FitPrime From The Ground UpHeidi Tanner
Year Released: 2003
Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
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This workout has already been broken down thoroughly, so I am just going to add my own opinions. I am reviewing this workout after having done it a couple of times, and I’ll also give a review of the Crunch Time-FTGU mix that is provided on the DVD that has both full workouts.
From the Ground Up is led by Heidi Tanner of Firm Cardio fame, and is a comprehensive AWT workout. The original workout has very little differences from its remake, Push Pull of the Kick Butt WHFN series (which is also led by Heidi and co-instructed by Kimberly Spreen). In the original, Heidi does the entire workout in bare feet (hence the title, from the ground up) but I’m not keen on doing heavy work like leg presses with bare feet so I always wear sneakers. This is a great production, but frankly, I like the remake better so don’t often do the original. I like Kimberly’s more forceful kickbox moves, and I don’t have to sacrifice Heidi’s great lead, but I get the added benefit of high production values with Push Pull. The music is exactly the same throughout, and the exercises are near exact as well. So unlike some of the other remakes, this one doesn’t feel like a different workout at all, and it’s probably not necessary to have both except for the hard core fan.
What’s great about this DVD however is the Anna Benson-created mix of Crunch Time and FTGU (there’s also an option to mix and match sets, which I haven’t played around with yet but will definitely look into). The mix is about 50 minutes long and unfortunately does NOT include a warm up, and has all of the floor work first, but then moves on to the standing work, which includes the leg press sets from both CT and FTGU (the CT leg press is superset with the one legged squats/overhead press from FTGU, hard!), LOADS of triceps work (from both workouts), fencer rows from CT, pushups and MORE rows from FTGU, and it has all of the kickbox-inspired cardio routines from FTGU (my favorite). This workout was really tough! It also had an unweighted leg press set from Anna Benson’s workout (Flex Posture?) of which I subbed kettlebell swings, which was really intense when combined with the other work. I liked the combination of Heidi and Susan, they’re two of my favorite Firm instructors. It would have been great if they’d done a workout together sometime!
The production quality may not be high (on all the workouts on the DVD), but the DVD is very well chaptered and gives you a lot to work with and customize your own workout. I would highly recommend the combined DVD to anyone who enjoys Anna Benson productions (and original Fitprime workouts in particular) and AWT workouts. On its own, FTGU is a great workout, but not a must-have for those who already have WHFN Push Pull. Overall Grade A!
Heidi is a great lead. She’s not as meticulous with form pointers as Tracie Long, but she’s doubly smiley, genial, and enthusiastic, and I love working out with her. I loved her in Firm Cardio and she shines just as much here. It was great having her in the remake too! I would be elated to see her lead more workouts in the future and would buy anything she has to offer.
My initial impressions of Fitprime
from other VFers) as a mish mash My initial impressions of Fitprime of different exercise styles proved on viewing to be fairly accurate. FTGU is essentially a circuit style workout, primarily focusing on weight training with a little cardio thrown in. I will provide a breakdown and a more detailed commentary about my impressions at the end.
WARM UP: Heidi Tanner (HT) performs a fairly standard aerobic style "add on" warm up and cues it well - very easy to follow. She includes curtsey dips which can be problematic for those with knee injuries or instability so beware!
WEIGHTS: some lunges and clean and press style combinations. Heidi starts off with lunges on her weaker side but does not keep her hips squared and has a tendency to lean her upper torso forward which disengages the core, especially the gluteals. It is better to initiate lunges by squaring the hips and drawing up the pelvic floor and gently tightening the "seatbelt" across the hips. The clean and press is not a true version, rather it is bicep curls and a shoulder press, quite nicely done.
CARDIO - a shuffle and kick sequence which is cued well. Heidi's technique is adequate but could be better in the side kicks (it would help if she explained correct foot placement and that the kick originates from out of the hip area etc etc). I wouldn't do the circle kick with shoes on - HT did this well, but to do it properly is highly advanced, be careful.
