The Firm: Zero In Ten - Target Toning

Emily Welsh, Rebekah Sturkie
Year Released: 2010

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

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

This is a new Pink Firm workout with a VERY new feel to it: only one instructor (no background exercisers), more advanced moves, well chaptered, very modern feeling. And did I mention more advanced! Zero in Ten has a very 10 Minute Solution workout feel: there are five, 10 minute workouts that each have a specific focus (to explain the title, they mean that the workout “zeros in” on a specific goal to suit your needs….so essentially “zero in, in ten [minutes]”).

Like 10MS, the chapters can be played in any order, one at a time, or all together for a 50 minute workout. Also like 10MS, there is a very brief (0:30-1:00 minute) warm up and cool down in each chapter. There is no separate warm up chapter or stretch chapter. Emily teaches two chapters while Rebekah teaches three, as noted below. Because there are no background instructors, there are no beginner modifiers. The music is instrumental with a good beat, maybe a little better than most Pink Firms. The setting is a clean, uncluttered studio with hardwood floors and blue walls and windows. It is somewhat dark but not distractingly so. You will need two sets of weights (light-moderate), the poundage of which is not defined by the instructors (I used 5-8-10#). I can usually go heavier but (1) the exercises move quickly and (2) the transitions between exercises move quickly, which makes it hard to constantly switch weights.

The chapters are as follows:

(1) Lean Legs (Rebekah) Includes lunge variations (weighted), plyo lunges, squat variations with and without weights. This workout looked easy enough but fatigued my legs surprisingly fast. The workout definitely had the feel of Firm’s Get Chisel’d – doing weighted work then maxing out the muscles with some plyo work.

(2) Fearless Arms (Rebekah) Rebekah leads you through a variety of exercises for the arms: biceps press, clean and press, shoulder press, double arm row with a single arm row variation, onto the floor for plank pushups mixed with pike position, triceps dips on floor, mountain climbers, back up to standing for “I, Y, and T” shoulder/back work, and triceps kickbacks. I didn’t like the floor work being placed mid-chapter (when it could have been at the end), but other than that this went by quickly. I felt like it was more of an arm-themed cardio workout than a true strength workout, since there was so much of so little and not enough reps of anything to fatigue the muscles (then again, the whole DVD felt like that). For some reason the DVD player doesn’t count from 0-10 minutes like the other chapters, so you never know how far along you are, but that’s a small quibble.

(3) Bikini Body Blaze (Emily) Unfortunately my DVD is faulty and this chapter doesn’t work. Speaking of, my DVD won’t allow me to “play all” since this chapter is faulty. I have to choose each singly or choose the other chapters and exclude this chapter. Maybe someday I’ll get a new DVD if I find a good deal on it. I am told that this problem affected many Gaiam DVDs.

(4) ABS-olute Core (Rebekah): Confusingly, Rebekah introduces this chapter as “your cardio workout” and in fact proceeds to do cardio, prompting me to go back to the DVD menu and make sure I selected the right chapter (I did). The 10 minutes included 7 minutes of standing work (cardio and strength) followed by 2 minutes on the floor and 1 minute cool down. The standing work included a superset of jumps and burpees (four burpees at once for 16 total). At the 4th burpee, she paused in plank form to do knee ins, mountain climbers, and prone jacks (different exercise per circuit). Followed by lunges with a wood chop (with two light weights), and a side to side core twist with those same weights, and pulsing then plyo jumps with the weights (which was a leg, not ab, exercise…?). Floor work included a Russian twist variation with one light weight, a very brief set of crunches (upper only), back extensions while laying face down, and a pilates arm/leg extension while on hands and knees. Stand back up for a final stretch.

(5) Bun Burn (Emily) Emily didn’t use weights for this workout. There are lots of squat and lunge variations, going deep into the moves since there were no weights – you can really get a good range of motion out of the moves. The first 6 minutes or so are spent standing then onto the floor for some pilates-esque moves including a superset on each leg: one leg bridge work, a challenging tabletop move with one arm shooting over body (these were tough!), and leg circles and knee ins which work the glutes on the same leg, before repeating the circuit on the other leg. I’m not crazy about non-weighted leg work, but this did have a cardio impact and it was fun! And like the other chapters, it did fly by quickly. I didn’t feel that Emily moved “frantically” like many people have complained of.

Other notes:

-I picked up Zero in Ten because it was rumored to be a little easier than Firm Cardio Explosion, which looked a little too advanced for me. While I can’t compare the two, I think Zero in Ten is plenty advanced. Lots of high intensity jumps, burpees, and plyometrics? Sounds advanced to me! I disagree with the Collage Video grade of intermediate and would classify this as intermediate-advanced. I plan to work with it by doing less chapters at once (maybe 3-4) and modifying some of the moves. It seems like The Firm made the Pinks too easy, but then they took a huge leap forward and made the newer Firms pretty advanced. I am starting to get used to this new change of pace however and think they are focused on short, intense workouts (like the new Firm Express series) and maybe they aren’t expecting the home exerciser to spend 60 minutes on fitness per day like they did in the BBH or Goodtimes days. It’s a frame of mind I suppose, I’m used to doing a 45-60 minute video every morning, but one probably does burn a comparable amount of calories at this intensity in 20 minutes, even though I’m still trying to wrap my head around classifying such a short workout (even an intense one) as “enough.” Sorry for the digression :-)

-Also, I am fine that the workout includes both cardio and toning, however to be fair, it WAS advertised as a toning video. It was really more of a circuit workout, even more than a Firm-like AWT workout, and certainly not a toning workout. I would have liked to see this workout use heavier weights and make it more of a strength or AWT workout than a circuit, especially since their new system is basically all circuit workouts and HIIT (from what I have read).

