Friday, October 15, 2010

DVD Review: Total Body Makeover - Cardio Party Express

I have been partnering with CSN Stores in recent months, offering product reviews of some of the many items that are available on their website.  In addition to the fitness equipment that I prefer, CSN also sells many products for the home, such as nightstands, linens, toys and more!

CSN graciously sent me a copy of Total Body Makeover by The Firm on DVD, which includes four complete workouts.  Recently I reviewed the third workout, Hardcore Fusion.  Today's review will focus on Cardio Party Express, the fourth and final routine on the DVD.

Like Hardcore Fusion Express, Cardio Party Express is derived from a previous Firm workout.  The original Cardio Party DVD is 40 minutes. This express version of the workout, which is not available on the original Cardio Party DVD, is 32 minutes.  

Cardio Party Express is unique in that it's not led by a singular Firm Master Instructor.  In this case, four of the five cast members take turns leading.  It begins with Alison Davis, using some steps from her other video Cardio Overdrive. She's fun without being too perky, and her segment provides a great warm up and cardio build-up.

The next segment is led by Emily Welsh, a veteran Firm instructor.  Fans of her Complete Aerobics & Weight Training (CAWT) workout from 2003 will notice a few moves that she's gleaned from that routine.  I really love CAWT and was delightfully surprised to see those steps included in.  I literally laughed with delight.  Along with that, Emily's section is also fun and effective.  Her standing abdominal segments are a great alternative to doing crunches on the floor.  And she's serious without being too much so.

After Emily is Rebekah, leading us with some material we've seen from her before.  I find her to be pleasant and her moves attainable. As is the case in other areas of the workout, the small number moves that involve impact can easily be adapted to low-impact versions. In my case, I substitute "heel digs" for the calf pumps that are sometimes too challenging for me. And long-time Firm fans will enjoy the new take on the "Tri-star", which is the "Quad-star" with Rebekah.

Missing from Cardio Party Express is the segment that was led by Annie Lee in the original Cardio Party.  This had been my least favorite of all the segments, so I was actually pleased to see it omitted from this express version. 

Concluding Cardio Party Express is another Firm veteran, Allie Del Rio Pointer.  She includes steps from her Cardio Dance Slimdown DVD.  While that workout does have its fun moments, I've found it to be less challenging.  This may be of benefit to the user, however.  One of the few quibbles I have with the Cardio Party Express is that the cool-down/stretch time leaves a bit to be desired.  By doing Allie's segment last, you do get a bit of a cool-down, and she does work on relaxing the shoulders and inner thighs. But we aren't given much time to stretch our hamstrings, glutes, calves, hip flexors or quads-- all of which were used quite a bit in the routine. Of course, we can do this on our own, but it would've been nice to have it on the DVD.

Overall I really enjoy Cardio Party Express.  It's great to have so many favorite leaders take turns during the program, and with each segment being less than 10 minutes, you never have a chance to get bored.  The enthusiasm of the ladies is infectious without being cheesy.  And while the routine doesn't include the usual Firm weight-training segments, your muscles are getting some work in, especially with the calf pumps, lunges and squats .  Save this workout for a day when you're sore from a previous weight-training session and just need some fun cardio to keep you fit and limber.  It would be also be great to take on the road, as there's no equipment required-- just some floor space in which to move around. And knowing some of the moves from other Firm workouts made this routine easier to pick up the first time. If you enjoyed the other videos in the Firm: TransFirmation series, you'll like this one as well. I look forward to doing it again soon!

Coming Soon:  Reviews of more Firm Workouts from CSN!

Transfirm Your Trouble Zones DVD & 5lb Kettlebell Kit
Slim and Trim DVD & 4lb Power Ball Kit
Slim Without the Gym DVD & Cardio-to-Go Kit
Boot Camp 101 DVD & Workout Kit

    These materials were provided to me by CSN Stores. No obligation other than an honest review was required.

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