This is a review of Cathe Frederich's new video, Step
Jam. What can I say - this is Cathe at her best. Awesome
workout, very intense, with a lot of interesting combos.
Part III is especially interesting; you won't get bored.
It's one of Cathe's longest tapes (cardio section is 47
I think Step Jam is more fun than Step Max,
but intensity wise I'd compare it to Mega Step Blast. The
choreography is more intricate than any of her other
tapes. I love this tape! I haven't done any of my other
aerobic tapes since I've gotten this one. FUN FUN FUN!!!
How much fun can one tape possibly be? This
one keeps you on your toes (not literally, of
course...Cathe's form is great)! Some of the most
interesting choreography I've ever seen. Lot's of power
moves (about a million hop turns from just about every
side of the bench). This one will make you sweat and
smile at the same time! Good music (some of the same
songs used in other Cathe videos), great moves, TONS of
(Cursory review after my first workout with Step Jam)
was surpised it didn't require a lot of rewinds even
though the choreograpy is the most intricate Cathe has
ever done. It's awesome! Much better than Step Heat and
it might even become my favorite over Step Max. There are
a lot of hop turns to every side of the bench you can
imagine, and your back is to the tv a lot. Simple over
the tops become turns in mid air, then you go over
airborne and turn the other way back to the front. The
warm-up is really good; not at all difficult, and it's
done to the tribal beat music, which is passable, at
least by my standards. Of course I was too busy learning
Her cuing is better than ever in this video, just like
in Mega Step Blast, and I believe that's the reason I
followed her so easily. I couldn't believe with all those
moves with your back to the tv I ended up in the right
place 98% of the time.
In the warm-up, she starts by teaching you an
"arm jive", which is just arms going side to
side right, left, right, out and down, then she combines
it with side steps. After that you do 2 grapevines, 2
hamstring curls, 2 knee lifts (to the right and then to
the left). Then she teaches you a "3-in-1",
which is 3 side steps and a calf pump. Eventually you
take the ham curls and knee lifts over the step making a
full circle. This is the whole warm-up, doing it all to
the right side, then to the left. The calf pumps are a
simple move that have your weight balanced to take the
pattern to the left side.
There is so much choreography it's hard to remember
what sections contain what moves, and how they are
blended together. I'll try to type some out but they
might end up to be in different patterns than what you'll
see on the video.
The first section contains the techno-country music.
Again, it's passable, since it's a rather short section.
It begins with basics like in Step Heat only with
different arms (quarter arms which is up-up, down-down,
bicep curls, and backward shoulder rolls alternating
shoulders). Then she goes into jump ups like in Step
Heat, and hop turns just like you see in the other tapes.
Then she does corner to corner outer thighs like in Step
Max, but on the 3rd one, you straddle down, hop-turn over
the step still doing an outer thigh, and end up on the
front of the bench (facing tv), but in the opposite
direction you started. When she first did it, I was
amazed I ended up in the right place. Oh, before the
outer thighs she does knee-up corner to corner, first
with arms up and down, and then changes the arms to clap
underneath the knee and chest press (then goes into the
outer thighs). After the outer thigh/straddle hop turn
move you do regular horseshoes, then power horseshoes, so
you're jumping into the turn with both feet landing on
the bench simultaneously, then step down. This is all I
can remember of the first section; there might be one
other combo. Oh, I think it's the step knee, tap down on
the opposite side, like in Step Heat; you do it once I
think, then come back to the front of your bench into a
repeater, which transitions you to the other lead leg.
She also does the run-runs onto the step followed by
lunge-offs the front (like in Step Heat), but I can't
remember if this is in section 1 or 2.
Section 2 is trickier. This is where I had to rewind a
few times. She begins by showing you what looks like a
combination you'll never get in a million years. However,
she breaks it down so easily while teaching it I had no
problem doing it. (I was actually yelling, "Yeah,
Cathe!" alone in my living room.) Step up right, 3
knee repeaters left, step down, step up left, scoop 3
times on the step. On the 3rd scoop, you hop turn off the
back so you're on the end of the step with your back to
the tv. Go over the top (either 2 or 3X) w/your back to
the tv, straddle down off the back, tap the floor, step
knee up to the front of your step, ready to go on the
left lead. The next combo in this section is very tricky.
I'm typing from memory so it might not be completely
accurate, but will give you a general idea. It starts
with T-steps off the side like in Step Heat, but then she
changes the off the side to a hop turn so you land in
front of your step facing the opposite direction. Using
the width of your step, do a step insole on the floor,
turn around on the floor, and jump up onto your bench
facing the direction in which you started. It's difficult
to type out, but again, she breaks this one down so you
first do the t-steps front, and the step-insoles on the
step (like in Step Max), then adds the step insoles on
the floor and the turn on the t-step. This is all I can
remember from section 2, but there's not much else to
learn that would be difficult.
