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We Tried It: 'The WAVE' Home Workout System

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Almost every woman has heard of The FIRM, a brand of at-home workout equipment and videos that has sold over 10 million workout videos. I remember watching the infomercials for their version of the step (and its accompanying workout videos) as a teenager; today, the FIRM continues to come up with new workout DVDs and products that are available online and in stores.

More recently, I started seeing ads for The FIRM's newest product, The WAVE. Its unique design, with two usable sides—one for stepping and one for rocking and balance training—looked fun and interesting, so I was very excited to test it out when they sent the whole package directly to SparkPeople.

The WAVE comes with a lot of stuff: the WAVE itself (that's the rounded 'step'), 4 DVDs to use with your WAVE, a small mat for your WAVE (to prevent your WAVE from sliding around on the floor), a poster of exercises you can do on the WAVE (complete with photos and instructions), and more. I tried all 4 DVDs to test out the WAVE, and I enlisted the help of two of my friends, both of whom enjoy step aerobics and own a standard aerobics step at home. I thought they'd have unique perspectives for how the WAVE compares with a regular step. Want to hear what we thought about it?

To see the WAVE in action, check out this short video. (If you have trouble viewing the video, click here to see it on

The WAVE Itself
Basically, the WAVE is a small, two-sided step with a rounded edge that can be placed up (for a stable, but unique stepping surface) or down (for an unstable surface that requires more balance). In this sense, the WAVE is very similar to a BOSU ball, which can be used in those same ways. However, I liked that the WAVE was smaller, lightweight, and very easy to move around and store. It's much smaller and less cumbersome than a traditional aerobics step with risers, too. And unlike a BOSU, it's not bulky OR quite as hard to balance on. According to the makers of the WAVE, "When using the WAVE as a rocker, your core muscles—your abs, lower back and hips—are constantly engaged. And the included DVD's help you get amazing results through your mid-section while sculpting your upper and lower body."

It's true that standing or working out on an unstable surface uses more muscle fibers than standing on a flat surface. To stay balanced, you'll use more muscles in your legs and abs the whole time you're on the rocking surface. However, compared to other balance training devices like balance boards, balance discs or the BOSU, the WAVE is not as challenging, in my opinion. I don't consider that to be a con, though—quite the opposite! I think it's a great way for people to incorporate a safer form of balance training into their workouts. "It did seem to me that, over time, doing exercises with the wave would improve your core better than using a traditional step," said one of our step-loving testers. She went on to say that, "The wave and mat seemed sturdy and good quality. I liked that is was small-ish and easy to store."

The WAVE comes with 4 DVDs. I tried all of them. Here's a short recap of each one.
  • "Ride the WAVE" (10 minutes): This is an introduction to the WAVE—not a real workout. It gives safety cues, helps you practice and learn the moves that you'll encounter in the workouts, and teaches you how to use the WAVE for best results and minimized risk. I thought it was very thorough.

  • The two main workout DVDs, "Speed Slimming SCULPT" (30 minutes) and "Rock it OFF" (40 minutes) were very similar. Both combined "step" aerobics (on both sides of the WAVE) with full-body strengthening exercises using dumbbells, which means you get cardio and strength training done in a single workout. Each workout had its own unique combinations and exercises. Both were enjoyable and got our heart rates up! "I really liked the mix of cardio and strength," said one tester. "I felt it was a good use of my time." The other tester tried Rock it OFF and thought it was, "the perfect length for a home video workout. It was intense and got my heart rate up!"

  • "Express ABS" (10 minutes): This short workout shows a variety of abs and core moves you can do on the WAVE, but I wasn't a big fan of it. I was very uncomfortable lying and leaning on the hard surface of the WAVE. One tester agreed, saying, "I felt that some of the core exercises using the wave were awkward. The WAVE is not comfortable to lean against like a stability ball." However, not all were bad, and the discomfort of these exercises could be remedied if you had a nice, cushy mat to place on the floor around or on the WAVE (depending on the exercise).

Overall, I think the WAVE has a lot of potential. If you enjoy step aerobics or choreography-based routines, you'll like these workouts for sure. They're fun, different and packed with variety. I wasn't bored AT ALL when I tried each DVD. A word of caution: The beat in these workouts is pretty fast and the choreography, although well explained, moves quickly. Exercisers who are less coordinated or have troubling picking up the steps in routines would struggle with this, but with practice, it would get easier. "Mentally I felt challenged to keep up with the workout's choreography. I've been doing step-aerobics for years, and I had to really focus to learn the moves," a tester said. She continued, "A novice might have more of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be glad the video jumps right in, and doesn't spend more time on teaching the basics."

You'll need your own dumbbells, and I'd recommend both a medium and a heavier set. The instructors did a good job letting you know how heavy of a weight to pick up for each exercise (they called them light, medium or heavy), but even if you don't have a variety of weights, you can still follow along and modify as needed. The first time I tried the workouts, I used 10 pounds, which was way too heavy to keep up with the pace of the exercises. The second time, I used 6-pound weights, and it wasn't challenging enough. For me, 8 pounds might have been perfect. With my heavy weights, I was very sore the next day—in a good way! One of our testers had a similar experience. ”I was sore in my legs, arms and sides, which indicates that I worked my muscles differently than usual," she said.

