The Firm: Total Sculpt plus Abs

Total Sculpt plus Abs is part of The Firm’s Body Sculpting System 2. This system came with 3 workouts: this workout plus Maximum Cardio Burn + Abs and Complete Aerobics & Weight Training, the Fanny Lifter and Sculpting Stick. The Fanny Lifter is a square step with two levels (6 inch and 8 inch) that fit together so that you also have a 14 inch square step, and the Sculpting Stick is a body bar. It weighs 8 pounds and separates into 3 parts–two 2 pound “twigs” and one longer 4 pound bar.

This workout is led by Jennifer Carman, who was not one of my favorite Firm instructors. I can’t remember why because I remember liking the workout and finding it very challenging–I think it was her voice because I found it irritating when doing the workout again. She does cue well, but there is something about her voice… I can’t explain it. However the workout itself is excellent. With the right weights, it worked me very well!

I remember that this was the first workout I ever did that had a plyometric jump in it. At the time (15+ years ago) it was so hard for me! So this particular workout had a bit of a dread factor when I did it–primarily for the plyometric jump. Seems funny to me now, because I have done (and loved) lots of plyometrics in the years since. And the squat jumps in this workout are nothing compared to the tuck jumps and plyo lunges I was doing pre-cancer! I have actually stopped doing most crazy plyo moves since my mastectomy but I had zero problem with the squat jumps in this workout–no modification necessary. These workouts were also what introduced me to high stepping. It hurt so bad back then! Now–I love high stepping! One of my favorite exercises for the lower body. All of this to say, it just shows that everything gets easier with time and practice–that’s what getting in shape is all about!

This is a total body cardio + strength workout but there is more strength than cardio. There are 11 circuits, 7 are strength circuits, 2 are pure cardio and one is metabolic using the “twigs” (I used 5 pound dumbbells). The final circuit is core work.

Total Sculpt plus Abs is 57:30 minutes long; 2 minute intro, 8 minute warm up (includes two sets of push ups) and 6:30 minute stretch. Equipment needed: Fanny Lifter, sculpting stick and dumbbells. Jennifer and crew use 8, 5 and 3 pound dumbbells. The dumbbells listed below are what I used. I also used the 9 pound sculpting stick, a 15 pound body bar, a barbell @ 25 pounds (in place of the sculpting stick in two circuits) and my high step. The workout starts holding the sculpting stick in both hands in front of you. There is a beginner modifier.

Circuit 1: Fanny Lifter @ 14 inches, sculpting stick and dumbbells

  1. Hover squats (sit and stand to count of 2 w/ DBs on shoulders); add a 3 pulse squat before sitting (15# DBs)
  2. Seated back rows (18# DBs)
  3. Plie squats (18# Des)
  4. Sit on Fanny Lifter and raise sculpting stick overhead, arms wide and pull down behind head to count of 3 twice then lower straight arms in front of you and pull stick back to chest then push straight in front of you and raise overhead again (15# body bar)

Circuit 2: Sculpting stick and one heavy dumbbell

  1. Hold stick in right hand and DB on left shoulder, step out into a 4 count squat to the right; add knee lift when standing; add a 4 count reverse lunge w/ knee lift (15# DB)
  2. One arm overhead press (raise and lower to count of 4); add pulses at ear level (15# DB)
  3. Repeat 1 & 2 on other side of body

Circuit 3: Cardio on the floor (plyo squats are in this circuit)

Circuit 4: Fanny Lifter @ 14 inches, sculpting stick and one heavy dumbbell

  1. Starting on top of Fanny lifter, holding sculpting stick in one hand for balance and DB on other shoulder, do leg press, stepping one foot down (same side as holding sculpting stick) then raise back up; add pulses (15# DB)
  2. Stationary lunges w/ back foot on Fanny Lifter (still using the stick for balance w/ DB on other shoulder); add pulses (15# DB)
  3. Start w/ one foot on Fanny Lifter and press up then raise straight leg out to side and lower (still using the stick for balance w/ DB on other shoulder); add 3 side leg raises instead of just one; add pulses at bottom (15# DB)

Circuit 5: Fanny Lifter @ 14 inches, sculpting stick and dumbbells

  1. Seated one arm concentration curls (15# DB)
  2. Seated hammer curls (15# DBs)
  3. Repeat #1 on other arm
  4. Bicep curls using sculpting stick; take arms wider on stick and do more bicep curls (I used a 25# barbell)

Circuit 6: Step cardio on 6 inch portion of Fanny Lifter (there some plyo squats in this, too)

Circuit 7: Repeat Circuit #4 on other leg

Circuit 8: Fanny Lifter @ 14 inches and dumbbells

  1. Seated French press (double arm overhead tricep extension) (one18# DB)
  2. One arm tricep kickbacks (lean forward, one hand on step), done to various slow counts (one 8# DB)
  3. Tricep push ups w/ hands on step
  4. Repeat #2 on other arm
  5. Repeat #3

Circuit 9: Sculpting stick “twigs” (or two light dumbbells–I used 5 pound dumbbells)

  1. Alternating heel lifts (legs are wide)  w/ alternating overhead press (she makes a pattern out of this move)
  2. Squat w/ hammer curl
  3. Hamstring curl w/ alternating bicep curl (she makes a pattern out of this move)
  4. Squat w/ overhead press
  5. Combine 3 & 4

1 minute cool down/dynamic stretch.

Circuit 10: Sculpting stick, dumbbells and mat

  1. Lay on back on mat and do chest flys; add pulses (15# DBs)
  2. Pullovers w/ sculpting stick to various slow counts; add chest press to various slow counts (I used a 25# barbell)

Circuit 11: middle (4 pound) portion of sculpting stick (I used two portions of my 9 pound sculpting stick (6 pounds) but you could also just do this with no bar–just extend arms, or extend arms holding light dumbbells)

  1. Sit in C sit holding stick at chest, raise and lower torso to various slow counts; add pulses while pressing stick forward
  2. Still in C sit holding stick at chest, lower then when you raise, press stick out in front of you and twist to one side, alternate sides; add pulses when twisted to side
  3. Lay on back, bend knees and raise feet of floor, place stick on shins, crunch up, bringing stick to middle of shins and hold, then bring to ankles and hold, return to middle of shin and hold, then release down; add 2 reverse crunches when stick is in the middle of shins
  4. Still on back, extend straight legs to ceiling, crunch up, lifting stick all the way to shoe laces then lower slowly

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