Video Fitness

Cross Train Express: All Step

Yet another installment of the CTX Series. With a name like All Step I was sure that this was going to be my favorite. Its a great killer workout, but its still a very close second to Step and Intervals. The intensity of this tape is right up there with all of the other is the series.

With 22 minutes of Step, 10 minutes of shoulders, and 10 minutes of abs your whole body is sure to be begging for relief at the end of this hour. The sweat was pouring off of me. And since shoulder are my favorite body part the time just flew by.

The step workout begins with probably the trickiest move in the whole CTX series. A rock-hop step-mambo, triple step. When this was the first combo I thought for sure I was done for. It took a couple of run troughs to get the footwork down, but after I finally got it down pat, it turned into a really fun move. Some old favorites pop up. Remember the up jack - rock down-repeater from Step Jam? Well its back and lots of fun. The grapevine down the step-A step combo is back to. Lots of old fun favorites weaved in to make the workout fun.

After you do the first couple of combos, Cathe really turns it up. A super fun and challenging intensity segment. A ever moving combo of power horses, over the (Narrow end) tops, ricochets, heel toe diagonal hops. This is guaranteed to get the blood pumping hard and fast! Then if that wasn't enough a tough series of power 15's, 7', 3', and 3's. Whew! Now that's what I call work.

Then your not done yet. Shoulder and abs are still to come. The shoulder work is great. I love the way its put together. You do light overhead presses to warm up. Then move into heavy overheads. 2 Count and Standard counts. This really gets the shoulders. Side arm bent laterals with varying tempos are in there to. Cathe also included a great superset. Long arm side laterals, rear delt flies, and front lateral raises. You do the superset combo twice through. As if your shoulders aren't tired enough, you still have heavy shrugs and one more set of overhead presses left. I think this is a very thorough shoulder workout.

Then rounding out the workout is a traditional ab section and a great relaxing cool down and stretch.

As with all the CTX series the workouts are well put together and flow very nicely. All Step is no exception. Cathe is so professional yet super friendly in these tapes. Really, seriously if you haven't bought the new series yet, you really should. The variation and quality is unbeatable.

Susie F.

This is the CTX workout for you advanced level step-lovers out there. (Along with Step and Intervals.) The cardio is all on the step and includes some new, intricate choreography, along with a reprise of Cathe's fancier choreography from Step Works.

Steppers who find Step Works and Body Max too fast may feel similarly rushed in All Step. If this is the case for you, you may want to try lowering your step. This workout really is a party and I'd be sad if you missed it.

After the short warm-up and dynamic stretch, the heart of the step section is only 22 minutes, but Cathe delivers a lot in that short amount of time. She starts out with all new choreography in a combo block that takes some practice to master. Some of the new footwork includes a fast 360 degree double-hop and some turning triple shuffles. You even get a box lunch in here -- oops, never mind, it turns out they are actually box LUNGES. The steps in this combo follow each other so quickly that Cathe barely has time to get the cues out before you are doing them. The first few times through this section, I thought it felt choppy and too fast. Now that I've got it down, I really enjoy this part, especially the triple shuffles.

Cathe next launches into a tricky block of choreography pulled straight from Step Works. She doesn't break it down at all, so if you aren't familiar with the grapevine/sashay/shuffle/pivot/A-step, this one may frustrate you at first. She combines the blocks and moves on to some fun intervals for a change of pace. These include power 15s and 7s and 3s (this is the hardest part of All Step), followed by some easier stuff, such as a series of power horses, ricochets, diagonal hop/jacks and hitchkicks over the short width of the step. There are short recoveries between all these moves. As the grand finale, Cathe chops the interval moves down to one or two reps and tacks them onto the end of the 2 choreography blocks. I liked the way she structured this, so the workout feels fresh again during the final presentation. A very basic cooldown and it's on to strength.

