Video Fitness

Cardio & Weights

This is the first and only of the Intensity series that I have tackled so far, but if all of the tapes in this series are as incredible as this one, this will be one amazing year for Cathe workouts.

Just to put this review in context, I would classify myself as a low-advanced exerciser who regularly does most of Cathe’s workouts. For purposes of comparison to C + W, for me, Imax needs a lot of modification, but Circuit Max is perfect.

The format of this workout, as many of you already know from Cathe’s descriptions at her web-site, is a warm-up (5.5 minutes) followed by 4 cycles, each comprising cardio (approx. 6.5 minutes), a compound upper/lower body move, and then two exercises specifically for the upper body part worked in the compound move (approx. 4 minutes total). Cathe then adds 3 minutes of back work, 8 grueling minutes of abs, and a brief 3.5 minute stretch, for a total workout of one hour.

Having done it only once, I would say that Cardio + Weights may be a tad less intense than CM. I was initially surprised to realize that the cardio is NOT among Cathe’s most intense. Then I realized that with Imax 2 and Boot Camp in this series, this was probably a deliberate decision. The choreo is on the dancy side and, with a few notable exceptions, all low impact. Virtually all of it is moves you've seen before in Cathe vids.

Warm up (0:00—5:20) to “Let it Go”—great mid-tempo song
Basic, v-step, step-kick-mambo-cha cha, pas de bourre, reverse box step, cha cha (sort of a fun chug move on the step), step up/lunge, then stretches.

Cardio 1 (5:20—11:50)
Basic, hop turn, outer htigh/straddle, L-step, shuffle up, A-step, shuffleboard, pump (aka hesitation) repeater, hop/run combo)

Strength 1 (11:50—15:30)
Plie squat with upright row (32x)
Arnold press (16x, then 8x)
Side laterals (12x)

Cardio 2 (15:30—21:50) to
Insole corner to corner, rhythmic L, box lunges, bow and arrow (really a variation on rhythmic L with different arms) go across the board, pendulum back, kickbox repeater (knee smash/side kick)

Strength 2 (21:50—25:50)
Lunges with triceps extensions (16x)
Close grip db bench press (2 sets of 12)
Lying extensions (16x)

Cardio 3 (25:50—32:10) to “Little Less Conversation” GREAT song, fast and furious, sung by an Elvis sound-alike named King Junior. You’ll be grinning throughout. Lyrics are decidedly NON-PC!!

Knee off the side, 3x across the step, tap back, power scissors, chug, leg extension, run up/plunge lunge, tap dance

Strength 3 (32:10—35:40)
Lunges with hammer curls (16x)
Hammer curls (12x)
Alternating hammer curls (8x)
Regular curls (12x)

Cardio 4 (35:40—42:20)
Step touch, up and back (from Rhythmic Step), corner knees, triples around the step, power squats (front-back-front; haven’t seen this move since Reebok Extreme Step, and it looks as dangerous now as it did then, lol!), step/skip across, down jack, adduction repeater.

Strength 4 (42:30—45:20)
Dead row/double arm row (12x)
Double arm row (2 sets of 12)

Having done shoulders, tri’s, bi’s, and back, she adds a series for chest (45:20—48:40)
Combo: Push up/pyramid (aka downward dog)/push up/side plank (8x). Loved this!
Db chest press (12x)
Db flies (12x)

Abs (48:40—56:40) to pretty and upbeat Latin song

This section is practically all new-to-Cathe moves and KILLER. Lots of crunches with feet off the floor, legs up in the air, variations on Pilates “100”, something she calls “explosive” crunchs. The entire set of oblique work is done in the side-lying position and includes variations on side planks. Concludes with straight arms planks, alternating opposite arm/leg raises. Yikes!! I will definitely be working up to a lot of this. Cathe’s core, 6-months post-partum, looks unbelievably strong and sculpted during this session; great motivation.

Stretch (56:40—1:00:30)
Short but sweet, and well-deserved.

Cathe has taken the Circuit Max concept, which to me was the pinnacle of circuit workouts, and worked a new variation on it. High fun factor AND a very good sweat factor.

Instructor comments: Cathe is as motivating as ever, maybe more so considering the shape she is in only 6 months post partum. It is wonderful to see the familiar faces of Cedie, Brenda, Jai, and Rhonda in the cast. There is some whooping, but it seems very genuine, considering the high fun factor of this workout.

Elisa S.


This video is set up like this:
Cardio 1
Cardio 2
Cardio 3
Cardio 4

Each cycle has you do a mini-routine 6x's. The routines are broken down at first so you can learn them.
The choreography isn't too hard, especially if you've done Cathe before. The cardio should get your HR up pretty high.

