The Firm: Super-Charged Sculpting

Super-Charged Sculpting is part of The Firm’s TransFirmer system. This workout is led by Pam Cauthen Meriwether. I remember that this was not one of my favorite Firm workouts. I did it plenty back when I first got it. Back when I was diehard Firmie I always followed their rotation calendars when I purchased their systems. I always preferred their cardio + strength circuit workouts and this is a pure strength workout. I also remember I found this workout really hard. Fast-forward to the present. Cardio + strength workouts are still my favorite type of workout but I also love pure strength workouts–particularly of the circuit variety where you alternate working upper and lower body. So I do like this workout better now than I did back then. However, it felt uneven to me. It is a total body strength workout but the lower body and core are worked more thoroughly than the upper body. Since this is a short workout there are a lot of ways to fix that. Cathe premix add ons (or her Body Fusion Upper Body add on), Barlates upper body workouts and I’m sure there are others in the 15-20 minute range I am blanking on right now. However, I did not find this workout as hard as I used to. With heavy enough dumbbells you will get a good workout but not killer like I used to find it.

The length of this workout also bothered me in the past–but back then I did not have a lot of workout DVDs with short workouts or premixes. Jiggle Free Abs came with the TransFirmer system (as an add on) and is only 25 minutes but I never wanted to do that workout after this one. Not because I didn’t enjoy it (I did) but because Pam works your core very well in this workout, I really didn’t feel 20 additional minutes of core work was necessary.

There is also a bonus stretch on this DVD and that’s what I usually did–the main workout followed by the bonus stretch. The menu says it is 12 minutes but it is actually only 8 minutes. It is nice and thorough stretch. It is just Pam, no background exercisers, and it consists of spinal twist while on back, bridge stretch, seated side stretch, seated hip stretch, cat/cow, down dog to runners lunge, runners lunge w/ a torso twist, wide leg standing forward fold, add twists to forward fold, stretch chest while in forward fold, forward fold with legs together, tree pose, ends with deep breaths.

This workout uses the TransFirmer which is two full length steps–one is 6 inches, one is 8 inches, they can be stacked so you also have a 14 inch high step and there are ridges so the 6 inch step fits securely into the 8 inch step to create an incline. I no longer have the TransFirmer. I gave it away when I finally got the incline wedges for my club step, but I still have my old Firm Box. It does incline but doesn’t have the ability to be 3 different levels, it only does 6 and 14 inches + it inclines. Here is how I substituted for not having a TransFirmer. I had my club step set up at 8 inches. I used my Firm Box for 6, 14 and incline circuits. It worked well. This is not one of the TransFirmer workouts where you have to do a lot of awkward substitutions if you don’t have the TransFirmer. As long as you have a step at 6 inches and 14 inches plus the ability to incline, then you can do this workout with minor modifications that are easy to figure out on your own. The only real problem with not having an actual TransFirmer is how quick and easy it is to change the positions of the TransFirmer. It is not that quick with the Firm Box or a club step so I had to pause the DVD a few times so I could get mine set up.

Super-Charged Sculpting is 39:30 minutes; 2:20 minute intro, 4:30 minute warm up and 3:30 minute stretch. Equipment: TransFirmer (or step @ 6 and 14 inches + an incline) and dumbbells. The workout starts with the TransFirmer in the incline position for the warm up.

Circuit 1: TransFirmer still in incline position and dumbbells. (I used 15# DBs for this entire circuit.)

  1. Squats; isometric hold in squat; pulse squats
  2. Forward lunge onto incline; changes to pulsing lunges
  3. Squats; isometric hold; raise one heel when holding isometrically; changes to raising foot off floor when holding squat
  4. Repeat #2 on other leg
  5. Repeat #3

Circuit 2: TransFirmer still in incline but moved to the side and dumbbells

  1. Forward hinging back row w/ one foot on incline (20# DBs)
  2. Upright row (10# DBs)
  3. Repeat #1 but with palms facing forward; changes to palms facing rear (wide/high row) (10# DBs)
  4. Incline pullovers (one 20# DB) (I would normally use a heavier DB for this exercise, but these are fast pullovers)
  5. Chest fly; changes to single arm flys (20# DBs)
  6. Chest press (20# DBs)

Circuit 3: TransFirmer @ 14 inches, fitness mat and one dumbbell. (I used one 5# DB)

  1. Elbow plank hold; alternate raising legs
  2. Side plank hold; raise and lower hips; ends with another plank hold
  3. Kneel on floor/mat and reach both arms holding one DB overhead, lean torso/DB to side keeping hips steady
  4. Still kneeling, extend arms/DB in front of you and twist arms/DB side to side keeping hips facing forward
  5. Sit on TransFirmer, hands on back edge of step and toes on floor, lean torso back and forward; add raising one leg and extending and bending leg; raise both feet off the floor and extend and bend both legs

Circuit 4: TransFirmer is disassembled with the 6 inch portio setting in front of the 8 inch portion (so they are like a stairs) and dumbbells

  1. Standing on 6 inch portion of step, do reverse lunges off step; add tapping moving leg to 8 inch portion of step at top of lunge; changes to curtsy lunge, still tapping toe to 8 inch portion of step; changes to regular reverse lunges w/ a pulse; add tapping toe to 8 inch step again (15# DBs)
  2. Reassemble TransFirmer to 14 inches and stand on top of TransFirmer, do leg press (12# DBs)
  3. Stand in front of Transfirmer, step on and off TransFirmer; changes to wide steps

Circuit 5: TransFirmer @ 14 inches and dumbbells

  1. Bicep curl to overhead press; changes to just overhead presses; changes to just bicep curls; hold in isometric bicep curl (12# DBs)
  2. Tricep kickbacks; add pulses; changes to isometric holds at top of kickback (8# DBs)
  3. Hammer curls; add bent arm side raise after hammer curl (hammer curl + bent arm side raise) (8# DBs)
  4. With DBs behind hips, row DBs up and down behind you (palms facing wall behind you); add extension/kickback at top of row (5# DBs)
  5. Front raise (5# DBs)
  6. Tricep dips off TransFirmer; changes to single leg tricep dips

Circuit 6: fitness mat

  1. Lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, hands behind head, do basic crunch; add oblique twist; changes to reverse crunch; add hip swivel to reverse crunch; add upper body to reverse crunch (full crunch); add extending one leg toward ceiling when crunching; both legs extend to ceiling when crunching
  2. Return to upper crunches; extend both arms overhead while continuing to crunch; extend legs out straight while continuing to crunch; crunch up and hold isometrically
  3. Lay on belly, legs extended and hands folded under chin, raise and lower upper body; isometric holds at top of move; changes to raising legs and holding isometrically (no upper body)

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