Express Cardio is part of The Firm‘s Firm Box series and is led by Stephanie Huckabee, another of my favorite Firm trainers, mostly because of her strength workout in this series: Total Muscle Shaping, which is one of my favorite Firm workouts, but also all of her other Firm workouts. Like Allie Del Rio, she hasn’t created a Firm workout that I don’t like. Stephanie looks really good in this series. Very lean and muscular–something to aspire to.
This workout uses the Firm Box, a step that can be used at 6 inches, 14 inches and on an incline. Returning to this workout again, I recalled how much I loved it. This is a very fast paced workout. Most Firm workouts give you a very short break between circuits. It feels more like a filming thing–as if they take a break between each circuit when filming. Some of the circuits in this one give you zero break–you flow from one circuit immediately into the next. Also, although I would not call the step choreography complex, I did have some trouble catching on to some of the step combos. I always caught on eventually, but I got confused a few times. Maybe her cueing wasn’t the best in this workout. I’m not sure. I did this workout so much back when I first bought it that I recalled everything about it–but not so much that I was immediately able to do every step combo immediately, if that makes sense. Back when I used to do this all the time, I had the step combos memorized and I loved doing them. Anyway, all of this to say, this is probably one of the more complicated Firm step cardio workouts, but still not complex. I love this workout and find it a lot of fun.
This is a cardio workout made up of 7 circuits: 2 circuits of cardio on the floor, 1 circuit of cardio using the step @ 6 inches, 2 circuits using the step on an incline, and 2 low impact circuits that use dumbbells and the step to increase intensity (one uses it @ 14 inches and one on an incline). This is not a low impact workout–there is a lot of jumping. However, Stephanie shows everything low impact before taking it high impact. So stay with the low impact version if you want this to be a low impact workout. Plus there is always the a beginner modifier in every Firm workout. I don’t follow the modifiers, so I am not watching out for her but it seems like in the Firm Box workouts they don’t show the modifier as much as they do in other Firm workouts.
Express Cardio is 32 minutes long; 1:45 minute intro, 3:30 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch. Equipment: Firm box (or step that you can use at 6 and 14 inches plus on an incline) and light dumbbells (they are using 3 pound dumbbells, I used 5 pound dumbbells). Workout starts with box in 6 inch position.
Circuit 1: Step cardio w/ Firm box @ 6 inches
Circuit 2: Step cardio w/ Firm box on incline
Circuit 3: Firm box on incline and light dumbbells
- Alternating front lunges onto the incline w/ a pulse; add straight arm side raises and during pulse, bring DBs together in front of you then back out to side
- Starting on the incline, squat side to side (one foot always on incline); add shoulder press; add squat pulse
- Straddle step on incline + 2 side steps; add alternating hammer curls during straddle step and bent arm side raises during the side steps
- Squat side to side off incline (one foot always on incline); add squat pulses
- Starting on top of step, do pulsing reverse lunges off step; add bicep curls; add knee lift at top of lunge
- Repeat #4
Circuit 4: Cardio on the floor
Circuit 5: Firm box @ 14 inches and dumbbells
- Standing on top of box, squat side to side; add pulses
- Step on and off box; add bent arm side raises
- Leg press; add pulses to leg press; changes to fast taps on top of box (working leg remains stationary on box)
- Repeat #1
- Repeat #2 w/ other lead leg
- Repeat #3 on other leg
- Squat side to side on floor; add squat pulses
Circuit 6: Cardio on floor
Circuit 7: Step cardio on Firm box on incline