The Firm: Aerobic Body Shaping

Due to my current drop in fitness level due to chemo, I have dug out a lot of old workout DVDs that I stored in boxes in my closet many years ago. I decided it was time to revisit my old Firm workouts that got me addicted to working out 15+ years ago. What actually started everything was a single Firm workout: Body Sculpting Basics led by Susan Harris. I did that workout over and over again until I finally decided it was time to get more workouts instead of doing the same one repeatedly. So I bought The Firm’s Body Sculpting System 2 with the Fanny Lifter and sculpting stick. After that, I bought everything the Firm offered for years, including the Transfirmer series. I loved this series and kept my Transfirmer and Fanny Lifter for years, even after I stopped doing Firm workouts. I cannot remember now what I did with my Fanny Lifter but I found it unnecessary once I got my High Step. However, I kept the Transfirmer for a long time–mostly for the ability to incline. Then I bought the incline blocks for my club step and gave the Transfirmer away. I wish I still had it because some exercises in the Transfirmer workouts have to be modified without the actual Transfirmer (not so with the Fanny Lifter–the High Step substitutes just fine). I do still have the Firm Box–the predecessor to the Transfirmer that was not popular. I used that along with my club step to do this workout. The Firm Box does incline but doesn’t have the ability to be 3 different levels (6, 8 and 14 inches + incline), it only does 6 and 14 inches + it inclines.

Here is how I managed. I had my club step set up at 8 inches. I used my Firm Box for 6, 14 and incline circuits. If it was an incline circuit that also needed that 8 inch portion (only one circuit in this workout but I know other TransFirmer workouts also use both boxes in a ways you have to modify if you don’t have the Transfirmer), I set the incline right in front of the 8 inch club step. That worked as a substitute except I had to take bigger steps to the 8 inch section than I would have if I had the TransFirmer. The verdict? This workout can be done w/out the TransFirmer as long as you have a step that can be set at various levels and inclines. Circuit 2 is the only circuit that needs the TransFirmer and it is for a single move in the circuit–so modify that one move and this workout is doable with a club step–as long as you have enough risers to get it to 14 inches and it can incline. You will have to pause your DVD a few times because the TransFirmer changes it’s positions very quickly–a club step takes a bit more time.

The first Firm workouts I decided to return to were the ones I remember liking the best. There are actually a lot of Firms I loved so who knows if I will be able to get to all of them, but the first 3 systems were my favorite–Body Sculpting System 2 with the Fanny Lifter, the system with the unpopular Firm Box and the Transfirmer series. The ones that came after were never my favorites (pinks), though there were some good ones. I purchased a lot of Firm Body Sculpting System 1 and Firm Classic workouts, but I have never done them–some are still in plastic wrap! I chose to start with this one because I remember loving it plus Allie Del Rio was my favorite Firm instructor.

How did it hold up? OMG–I loved it. Seriously! This challenged me but did not kill me–and it was fun! I miss The Firm! I did not realize how much until I did this workout this morning. I got a great total body workout for my current fitness level. And Allie cued very well, just like I remember. I still enjoy her as trainer.

The Firm: Aerobic Body Shaping contains a full length cardio + strength workout and a 8 minute lower body workout (they say it is 10 minutes but it’s not).

The Lower Body Bonus isn’t enough on it’s own (IMHO) but as a finisher for another lower body workout it works nicely. I remember when I used to do this workout all the time I tacked the bonus onto the end of this workout but when I did it this time I tacked it onto the end of a premix on Cathe‘s Low Impact Step + Total Body Sculpting. It was the Lower Body Cardio Blast which worked my legs very well, so this finished them off nicely.

Aerobic Body Shaping is 57 minutes long; the first 2 minutes is intro and the final minute is credits so it is actually 54 minutes; 5:30 minute warm up and 3 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and Transfirmer (or a step that changes levels and inclines). Allie and crew used 8, 5 and 3 pound dumbbells. The dumbbell weights listed below are what I used. There is also a modifier. The workout starts with the 6 inch part of the Transfirmer in front of you for the warm up.

Circuit 1: Transfirmer @ 14 inches and dumbbells. I used 10 pound dumbbells for this entire circuit.

  1. Hover squats (sit on step, raise slightly off step and hold then stand); add bicep curl to overhead press
  2. Squats
  3. Seated overhead shoulder press
  4. Leg press
  5. Hammer curls but at bottom of curl press your arms back further, working triceps
  6. Repeat #4 on other leg

Circuit 2: Step cardio w/ Transfirmer in incline position (this is the circuit you will need to modify one move if you don’t have an actual TransFirmer)

Circuit 3: Transfirmer @ 14 inches and dumbbells.

  1. Leg press, first to the back of the step then to the side of the step (10# DBs)
  2. Single arm back row (one 20# DB)
  3. Step on and off step; add raising one leg behind you while stepping onto step; add front raise (6# DBs)
  4. Tricep push ups w/ hands on step
  5. Repeat #3 on other leg
  6. Repeat #2 on other arm
  7. Repeat #1 on other leg

Circuit 4: Step cardio w/ Transfirmer in incline position

Circuit 5: Transfirmer is still in incline position but beside you now. You also need dumbbells. I used 15 pound dumbbells for this entire circuit.

  1. Side lunges onto incline
  2. Double arm back rows
  3. Front lunges onto incline
  4. Incline chest fly
  5. Pullovers
  6. Reverse lunges on floor

Circuit 6: Cardio on the floor (no equipment needed)

Circuit 7: Transfirmer in incline position beside you but other side now. You also need dumbbells.

