The Firm: Express Total Body Shaping

Express Total Body Shaping is a stand alone/add on Firm workout. It did not come included in a system (at least not that I remember). It uses the sculpting stick from Body Sculpting System 2, but I am pretty sure it came out the same time as the Firm Box system came out (Firm Box system came out after BSS2 but before the TransFirmer system). The only piece of equipment this workout uses is the sculpting stick. The Sculpting Stick is an 8 pound body bar that separates into 3 parts–two 2 pound “twigs” and one longer 4 pound bar.

This workout is led by Pam Cauthen Meriwether. Not one of my favorite Firm trainers but I did like her. I do remember thinking her TransFirmer workouts were some of the tougher ones.

This is another Firm workout I remember really enjoying. I usually used this before doing a 30 minute yoga workout, or after one of the Firm’s 30 minute cardio workouts and sometimes when I wanted a light workout I followed this workout with The Firm’s Power Sculpt, which also came with a body bar that separates. That one is a bit heavier (9 pounds) and separates into three 3 pound segments. This is another workout that when I did it many years ago, I needed a heavier body bar. I bought a 15 pound body bar and I would use that plus the 8 pound sculpting stick when doing this workout. In returning to it this morning, I used the 9 pound sculpting stick and the 15 pound body bar. I did get a good workout–certainly nothing intense and I would never use this as my sole strength training workout, but it still works very nicely before doing yoga. I still enjoyed it. Even though you are using a body bar, I would call this more of a bodyweight/barre workout with a little bit of cardio and plyometrics. And she does hit every muscle in your body, just not in a way that would qualify as strength training.

Express Total Body Shaping is 32:30 minutes long; 1:45 minute intro, 3:30 minute warm up and 3 minute stretch. Equipment: The Firm’s sculpting stick or a weighted body bar plus a set of light hand weights. I used the 9 pound sculpting stick for everything except Circuit 3; I used the 15 pound body bar for that circuit.

Circuit 1:

  1. Holding the stick in front of you w/ both hands for balance, do squats; lift one heel and continue squatting; fold ankle over other knee and continue squatting; add isometric holds in squat
  2. Hold stick with one hand for balance and do front kicks; changes to pulsing leg lifts; changes to circling straight leg in front of you
  3. Repeat 1 & 2 on other leg
  4. Holding the stick in front of you w/ both hands for balance, do squats; add a heel lift while still in squat then stand (heels still lifted) and lower heels once standing; hold isometrically in squat w/ heels lifted; while standing, do heel lifts; changes to single leg heel lifts

Circuit 2:

  1. Deadlifts using stick; add a squat w/ a front raise (one deadlift + one squat w/ front raise)
  2. Alternate tapping toes in front of you; add front raise; add a chest press after front raise
  3. Heel lifts side to side w/ upright row
  4. Low impact skater step with back row (she calls it rhomboid pinch)
  5. Heel lifts side to side while swinging stick side to side
  6. Repeat #1-5

Circuit 3:

  1. Holding the stick in one hand for balance, do stationary lunges; lift bar off floor and hold in isometric hammer curl; continue lunging at various tempos including an isometric hold at bottom of lunge
  2. Plie squats holding the bar in both hands in front of you; back row (rhomboid pinch)
  3. Set stick on floor and squat; changes to squat jumps; step side to side; changes to lateral skaters; plie squats; changes to plyo jacks; back to lateral skaters
  4. Repeat #1 on other leg
  5. Repeat #2 & 3

Circuit 4: Cardio using only the 2 pound twigs (or light dumbbells; I used the 3 pound twigs from my 9 pound sculpting stick)

Circuit 5:

  1. Hold stick in one hand for balance, side kicks; changes to side leg lifts
  2. Raise other leg, leg slightly bent, insole turned up to ceiling and raise and lower leg
  3. Repeat #1 on other leg
  4. Place stick on shoulders and lean to torso to side; raise stick overhead and continue leaning torso overhead
  5. Place stick back on shoulders and squat; add an alternating knee lift when you stand; add twisting end of stick toward opposite knee when doing knee lift

Circuit 6:

  1. Straight arm plank hold; raise one leg and hold
  2. Tricep push ups
  3. Repeat #1

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