Section 3 is awesome, the most choreographed and fun
of all. The very first combo is tricky; I had to watch it
a couple times because a 2 knee-repeater actually pivots
around to the back, straddle up, lunge down starting with
the outside leg (facing the tv - I kept using the inside
leg and messing up, so remember; it's the leg closest to
the tv that starts lunging), lunge forward and back, exit
off the front of your step. In fact, when she teaches the
repeater-pivot straddle up, she simply marches on the
bench and tells you not to panic; to collect your
thoughts and keep trying. After this I believe she moves
into 2 basic steps corner to corner (basics are hard to
do corner to corner!), 3 knee repeaters, and then a
repeater shuffle (also very tricky, stay on the balls of
your feet and loosen up the body!). Then she does the
up-jack like in Mega Step Blast, rock down (kinda funky),
hop up 2X, step down, 3 hamstring curls corner to corner.
After the 3rd one you turn over the top with your back to
the tv (really tricky!) and do the ham curls to the back
starting on the opposite side. I liken this move to the
"circle jumps lunge overs" she does in Step
Heat, because your body moves the same way only you're
doing ham curls. Then she changes those ham curls to hop
up and kick 3X, go over the step just like you did on the
hams and do the kicks to the back. However, when you
return to the front after those kicks you actually
RUN-TURN over the top. Be careful on this one. It's an
invitation for injury if you're tired, and you will be by
that point! Eventually she blends the moves together so
you do 3 hams to the front, turn over with your back to
the tv, kick to the back 3X, and run-turn over to the
front. This section also contains L steps on top of the
the step, step off the side, go over the long way, and
step hop to the front. Again, I'm not completely sure
where they fit in with the above.
I think section 3 also contains a hop turn and over
and overs with your back to the tv right in the
beginning, and the combos above might not flow as
described as far as sequence is concerned, but the moves
themselves are pretty accurate.
Oh, Step Heat's music is used throughout section 2 and
3 of Step Jam, and I think that's why I could follow so
easily. I knew the rhythm and could move to the beat.
The cooldown is really easy, very short, and not even
funky, just has some funk-like arm movements to, as Cathe
says, "free your mind." At some point during
the cooldown she changes the grapevine to a side step but
doesn't cue it, you just see her doing it. (It's all
grapvevines and step touches with funk-like arms to
"throw the sweat off". You clap on count 3 of
the grapevine and throw your arms out to the side on 4,
like you are tossing something out.)
This video is definitely not for the coordination
impaired! In fact, for many it could be an accident
waiting to happen, but advanced steppers will love the
challenge, intensity, and 47 minutes of the hottest step
combos I've ever done!
I have to say that this is the funnest video I have ever
done. I was kind of scared at first because although I
have been doing stepping and power stepping for a few
years, I never had a tape that had so many tricky moves.
But I was very surprised when the second time I did the
tape, I found myself actually doing it right. I didn't
have all the moves down, but I was following along. I
have done the tape about four times now, and the moves
are becoming less tricky. I love this tape!!!! I think if
I can do those moves, anyone can. The first time I tried
the tape, it was about 4:30 A.M, and I only got through
the first section because I was tired and should have
stayed in bed. I was frustrated because it seemed to
tricky. The next day, I did it -after watching it through
first- and was totally surprised that I didn't fall on my
face!! I really think this is a great tape, and agree
with all the reviews that I have read about it on here!!!
I find myself looking forward to doing this tape. When I
get home from work today, I can't wait to pop it in the
VCR and start "Jammin".
First I should say that this is a very challenging,
creative workout from one of the best instructors out
there. I own most of Cathe's tapes, so please take these
comments as being relative to my feelings about Cathe's
other videos, which are better than nearly all of my
other step videos.
For some inexplicable reason, this
video just didn't "grab" me the way that
PowerMax and Step Max did. Step Jam contains some of
Cathe's best choreography, but unfortunately, the video
just isn't as much fun for me as PowerMax or Step Max. I
find myself getting distracted during it instead of
really getting into the rhythm of it.
Again, this is just my gut reaction--I don't really
have any good reason to feel this way. I just find myself
pulling PowerMax off the shelf instead of Step Jam every
time! The one criticism I can can pinpoint is that I
found both the warm up and cool down to be less inspired
than Cathe's usual fare.
I wish I had known about Cathe Friedrich a long time ago
... I've tried renting and buying several videos for
choreography ideas and an option to work out at home, but
they were all too simple for me. I just did Step Jam for
the second time, and it is by far the closest thing to an
advanced step class I've ever seen. The choreography is
great and the aerobics section actually last longer than
The only real complaint I can think of
is that during some parts I wished that she or one of the
others had their back toward the camera. It was hard to
figure out some of those moves that go over the step when
she's facing you ... but I did have an easier time the
second workout, so from now on it probably won't be a
problem at all.