The shoulder work is 10 minutes long. If you like any of her other CTX strength workouts, you will love this one as well. The sets are long with lots of reps and short rest periods, so you will be using lighter weights than in PS. The sets include overhead presses with dumbbells, bent arm side lateral raises and shrugs from a 45 degree angle. There are a couple of giant sets too: long arm side lat raises, then delt flyes, then front raises. One confusing note on the shrugs: Cathe uses 15 pound dumbbells for these, pretty heavy stuff. This seems to contradict what she told us in the Pure Strength series, when she encouraged us to go light on shrugs, so you didn't build a big trapezius muscles, which is "not attractive on a female." My traps are experiencing gender identity confusion now.

No plank work on this one. (Was that a cheer?) The ab work focuses on upper crunches and oblique work. There's a tough series where you grab a rope, hold on at the top of the crunch then do a slow 4-count down to the bottom of your range before repeating. Cathe says something to her crew here that sounds like, "I can hear them brushing(?) back there." I don't know what she's really saying, but I get a hoot at the thought of them all brushing their hair at this point. The reverse crunches are at the end. As in all the CTX tapes, the final stretch is blissful.

A personal note on CTX from this reviewer: Judging the CTX videos individually really undervalues them: one of the strengths of the tapes is their incredible versatility. Each tape WILL deliver an intense 25 to 30 minute cardio workout -- and if there's something you don't like about 1 of the cardios, another one will make up for it. There is something for everyone in this series and that is part of the genius and originality of CTX.

Instructor Notes: Cathe is awesome, as always.

Daphne Magnuson

I enjoy this video almost as much as Step & Intervals. I wasn't too crazy about it at first, since I had a little trouble initially with the first step combo and the grapevine down the step combo. (I kept forgetting to turn at the end of the grapevine and wasn't in the right position for the shuffle-pivot.) By the third time through the video, I got it. Actually, now I wish Cathe wouldn't break down the first combo quite as much, now that I've learned it. She doesn't break down the grapevine/shuffle pivot at all, assuming you know it from Step Works. I don't mind the lack of breakdown on that part now that I know the move. In general, the choreography is Cathe's typical complex, interesting stuff tending more toward high impact, but most of the moves can be modified to low impact as needed.

The shoulder work is very thorough. I have some difficulty doing the overhead shoulder presses with my palms facing inward, so I do them with palms front instead. Cathe has also included a different type of shrug in this video, done with the torso tipped forward at a slight angle and arms hanging down in front with palms facing the legs. Maybe my form isn't right, but I always get too much tension in my neck and shoulders when doing the shrugs this way, so I substitute regular upright shrugs.

Instructor Comments: Pretty good cuing, sometimes with more breakdown, sometimes with none; it's not as much of an issue once you've done the video a few times and learned the moves. Excellent form pointers, as usual.

Lynn Lounsbury

This compact 52-minute workout includes step, shoulder work, and a 10-minute abs section, and really fits the bill on those mornings when you donít get up quite on time and have to shorten your workout. (Gee, it seems like thatís happening more and more frequently with me!) The step is intense but not killer, and itís good interest-level-wise, but nothing to write home about. The shoulder work is great; you can get a really good burn in the 10 minutes or so that this section lasts. The only thing I would change would be to add more work for the rear deltoids. She does do one exercise (two sets) for the rear deltoids, but it seems like this area is neglected in a lot of workouts, so I wouldnít mind having some more. Finally, the abs section is "traditional" ab work, and seems extremely repetitive and not all that effective. Overall, even though Iím not gung-ho crazy about the video, I do like it a lot and will do it when I need something shorter than an hour, but tough enough to make me know I worked out.

Annie S.

I am only reviewing the step portion of this video. I'm an intermediate-level exerciser.

This workout consists of a warm-up (not really a warm-up at all, she starts using the step right-away and it's pretty intense) of around 8 minutes, then 22 minutes of stepping and a very brief cooldown.

Overall this section of the tape is obviously intended to be a brief but effective and intense aerobic workout, and it succeeds!

The choreography is complex! If you haven't done Cathe's videos before, expect to give this several tries before getting it all. She cues moves as if you KNOW the moves - and you would only know the moves if you've done her videos before.

