gets your heart rate up and makes you feel like you really got something effective done in just 20 minutes. I tend to add 3-4 minutes to the end to stretch. Like all Firms, there is a high production value, and I like how the instructors are somewhat coordinated (their outfits), and the backlighting changes color for the bursts (which also have an on-screen timer). I donít like that the FE workouts are each on individual DVDs (so thereís 13 DVDs in the system Ė excessive!) and wish they would have put each cycle on one DVD so you could mix and match. There is a Gaiam ad at the beginning but isnít excessive. I think my only other complaint would be that the warm ups (thankfully not the cardio or strength as much) can be unnecessarily complex, but I am choreo-challenged and still follow along fine.
I would rate all of the FE workouts in the intermediate range, maybe high intermediate depending on poundage used (but you canít go too heavy due to the combination moves), and I often sub the bursts with a harder exercise to get my heart rate up more. They are definitely great to add on to another workout or to use on a day that youíre short on time. I have not done the system as designed and just use the workouts as a standalone or add-on. I really get a lot of use out of these and have paired them with lots of other workouts. They are so fun and short! I would definitely recommend these for anyone who enjoys short, high intensity workouts.
I probably had the biggest expectations for the Overdrive cycle (the fourth cycle in the system, and is supposed to be the toughest), because Kelsie is my favorite Pink Firm instructor. She tends to have tough, athletic routines. I really enjoy her C/S and S workouts but was lukewarm about her cardio workout, a kickboxing routine which could have been GREAT but was disappointingly less intense than I was expecting. I think they designed the bursts to be easier because the rest of the routines were tougher, but I wish it would have been altogether more challenging. But, I do think her C/S workout is the hardest in the whole FE set (lots of burpees!!) and is my most used of the whole set.
As I mentioned, Kelsie is my favorite Pink Firm instructor and is very professional and encouraging. She is very pleasant to work out with. Like all the other FE instructors, she is very inspiring and motivational!
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 Overdrive cycle w/o's are led by Kelsie. There are three 20 minute dvds; a cardio, sculpt, & cardio + sculpt. The Overdrive workouts offer the most challenging cardio (though I didnt find them any tougher than the others in the set). They allow for the heaviest weights of the series (I agree). 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 dumbbells for the Firm Express series. All Firm Express workouts feature 8 second power bursts w/ a 12 second recovery.
Overdrive Cardio + Sculpt: This workout combines cardio, strength, and 8 second bursts. The bursts include: tuck jumps, side leap w/ high knees, quick curtsy dip to side lunge, and lunge hops. The remainder of the w/o works your UB & LB evenly (yay) and includes low and high impact cardio & sculpting work. Moves include: ham curls, jacks, power lunges & squats, burpee -pushup -bicep combo, OH press w/ dip, curtsy dips w/ hinge & row and trcip kickbacks, squat w/ hammer & concentration curls, shuffle rock step kick combo, and finishes w/ V sit & leg extension variations.
Overdrive Sculpt: This is a strength w/o that includes 8 second cardio bursts. The moves in the bursts are: floor tap- kicks, rear tap while pulling your #'s back, the ol' Firm bicep-tricep side touch move, & OH press w/ knee raise. The other work includes: deadlift bicep curls w/a balance knee lift, bridge, bench press- skull crusher combo, squat w/ OH press, pushup w/ direction, French press, lat rows, hammer curls, surrenders w/ lat raise, and ends with plank & elevator planks.
Overdrive Cardio: This is an all cardio kickboxing w/o with 8 second power bursts, most of the work is pretty low impact in this one. I rate this w/o intermediate. Kelsie does some really fun unique kickboxing combos in this. Lots of punches & kicks put together into fun routines.
I really really really liked this cycle. Def my fav of the series. Her routines are fun, athletic, and unique. Great little combos, love the kickboxing. I rate: C+S high intermediate to low advanced, S = allows for heavy weights & is appropriate for all skill levels depending on the poundage used, and the C is intermediate & low impact.
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. These (like all Firms) are really easy to modify up or down in impact & intensity. 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.