Video Fitness

Cross Train Express: Step & Intervals

This video contains my favorite cardio of all the CTX series, probably because it is almost pure step with a nice mix of new choreography, beloved old choreography and 3 tough intervals. Also, I believe Step & Intervals includes the toughest upper body strength work (chest) of the series.

The cardio is all on the step, where Cathe really excels as an instructor. There's a nice warm-up routine, including the rocking horse/triple shuffles around the step move from Step Fit and a new move where you do reverse scoops on the step in an L. Then a stretch and Cathe comes back and teaches 3 different step combos. The step speed is comparable to Power Max, so it feels almost relaxed -- until you hit an interval, of course. The choreography includes lots of old favorites put together a little bit differently so they feel fresh. There's a new move called a hesitation repeater, where you are doing insoles around the world and on the 3rd corner, you hold the insole up in the air for 3 counts before doubletiming down to the floor. My favorite new move is a knee up, step back and mambo back with a chacha forward that's a kick. There are 3 separate step combos -- you learn them all the way through, then do an interval, then learn a whole new step combo. So there's no taking it from the top or splicing here. Variety is the name of the game. The intervals are tough: I don't remember them all, but I'm sure there's a plyojack interval and one with lots of power 7s and 15s. Cathe makes every minute count.

The chest work is about 10 minutes long and very tough. The music changes from a James Bondish-type soundtrack used during the cardio to some really nice guitar instrumentals. There are 3 long sets of barbell chest presses with lots of changing tempos; a couple of supersets with presses and pec flyes and 2 very difficult sets of push-ups, including these "staggered" push-ups where you go down for 4 slow counts and back up for 4 slow counts. One staggered push-up feels as if you've done 400 single push-ups. My workout log book simply says, "Owie!" There's no ab work on this one and the cooldown is wonderful: nice long stretches, beautiful music.

This is a great workout: varied, intense and versatile. I like how Cathe structured the tapes in this series so that it's practically painless to combine sections of the different videos. Well I take that back. I was feeling some pain during those staggered push-ups.

Instructor Comments: I think Cathe's at her best when she's teaching step. She seems relaxed and spirited during this workout.

Daphne M

This is my favorite of the CTX series. It includes most of my favorite Cathe step choreography, such as rhythmic Ls, L-step/shuffle up, a new step-kick/mambo back/cha-cha front move that's really fun, and a reverse scoop on the board. The very first song is so uplifting and fun to work out to. Even though the same music is used in most of the other CTX videos, I think this choreography fits it best.

The step choreography is fun -- complex as usual, but the 3 step intervals at the end of the cardio portion really give this workout an extra kick. Of course, there are plenty of plyojacks and plyojumps in interval #1!

The chest work is very thorough, although I think the reps are paced too fast at times, particularly during the first warm-up set of chest presses. Cathe uses several rep variations -- 2 counts down, 2 counts up; 3 counts down, 1 count up; 4 counts down, 4 counts up; etc. The staggered pushups at the end are very tough!

One thing I miss in this video is a very thorough hip flexor stretch at the end. Cathe includes plenty of stretching for the hamstrings and glutes, but I could really use a good hip flexor stretch after a step workout like this.

Instructor Comments: Cathe's cuing is superb, as usual. Chest work would be better at a slower pace at times. Cathe gives excellent form pointers throughout the video.

Lynn Lounsbury

This video of the Cross Train 6-pack includes a chest workout as well as a 30-minute high-intensity step workout. The first part of the step workout is a "regular" step routine, and the second half is intervals. I enjoy doing it, but if you don't like Power 3's, 7's, and 15's, you might not care for this -- there are a lot of Power X's. That's the downside. The upside is that you'll get a great cardio workout in a short amount of time. Nothing very innovative; just good old-fashioned intense work. The chest workout is nothing to write home about. I find it a little on the boring side, but it's not so bad that I want to skip it. You do LOTS of barbell presses, then some chest flyes and pushups. There is no ab work in this tape. I think I would like the tape better if some of the barbell presses were omitted and some plank work thrown in instead. (Love those planks!) The full workout clocks in at only 45 minutes, and you'll have no doubt that you worked! While this is not a favorite of mine in the series, it's still good. Grade A-.

Annie S.

Again, I haven't broken down the cardio, just the weights portion. In this one it's the chest.

Cathe starts you off with three pre-exhausting sets of bench presses. She's using a 30# barbell, I sub in a pair of 15# dumbells. She follows this with alternating flies and bench presses using lighter weights, 10# dumbells. Then of course, pushups...staggered and singles.

I usually feel this one the next day. Cathe reminds you constantly to watch your form, esp. with the bench presses.

Instructor comments: As usual, Cathe is enthusiastic and motivating in this workout. She cues well enough that I haven't had much trouble learning and keeping up with her cardio.

Lydia Jasper

11 November 2005

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