WEIGHTS: Squats with hyperextensions - HT tips forward and squats with an anterior tilt in her hips rather than neutral (this means her hips are tipping forward too much, causing an exaggerated sway in the back). The leg hyperextension only accentuates the incorrect pelvic position. If done in a neutral position(that is pelvis neither tipping forward or back, drawing up the pelvic floor helps), this targets the glutes more.
Dead rows with upright rows - OK, but needs to watch for shoulder impingement on upright rows. Also "drag dips" -again the pelvis is in anterior rotation and puts the focus on the quads rather than the glutes. This may bother those with knee issues. Then a plie with bicep curls and a balance move - I think there is too much going on to execute this well.
CARDIO - Jab- cross sequence with aerobics - well done!
WEIGHTS - tall box sequence - again Heidi's torso is tilted forward placing emphasis on the quads. DRAG DIP - stays in a crouched position - hard isometric leg contraction. Tricep sequence plus hover squats - uses momentum to come up off the box and pelvis is not in neutral. The overhead tricep extension and calf raise is a good double duty exercise.
CARDIO - includes some plyo jumps - again this is taught really well.
WEIGHTS- Push up with tall box - avoid at all costs as you are hyperextending (bending past its natural limits) the shoulder joint - an alternative is to use a step without risers. There is also a shoulder raise with tall box sequence - this is really quite funky and well done - you'll be working so hard on the steps, you will forget your shoulders are screaming.
LAT ROW - does a lot of pulsing moves, which means not working enough through full range of motion.
AB/ANKLE WEIGHT work - ankle weights are totally unnecessary. I was highly disappointed with the ab work. It is "pilates on acid" which has gone awfully wrong. HT does not articulate her spine, emphasise breathing or alignment and the movements are too fast to do anything with. There is a movement touted to work the transversus abdominus which is in fact an inner thigh ab/adduction with matching pec fly.
The cooldown is peppered with yoga words such as "downward dog" but I could see no evidence of these whatsoever and I'm a very inexperienced yogini (though I do know some of the basic poses).
It's hard to know how to classify this workout. It does work all of the major muscle groups, but sometimes too much is trying to be achieved in the one move and it doesn't work and thus loses its' effectiveness.
The cardio segments are terrific - they were well cued and really effective.
This workout has a blend of basic, intermediate and advanced moves in it. It will help improve muscular endurance and balance, but is unlikely to generate much change in body shape. This workout would be best used in a recovery week or if you were focusing on endurance rather than strength (there are a lot of reps). It's not for someone starting out with weights as there is little instruction - I would recommend Charlene Prickett instead.
Overall grade D for the ab section
C+ for the weights and A for the cardio.
Heidi came across as a very likeable instructor. She could have given a lot more form pointers in this workout. Her posture in some of the movements (but not all) was questionable. Her cueing in the cardio segments was excellent and easy to understand and follow.
This is an intermediate/advanced workout which works your entire body with a wide variety of moves. Although the main focus of the workout is on strength training, 2-minute aerobic intervals are woven throughout for a total of about 10 minutes of aerobic activity. The 4-minute warm-up quickly gets your heart rate up with mambos, shuffles, curtsie lunges, squats, and balance work. You then move right into weighted squats and extensions before going into the first cardio section, a kickboxing workout. Next comes more heavy weight work with plies, dips, and lunges; you'll also do some upper body work by performing bicep curls and rows. The second cardio section is also kickboxing, but this time focusing mainly on punches and arm work.
You then need a tall box for some extremely challenging leg presses; your thighs will be screaming by the end of this segment! You'll also do hover squats and seated weight work for the arms, mainly working the triceps. The next cardio segment consists of v-steps, more mambos, and a jump squat. You'll move on to more upper body work with push-ups as well as begin adding some yoga stretches such as child's pose. The final cardio segment works the shoulders with tall box climbs and stomps; I had to drop to lower weights during this section. You then put on ankle weights--stretching the hips as you do so--and move to the floor for about 10 minutes of abs work which includes yoga stretches such as bridge and table poses. The workout finishes with a brief stretch for a total of 50 tough, sweaty minutes.