If I buy another step tape, it will definitely be one
This was one of the last Cathe videos I purchased which may be a key factor of my slight dislike of it. I think its because I jumped right into StepMax, PowerMax, and StepFit first that this video seems a little repetitive and not as intense to me.
I'm definately in the minority here and I have no problem with the workout itself, it just doesn't rev me up like StepFit, PowerMax, or StepMax.
Instructor comments: Cathe's a fabulous instructor and I absolutely love most of her videos. For some reason, (gasp! I can't believe I'm saying this!) I just don't like this one as well as the others.
Step Jam is my all-time favorite video by Cathe. I think it's because there are so many directional changes in this tape. I really like the combo in the second section: you jump, turning counterclockwise in the air, walk 3 steps away from the bench, and touch the insole of your left foot with your right hand. I also like the shuffle move in the second section. When you put the routines together, it feels like the moves are perfectly matched, without feeling too choreographed. It's amazing, but Cathe makes complex moves "feel" simple.
The only critique I'd make of the video is that Cathe spends lots of time teaching moves that seem relatively simple. For instance, in the second section, she has you do tons of "run run lunge off" moves. Also, in the third section she has you do an "L" step on the bench too long, which makes my heartrate drop. Sometimes you wonder if this is "fill," before you move on to the good stuff. If you've done Cathe's more recent videos, this can be sort of irritating. I remember when I first got Step Jam, I didn't notice the repetition at all. But I've grown along with Cathe, and now it's sometimes tiresome, especially since she doesn't spend lots of time teaching the move on both sides in her more recent tapes.
All in all, I love Step Jam. It's really intense, though it doesn't look like it at first. The choreography in this one is unmatched, in my opinion -- it has more spins, shuffles, and pivots than her other tapes, and that's why I like it so much.
This is not destined to be one of my most-liked tapes, but I've come to terms with it :). I was so turned off by the music in the first section (ESPECIALLY that country song), that it soured my taste for the rest of the workout, too. I had intended to put it on the exchange. Finally, on my third time through, I realized that I really do like the second and third sections a lot. Then it dawned on me -- hey, why not keep the tape and just do the 2nd and 3rd parts? DUH! So that's what I'm going to do. Those two parts combined are about 30 minutes, so it will make an excellent add-on for another workout, or even a good, intense workout for a day when I don't have much time.
If I were to rate the tape overall, I'd have to give it a C because I dislike the first part so much. But just looking at the last two parts, it would definitely be an A.
This video is awesome!! It's my first Cathe Friedrich tape, and I couldn't be more pleased. I watched it once before I did it, and I didn't think I'd be able to do all of the challenging choreography. But, with Cathe's incredible cueing, I was! She certainly has a gift for instructing. The best thing about this workout is that, although it is very challening, the time just flies by! You have no idea that you're working so hard because you're having too much fun. I now understand what all the fuss is about! I've already ordered another of her videos, and I can't wait to get it!!
Instructor comments: Cathe has a great personality for instructing. She is entertaining, but not annoying at all. She encourages and motivates you with her energy and words. She is great!
I got this tape from the exchange, and since it is an older tape I
won't go into much detail. This was an okay tape-I really liked the
second section, the third section was good, the warmup and cooldown were
so-so, and I hated the first section! The tape overall just wasn't as
fun for me as PowerMax and didn't even seem as intense. I will combine
the second and maybe third sections with other tapes because I do like
them. My biggest beef is with the music! I maybe only have twenty tapes
and already I have heard this particular sound track enough to be sick
Instructor comments: Excellent instructor. However I dislike when she
makes those little "coyote" barking or whooping noises every once in a
while. Also I wasn't crazy about the one time when she said "you look
pretty". Believe me at that point I did not! And besides what's that got
to do with an exercise video anyways? Overall though she is the best
instructor out there.
The first time I tried Step Jam, I was frustrated by the complicated
choreography, especially in the third section. I could get some of less
complex stuff and the moves that were similar to those in Mega Step, Step
Max, and Step Heat (the Cathe Step videos that I've mastered--I'm working my
way through her catalogue, chronilogically).
I'm stubbon and decided to not to throw in the towel. Today was my second
attempt at the video. Much to my surprise, I really concentrated, listened
to her instruction, and was able to do ALL the combinations except a shuffle
repeater move that is going to take some practice. Cathe--as always--is an
excellent teacher. If you really listen to her instructions and take your
time, you'll catch on. It's so satisfying to master her complex moves and it
keeps you challenged.
The video is fun. Other reviewers haven't enjoyed this one as much as
Cathe's other tapes, but since I've been able to do 99% of the moves, I
really like it. There's a lot of power in this one, so it's a tough workout.
