This is a very good total body workout using light weights and high reps. It
is very similar to Body Pump, in that Cathe does one body part per song, and
does the exercises by varying the rhythm on the concentric and eccentric
phases, for example 3-1, 2-2. The warm-up is similar to the Body Pump
warm-up which uses a light barbell. Then there are squats, lots and lots of
squats, lots of plie squats, lots and lots of stationary lunges (along with a
bunch of low end repetitions that have some participants shooting little
glances at Cathe that looked like, "are you crazy--you want to do more?!" I
have to say that my knees were feeling unhappy after all the squats and
lunges. There are push-ups with a type of squat thrust in between, flyes
with palms facing away, biceps using the barbell and lots of rhythm
variations that end up frying the muscles, lying triceps press with the
barbell and kickbacks, shoulder front raises with a plate (I used one
dumbbell instead), bent-arm lateral raises, and a bent-over, straight-arm
raise with arms kept close to the sides, bent over rows and deadlifts. The
abs section was simple and effective with crunches, reverse crunches, oblique
twists and bicycle and planks. The cool-down is very, very short, almost
If you like Body Pump, this workout is pretty much the same, except without
the great music. The music on this video is basic synthesizer music, with
some vocals. I didn't like the music on the first few songs at all and
there wasn't much of a beat, so for example, the squats seemed to be not
synchronized with any music. As the tape went on, the music improved and
became less disco-sounding and more rock-sounding. I liked the biceps music
the best; it had a good beat and energy. I think that if I compare Power
Hour to Body Pump, I'd say that Power Hour lacks the energy and fun factor
that Body Pump has. Power Hour is the exercise equivalent of a good
multi-vitamin; it covers everything and it's good for you.
I enjoy working out with Cathe's tapes because I feel like I am working out
with my friend who is a well-conditioned trainer and a nice person who enjoys
what she does. Cathe is in excellent shape, as always, and it was great
seeing Cedie back in her spot, and Brenda, and the others who look wonderful
and are so inspirational. The set and production quality are very good, and
the outfits which are blue tops and black bottoms look very coordinated and
go well with the set colors.
Anyone from advanced beginner to experienced can use this tape because you
can get a great workout by adjusting your weights (or using none on some of
the exercises). The workout flows very well. There is no wasted time. It
is so well-planned that you don't notice anything except that you are
exercising and moving from one body part to the next and the time goes
quickly. Cathe is a pro and she keeps getting better and better.
The music is loud and very upbeat, don't know any of the songs since
it's mostly music only, but it's really good.
You do a warm up with your barbell, no stretching at all which I didn't
like but she does have you stretch between body parts. You start with
squats and she adds in a lot of variety. Slow 3 count down and 1 up,
down 2 and up 2, down 4 slow and up 4 slow, low ends, and a new move
where you go down 2, hold for 2 and up for 3 so there is plenty of
variety. Then you take a short break and do the same type of moves but
with plie squats.
Next is chest...WOW, Cathe has you start out with 16
push ups, then you take a short breather and you go into a push up
position but you hop up bringing your knees in towards your chest, hop
back and go into a push up and then
you go right into 3 down and 1 up and then you go half way down and
hold, VERY tough set of push ups!!
Then you start with chest flyes lying
on the step but Cathe has you hold the dumbbells different, like you're
going a chest press only you take them out into a fly position (hope you
can picture that). Then you go into chest press with the barbell, lots
of variety on this move too......3 down and 1 up, 4 down slow and 4 up
slow, down to the middle only and raise and lower but staying in the top
half of the move and then you do the same thing but staying in the
bottom half of the move.
Next is Back.....you combine barbell rows with
deadlifts and then you do one arm rows doing 2 up and 2 down and also 3
up and one down.
Next is lunges, this is a KILLER lunge segment. You do
tons of variations on the lunge move with a loaded barbell and then you
do the same thing with dumbbells doing the low ends for a count of 7,
doing that twice in a row....VERY TOUGH segment.
Next is shoulders. This
segment is really fun, even Cathe loves it. You do a front raise with a
10 lb plate doing 1 up and 1 down, 2 up and 2 down, 3 up and 1 down, 1
up and 3 down and 4 up slow and 4 down slow...then you pick up dumbbells
lateral raises using the same tempo's, then into a move where you are
bent over and you raise the weights straight up behind you, Cathe stayed
light on this move and used 5 lb dumbbells...then you do barbell
military presses so you totally fatigue the shoulders.
