Does The Firm Express Work?

I know the Firm Express infomercial is out, and since I reviewed the whole workout as I went through the first thirty days, I’ve been getting a lot of hits. So I figured I’d craft a short answer: sort of. I’ve been a Firm Believer since 2002 when I bought my BSS1. I did the same two workouts several times a week until BSS2 came out, and I was hooked!

Since then, The Firm hasn’t put out anything that, for me, has worked as well. Some of their “older Firms” (as we Firmies refer to them) were close, but were criticized for not being as good on your knees because of faster reps and being outdated.

Since BSS1, vie been “chasing the high” of the results of that first set. Have there been good workouts I’ve liked? Yes. But over the past several years I have honestly felt like The Firm has gone “soft” catering to a crowd that wants easier and faster workouts. Where The Firm of yon was for a small subset of exercisers who wanted a harder workout than was ever available. One of the first wimen’s workouts to incorporate weights, they were pioneers. And hit the nail on the head of fitness.

All that said I was intrigued by the Firm Express workouts because I know interval training does burn more fat, and for me, breaks up the workout and makes it more interesting.

But I was skeptical of a twenty minute workout, three times a week. And should have been. For me, a fairly regular workout girl, the workouts were definitely a challenge, but not enough to get the weight off. Many were “stacking” workouts (doing more than one a day, sometimes even three), and most were working out five or six days a week.

And there’s nothing wrong with this. Other than it was NOT as advertised. And the more frustrating part, was the “intermediate” and “advanced” stacking of workouts wasn’t published unless you paid extra for their Firm Believers site. Stupid.

Yes, stupid. Sorry.

What you should probably do if you’re considering buying this workout is consider it four to six workouts. Not thirteen, as advertised. Plan on working out about five days a week for two or three videos (40 or 60 minutes) a day. None of this is bad. That’s about what’s recommended. Most of the videos are fun. I personally prefer the sculpt videos (look back at reviews for specifics) over the other two types. And prefer the three later sets of videos (especially Alison), over Emily’s.

I also vary my routine with walking, jogging, elliptical, other videos (my favorite is Cathe), and yoga. and I lose weight dreadfully slowly. But, I’m also going to disclaim that with, in the case of these videos, I think it will be a rare instance where 20 minutes of anything, three times a week, will be enough to knock off weight. Even if you ran 20 minutes three times a week, I’d recommend 30-40 minutes of weights at least twice a week…

So there’s that. Questions? Ask! And if you want more soecifics on each workout or the overall oacakge, check back other posts!


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. geraldinesings
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 00:35:45

    It probably does work-ish. Because not only do you need exercise to stay in shape, you need to eat right. Now I’m not one who has tried The Firm Express yet, but they probably go by what you eat too, you know? It’s not like you can do the workout and then later go chow down on some 5lb ice cream.


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Jun 13, 2011 @ 17:38:48

      I totally agree that diet is key. But I wasn’t chowing down on 5 lbs of ice cream, even one SERVING of ice cream. I was eating fairly healthy (1600-1800 calories). The problem is I really wasn’t burning that many calories during the workouts because even if I was going as hard as I coudl during bursts, my heart rate wasn’t getting or staying high enough to burn calories. I think the problem is the workouts are more for beginners (nothing wrong with that). But I workout enough that I’m in the intermediate or even advanced category. If you’re a beginner, especially if you’ve never lifted weights, are mostly sedentary, or haven’t ever had a workout routine, I think you’ll see results with a good diet. If you’re more of an intermediate/advanced person, you’ll definitely need to do two or even three workouts at a time to see results. I have a hard time starting a second (or third) video, but can do a higher intensity 30 minute workout, or a workout that’s similar in lower intensity like this one, that’s about 45-60 minutes, rather than ending and starting two or three videos.


  2. TRX Suspension trainer
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 04:52:44

    May be you can try TRX, which is the best workout for fitness anywhere


  3. Sharon
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 19:54:37

    What is the BSS1 and BSS2? I am looking for a challenging workout to add to my jogging. I was thinking about the Firm Express but I am not convinced it would be challenging enough. I am not necessarily looking for quick so 20 minutes is not esp appealing.
    I have used some of P90 x but a little more than I want. Seems like I need something betweeen P90 X and The Firm Express. Any suggestions?


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Jan 06, 2012 @ 17:43:56

      Hey Sharon! BSS stands for Body Sculpting System. BSS1 has two workouts that come with it. Cardio Sculpt, which is 55 minutes, and combines step (with their Fanny Lifter) and weights/strength stuff. I LOVE this workout. Might be my favorite Firm. But, that’s also where I started working out with weights (outside of the weight room in high school). The second video is Body Sculpt. I think it’s 45 minutes, and has an upper body and lower body portion, all sculpting. This is one of the harder Firms I own. There’s als an abs video with this set, but I don’t personally care for abs-only.

