The Firm: Ignite Calorie Burn

Emily Welsh, Rebecca Sturkie
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts

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I saw this workout at my local dollar store, and although I rarely do workouts from The Firm anymore, I picked it up because I was curious. After a bit of sleuthing, I realized that the two workouts included on this DVD are repackaged workouts from "The Firm Express" series, which was released in several cycles ("Ignite" was one) by different instructors. Still, I was okay with this, as I had been interested in the 30-minute format of these routines.

IGNITE CALORIE BURN offers the option of PLAY ALL on the Main Menu or of selecting either of the two routines. I have described each in greater detail below.

CARDIO POWER BURST (originally released on the Firm Express: Ignite DVD as "Cardio-Sculpt")
This 20:38 minute routine is led by Emily Welsh. She is assisted by background exercisers Jennifer and Rebekah--Welsh notes that viewers should watch Rebekah for modifications, but I did not see her modify the impact or anything else during the workout. The routine starts with a 2-minute warm-up that includes side lunges, squats, and low back stretches. Welsh teaches the first cardio sequence in an add-on style. First, there is a jog forward with a jack back, and she builds on this to include a single leg lunge with arms and a circle jack. This is followed by the first "burst." The bursts are 8-seconds of higher-intensity work, performed four times total with twelve seconds of rest in-between. The first burst becomes progressively more high-impact, starting with a low lunge and then progressing to circle jacks and finally to flying jacks. After the burst, Welsh suggests picking up "heavy" weights. The first combo starts with a front lunge, then adds a row, a rear leg lift, and a biceps curl. Next is a rear dip with a side delt raise and then a plie with a close squat. The last move in this sequence is a burpee with a push-up. The burst which follows also consists of burpees. For the next weights sequence, Welsh holds two medium weights together for a one-arm row with a lunge, alternating sides. Coming to center, she performs a squat with a concentration curl and then a hammer curl with both dumbbells before switching sides. She then moves to the floor for a row with push-up and triceps push-ups. The third burst consist of power squats. There is a final cardio sequence which includes an alternating front-back lunge, a shift squat with "muscle arms, and high knees, slow then fast, and then the final burst is a spring. Welsh spends about a minute performing squats with knee lifts for cardio recovery, and then she moves to the floor for brief (1 minute) stretches, including side plank and a quad stretch.

INTERVAL BURST (originally released on The Firm Express: Accelerate DVD as "Accelerate Cardio + Sculpt")
This 21:04 minute workout is led by Rebekah Sturkie, with Emily and Kelsie serving as background exercisers. As with the prior workout, Sturkie notes that modifications will be shown, this time by Kelsie, but I did not see her modify the impact or anything else during the workout. The routine begins with a short (2-minute) warm-up that includes taps, twists, step knee, dips/round back. Sturkie teaches the first cardio segment in an add-on style, starting with a step/sweep move, eventually adding a hop to this. The step/sweep is followed by a squat and dip, quick lunge, and v-hop. The first burst (following the same 8 seconds on, 12 seconds rest format) is v-hops. Sturkie then picks up medium weights for a diagonal lunge with row/squat and hammer combination. Next, it is down to the floor for push-ups with kickbacks, and then to the knees for step-ups (aka surrenders) with an overhead press. The second burst (which Sturkie states is the first for some reason) consists of vertical jumps (aka squat jumps), first on one side, then the other. More work with the medium weights follows, including plies with a scoop, deadlifts with rows, side leg abduction with upright row, and plie with French press. The plie with scoop is repeated for the next burst, this time with a hop and no weights. This workout concludes with one more (short) cardio sequence that includes a diagonal volleyball reach, a center press, a squat to the side, and a double hop center. The last cardio burst is a speed squat shuffle. Sturkie finishes with 1.5 minutes of recovery (standing pivot squat with knee lift) and then an additional 1 minute of quick standing stretches.

I found these workouts to be just okay. I did kind of like the inclusion of the cardio bursts, although 8 seconds seemed VERY short, even for someone who does not like cardio like me! (And Sturkie stopped early each time, making the intervals even shorter.) Also, although I know it's the Firm's "thing" to do weight training at an aerobic pace, it's just not something I enjoy doing anymore--I'd rather do strength train in a way that gets my heart rate up simply from working hard and lifting heavy, NOT from moving quickly through the exercises. In the end, the workouts on this DVD were okay for me to try once, but as an intermediate exerciser who works out daily with videos, I can't see myself using this one again.

Instructor Comments:
Emily is probably my favorite current Firm instructor, and I thought that she did a pretty good job here, although she does use quite a bit of appearance-related talk (e.g. "don't you want abs like these girls?"). Every time I try I workout by Rebekah, on the other hand, I am struck by her poor cuing. I just have a very hard time following her for the cardio portions (which I actually thought were fun otherwise), something that has happened to me with other DVDs of hers as well.

Beth C (aka toaster)