Next is biceps
and Cathe surprised me and only used a 15 lb barbell so I used my 15 lb
bodybar and I think I could have gone to a 20 lb barbell so I'll try
that next time. You do all the different tempo variations along with
going half way up and back down, then you go all the way up and half way
down and then you go back to the half way up and back down move so you
are really on fire...you take a short
break and go right back into it again. You don't use any dumbbells for
For triceps you do the lying tricep extension with the same
tempo variations only she adds in a killer move where you go down on
one, HOLD for 2, back up on one, really tough move. Then you do tricep
kickbacks with the 2 up and 2 down tempo and then 3 up and 1 down. Then
you go back into the lying tricep extensions and do it all over again.
For Abs Cathe starts with 2 up 2 down crunches, then you go into 1 up,
stop, oblique twist to one side, back to the center and back
down, then 3 up and one down and you keep doing sets of each of these
for a while. Next is lower ab crunches with upper abs added, lots of
sets of those, then Cathe goes into the bicycle move, slowly, with a
pause in between and then you do it even slower but you don't stop, very
tough. Cathe ends with plank work, that gets me everytime but I think it
was tougher since she added it in at the end instead of the beginning of
the ab work. Then you stretch at the end. AWESOME workout!!!!!!!!
Power Hour is the tape I was most looking forward to out of Cathe's 2001 crop. I wanted a total body workout that would be thorough, motivating, fun, and clock in at 60 minutes or less, and this tape delivers - and then some. Others have already broken down this video, so I'll just give my impressions.
Background: My very first Cathe tape was MIS, which I got a year ago and fell in love with, quickly moving on to acquiring BodyMax and the CTX and PS series. When Cathe announced her plans for Power Hour I was hoping for a Reader's Digest Condensed version of the CTX lifting segments, with lighter weights and stylized reps with brief breaks. Power Hour met my expectations in everything but the music.
The video: The set is an updated version of the CTX set, light grey arches and walls with a cool blue background, giving it cool, airy feel. The cast has familiar faces Cedie, Brenda, and Rhonda, with newcomer Jai. Everyone looks great, but somewhat restrained during this workout…previous videos have more chat and smiles. The workout requires a step, adjustable barbell, and dumbbells although you could probably adapt it to use with dumbbells alone.
The workout moves fast, with breaks between the 10 segments to change your weights There are a few form pointers given during the breaks, with frequent reminders during the lifting segments themselves. The things that stand out for me the most on this video are:
1) The high, stylized reps. Think of Leaner Legs type reps applied to all the body parts. Cathe varies the tempo and the count throughout and takes virtually no breaks, necessitating fairly light weights. I thought I would need the same weights as I would for comparable CTX exercises but frequently had to go lighter. If your weight feels too light for the first 3 or 4 reps, it's probably just right for the entire set. The 7 count "low ends" on the leg exercises will more than make up for what seems like light weight! And the lunges are truly humbling. Listen to her when she says you don't need much weight!
2) The focus on core strength and posture. At several points, Cathe has you check your posture by making you roll your shoulders back. Another key word here is "scapular retraction" which she refers to several times. This can make a great difference in how the exercise feels - I noticed it particularly during the one arm lateral rows. She also introduces a split stance for the upper body moves in which the bulk of your weight is on your front foot, the other foot is in back for balance, and the core is braced. Again and again she reminds you to avoid swinging or using momentum
3) New variations of the exercises! I particularly enjoyed the dead row (dead lift combined with a bent row), rear delt extensions, front shoulder raises with a plate. The pushup variation with the hop in/out is a great intensifier for the chest and core
4) No "aerobic" warm-up. The warm-up is done with a light barbell and seems to cover the muscles used in the subsequent exercises. You could do an additional warm up beforehand if you're uncomfortable about this, but I didn't feel it was necessary.
Although Cathe will give suggestions for weight to use, she often doesn't tell you until the exercise has already started. I would rather she tell you during the breaks, as she does in MIS. For the chest flyes, I grabbed 15 lb dumbells which is what I thought she was using, and just as I was thinking "this is too heavy!" she says she's using 10. (See, the camera really does add weight!).
Others have commented that Cathe seems tired in this video - she does seem a little more human. During the shoulder segment, she says she had planned to go up to 8 pounds for the next exercise, but decided instead to stick to 5. I really appreciate that she follows her own suggestions about listening to your body - she is obviously not going to let ego get in the way of good sense. She also comments about how your strength will vary according to what's going on in your life - like if your child has been up the night before. Having BTDT, I really appreciate her acknowledgement of how real life can affect your exercise routine.
