Saturday, January 25, 2014

Workout Review, Part I: The Zip Trainer by the FIRM

Recently I was given the opportunity to try out the new Zip Trainer by The FIRM.  I’ve been using products from The FIRM since approximately 2003, when going to a gym wasn’t feasible, both for my schedule and for my wallet.  I discovered FIRM workouts in the local public library’s video department and gave a few a try.  Before long I was hooked!  I loved the FIRM’s signature style of pairing cardio with weights, and the videos were excellent productions.  I loved the convenience of working out in my own home as well. It was so convenient, and I had no excuse not to work out!

Needless to say, I was excited to check out their latest production, the Zip Trainer. It features several components, including the Zip Trainer, a soft ball which zips open for multiple uses.  The 5-pound ball is about 15" in diameter, which is smaller than most stability balls but larger than a basketball.  It also comes with a 3-pound Core Ball that can be stowed within the zipped up Trainer, to increase the total weight to 8 pounds.

You can manipulate the Trainer in many ways:
  1. Balance on it
  2. Lift it
  3. Step on it
  4. Toss it
  5. Kneel on it
  6. Roll it
  7. Lean on it
  8. Stretch on it

Check out this short video, so you can see what I mean:

When you purchase the Zip Trainer, not only does it come with a Core Ball, but you also receive 7 all-new workouts on three DVDs. The routines are led by the FIRM’s talented master instructors, Emily Welsh, Kelsie Daniels, Allie Del Rio, Stephanie Huckabee, Alison Davis McLain and Annie Lee Coffey.  The kit also includes a Fitness Guide to help you understand the entire system behind the Zip Trainer, as well as provide a framework for using all of the components.  And to complete your program, the FIRM provides a Nutrition Guide to show you how to properly fuel your body, which is working so hard with the videos. In this and other upcoming posts, I will review the workouts and discuss the Nutrition Guide as well.  Today the focus will be upon the first disc in the collection and the beginning of the workout plan, Cycle 1: Rev!


The Rev cycle begins with Jump Start. It’s a bit different than the other ZIP Trainer workouts in that no equipment is used, not even the Zip Trainer.  Emily Welsh leads the viewer in choreography that is full of standard moves found in many workout videos. It’s a great way to get started in the program, to get used to moving your body within your space. This doesn’t mean that this 15-minute workout is easy.  By no means!  I was very grateful for the number of modifications that Emily offered, as I really needed them from time to time. I was particularly impressed with how she presented the burpee.  Many instructors only give one modification for this challenging callisthenic, but Emily has several modifications that build upon each other in difficulty.  It’s a great way to begin pushing yourself toward the ability to a full burpee.

A signature part of the ZIP Training system is the incorporation of Short Burst Training.  For 30 seconds, Emily performs a quick burst of aerobic moves, very reminiscent of the interval training found in The FIRM’s excellent Firm Express series. She offers modifications so that the 30 seconds can be done by the less experienced, while the seasoned viewer can perform the standard moves, which can really push you to the limit. Emily always emphasizes the recovery time after the short bursts, taking mini stretches and breathers after each one.

At only 15 minutes, this would also make a great extended warm up for just about any cardio-only or strength-only workout, as well as the other videos in the FIRM Zip Trainer series.  This has a little bit of everything, and it gets all parts of the body limbered up and the blood flowing.

In my next post, I will profile the additional workouts in the Rev cycle: Cardio I, Sculpt I and AMP Reps I.  For even more information about the Zip Trainer, view the 6-minute video below. And be sure to visit the FIRM’s website,



Zip Trainer kit provided for review purposes. No other compensation was given.

1 comment:

  1. Great review Laura, I'm making my way through the Firm Express rotation but I really want to buy the Zip Trainer next.



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