"I liked the frequent reminders to roll your shoulders back," a tester said. I have to agree! I thought the instruction and cuing was very good in all of the workouts. They provided good instructions on form as well as safety and posture cues. Each workout had one participant showing modified moves for beginners, too. Our second tester was on the same page. "I liked the instructor's energy and style. She was professional and energetic, yet not obnoxious like some fitness instructors can be."

Should You Buy It?
The whole WAVE package—the WAVE, 4 DVDs and more—will run you about $90 (plus shipping). You can buy it (or learn more) at That's pricey for at-home equipment, but I have to say that I think it's a good value and an effective workout system. Aerobics steps alone often cost about the same amount, and then you still need to buy workout DVDs for them (or design your own workouts). I feel that the WAVE is very versatile. You'll learn many ideas from the workouts that you can use on your own. Plus, virtually ANY step aerobics workout or exercise could be done on the WAVE, as could many BOSU exercises for that matter. I think the WAVE itself is well built, easy to use and worth the dough if you've got money to spend.


Fortunately for you, we are GIVING AWAY the WAVE—the entire set, worth $90—to one lucky dailySpark reader! All you have to do is comment below, answering the question, "What is your favorite way to work out at home?" One winner will be selected at random. As always, the dailySpark rules apply. The contest will end next Friday. June 12, at 6 a.m. EST. (Please just leave one comment!)


