Video Fitness

StepWorks

Here are my first impressions of Cathe's StepWorks:

Structural breakdown:

warm up: 8 min.
Sec. 1: 15 min.
Sec. 2: 15 min.
Sec. 3: 10 min.
Cool down: 8 min.
Stretch: 3 min.

Overall, terrific workout. Vintage Cathe. I think most all of Cathe fans will love it--the combos, especially sec. 2 and 3, are complex, but the moves themselves aren't dancy. The cool down, on the other hand, is quite funky and dancy--reminded me very much of some recent CIAs (funky V-steps, step ball change, pas de bourree). Still easy to learn with Cathe's instruction, though. I've always loved her dancy cooldowns, and this one ranks up with PowerMax's and Step Fit's. The funk-impaired may want to do their own cooldown.

I think StepWorks is most similar to PowerMax in intensity, though I can't be absolutely sure because I'm still coming off a knee sprain so I was using a 4" step and didn't do the power moves on my "bad leg." There didn't seem to be any lull in the intensity level, which is what I always liked about PowerMax. In StepWorks, there are enough trademark Cathe moves that fans already know that she can put together a combo splicing new and complex stuff with the familiar without having to spend too much time breaking down moves. There were 3 points where I had to stop and rewind to get a move, but I got them immediately on seeing the move a second time. I got a great workout my first time out with this one.

In the introduction, Cathe warns you to use a 6" step for sections 2 and 3 until you know the routine, and she demonstrates a couple of the harder moves along with lower impact and less challenging variations.

The soundtrack is by Dynamix--it's one of the newer, upbeat tracks used in recent CIAs (9802 and 9703, I think, probably others). While I like the music, it is rather similar in flavor throughout, and I wished for a bit more variety. You stretch to the song "How do I live without you"--I assume that's the name of the song. I don't know much about pop music, but I recognized it.

The oft-used CIA set has a red, white and blue look this time. Nothing distracting.

New moves include:

  • "power mambo" - done sideways onto the narrow end of the step, followed by a run on the board and 3 hop kicks
  • "power lunge" - think alternating lunges, which are usually done over the narrow width of the step. Cathe makes you do them over the longer length of the step! If have a Step Co. step, or if you're short, you'll have to get some serious height on this move. Remember the variation Cathe shows in the intro if you have trouble.
  • "rebound" - this one is simple but impossible to describe. Fun! great move to start out the combo.
  • "grapevine on the board" - Actually, you're stepping off the step as you cross your foot back.
  • "figure 8" - a travelling move starting with a hop and turn off the step, walk back and hop, reverse and come back
Favorite Cathe moves that reappear in StepWorks include the beloved "pendulum" (she even says "you guys asked for this one!"), the "rock press" and the "1-2-3 horse," this time with a turning hop on one leg 1-2-3 over the step instead of turning back toward the starting point. Reminds me a bit of a Christy Taylor move in 7002.

This is a video sure to please fans of PowerMax, StepFit and Step Jam.

Wendy Niemi Kremer
8/4/98

This tape is my new favorite Cathe tape...(next to Body Max). Cathe has pulled out some favorite moves from past tapes and combined them into a really fun workout. If you are new to Cathe, you may find yourself confused at first and I wouldn't recommend starting with this tape. Cathe throws the moves right at you...she doesn't spend time teaching the moves.

I really liked how this tape flowed together and was surprised at how fast it went. There are 3 sections with my favorite being the last section...tough! The lunges off the back of the step were killers! I won't spend time reviewing all the moves in this tape....Wendy did a great job of that. If you like a fun workout that just keeps coming at you, this tape is for you.

If I had to make a negative comment about this tape, I would have to say that I was not thrilled with the cool down. I am funk impaired and found myself wanting to forward to the cooldown. Otherwise, this tape is a MUST!

Instructor comments: What can I say? I love Cathe's teaching style and each tape I seem to enjoy her more and more. I think she really listens to her fans...and I am one of them!

Suzanne Moriarty
8/13/98

This video is definitely not for a novice power-stepper and, perhaps, nor for a Cathe first-timer. It would help to know some of Cathe's choreography from her previous videos. (Cathe assumes you are familiar with them.) But, it wouldn't be impossible to learn if SW's is your first Cathe experience (assuming you are an experienced stepper). StepWorks is a fantastic cardio workout. It is full of high-energy moves, fun choreography (new and old), and great music. Apparently, the music she uses is rehashed from some CIA videos. But, since I don't have them, its new to me and I really like it. I, especially, like the music in the warm-up. Which CIA video is that from? I'll have to get it. The warm-up is more of a short, low-impact step routine with some stretching. The first section is a medley of some of her more popular moves from past videos. I don't know why, but this section wears me out more than the other 2 sections. I love it when she says at the end, "Let's sandwich this sucker together" when we're putting the entire choregraphy together. Some of her comments are hilarious. Section 2 is my favorite part. All the moves just flow together really well and when you learn it all, "Surprise," as Cathe says, she sticks in power around-the-world moves (leg abductors and knee-ups) and alternates them between the choreography. Section 3 is also fun and full of power. Heck, the entire video is fun! So, if you're looking for a very advanced, fast-paced video this is it. (One minor complaint: I'm kind of getting sick of around-the-world moves and there are lots in this video.)