  1. Side lunges onto incline (other leg) (15# DBs)
  2. Overhead tricep extensions (one 20# DB)
  3. Front lunges onto incline (other leg) (15# DBs)
  4. Incline chest press (20# DBs)
  5. Skull crushers (still laying on incline) (one 20# DB)
  6. Reverse lunges on floor (other leg) (15# DBs)

Circuit 8: Cardio on floor (no equipment needed)

Circuit 9: Transfirmer @ 14 inches but beside you. You also need dumbbells.

  1. Bicep curls (12# DBs)
  2. Tricep dips off step
  3. Rear delt flys while sitting on step (8# DBs)
  4. Lay on floor w/ heels on step, raise and lower glutes; add pressing knees together while lifting glutes; add rocking hips side to side

Circuit 10: Core work on floor

  1. Basic crunches w/ knees bent and feet on floor; drop both knees to one side while continuing to crunch; add bringing top knee in at top of crunch and pushing leg out straight at bottom of crunch
  2. Basic crunches again w/ knees bent and feet on floor; changes to oblique crunches (twisting elbow toward opposite knee, alternate sides)
  3. Basic crunches again but with legs extended straight on floor; changes to bringing one knee in toward chest and twisting opposite elbow toward knee (do variations on this, first singles on one side, then alternate, then do pulsing variations and finally add a kick after the pulse)
  4. Cobra then child’s pose
  5. Forearm plank hold

Lower Body Bonus is 8 minutes. The Transfirmer is set up in the incline position. The Transfirmer isn’t necessary for this workout. Any step on an incline would work or a stability ball or even just do the exercises on the floor.

  1. Squats; add side leg lifts; changes to just side leg lifts (no squats)
  2. Plie squats; plie pulses
  3. Hamstring curls
  4. Laying torso on incline do hip bridges; changes to one leg bridges
  5. Lay on side on incline and raise and lower top leg; add pulling knee into chest and pressing back out
  6. Still laying on side on incline, raise and lower bottom leg (inner thigh work); changes to circling bottom leg; combine to two moves; changes to pulling bottom knee into chest
  7. Get on elbows and knees but elbows are on the 8 inch portion of step, raise and lower one bent leg, pushing sole of foot to ceiling; add pulses
  8. Repeat #7 on other leg
  9. Repeat #4-6 on other leg
  10. Ends with a stretch

7 thoughts on “The Firm: Aerobic Body Shaping

  1. Hi there! I was in a car accident and fractured vertebrae and six ribs. I can walk and I will be able to get back to lofe in about three more weeks! I know I have to start slow again. So I saw u had a beginner rotation. I was wondering can u put together a beginner or get back to it after injury workout using the FIRM and Cathe beginner and intermediate workouts? I am not good with rotations. So I like KCM and Cathe and I have all of the firms now. So I can definitely do a rotation. I only have a high step and a club step. So I was looking for a transfirmer box from eBay. But maybe you say I can for the DVDs with out it. I may try it unless u have other firms that is fun not boring and will help me to get strong and lose weight again! Thanks so much. Not sure if u remember me but I to had feet issues and now back. But I am determined to get back strong again. Just preparing myself for what I need to do!! Thanks so much!


    1. Also want you to know o have a lot of old Reebok videos like step power step, Kathy smith step and thighs buns. Step.. I have old Jane Fonda step. I just have hard times putting a rotation together is all. I saw your beginner one and I don’t like Jillian. And I don’t have the body weight dvds from the man instructor, I forgot what the tone is called. I do have a rebounder as well. I saw you have a beginner rebounder Rotation too. I just like to mix it up. Thanks!


    2. I am so sorry to hear about your car accident! I have been there so I do understand. Unfortunately, creating rotations is very time consuming. I have other projects I am working on right now so I am not able to devote the kind of time creating a rotation like that would require. Especially since it has been years since I’ve done The Firm and Cathe’s beginner/intermediate level workouts. The rebounder rotation I created is not beginner level so I do not recommend doing that if you are recovering from an injury. AngieFitnessTV has a lot of rebounder workouts–many are beginner level and even the ones that aren’t she always shows beginner modifications, so she is a good trainer to use for rebounder workouts when recovering. I had shoulder surgery last year and I was not allowed to jump on my rebounder for 8 weeks following the surgery. I know shoulder and spine are not the same thing, but you might want to check with your doctor before bouncing. I have had cracked ribs and spinal fractures from a car accident but my most severe injury from that accident was my heels being crushed so that is what my rehab focused on–walking again. By the time I was able to do basic walking workouts my ribs and spine were completely healed so I don’t feel qualified to give any recommendations for rehabbing from that.

      Take care and take it slow!


  2. I too have been going back to Firm workouts I haven’t done in YEARS. Oh how I love them again! The combination of weights plus cardio using the transfirmer is a winning combination. I didn’t realize how much I missed the transfirmer and tall box climbs until I started revisiting the firm. I just ordered a few used copies of workouts from the BSS3 & BSS2 sets I’m loving them so much! I’ve been reading your revisited reviews for the Firm workouts to help me decide which workout to break out again! I’m inspired by your motivation to work out while going through chemo. I’m wishing for the best outcome for you and your health!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And yes, I was having so much fun doing Firm workouts! Especially the TransFirmer and Firm Box workouts. They are the best and most fun, in my opinion. I hope to be able to return to them soon.


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