You hit each upper body muscle. One good thing is Cathe does a few (2-4) moves per muscle using a med-heavy weight so you do get a good workout. The abs section is killer!

-There are a lot of new moves and it's fun.
-It goes by fast. Not boring.
-You feel like you got a good workout when you're done.

-Sometimes my HR would go down too much when doing the last set or 2 of strength moves. It was really noticeable when we had to lie down to do chest presses/flys.



Others have broken down the video nicely, so I'll just give my impressions. I'm a huge Cathe fan and an advanced exerciser, if anyone cares.

As mentioned before, Cardio & Weights consists of cycles of cardio, compound movements and then a heavy weight exercise. Overall, I liked the idea of this workout but the reality was harder than it looked.

What I found difficult was going from a dead stop (as in lying tricp extensions) to all-out cardio. My heartrate would go from 100 bpm to 150 in very little time and I found that exhausting to keep up with. It may be that I'm not used to this type of workout, but going from one extreme to the other left me worn out. By the end I was struggling to finish. The DVD version offers a pre-mixed version with the cardio segments together, which is a nice option and one I'll probably try in future workouts.

Instructor comments: I love Cathe in this series--she seems bubbly and energetic (without being annoying).


I'll start out by saying that I really like the concept of putting together cardio and weights in a time efficient manner. But for me, this workout didn't deliver.

During the weight sections Cathe does compound moves such as lunges with overhead triceps extensions. That causes problems for me because I use much higher weights for lunges than I could for the triceps work. For that matter, I don't do overhead triceps extensions at all because they bother my elbows. And my coordination is limited so I didn't like worrying about hitting myself in the head with the dumbbells while trying to maintain my balance in the lunges. Bottom line is that the compound moves always had some upper body component so the weights never challenged my lower body.

Also, I question the order of some of the exercises. Shoulders, triceps and biceps were worked early in the workout so they were prefatiqued before the back and chest work. Since chest work generally hits shoulders and triceps pretty hard and back work often hits biceps, I like doing the larger muscle groups first so I can properly challenge the larger muscles.

And some of the moves are questionable in safety. I substituted regular overhead presses for the Arnold presses. I substituted dips for the lying triceps extensions. I'm concerned that if someone didn't understand the risks associated with some of the moves she does on this video you could get hurt. I modified throughout the weight sections.

Now, the core stuff was good. There was a lot of oblique work in this one and it was challenging. I found that it's pretty difficult to so the plank/downdog/side plank combination in sneakers on a wood floor because I was slipping all over the place. In order to go from plank to downdog I had to jump my feet up because they were sliding backwards the whole time! I recommend taking off your shoes or using a yoga mat or something for this section. Interesting leg positions during the more traditional ab work but some of it could really bother your back if you're not all that strong to begin with or if you aren't careful about keeping your core stable.

The cardio sections were ok. I was very happy that there were no power sevens or 15's. The intensity wasn't quite as high as most of Cathe's cardio workouts but that's fine with me. It's fairly high impact but most of the impact is on the step. The choreo just didn't flow all that well for me though -- it seemed as though my feet were often in the wrong place to transition to the next move but I think this will get better over time. And at the beginning of the cardio sections she was cueing as she did the move but this got better later in the workout. I think stringing the cardio sections together would make a good workout.

Instructor comments: Cathe is her usual self in this workout. Cathe and crew look very buff. Cathe called reps "sets" in a couple of places on this workout.

Anne V


I have the DVD containing both Imax 2 and Cardio + Weights. Which one do I like more? Whichever one I am doing!
I never really warmed up to Cathe's previous attempt at a circuit workout, Circuit Max. The warm up and and first hi/lo sequence just seemed interminable. I really enjoyed the last few step sections in Circuit Max-- the choreography and the music-- but what you had to get through to get to them was just too much!
The weight work never seemed to be that thorough, either.
Cardio + Weights has none of these problems. Each of the 6 to 6 1/2 minute cardio segments is fun. The choreography is interesting, but I was able to pick it up the first time with no problems ( as a comparison, it took me about 3 or 4 times to get Rhtyhmic Step down completely). The strength sements are more controlled than those on CM. There are compound moves, but she then moves on to sets that focus only on the upper body. I do not think I would count this video as a lower body workout, but you should count it as an upper body strength workout (as well as cardio, of course).
I loved all the songs except for the (in?)famous "Buttercup". I happen to like the Get this Party Started Song (as a song to workout to, that is).
A few slight faults:
I guess there has been some discussion of unsafe moves in this workout. I would substitute regular overhead presses for the Arnold presses.
The ab work doesn't particularly thrill me. If Cathe is going to have us do Pilates- style stuff, she should probably slow it down and make the moves more controlled.
that is ok, though. I have plenty of good ab routines.
One of cathe's best, in my opinion.