My one disappointment in this tape was the music. I don't mind techno-syntho music, and I really loved the soundtrack for CTX - there are times on CTX I really felt the music gave me the extra kick I needed to finish a set. Cathe apparently went to the same company for the music for the new tapes, but the score for Power Hour just doesn't grab me in the same way. Maybe it will grow on me - I liked it a little better the second time around.
The only other lukewarm comment I have is that I would have liked to see more of the cast - it is difficult to see Jai and Brenda in the back row. Seeing other cast members form and effort gives a video a spark of personality, but that seemed lacking in Power Hour.
These are very minor quibbles compared to the overall quality of the workout. As always, Cathe is professional, warm, and motivating, her cueing precise, and she is as form and safety conscious as ever. This will probably be the total body workout I use the most this summer, because of its efficiency, thoroughness, and fun factor. It's the one I would pick during a rotation in which I would want to emphasize muscular endurance rather than strength gains, or as strength maintenance while focusing on yoga or increased cardio. I might also want to use it as a "catch up" total body day on a PS type rotation using splits.
If you're new to Cathe, should this be your first tape? I'm not sure - because her form pointers are new, she tends to leave out the more "obvious" ones given in other tapes, like not locking your knees as you come up from squats. Power Hour seems like a logical progression that builds on her other tapes. However, if you already have experience lifting weights, especially high rep Body Pump or Firm type workouts, you will probably find this an enjoyable and motivating introduction to Cathe and her style.
I LOVE THIS WORKOUT! It really seems to just fly by time-wise. Although some others don't particularly care for the music, it is my favorite music of any workout video I own. I've never found excercise video music especially motivating, but the music in PH really does seem to "keep me going." I've always had to force myself to do strength workouts, but I look forward to doing this tape. The exercises are effective and simple - nothing too confusing here.
As always, Cathe is professional and thorough. She really is a treat to workout with - I especially enjoy her telling me I can "take a break," but not a "vacation."
I did Power Hour for the first time over the weekend and I can honestly say that my body has never felt that worked before.
This hour long, total body workout left me trembling. Its high-rep, low weight layout had me working extrememly hard and feeling amazing after I was finished.
During the killer - lunge section my legs were like jelly. I could not control the shaking and eventually I gave up. But, that was the only section I had real trouble with. My goal now, it to make it throughout the entire workout without stopping.
So, overall, I cannot recommend this video enough. It works you hard and good and you will totally feel it the next day.
Grade : A++
No nonsense, motivating, kick-ass instructor.
Arpril 1, 2002
This is an excellent workout, and one that I must say grows on you...and grows on you...and grows on you.
I've never done Body Pump or even Power Bar Training, so I don't have those to compare it to. But I have a feeling I would think
Power Hour is in a class by itself, anyway.
There are 10 songs, each song corresponds to working a major muscle group (i.e.during an entire song you are concentrating on one particular muscle group). It's all hi rep/lower weight, with many, many changes in the eccentric and concentric movements (i.e. 1 up, 3 down and vice versa, 2 up, 2 down, 1 up, 1 down, low-ends for three and four reps, etc.) PH uses mainly a barbell, but there are a few segments where dumbbells are also used. It's total muscular endurance training.
The order is as follows, with additional comments about the section:
Warm up - squats, plies, back rows and bicep curls with a very light bar. A short warm up. If you are doing this cold first thing in the morning you might want to tack on a more thorough, full-range-of-motion warm up.
Lunges-this is a very, very mean section. I am a melted pool of butter after this section.
Shoulders -just a note: extra fun!
Bis-crazy-eights and more crazy-eights. Hope you like crazy-eights :) !
The set I think is really beautiful. It is the same set in CTX, Circuit Max and Cardio Kicks. The cast and Cathe look fabulous, and the soundtrack absolutely rocks. It's so motivating to me (and I like it so much) that sometimes one of the songs get stuck in my head during my regular workday. Cathe is primo, great form pointers, demeanor, what's not to love? The bottom line is, I LLLLOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE this workout.
The organization of the exercises and of the whole workout really appeals to the orderly part of my personality. Whenever strength day comes up I want to do it, then I sometimes say, "no no nooo, you must cross-train strength-wise, too" (I tend toward endurance work only because I have a short attention span).
Cathe is in a class by herself.
