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Jameson Cook
Jameson Cook

The Firm Total Body Body Sculpting Basics Susan Harris



Body Sculpting Basics is a total-body workout designed by Founder of The Firm Anna Benson. Susan Harris leads a routine that astonished the exercise community when first introduced. For the first time, weights & aerobics were combined in one program. This is now a proven best method for simultaneous fat loss and muscle toning in the least amount of time.




the firm total body body sculpting basics susan harris



Wow! What a workout. An 80s workout using WEIGHTS and CARDIO together, high production quality, great music (unlike most 80s workouts), and one that is actually SAFE. This workout is indeed a classic and should be in every home exerciser's library.Everybody who wants a great total body workout should try this workout. You will not be disappointed. The Firm's Aerobic Weight Training WORKS. Period.The standing section is great because it works both the upper and lower body with weights and provides aerobic conditioning.The floor work for the legs/glutes is tough and in my opinion, impossible. How can the cast use a heavy 10 lb. dumbbell with a 1.5 lb. ankle weight and make it through all those inner/outer thigh lifts? And not be grimacing for mercy?Since this workout has been reviewed quite a bit, I've just added my comments.


There have been many reviews on this video. I will not give a breakdown as others have already done this. The first half of the workout is aerobic and toning intervals. The toning is fairly aerobic too--lots of squats and lunges done at a quick pace. Your heart rate stays up there. The aerobics are very basic. They are also rebounder freindly. She does them with weights. She even does one set with 5 lb weights--ouch. The upper body toning is done very quickly---a little too quickly for very heavy weights. The most "killer" part of the workout was, as others have mentioned, the floorwork. It was very hard to do all the reps. I also liked the ab work even though Susan's form was not that great. The lunges and squats were done very quickly. The lunge segment was used in Standing legs. I used the Transfirmer on the incline and it made them much more doable. I would recommend this workout to intermediate and advanced exercisers who like the old Firm workouts. For those of you who have a low tolerance for "cheesiness, this is not for you. If you can get past the cheesines, however, there is an excellent workout to be found here.


I've had this video for a few years but have just now decided to submit a review after reading other's comments. I bought this video after doing the parts-series and I liked the segments taken from Vol 1, plus I wanted to expand my FIRM collection. At first, I was a little taken back by the total 80's-ness of the video: the music, the Capezio shoes Susan wears, and the "older" quality of the tape clearity. But that quickly faded when I realized how effective and challenging this video was! It really was ahead of its time. There was a rerun of a "Dallas" episode on from the mid 80's where they were doing floor aerobics - now THAT was a dated style of working out! This tape is in a totally different league. I can understand some people's concerns regarding the safety of some of the segments in this video. If you've used enough other workout video's (especially other later FIRM videos), you will know what to modify. This may not be a great tape to get if this is your first ever workout tape to buy, though. I now know to squat with my head up to get my weights, or to not extend my knees over my toes when doing lunges. If you make the proper modifications, this is really a great workout. I have to say, it is not as aerobic as the other Firm Total Body videos (exception is Vol 5, but I always do the rewind for 25 min of aerobics). I think I clocked it at under 20 min (more like 17), even though the "aerobics end" message appears later on. I feel the aerobics have actually ended when you take your shoes off and put on your ankle weights, NOT when the message appears. To supplement, I usually do 20 minutes worth of step or floor aerobics before doing this tape. Nevertheless, this is a great strength workout, again, especially for its time! The video starts out with a warm-up/stretch combo. You then go into a very heavy set of arm work. It's a little fast, so I usually do a slower pace with a 15lb set, rewind, and do Susan's speed with a 12lb set. You then do some traditional floor aerobics with 1.5lb hand held ankle weights. Then some squats with those weights before moving into heavier weights. There are lunges, more floor aerobics (this time with 5lb dumbells), and more upper body work with heavy weights. By the way, there is no step up box in this video. Now you move down to the floor (again, I personally feel the aerobics ends here, but they feel it ends after the pushups and one set of the floor work). At this point you will add 2 sets of ankle weights: a set of 2.5lb and a set of 1.5 together, putting the latter on your toes. I use 1 set of 5lb. Susan begins the floor routine with pushups on weights, then moves into the first set of grueling lower body work. The second set of lower body work has you adding a free weight to your working leg. Although I am still impressed with Susan's strength as to the heavy poundage she uses for the floor work, I did realize after a few viewings that, yes, she is using a 10lb weight on her leg, but she also only has on a 1.5lb ankle weight (I believe she wears the additional 2.5lb ankle weight for the leg work that does not require a free weight). So I didn't feel so "weak" using a 5lb ankle weight with only a 6 or 7lb free weight. At this point, get ready for some TOUGH floor work. Even if you are an experienced Standing Legs or MIS veteran, you will be challenged! Especially if you increase the free weight you use on your working leg. I admit, I always have to break right before the 30 degree leg extensions. And just when that little sector has your leg burning, you begin what I think is the hardest inner thigh work I have ever encountered! Just when I think I can increase my poundage, I am put right back in my place when I find I can not complete the segment without stoopping. Finally, the tape ends with some pec work, bridge work, and ab work. The ab work is really challenging if you use 2.5lb ankle weights. All in all, this is a good toning tape. I use this tape on just "strength" days, too, by tacking on Upper Body or Cory's Get Hard Arms tape. Or as I mentioned above, to get more cardio, I do an aerobic tape before this one. Susan does have a whispery voice (compare to her later tapes), but I don't at all find it sexual! That's just her way of talking. The cast looks pretty updated considering this was made in 1986. In 1986, there would be no way you could get my spiked hair in camera view with out cutting it off! At least there is no "big hair" or Duran Duran looking outfits. And so what if the cast has on make-up and silly smiles? They were obviously told to! Just remember, you're doing the workout for results, not fashion pointers!