Photos courtesy of TheFIRM and

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HAWKTHREE 12/8/2017
Looks like a good addition to my home equipment. I try to keep each piece under $100 and small enough to stash and pull out easily. Report
1SUNBUMM11 5/14/2017
I've been using the Simply Fit board but this looks like so much more fun. Report
I feel like I would break my kneck Report
I'm 62 and this looks like something fun to do. Report
My favorite way to work out at home is videos, I use the firm videos and love Gilad. I've added the 10 min videos and low and behold that has helped! Report
I have a several The Firm home DVDs. Since The Firm ususally puts out good material, I have been wanting the Wave. The price tag on the Wave is what has kept me from buying it since I have a gym members with step classes. My most recent DVD has been the Sculpt and Tone Pilates by The Firm. It incorporates resistance bands for an added challenge. Report
I've been wondering about the wave for a while. Nice to hear a professional opinion about it from personal use. Report
My favorite way to workout at home is videos. I watch a lot of the Spark videos and do yoga videos from Exercise TV. I have 5 lb and 8 lb hand weights and love to use them with Coach Nicole. Report
weight limit is 275 lbs. so if one weighs more than this, one may be better off to lose some weight before purchasing it. Report
can this be used with a regular step? Report
I bought this for a different reason. My balance is awful so i figured I'd use this to help - and then as I get better I can put on the dvd's - so far it's worth the money (I found it at Ross' substantially cheaper though) Report
Another fad item that will fill homes when the noveltry wears off.. I just took a load of my stuff to the dump.. The exercise bike, the ab chair I found, a bench and other stuff..
A decent gym membership is more giving! Report
After seeing the price and reading what others think about it in these posts I will not be purchasing this one! I'll stick to the FREE videos on here along with my wii fit plus and taking free walks outside in the fresh air Thank you very much! Report
I am a fan of Firm having lost 40 pounds with it along with Weight Watchers some years ago. I purchased this last year and did not like it at all. The new girls are a bit boring and I don't know, it just didn't do anything for me. Yes, you can buy it at Walmart for a cheaper price but I believe you get one less dvd or something. I did my homework on it last year before purchasing and decided to get the full price version online. Planning on selling mine on Craigslist. Report
Love it!!! Bought it last year fantastic work out, at first it was tricky, but every time i used it, it became easier to keep up and do the moves. It definitely works my body in a totally different way than any other video that i have, even Turbo Jam which I do regularly also. Have lots of Firm videos, I'm a "Firmie" for life Report
You can buy this at Walmart cheaper. Report
not really sure what to think about the wave...i know i dont want to spend around $90 to try it and figure i dont like it Report
Not sure what to think of this one Report
Although this sounds like a great workout and concept, I bought this and it's sitting under my bed. Not being a step aerobic pro, I found it very confusing and way too fast to learn. I felt very uncoordinated and didn't feel I was doing my body any good because I couldn't follow it and I'm not savvy to the names of the steps, etc. They should have an extra dvd to help people like me learn the steps beforehand. I'm sticking with Turbo Jam! Report
I recently bought this, having done step aerobics in the past and loving them. This is a great item, and for me, the extra challenge of the balancing on the rocking side is a huge plus. I only have one complaint and that is the SPEED that they use to introduce you to the moves AND warm ups. I'm not that quick anymore and certainly not that agile or balanced.....if I were in the shape of the trainers this probably wouldn't be an issue, but it is and I'm not the only person I know of who has this complaint. I love their items but I think they need to take into consideration these issues when creating their DVD's.........I mean, there's no way to push the slow motion button (for me anyway) and I'm getting frustrated with the rewind/repeat button. Report
I play on the Wii (I love Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports, and Wii Active 30-day challenge). Report
I walk (outside and treadmill), do Turbo jam dvds and also use free weights. I have several dvd that I try to use. I have also done kick boxing classes before. Report
Dance, I put on a groovey CD and groove out! Report
I love to Turbo Jam or any Biggest Loser video Report
My Wii right now is how I work out at home, also walking outside with my family and doggies. Report
I love my stationary bike at home. It's so great to get up in the morning and not have to go to the Y. Makes a big difference to be able to get started right away! Report
Looks fun! Maybe i'll try it. Report
I love to Walk!
I have to stay low impact. Report
I bought the WAVE 6-8 months ago but didn't use it very often at first. Now that I have gotten serious about losing weight I use it every night. I don't use the videos. But I keep in the living room and use it for at least an hour every night while I watch tv, alternating between the two sides and varying the intesity. I really like it since step aerobics and stepper machines are my favorite. Report
I love the recumbent bike for my home workout. Report
My favorite has been the eliptical. I put on my ipod and I keep challenging myself to make it through just one more song and the time flies. Not to mention that it's in the garage so it makes for great quiet time away from the kids. Report
My favorite way to workout is with videos, I like having the option to pick a video according to my mood & not having to go anywhere Report
So far I think the eliptical is my favorite because it keeps me moving. I have never worked out in a gym before so everything is new and neat. I combine the at home stuff with the gym stuff to keep things interesting. I saw this commercial just the other day on the gym tv and it does look like it would work and keep up the challenge. I live in a very small place and cannot have equipment in my house so this sounds like a great product to keep at home and easy to store. Thanks for sharing with us I was wondering what others were thinking about this product. Report
Ellipitcal machine to cd dance mix..... Report
I do work out dvd's, my old vhs, and free weights. During the warmer months, I walk, run, ride bike and swim. Report
I like to workout to DVD's or do the Wii Fit EA Active. Report
I like to keep it simple! If I try something too complicated I get discouraged, if it's easy to catch on to and understand I am up for trying it! Right now I am mostly doing walking DVDs. Report
I have found that buying these workout gimmicks they advertise on TV just end up being put away on shelves or cabinets gathering dust. I have , however, been using the WII Fit, and The EA Active systems and enjoy them tremendously. I have also started a walking regimen with two of my girlfriends. Report
Another GIMMICK....I would rather get out and WALK or Hike!!! I am a Senior, and using a device like this just makes me worry about my balance on the thing, and that I could fall off and injure myself. Having had a sprained arm while hiking...I don't think I would want to venture on this one. Besides it is WAY too expensive to find out I don't need it!!!! Report
I do many different workouts throughout the week. I may start with a 20-30 indoor walk, elliptical, or treadmill walk/run. I recently started doing workouts from On Demand Tv. My favorite is Chris Freytag's Cardio Sculpt which is a 48 min. workout. Report
They are selling this at Wally World now. I find it too gimmicky, not something I'd use. Report
Since my first comment, I've used the Wave and the DVDs that came with it. I must say, it's a total waste of money. I exercise almost everyday, so boredom can set in quickly with certain DVD programs. I haven't used that stupid thing since. They spend too much time on the step side and very little on the wave side. It hurt my knees even though I did what they said to do. I can't believe that The Firm would stoop to such trickery. Save your money. Buy Turbo Jam! Report
For strength training, Pilates is my favorite. Report
Dancing Dancing and more Dancing so help me God...I have a 1.5 year old and an almost 11 year old and boy they have different dance techniques and want mom to do it just like them. At the end of our dance sessions I am wore slam out and the harder I try to immitate them perfectly the more muscles I use. Report
Looks like something I would buy then put in the closet. I love the treadmill. Report
My favorite home workout used to be step aerobics but alas my feet gave out and now my knee. I am able to ride my recumbant bike, so for now, that's it. Now that it's summer I will spend more time riding my horse and swimming. Report
I bought The Wave and got it late last week. I was really excited to try it and found it was a challenge till you get the hang of it. It's fun, but a little disappointing in the videos. Seems like more time in spent on using it as a step instead of the rocking side. I haven't tried the longest video yet so I'm hoping I won't be disappointed. The instructional video was good, but a lot of the moves didn't seem to used very long in the workouts. I like the challenge of the rocking/balance. It did bother my lower back the next day, but then, I've had complex surgery so anything I do tends to remind me it's there! I'm planning on doing the 40 minute one tonight.
One thing you got to be careful of: They advertis "Free Express Shipping" but then add the shipping of $19.95. I'm calling them about this b/c I was told the shipping would be waived since it does say FREE express shipping and it was on the invoice. That made me mad enough to call them and complain! Report
Unfortunatly I can't afford any expensive workout. Right now my workout consist of talking walks with my family. I feel that the time I spend with them during the walk is priceless. Report
Sounds like fun! Right now my at home workouts consist of walking and using a resistance band. Maybe I will win one of these & it will be in my routine :) Report
I love doing workout DVD's and the Wii fit Report
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