While Step Max remains my favorite of Cathe's earlier stuff, I think Step
Jam is right up there.
The music--except for the goofy country stuff--is good. Poor Cathe seems
like she's trying to convince herself that it isn't that bad when she makes
the comments about it being "cute" and having a hoe down. Luckily, the
hootenany theme isn't prevalent throughout the whole tape. I felt like we
should be stepping on bales of hay instead of steps!
I recommend this tape to anyone who enjoys Cathe's step workouts. It's a
solid, sweat-inducing workout and the choreography will keep you challenged.
Workout Type: Step Aerobics
Workout Length: 60 Minutes
Equipment needed: Long step is best.
Fitness Level: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced.
Effectiveness: This tape makes you sweat and is simple enough for anyone to follow.
Music: Appropriate, good.
Presentation: This tape definitely keeps you entertained, and working hard, you forget the time as you are going from one move to another.
Cast: Cathe Friedrich and 4 students
Attire: Grey leotards. Cathe in white lycra shorts, the others in black lycra shorts.
The Set: Pearl beige color walls, with windows in middle and left corners, In the left corner a fireplace with plants.
marching and arm movements,
then side steps and circle arms
1 min. later add grapevines and step knees
step hams to other side of step then back
later add calf pumps.
Stretches at 6min.
1st. Step Section: at 8 min.
Basic with arms up, curl then circle shoulders
Music: country hillbilly type music with a fun beat.
double foot jump onto box
hop turn (jump up on right foot, put left foot on other side)
at 10 min. puts together marching hops and hop turn.
at 10 min 30 sec. begins entire sequence left foot leads.
at 13 min. knees up corner to corner, (clap hands under knee)
corner to corner leg lifts side.
at 14 min. combo: corner to corner, straddle then hop turn around
at 15 min. horseshoe, then onto power horse. she does 4 and 4 of each.
at 16 min. diagonal hop turn then go overboard and 2 step knees
knee up and tap out with opposite foot.
at 17 min. says let's put all this together = 2nd combo.
does each move 4 times.
at 19 min. combines 1st and 2nd combos
at 22.40 Heart Rate Check
2nd. Step Segment
step up and tap off, run up and tap off
music: "this is love that I'm feeling"
basic several times...
Fun move: right leg on step then left hops there then right steps to other side.
alternating knee lifts.
at 25.30 min. Entire combo left leg leads.
at 28 min. Combo 4:
T-step insole and a side two feet up.
then 3 steps on floor insole come back and side up to step.
at 29.30 adds power to t-step
at 30 min. repeater then shuffle repeater, then front step 2 feet hop on step.
at 32.30 min. puts this together with run run lunge.
at 34 min. Music change - more base.
at 35.40 min Heart Rate Check
3rd. Step Segment
combo: 2 repeaters, step hop on step.
hop turn, and goes to the end of step. then scoots along step to other side.
then knee up straddle.
at 40 min.
new combo: L-step on board, 2 to the right side up.
then knee off the back. (several times this combo.)
up, jack on the board, step off,
jack, rock and repeaters.
combine these with previous combo.
at 46 min.
combo: 2 diagonal basic 2 repeaters 2 knees airborne
march on step, diagonal lunges.
at 47.30 min. - hamstring curls, corner to corner, step over to other side of step.
then jump kick then run run.
combines precious combo to this one.
at 51 min. all combos in 3rd step segment
at 55 min. Cooldown
easy side steps, several grapevines.
at 57.20 min. stretching: including runner's lunge.
at 60 min. End.
Total Rating: - On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) I give it a 10 !...
My Opinion: If you are looking for a good step workout, this is it! If you are looking to learn and improve on step, this is it! You start with simple choreography that little by little leads you to more complex moves that are do-able even for beginners, after some practice. Each step segment takes you from simplest to more complex moves, never becomming overly difficult.
Although Cathe is usually gears for Advanced, the clear and concise cueing allows you to follow every step, even as she gets more and more complex (but fun) moves later in the tape.
3 July 2003
This is my first review, so please keep that in mind. For that reason too, I've gone with an older one with plenty of other reviews for it already. I think I'm at an intermediate fitness level, but love (and cope with)complex choreography.
I did this for the very first time today, and although I certainly worked up a sweat, I didn't find it TOUGH even though I added ALL the air I could on an 8" step. As for the choreography - I didn't have to hit rewind at all to 'get' the footwork. That is, I found it fairly straight forward.
So... For me, it was a decent cardio workout and interesting enough in the footwork not to be boring, but it wasn't a CHALLENGE for either.
I think this would be good for those moving up the intensity ladder and who are also ready to try something more than BASIC stepping.
7th September 2005