The Firm: Calorie Explosion

Calorie Explosion is a cardio workout led by Alison Davis. It is 56 minutes long; 4 minute warm up, 48 minute training period and 4 minute cool down/stretch.

Calorie Explosion is a good title for this cardio-only workout from The Firm. It consists primarily of explosive plyometric moves. This does seem to be The Firms new thing—and a good thing, I believe—though reviews are mixed. A lot of people who have been working out with The Firm for a long time (I am among that group) don’t like their new direction, but I think change is good and they are following the research that intervals/HIITs burn a lot more calories than steady state cardio and also have a much longer “after burn” effect. In fact their Firm Express is based on HIIT training (and yes, there will eventually be a review on that program since I own it and have done it).

The structure of this workout is very user friendly. The 48 minute training period is actually four approx. 12 minute segments that can be broken down into workouts of various lengths. This makes it great as an “add on” to other workouts that don’t clock in at my usual hour of exercise. You can customize the workout by putting the workouts together however you want and the warm up automatically plays at the beginning and the cool down at the end. So basically, you could make this a 20 minute workout, a 32 minute workout, a 44 minute workout, or a 56 minute workout.

The Firm has various instructors that carry most of their workouts and Alison is one of them. I have always really liked her. She is one of my favorites—though I will admit to having quite a few Firm instructor favorites (with Allie being my #1 fav). Alison does a great job with this workout. Excellent cuing.

On to the workout: As mentioned previously this is a high impact workout with lots of plyo. It also uses The Firm’s signature 4-limb movements with light weights to increase the intensity of the cardio. The 4 segments are: Athletic Drills, Power Moves, Kickboxing and High Intensity Moves. The workout is somewhat deceptive. It didn’t seem very hard or challenging at first, but then I find I’m sweating and getting pretty worn out from all the plyo. I own quite a few high intensity workouts and they generally move at a pretty good clip. This workout didn’t seem as fast paced as many of my other high intensity cardio workouts. So that was the deceptive part—it is a good, solid workout, but moves at a slower pace. It is well structured, too. Each section is structured similarly but with minor differences. They generally had lower intensity moves (though even those often had high impact moves in them) followed by higher impact “blasts.” The final section, High Intensity Moves, had 3 levels for each move: the first level focused on form, the second on speed and the third level made the moves “explosive.”

Athletic Drills had moves like squats that transition to jump squats, lunges that transitioned to plyo lunges, football shuffles and more. Explosive Power Moves contained moves such as more squat hops, plie plyos, some kettle bell inspired moves (clean and snatch), tuck jumps and more. Kickboxing had typical kickboxing moves—lower intensity than the type of kickboxing I am accustomed to doing. High Intensity Moves had moves such as squat/overhead press that transitions into squat jump/overhead press, lunges that transition into jump lunges, jacks that transition into air jacks. There are a lot of lunges in this one actually—in all directions, like a clockwork lunge series. Though it sounds like there is move repetition between segments, Alison puts a new spin on the move each time, which keeps it from getting boring.

This isn’t an advanced workout for the reasons listed above, nor is it the most enjoyable workout I own, but still a good workout and one I continue to do on occasion to mix things up.

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