That said, I LOVED this format. I've been doing Cathe's videos for a while and it's great not to have to build everything up. It makes for an excellent fast-paced workout.

This is a very high-impact workout. However, as someone who modifies most everything to low-impact, I didn't find it hard to modify MOST of the moves on this tape.

You won't need a lot of extra space for this tape, but you will need to have a little area on each side of the step as you'll do some steps there throughout.

There was one turn move on the floor - I left this out because I don't like to pivot on the carpet (torques my knee).

This video is intended to be used in conjunction with her other "Cross-Train Express" tapes, but it works just great as a short workout for me. It packs a lot of wallop into a very short period of time. The downside is that the warm-up isn't really a warm-up, and the cool-down is way too short. Also, if you want to get to any stretching it is after the shoulder work at the end.

In spite of these shortcomings, though, this is a great tape, and it will keep me interested for a while!

Instructor comments: Great cuing as always, great upbeat attitude, the best high-energy and high-intensity workouts around.



Once again for those who don't know Cathe...

The Music In all of these tapes it is outstanding... the beat really makes you want to move...

The Workout After some thorough stretches...and after more walking... er grapevines... she takes you into the stepping...
Basic, leg lifts at corners of step, power lifts, going accross box, repeaters, straddles, side kicks and plenty of power jumps... (you don't have to do the power moves or the jumps) but she makes them fun...

She does something called power jumps in all her step tapes this series... with one leg on box, you jump straight up in the air... 7 times... on other occasions 15 times per leg... tough but easy moves... she also does something called ricochet... which rapidly takes you with one foot on box, the other foot hops from one side of the step to the other... AMAZING move - tough and FUN (IF you can get it!!! It took me quite a few times). The heel toe then jump across the box I found tougher still... she does intermingle jacks, and some not deep lunges. Repeaters are a relief at this point... I like the shuffles and any work off the box... they are a relief, too.

She takes you through intervals of stepping and then power moves that are intense enough to make your HR really soar...

After 25min. and a semi-cool down she takes you into...

Weightlifting for Shoulders It includes in its 10 minutes...
Overhead press 2 sets light weights
Overhead press (she uses 15lbs) 2sets
Bent arm side lateral... (she uses 8 lbs)
Straight arm lateral (she uses 5 lbs)
Bends over to do back lateral
Then brings weights forward lateral
Again side lateral then
Bends over for back lateral
Then frontals again.
Bent over shrug (she uses 15lbs) 2 sets
Overhead presses ( she uses 8lbs) 16 reps

Then comes

Ab Work 10 minutes

then a good well-deserved 5 min stretch

Instructor comments: If you don't know Cathe, you should! She has Gym style weight tapes, and/or she has step tapes but she also has a few cardio tapes and kickbox that are worth checking out.
The Crosstrainers gives you a taste of each in small increments. She is an excellent instructor and cues well.


3 July 2003

The cardio in this one is all step, as the title says. I'm thinking this is the one where she introduces her double ricochet...if not, look for it in 10-10-10 maybe. Cathe encourages you to modify when needed and reminds her cast to do the same if needed. This is something I appreciate greatly and don't recall much in her newer workouts.

You work shoulders in the weight segment: overhead presses to start out with using lighter (8#) dumbells. Cathe follows with slower overheads using heavier dumbells (15#), for 2 sets. Then she goes back to the lighter dumbells for bent arm side lifts and lighter still for the giant sets. She does three different exercises in the giant sets: side, rear, and front lifts. Cathe is using 5# dumbells in these. She finishes off with more overhead presses, back to the 8# dumbells.

Cathe reminds you about form pointers and quality over quantity and that helps me work my delts better. I've been doing this series most of October and now into November; I'm trying to get a jump-start on those arms for the coming summer!!!

Instructor comments: As usual, Cathe cues well enough for a choreo-challenged person (like me) to catch on and keep up. I like her nutty sense of humor and the encouragement she gives. She's just a comfortable fit for me, but I can't quite put my finger on why...

Lydia Jasper

11 November 2005

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