      BSS2 has three workouts. One is similar to Cardio Sculpt and is called Complete Aerobics and Weight Training. There’s a sculpt one that’s similar to Body Sculpt. And then there’s one that’s considered all cardio, but it has some light weight “four limb” stuff (that’s supposed to burn fat faster). I also like BSS2.

      The only problem is I don’t think you can buy a Fanny Lifter anymore. I think they sell the DVDs, but not the step. It’s a 14 inch tall square box that separates into an 8 inch and 6 inch portion (that stacks for 14 inches). You couldn’t sub a regular step, unless you have a LOT of risers. Back in the day, some ladies had creative people in their lives (usually their husbands) who could make the steps for them.

      Then there’s BSS3 and BSS4 (BSS3 uses a Firm box I DON’T like and BSS4 uses a step called TransFIRMer, which I really like but is longer so it’s more cumbersome to move). These sets are similar to BSS1 and 2, but use different steps. The workouts are good. I really like the BSS4 set, and the TransFIRMer. But I don’t see that listed anywhere you can buy it online. I do see the TransFIRMer box and DVDs listed on ebay. I have used my Transfirmer for BSS1 and BSS2 workouts. So if you wanted to invest, you coudl get just the box and buy the videos that go with those sets. All of those workouts BSS1-BSS4 are 40-60 minutes long. And those are my personal favorite Firms.

      So, all that’s not much help since the steps aren’t really available. There are places you can get tall square boxes, or long steps with lots of risers, though. So if you wanted to invest in that or a TransFirmer or you could find a fanny lifter somewhere, get back to me and I can be more helpful.

      The other thing is, the older Firms, if you don’t mind the silly set (mansion scene with kind of cheesy music) are really good. Some of those videos don’t require any step. But again, if they do, it’s a Fanny Lifter. Or as they called it back then a “Tall Box.”

      The newer Firms, in my opinion, aren’t as good. So if it’s anything in a pink DVD case or any of the newer Firm Express, I PERSONALLY don’t like them as much. I think the Firm is catering toward brand new exercisers. Which is of course fine.

      Now, if you want to go with harder videos, and have a regular step with no risers, my other personal favorite is Cathe ( Her videos are excellent, but they’re a little harder. I LOVE her IMAX2 step video. And I just bought her HiiT workout, which I believe uses a step a little bit. I also bought her After Burn video recently, and love it,too. It’s a “low impact” workout, but it really gets your heart rate up. One of the only low impact workouts I’ve ever done and wanted to die. :-) She gives great previews of the workouts on her page, both in video and in written description, and is very specific on what equipment you need. You can also go over to collage video’s site and look at their reviews of her videos. Of all the workout videos I’ve done, I consider her the best of the best. She’s an excellent cue-giver. Her workouts are tough. And she’s very motivating, and not at all cocky.

      This is getting really long! Maybe get back to me on what equipment you have, if any. What you’d be willing to buy, if anything, and I bet we can find something for you! Do you want a workout that uses weights? If you don’t lift weights, I definitely suggest it!

      Reply back and I’l get back to you as soon as I can!


      • sharon
        Jan 07, 2012 @ 14:40:15

        Thanks for the greati information you were very helpful. I amooking to add weights. I could lose 5 pounds but weighoss is not my primary goal. Ii would like to tone and sculpt. I run 4 miles a day 4 times a weel. So really I am looking to add to my running or if weather does not permit to have a back up program. I BOUGHT a total trainer similar to a total gym
        gym but really could not get a challening lower body work out. I have one firm express cardio sculpt DVD but not challenging at all. I will check out your reco+

    • Workoutguru
      Mar 03, 2012 @ 15:14:33

      Sharon, Target use to carry Firm Products including the platforms. Not sure if they’re there anymore, but it may be worth a shot if you can’t find it on


  4. stumbletowardhealth
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 00:12:00

    I love, love, love weight lifting. I’m sure you have heard the stats, but we lose muscle as we age, so it’s important to maintain what we have.

    I personally get a huge sense of empowerment and satisfaction from strength workouts and being strong.

    Let me know if you have other questions. There are tons of great videos out there. If you’re looking to do lighter/one set of weights weights, you may not like cathe’s videos. But who knows! I started with 3, 5, and 8 pound dumbbells, and found myself quickly wanting/needing to add more weight. But everyone’s likes/goals are different! Good luck. Post back if you want when you pick something!