I have to write a review of one of my favorite workouts! Even though it is old (Susan wears capezio shoes instead of aerobic shoes and she doesn't wear a bra, I still love it. Time just flies when I am working out to this video. I am sweating like crazy at the end of the standing aerobic weight training section. I like jumping on my mini trampoline on the high impact section. I just jog on the trampoline and do the same arm movements that Susan does. I use heavy weights (10lb-12lb) on the squat sections and lunge sections. Susan doesn't swing the weights but does a bicep curl during the squats. She uses a 2x4 to raise your heels. The only thing I don't like is in the warmup , it doesn't do any calf stretching so I usually add Susan's stretch at the beginning of Tortoise for extra stretching. I love the music in Firm 1 too. Especially the tuba section. My kids love it too. The floor work is the toughest I've ever done. I am very sore the next day. She also does, pushups, pec flies and bridge work. She does a lot of side lifts and shoot outs. Very tough! Then she does inner thigh work. I have so much fun having Susan as an instructor. I like it how Susan doesn't hide the fact that she is getting to failure. She is sweating away and feeling the burn just as much as you. It is just a wonderfully made total body workout. It will always be one of my favorites.


Firm one is the only tape in my collection that is "old" (about ten years old). Not only that, but I know that it will be in my collection for another 10 years. Furthermore I believe it is the only effective tape that was produced in that time. I remember doing Jane Fonda every day untill my knees and back gave out on me (I was only 14 at back then). I remember hating every minute of the Fonda tape because it was so hard on my body and I didn't notice any difference. Some people say that the music in Firm one is a little dated and the instructor and cast looks to perfect. I really don't care what the cast looks like. All I know is that after using the firm volume one for a couple of months, I began to look like one of the members of the cast (something that would have been impossible using old Jane Fonda videos) The 5 minute high impact areobic section in firm one is basic with not funny or tricky footsteps. The weight work (especially the lunge work) in this video is excellent as well. I like to think of this tape as a classic workout tape. I really like Susan Harris. I liked her in Volume one, four and the tortise and the hare. I was upset that she wasn't in the newer workout tapes. Her cueing is great and she sounds a lot more intelligent than a lot of other video instructors.


I rented this tape from Blockbuster the other day, watched it once, and did it once. Its a piece of 1980s history. I could show it to a Cultural Studies class and ask for a feminist analysis and have students writing for hours. The sexiness of Susan, her voice, her moves, the exercises, and the exercisers are played up so much it makes me uncomfortable (not because I don't like sexiness, but because I want to work out, not stare at Susan's butt!) When Susan bends at the waist and speads her legs (and she does so to pick up heavy weights!!!!) the camera's focal point is the mirror behind her, which seperates many minutes of this tape from a Hustler shot only by the thickness of the leotard between her legs. Any other FIRM tape you've seen with slinky moves, breathy voices, or inquiring camera angles is much subdued compared to this original. So those were the subjective bad points. Here are the objective bad points:Everyone in the class, including Susan performs lunges with their knees extending over thier ankles, which hurts my knees just to look watch!Susan *drops* her hand weights at one point.Many of the moves include bending at the waist and then lifting up rapidly, which I doubt is safe, and unnecessary.All weights are lifted off the floor with straight legs.Mostly impact aerobics.Oddly, after you perform leg work on one side, the message "Aerobic segment ends" appears, and then you go on the do exactly the same on the other leg. Wouldn't it end either before the first leg or after both?No time to both check your pulse and take off your shoes. Pulse check is repeated at very end of tape. Why would you need to after cool down and stretch?Good points - If you modify or ignore the above absurdities, you will get this out of the workout:If you are a fan of leg lifts and get good results from them, then this tape will really give it to you! If you are a fan of plies and get good results from them, ditto. I'm sure anyone who does this tape often (with safety modifications) will end up with thighs and buns of steel. Good intro to weight training as body sculpting, rather than body building.This tape is primarily plies, leg lifts, and impact aerobics. Like I said, totally 80s... (which, in a twisted way, made it rather nostalgic and fun!) Grade: C+ 350c69d7ab


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