Instructor Heidi Tanner works out in front of a wall mirror on a set that looks like a basement studio, and the music compliments the workout well. The title of the video refers to the fact that the workout is performed barefoot to work on increased stability from the foot upward; I found this challenging for some moves such as the squats and press ups. Overall, I felt that this was an excellent, unique, thorough full-body workout (with a lower body emphasis) which left me feeling strong.
Instructor Heidi Tanner is a classic FitPrime/Firm instructor: with a soft Southern accent, she cues well and makes sympathetic comments (eg, "This is hard!") while encouraging you to push yourself.
The music is really enjoyable to me. Most of it, anyway. Some of it I barely noticed.
The workout is a 'heavy weight' barefoot workout. It's about 50ish minutes long.
I liked it. It was enjoyable with some very unusual things in it.
It's hard to say where in my rotation this or the other fitprimse will fit. Perhaps I will do a fitprime only rotation for a few weeks?
I'm glad I have this, but it didn't ring my bell as strongly as Strong Bear did.
Heidi is less personable here than she is in the cardio crosstrainer firm workout, but it was still pleasant to see her again.
Other than that, she has a good teaching style.
IMHO this is one of Fitprime's best workouts. It has a variety of moves to keep you challenged and aren't the worn-out same ol' moves others employ. This is definitely not for beginners but all intermediate and advanced exercisers can use this for a long time and feel challenged by upping the weights.
The entire workout is done in your bare feet to draw strength from the stability of the foot, hence the name of the video. Heidi seems to know when to cue you and if you do what she suggests with your feet you will find it helps in targeting muscles in a different way. The workout offers a fun Mambo warm up you can really get into. You'll get to move into some challenging balance/weight work followed by boxing type cardio. On to the tall box, but not your ordinary tall box workout, you have to stay in the crouched position the entire time which will aid stability and really makes the muscles burn while performing the movements. More boxing movements like speed bag, jab cardio, followed by more original tall box work, squats, lunge mambo, pushups (but not the average joe either, all I'll say is keep the tall box handy), more cardio, great weighted back work (which I felt for 2 days!). Heidi's ab routine adds some spice to normal ab workouts, utilizing different moves and weights you'll get the variety you may be looking for.
The cool down and stretch are good, but I would've liked it a little longer. The only flaw with the workout for me was not enough upper body work. There is some, but nothing overly challenging or unique. Overall it's not your usual workout. Heidi encourages you to go beyond your normal intensity level. Some of the music is off with the routine, but not so much it's annoying. The quality of the video isn't as good as mass produced big production companies, but for a small business it is reasonably well. The DVD's video quality is much better. The set may bother some people, but it makes me feel like I'm doing a video camera workout with a friend in their living room. I love doing this one when I've had a bad day, there is just something about it that lifts my spirits. It's nice to have a workout that is realistic and you can see the instructor being challenged too with the balance moves.
I've always enjoyed workouts with Heidi. I have them all from her Firm days and always seem to want to work out harder when she's instructing. Her cueing is excellent and she emminates the tough (give me more) and understanding undertone.
I just got FTGU and have done it once. FitPrime is definitely different than anything out there, but I agree that it is somewhat similar to older Firms--it alternates between segments of cardio and weight, and the weight work tends to keep my heartrate up,too. Some of the cardio sections have light kickboxing and punching in them, but they're put in almost more as dance moves than as power moves. There is tall box work, but Heidi keeps the body still on top of the box and mainly moves the leg for part of the set. It's hard to explain but the effect is that the tall box climb is turned into more of an isometric exercise and it is TOUGH! There does seem to be many many squats, but I'm not a squat-loving person to begin with and I have to admit that they are effective. I did the workout with shoes, but I might try it barefoot like Heidi sometime.