    • Workoutguru
      Mar 03, 2012 @ 15:12:49

      I’ve always found The Firms BSS system tried and true. I’m a workout junkie and will find myself purchasing different systems out there. The latest has been Billy Blanks PT 247 and I’m waiting on the Firm Express. After reading the comments here, I think I’ll continue to add the BSS system on off days. I utilize 10 pound weights at this point and some 12 and am beach ready within 2 months!


  5. Heather
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 10:35:09

    I have the BSS1 system and quite honestly, it didn’t do much for me. Now granted, as a student I don’t have time to dedicate an hour every single day to working out. I did get some results, but it was all focused in my quads. The Fanny Lifter workouts over-developed my quads and I was having problems with my hamstrings because of it. I found a video that has a 40 minute workout called Chisl’d (or Get Chisl’d, something along those lines) that combines weights and short bursts of cardio that definitely gets my heartrate up. The weights parts aren’t really that bad, though. If anything, it’s just the reps that start to make your muscles burn.

    I really want to try the Express, but if it’s a case of doing it 5 times a week with two or three workouts at a time, then perhaps I shouldn’t invest $80-90 in it. I’ve got 15 other workout videos already.


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Feb 11, 2012 @ 20:29:51

      Heather-I can’t say for sure whether one Firm Express workout would work (or two if you want to workout 40 minutes) for you, or anyone. They’re definitely different than BSS1, so if you didn’t like those videos, they might be a perfect fit! I’m not sure either how many days you would need to workout. 4-5 is generally where I see results with a challenging workout I enjoy.

      And that sucks about your quads! I got that with just step videos. The Fanny Lifter for some reason toned my hamstrings. Probably a height difference. I’m 5’7″ and could definitely see varying heights result in different muscle toning.

      I don’t know if you have seen, but the Firm sells some Firm Express videos individually. And they even have one led by Allie (my personal favorite instructor, although I don’t have her FE video). So if you want to do the workouts but not commit to the bigger expense, that’s an idea.

      Honestly, for me, it’s about finding videos I love and can do over and over. So, maybe the get chisled videos are your perfect match! :)

      Good luck!


  6. megan
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 00:16:26

    I completely dissagree, respectfully of course! I have the dvds and the nutritional book as well that came with it and I have definitely seen and felt the results. Its an excellent diet plan keeps you full! Its convienent and challenging because you can always speed it up or add heavier weights. I do agree if your an advanced excersizer this probably won’t be enough for you since you used to working out longer and probably harder. These dvds are more for people who don’t have time to have an hour workout.

    I have completed the 13 dvds however the every other day thing wasn’t working for me as I felt less motivated after skipping a day. So I did one every night and have found myself inclined to keep going. I do not follow the food guide anymore since I can’t afford to keep buying speciality foods so instead I have joined weight watchers online and am expecting major results.

    For those who are over weight thinking of buying it, my advice: stop thinking and buy it. Its challenging but so worth it. And if you think you can’t do it you’re wrong. I am 320 pounds and though I can’t do a burst I just replace it with something I can do that is just as challenging. My personal opinion is that it was worth every penny.


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Jan 26, 2013 @ 09:50:14

      Megan- I’m glad it’s working for you! Of course different workouts, eating styles, etc. all give different results for different people. It’s all a wacky math equation based on where your body’s already been, how much you’ve worked out in the past, how your body reacts to certain foods, etc.

      I can definitely see Firm Express as a great workout in many circumstances, ESPECIALLY if you’re a beginner because of the shortened workout and the modified options.

      Good for you! Keep it up!


  7. Kim
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 23:08:38

    I’ve been a Firm Believer since 1989. Unfortunately, with life and all, I’ve let myself get out of shape. My favorite Firm videos have been volumes 1-6 because they give you a full body work out. I can’t seem to find 60 or more minutes a day to do these workouts, so I was looking into purchasing the Firm Express. I’m not sure now. I’ve purchased a lot of the body sculpting systems and have liked them, but I feel the foot work is too and think most of it is a waste. I am capable since I used to dance for 11 years, so I can pick up these moves fairly quickly. I just don’t want all that footwork. I want to work out! That being said, I feel you review was helpful, but I still want to purchase the videos, but am hesitant to spend the money if It the footwork is ridiculous and I won’t even feel as if I work out.


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 12:47:27

      I’m not sure the footwork was ridiculous… If I said that in a review, it probably was. But my memory tells me the movements in some of them felt pretty unsafe. Not so much complicated as… Well, just unsafe. There are movements with dumbbells I decided were safer without, etc. Personally, I don’t like the workouts. BUT, I know a lot of beginners have good luck with them!

      I apologize for the delay replying. I missed this comment when it originally came through!


  8. Rosa
    Jun 15, 2013 @ 05:42:13

    I like it whenever people come together and share opinions.


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