Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Tried the FIRM WAVE: A Review of the Wave by the FIRM

I finally felt good enough to workout on the new FIRM Wave. Since it is a completely new concept and fitness tool for me, I did the 10 minute introduction to the Wave video, Ride the Wave with Emily Welsh. (For all you Firmies, Emily Welsh has two kids and now owns the FIRM studio in South Carolina. Good for you Emily!).

Generally, tutorials are dull. Ride the Wave isn't really an exception, except that I really had no clue how to position myself, where to press with my feet, etc. Ride the Wave explained it all. For example, press out through your outer thighs, and lift your heels to rock from side-to-side. Aahhhh...that makes sense, but I didn't figure it out on my own. I still have trouble "carving the wave." How do I rock back without straightening my back leg? I'll be going through parts of Ride the Wave before my next workout.

I then worked out with my favorite FIRM Master Instructor, Allie Del Rio. As you can see from this picture, Allie's been with the FIRM since the elaborite mansion sets with music written for the workouts. I loved that music--well, at least the fact that the horn section cued me to do plies and the drums cued squats. I needed all the help I could get. You probably should do Speed Slimming Sculpt without weights the first time. (I didn't, and admit it, neither will you.) I did compromise and use 3 lb. weights. Allie was a great instructor, as always. Not too perky, not to stiff, and just the right amount of encouragement. I like working out with Allie, partly because her weight shifts up and down, just like mine. But she always proves that when she wants to give up Chubbie Hubbie ice cream, she can and she knows how to whip her body from good to fabulous. She's living proof that there is hope for all us normal women (and men?) out there.

Speed Slimming Sculpt combined a lot of familiar FIRM moves with the new feel and challenges of the Wave. I liked that my feet new the steps, even if they weren't used to the surface. And I really liked the new surface. The curve of the Wave when I stepped on it was perfect. I loved the way the "crest" curled under my foot and supported my high arches. I didn't even notice the normal jarring of step. I've always hated doing lunges on a step, because it feels unnatural. I loved the TransFIRMer because the inclined position felt better. I think the Wave works better than the incline. The height and curved slant make an unnaturalness of lunging feel, well, almost natural.

Speed Slimming Sculpt uses the Wave in the rocking position for lunge/dip combinations. My thighs felt the difference. The Wave was stable enough that I didn't teeter over, but unstable enough that I had to squeeze my thighs and abs tight to hold it in position. It also forced me to press into the front leg instead of using the force of the back leg to pop me into a standing position.

The Wave was helpful during the ab section, also. Side-lying crunches never worked well for me. I had to tug on my arm to get my body into a position where my abs could take over. The curved top of the wave supported my waist and torso perfectly and enabled me to focus on developing oblique strength, not arm strength.

However, the Wave does shift a little when you workout, even if you use that mat. I'm going to try using my own yoga mat next time and see if it has more gripping power. And, as The FIRM does with most of their new stepping devices, they didn't make the base wider than the top to make it difficult to flip the Wave over if you accidentally step on the edge instead of the center. NOTE TO The FIRM and GAIAM: Just extend the edges of the wave at both ends . Voila! More stability.

My assessment? I don't think the Wave is a gimmick. The Wave will challenge you in different ways while still getting your heart rate up and building muscle. The Wave is probably not a workout necessity--unless you're like me and have to try new and fun things to stay motivated.

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?