The moves are very fun, when they're not killing you. :) I would rate it as high intermediate to advanced, although you could always modify it to be more intermediate like I did for my first runthrough by using lighter weights during the arm segments and no weights during leg work. It's definitely worth getting.
Heidi has a warm demeanor that is very non-intimidating (although I found myself wondering how she could manage to complete all those exercises without yelling like me).
This is an aerobic weight training tape lasting 50 minutes. It is an advanced workout (much tougher than the newer Firm workouts) with innovative moves that are very effective. It is Aerobic Weight Training at its best. There is nothing quirky about this workout. It has 9 minutes of cardio interspersed throughout – 2 kickboxing segments and a hi-lo segment which I consider athletic and a tall box climb. It is a very well balanced total body workout – both the upper and lower body are worked well without one being stronger than the other.
You need dumbbells, tall box and ankle weights.
The workout starts with a warm-up that is more strenuous than the old Firm warm-ups – it has a mambo, shuffle, pendulum, curtsie and squats. There is also some balance work in the warm-up followed by a brief stretch.
As with all the Fitprimes, you work the weak side first. The first weight segment is static lunges with glute lifts. Fitprimes always throw in some balance work throughout the workout and it was in this section that you do glute lifts and balance. I really felt this in my outer thigh. This is followed by clean and press and then the same movements working the strong side. Squats with hyper-extensions and balance work follow.
After this heavy weight work, you go into a kickboxing routine which is quite fun. The moves slowly build on so no chance for boredom. This routine has a little impact but it can be modified.
Another heavy weight segments follows with drag dips, glute lifts and alternating bicep curls. This too was very effective on the thighs. I liked both the dips and static lunges best in this workout. Bent row and upright rows follow with plies and bicep curls.
The next cardio segment is another kickboxing one with punches, jumps, knee lifts and speed bag arms.
Then onto tall box work where you do slow leg presses, feel the negative, slight dips from the tall box and you hold the muscles isometrically. The burn was massive on this one. Tricep dips with leg lifts follow and then one legged hover squats alternated with seated overhead presses follow. You continue working the triceps by doing a seated French press with heel lifts in the extension position of the French press. Then you work the strong leg and repeat the tall box work. Tricep pushups, hover squats on the other leg and tricep kickbacks follow. This is a great segment
The third cardio segment is next with V-steps, lunge jump (I modify this and just do plyos because I am sure I am going to hurt my knees), march and mambos. Heidi moves well throughout all of these.
Pushups working the weak side first then a stretch and pushups working the strong side are next. A modified child’s pose finishes the stretch in this section.
The final cardio segment is a killer for the shoulders. You do tall box climbs, stomps and mambos while holding light weights to work the medial delts. Posterior delts are also worked.
Lat rows and double-arm rows and rhomboid pinch are next.
Then to the floor – put on ankle weights while seated and then do some stretches. Core work follows with threads, bridge work (I think of it more as reverse bridge work) where you are seated, legs bent in front of you, hands on floor and then lift your body to form a bridge with your core forms the top of the table, arms and legs the support. You are facing the ceiling. The ab work is different and effective. You finish with a brief stretch.
The music in this workout is spectacular. Anna Benson has amazing taste in music. The only negatives about the workout are the colour of the set. It seems a bit washed out. I’m not sure why. I prefer the editing in this workout to all the other Fitprimes. She didn’t use the fade in and out technique as much (I found that distracting in the newer workouts). The only time the editing was distracting in this was in the core work - to get closeups.
Anna and Tracie did an excellent job with this one and Heidi’s performance sold it for them. This is the best Fitprime workout to date and one of my favourite workouts.
Heidi shines in this workout. Her instructions are great, she gives excellent form pointers and just at the right time. Her form is excellent. Heidi is better in this workout than she was in Firm Cardio and I thought she was excellent in that workout. She has a wonderful manner that is supportive, not condescending and yet encouraging. Lots of superlatives but it is true - I don't know if anybody else could have done better.