-I give The Firm a congratulations for finally (FINALLY) chaptering their workouts. Not only can you mix and match workouts, each workout is chaptered so thoroughly that different exercises are chaptered (think Beachbody!) I would have liked there to be a countdown of some sort, but it’s not a big deal.

-Sometimes it seems like there are so many exercises and so little time, that I wish there were more reps of fewer exercises. On the other hand, the variety keeps the boredom at bay and the workout moving very quickly. Again, it all just comes down to what you want out of a workout. I think this style workout is good for fat loss, but maybe not good for strength gains.

- The warm up/cool down took up to 2 minutes total off of each chapter (sometimes less). Although, you do work VERY hard for the remainder. All in all it doesn’t feel like a significant amount of time is wasted.

-Sometimes the cuing can be confusing. For instance, during the ab chapter, during back extensions towards the end of the chapter she says “this is your last exercise!” then at lightning speed rolls onto her arms and legs for the pilates arm/leg extension, which is in fact the last exercise before cool down. By the time I realized what she was doing, I missed half of the reps. I’m okay with quick transitions if only they are cued in advance!

-Since there are no real cardio routines (only intervals), there is no choreography to follow (or TIFTing) which should please many. I know one of the common complaints for some other Pink Firms is that the choreography can be confusing. This DVD is really a change of pace in many aspects, including that the cardio is all purely athletic calisthenics and done interval style (i.e., X-reps of burpees and deliberate jumps instead of a continual five minute routine of grapevines, cha chas, bunny hops, and sashays aligned to the music). I can’t emphasize enough how NOT like other Firms (BBH/Goodtimes/Pinks up til recently) this workout is. I thought the workout had the feel of the Firm Weighted Gloves workout with Rebekah.

All in all it is a somewhat mixed review, but for what it is (a low advanced circuit workout) it is a very high quality production (except for the faulty DVD and losing a whole chapter!). The modernity and challenge of moves will please many who wrote off the Firm as being too easy/boring/repetitive/choreographed. For somebody at my fitness level (intermediate) it can be taxing, but can definitely be worked up to. Thanks to the short chapters, it isn’t completely intimidating! This is really not an option for beginners especially given there no modifiers, form pointers are minimal, and some of the moves are not easy to execute. The short chapters also allow for this to be used as an add on to other workouts. This is really good investment for those who know what they’ll be getting (which is not necessary as advertised). Overall grade B.

Instructor Comments:
I’ll admit Emily and Rebekah aren’t my favorite Firm instructors (I tend to prefer Kelsie and Alison) but they’re okay. Rebekah has her annoying tendencies like the high pitched “WOOOS” of which there were a handful, and the “listen up/okay, now listen” which she repeats often. I thought Emily was better but she was wearing a lot of makeup which I didn’t think flattered her and it was a little distracting. On the plus side, they’re not constantly chattering about “you will look great in a bikini!” or “just think about those short shorts” like other toning-specific videos have. They have marginally adequate cuing but sometimes they don’t mention how many reps there are and they abruptly stop an exercise, which can be confusing, and they might not introduce the next exercise without jumping right into it (literally!) These kinds of things will likely go away with more frequent usage however.

Emily B.


his dvd offers five 10 minute segments that can be mixed and matched to create a 10-50 minute workout. Emily or Rebekah work out alone in a cute set w/ blue walls & hardwood floors. You will only need dumbbells for this workout.

Lean Legs: Rebekah leads this lower body + cardio workout. Moves include: deadlift, hops, static lunges, power lunge hops, pliets, pliet hop heel clicks, dips, etc. Fun sections- Rebekah does a great job of keeping the moves interesting & getting your HR up.

Fearless Arms: Rebekah leads this upper body + cardio w/o. Moves include: clean & press, 2 handed row, pushup pikes, walking planks w/ Mt. climbers, tricep dip variations, hammer curls, medial raise, side to side floor touch shuffles, row to kickback, and a fun I-Y-T move to hit your shoulders. Rebekah accomplishes a lot in only 10 min.

Bikini Body Blaze: This is a fun cardio section led by Emily. Nothing weird or overly choreographed here. The format is 45 seconds of progressive work and 15 seconds of rest. Moves include: side knee ups to fast hi knees, football run & Mt. climbers, side lunge to floor touch jump ups, squat to hi knee tuck jumps, hop squat to pushup & jump up, etc. I like the moves start at a good intensity and then build so you really get a great cal burn in only 10 minutes.

Ab-Solute Core: This is a fun core cardio routine led by Rebekah. Exercises include: burpees, planks, Mt. climbers, plank- side knee pulls, plank jacks, squat hops w/ #s, lunge chops, dumbbell torso twists, V roll downs, weighted V twists, circle crunches, and prone lower back work. I love core cardio routines & this one includes GREAT cardio!

Bun Burn: This is an unweighted lower body + cardio workout led by Emily. Moves include: side lunge knee lift & high run, ssquat dip w/ arms, static knee pull & glute raise, pliet & bunny lunges, a fun bridge series, and gate- modified T stand w/ leg circles & knee pulls. You can easily add weights to many of the moves if you want to amp it up a bit.

I would rate this workout a solid intermediate that, like all Firms is super easy to adapt to all fitness levels. I pushed myself and got a fantastic sweaty workout! I love the 10 minute formats- so versatile and really makes the time fly by knowing each segment only lasts 10 minutes. Great variety of exercises. Fun & fresh moves w/out being so unique theyre strange-not like any of my other workouts. Def a place in my w/o library for this one! Great cuing from both Emily & Rebekah. I received this dvd to review.