Some posters on Cathe's website have said this tape is too easy. I beg to differ. Cardio and Weights is part of Cathe's Intensity Series, so perhaps people expected it to be Imax with Weights. Well Imax it isn't, but it is a blast. The warm up is fun and thorough. The music is motivating and Cathe uses some old favorites. Next comes the 1st cardio section. The music is just top notch throughout this entire tape. She teaches you a base pattern, then adds on more, then 'takes it from the top' doing the final product 3x's through before going onto the compound weights. The compound weight segments use 8# dumbbells and consist of a lower body move (lunges, squats, plies) while the upperbody does another exercise (hammer curls, upright rows, tricep extensions). This lasts for about 1 min. then you go into heavier upperbody work using the same upperbody muscles that were worked in the compound segment, but keeping the lower body stationary. Cathe uses 12# for most of this work. If you go heavier - you will feel it! Then the body has to quickly adjust to get right back into the cardio. There are 4 cardio cycles. The compound/heavy weight cycles are as follows: shoulders, triceps, biceps, and back. After the 4th cardio cycle is over, Cathe moves onto chest work and then a fabulous ab routine using unique and very challenging moves. Look out for the Walking Soldier Planks! Next is a stretch that is very relaxing and soothing. A+! A superb effort from a superb instructor.

Instructor comments: Cathe Friedrich is a phenom. She is completely real (loses her breath every once in awhile, miscues once in a haley's comet) and yet she is completely surreal (can do extremely tough intervals while talking, keeps impeccable form throughout all of her workouts). She always looks like she's having a good time, yet isn't afraid to admit it when something is tough. She is the best.



There have been a lot of reviews for this workout and I'm surprised that most people said this workout was too easy. I don't find it too easy and I consider myself intermediate-advanced. Sure, I'm not gulping for air, working at my highest capacity but not every workout should be that intense anyway and it's just plain fun. I have enough other Cathe workouts to work myself to that level. This workout for me, has zero dread factor. I pull out this workout when I want to work hard, squeeze in cardio and weights but don't want to overexert myself. Before, I was neutral on the music in this workout but now I love it. I am drenched in sweat when I finish this. I have never been a fan of Cathe's ab workouts, so I usually skip her abs and pop in a quick Firm abs or pilates at the end. I rate this one up there with Bodymax which is my absolute favorite Cathe workout. This is a must-have for your collection :)

Instructor comments: I'm a big fan of Cathe's workouts and her cueing, as always is great. Actually, she mis-cued once in this but it doesn't mess me up.



This is the first Cathe Friedrich workout for me. I must add myself to the bandwagon for giving it glowing reviews.

The step segments were advanced choreography, but a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the musical choices like "A Little Less Conversation" and "Buttercup", etc. The weight segments were tough, especially the deadlifts. The abs section was also pretty tough, particularly a move she made of doing a push-up, piking from plank to pyramid, going back down into a plank, a push-up and then going up into a side plank. These are killer!

Chalk me up as another Cathe fan!

Instructor comments: Cathe is very good at cuing, very no-nonsense and efficient.

Lady D


This is a nice little video. Done on a high step (which I dared to try), it is tough. Some cool step combinations which are tough enough to challenge you choreographically and aerobically, but not so much that you get discouraged. One rewind and you've got it. She intertwines these with some nice weight work and it gets it all done. She seals the deal with some plank push ups, ab work and some cool balance planks at the end which is like the cherry on top of the sundae. I'm an advanced exerciser and I will definitely keep this one and refer back to it often.

Instructor comments: Cathe is her usual self. Terrific. No difference from this to any other video. She is great.

Denise Berger
December 27, 2006

C&W is a challenging, energetic, circuit workout and I love it! I modify many of Cathe's videos and it doesn't take away from the intensity. The weights were challenging and although the legs aren't worked as much as the upper body but I still get a total body workout. The music is good and the warm up gets the blood pumping. We end with serious ab work. Veeeery intense. This is defintetly an excellent workout that I pull out when I want to really work my body. Previewing this I thought it would be easy I was wrong! I was drenched with sweat and my muscles were tense afterwards. I am not a heavy Cathe fan. I like a lot of her older, simple videos but this one will make me look more into Cathe's current workouts.

Instructor comments: I read that this series of videos were done after the recent birth of her last child. If true, childbirth didn't phase her body. She looks amazing as always.



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