I was so excited about this workout, since I thought it would be a fun alternative to MIS or perhaps a better version of Body Pump. However, I've never really liked this workout. I enjoyed a few parts like the shoulders and abs, but some of the other body parts felt tortuous to me, like the lunges or bicep sections. There are a lot of variations in tempos during this workout, but sometimes you end up doing the same exercise for a pretty long time, and I just found it boring.
Now that Muscle Endurance has been released, and I have access to the Pyramid Total Body premix, I feel like I can rid of this workout, because those are so much more fun to me.
It is hard for me to believe that I am ready to get rid of a Cathe strength training DVD (this comes with MIS and Body Max) because Cathe strength is what I use most often. But since I enjoy her other series so much more and she is continuing to release new strength training workouts, and I am letting this one go.
Cathe Friedrich Power Hour
Workout Type: Total Body Weightwork (gym style)
Workout Length: warmup - 5.10 min. Upper and Lower Body Weightwork - 46.20. Abs - 6min. Stretch - 3min. Total = 61.30 min.
Fitness Level: Geared for Intermediate or Advanced. (But if beginners do not use heavy weights, for example: 3lb, then they can do it)
Equipment: Barbell or Dumbells or both, chair or bench if avail. mat.
Set: Romanesque arches and pillarswith stone style buildings, many plants on the left side of the set, and blue sky. same, if not similar set to CTX tapes.
Attire: Cathe and 4 members blue tops and black pants. Cathe's hair is shoulder length and wavy. (looks pretty IMO)
Effectiveness: If you are accustomed to doing 3 sets of 8 or 10 or 12, then watch out, this tape as you will see does more than that in multiple speeds. She takes you through very heavy poundage if you dare to follow her, your soreness will let you know how tough it really is.
Music: Techno with a nice beat. one song had vocals, but mostly rhythm to the moves.
Presentation: She doesn't let you stop, she encourages you to stay with her.
Abbreviations used: QS = Quick Stretch
down 3 = as you lower weight you can count to 3
up 3 = as you raise weight you can count to 3
IMO = in my opinion
low end = raise from bottom position halfway up only.
4x down 3 up 1 = means 4 times take 3 counts to go down and 1 count
to go up
Warm up: 5.10 min. She uses a 20 lb barbell for the warmup.
deadrows , deadlifts, upright rows, squats with bar on shoulders,
static lunges, bicep curls with underhand grip, deadrows.
The Workout begins: Squats with barbell on shoulders (she uses 40lbs.)
8 singles, 4x - down 3 up 1 , 4x - down 2 up 2 , 8 singles , 2x down
4 count, 2x - hold 2 up 4 count, 4x low end down,
4x halfway up , 2 slow , 2x hold 2 up 4, 14 singles , 8x - down 1 up
3 , 7x low end
Pliees: hold bar underhand at shoulder height
14x then 4x - 3-count down 1up , 2x 4count down 1 up 8x low end
4x - down 2 up 2 , then slowly 2x
"Take a break not a vacation" - Cathe
at 12.30 min. 1 minute of pointers
16x then QS then
from extended plank position make both feet jump forward and then back
alternate this move with a pushup 8x
then 4x down 3 up 1 , hold in middle to end
Chest fly: she uses 10 lb dumbells
8x w/ palms facing legs
with barbell - 4x - down 3 up 1 then 4x from up to halfway down
then 6x from down to halfway up then 4x - down 3 up 1 then 4x - down
1 up 3 , 4x - 2 down 2 up , then 4x - down 3 up 1
then stagger: lift, mid, down, mid, up, mid, down - hold at each spot
at 19.30min Back: 1 min. of form pointers
Eqpt needed - Barbell and one dumbell.
2 slow shoulder rolls while holding Barbell. then
Deadrows- 3 rows then stand - 2x
then alternate 7x , then 4x deadlifts, then alternate row and stand -
Deadlifts 12x, then rows 6x
at 23.10 one arm rows with dumbell (I used 20lbs here)
1st arm - 8 singles the 4x -up 3 down 1 , then 4x - 2 up 2 down
2nd arm ...
at 26.10 Static Lunges with Barbell on shoulders . 30 sec.
of form pointers
1st leg : 8x - down 2 up 2 , then 8x down 3 up 1 , 8 singles , 7x
at 30 min. lunges again with 10 lbs.: 1st leg:
4x - down 2 up 2 , then 4x down 3 up 1 , low end 7x , then low end
7x , then 4x - 2 down 2 up
2nd leg ....
at 33.30 min Shoulders: 1 min. of form pointers
eqpt needed: Barbell, one weight plate, dumbells
music here has some vocals
Frontals: with 10lb plate. lift extended arms up to shoulder level
4 singles then 4x up 3 down 1 , then 2x - 4 up 4 down, then 6x - up 1 down 3
then Bent arm side lateral raises: she uses 5lb dbs.
4x - 2 up 2 down , then 4x up 3 down 1 ,
then rear delt raises w/ 5lb dbs. 4x - up 2 down 2 , the 4x - 4 pulses at top.
Overhead presses with Barbell
8 singles then 6x top half, then 8 singles.
at 40min. Biceps: 15 sec. of form pointers She uses 15lb Barbell
2x - 4up 4 down, then 16 singles , then 4x - up 3 down 1 , then 4x - 2 up 2 down
then 8x - up 1 down 3 , then from down to halfway up 4x , then from up to halfway down 4x
then from down to half up 4x - brief rest put bar down.
4x - up 1 down 3 , then 4x up 3 down 1 , then 4x - up 2 down 2 , then 3x - up 1 down 3 QS
at 45min. Triceps 1 min. of form pointers
eqpt needed - 25lb barbell and 5lb dumbell
music - techno lyric "Let's go"
lie on bench: Lying extentions:
4x - down 3 up 1 , then 4x - down 2 up 2 , then 4x - 1 down 3 up , then 8x - down 3 up 1 ,
then 4x - down 1 up 3
one arm kickback - 8x - 2 up 2 down , then 4x - up 3 down 1
Lying extentions again - 4x - down 2 up 2 , then 4x - down 3 up 1 , then hold at up position 8x
then 4x - down 3 up 1 , then 3 slow
at 51.30 min. Abs and Planks 1 min. of from pointers
basic crunches, reverse crunches and bike crunches then planks.
at 58.30 min Cooldown and Stretches
at 61.30 min. END
Total Rating: From reading this, you can see that she exhausts your muscles and then some!!
For weight training , she is in a class by herself. She pushes you, she pushes herself, and you don't even
know she is doing it. Formidable tape! Complete in itself. I give it a 10 out of 10 possible points.
Instruction: An excellent instructor! very inspiring, very motivating, matter of fact with charm and a friendly smile. Encourages you to push yourself throughout. not chatty, not perky.
7 July 2003
This workout has already been extensively broken down, so I am not sure what else I can offer. I think that I have better strength workouts, including several by Cathe. I certainly have strength workouts that have a higher fun factor. This one was perfectly competent, well-taught and comprehensive, it just didn’t strike me as anything too special or memorable.
background on me, I am a perpetual intermediate who loves strength training. Over the years I have been through Joyce, Firm, Beachbody, other Cathe (I love her newer Push Pull and Supersets workouts) and any other strength tapes that came along. I tend to prefer a well-ordered routine with a predictable pattern to it---things like pyramid workouts or circuits. So a workout like this where the reps just go on and on with no rhyme or reason is less fun for me. It feels like the reps go on forever!
I do tend to prefer high rep to low rep, so I was quite curious about Power Hour. It certainly was high rep---perhaps a little too high in some places. Do we really need 5 solid minutes of squats? And then five solid minutes of lunges too? In future workouts with this routine, I will probably skip the lunges. As for the rest of it, it was fine---nothing special, but nothing terrible. Cathe gives good form pointers. She chooses suitable exercises. As promised she delivers a high rep total-body workout that is unquestionably thorough. For me though, I prefer circuits or sets or pyramids to an endless stream of random reps. And I think my personal body can be worked thoroughly enough with a routine shorter than this one. I might do this again from time to time just because it is on my MIS dvd, but for me this workout just does not say ‘fun’ like others I have.
This workout is broken down really well in the reviews above. So, I’ll just add my comments. First my background - With strength work, I am an intermediate exerciser, who doesn’t really want to move up to advanced work. I do strength work with weights and supplement with Pilates and ball workouts.
I kept hearing that this workout was Cathe’s Body Pump-type workout, so I was curious to see it. I did it once and traded it. It is a VERY well-done workout. Cathe explains how to do the moves in her usual competent and descriptive way. I enjoyed the music.
However, as I was doing it, I was wondering if it was EVER going to end. The moves just seemed to go on and on and on. I kept telling myself that it was well-done and I could really increase my strength with it. I decided, however, that with the dread factor I felt for it, I probably would rarely, and maybe never, do it. So, I traded it.
She is such a good instructor, clear and descriptive.
September 30, 2004