Instructor comments: Cathe is my absolute favorite intructor. She is truly inspiring and very motivational. One of the things I really appreciate about Cathe is that she communicates directly with her fans (on her forum). How many instructors can you say that about? Her responses are so down-to-earth and friendly, as if she was "one of the gang". I mean, how many instructors can you have a discussion with about hair?!

Melanie Advincula Fitzgerald
8/14/98

Well, Cathe has done it again. Power Max has been my all time favorite step video for a long time, but I have to say this one is even better. There are tons of new moves that I've never seen anywhere, but she also brings back some old favorites like the "Pendulum". I would not recommend this video to someone who has never done a Cathe video before, since she does go into the moves rather quickly with little explanation.

Also, there is some very tricky footwork involved in this video. To be honest, I think the cooldown has the trickiest footwork of all! (I found myself staring at the screen going "huh?" several times.) Because of the complex choreography, Cathe suggests that you do sections 2 and 3 using only two risers the first few times. I followed this advice, and while my heart rate didn't go up as much, it definitely helps you learn the moves.

One of my favorite moves in this video is a power mambo done on the side of the step. Another is an interesting grapevine done on the step. One that I don't like as much is a skip down the step: I find that I'm at such an awkward angle when I start this move, that my feet don't really land where they are supposed to. I overcompensate, and get off balance.

I've rattled on for a long time here, when all I need to say is this is a FANTASTIC workout!

Carolyn Sproule
8/19/98

I have been addicted to Step Works since I received it about three weeks ago. I love each and every combo from the beginning to the end. Her warm-up is like a mini-workout and the first section includes some favorite moves from PowerMax, Step Jam and MIC, in addition to a "figure eight" move (sounds complicated, but really easy). The second section consists of new moves like the rebound and a skip across the step (I had to find my balance the first time). I love the last ten minute section. The step is lowered to 6" and when I first did this part, I thought, "what's going on? My heartrate is plummeting." But was I in for a surprise - before you know it, you are going at supersonic speed with the most fun moves I have ever done. I guess it was like an interval with a slow build-up and then you move so fast and have so much fun, I was actually making "squealing" sounds of joy. The lunge to the side of the step is so intense - I always feared that step (it was in a CIA tape and I was "shocked" that I couldn't do it without breaking my ankles), but in Step Works, I said, if they can do it, so can I. And after a few tries, I finally made it through all the lunges. The music is my favorite - it's from CIA tapes and mostly instrumental which I love. This tape belongs in the Hall of Fame, as do all Cathe's tapes.

Instructor comments: Cathe has been my favorite step instructor since her first tape, Step 'N Motion I. She just gets better and better. I would order her videos with my eyes closed, because to me she is a perfect instructor and I know I will get the most intense workout money can buy.

maryann parker
9/4/98

This is the funnest video I have ever done!! Not only is it fun, it is also intense. The first section is a lot of familiar moves, but Cathe never slows down to teach you, so your heart rate stays up.

The next two sections add some new, fun cool moves that I love. I won't go into detail because others have. THe cooldown is super fun also. It has some tricky moves that may take a few tries to get perfect.

This is an all around awesome video from

the best instructor out there. Get it if you want to have a blast while working hard!!!

This is my favorite Cathe step video, and I have most of them! Grade A++++++

Melanie Higgins
09/09/98

Another masterpiece from the queen of step. I love this workout. It is full of tricky trick combinations with a lot of high impact. There are 3 sections to the workout. The video starts off with Cathe demonstrating some moves and showing modifications and how to make things easier if you don't want to do the jumps.

The warmup is has some fun moves to get your body warm. She does a slow basic, tempo basic, and repeater down and then step down repeater up. Then there is some dips off the step and then does a hip flexor stretch. she then does some more stretches for the calves, hamstrings and back. The music is from CIA 9701,9703 and others. But Cathe's tempo is a lot faster so it wasn't so bad

The set has bright blue, white and red in it. Cathe is wearing black and yellow top with black shorts and the background exercisers are wearin blue tops with black shorts.

The choreography is very complex but fun for us who love the challenge! There is so much that I don't know where to begin. My favorites are Figure Eight and also a skip across the step move. There is also a full turn circle which replaces the over the top move.

If you have Cathe's other video's you will notice that Cathe uses alot of the choreography from her other video's. For example, the Pendulum is back from PowerMax and rock press, straddle, 2 knees up from Maximum Intensity Cardio step section and step hop scoop left then turn as you scoop right and then go over the board with your back away from the tv from Step Jam( but she even adds a helicopter move to make it fresh!).

The cool down is very refreshing with some love song playing.

Power Max was my favorite but now Step Works is!! You've got to have this workout.

Instructor comments: Cathe's workouts are fresh and alive. Her cuieing is perfect and she is in such great shape. Cathe is a powerhouse with a very muscular physique that it is so motivating to workout with her. Cathe is one of the most healthy woman I know. She just glows with beauty. Inwardly and outwardly. She works hard to give us the best step workouts in the world. Three cheers for Cathe!! Cathe deserves every compliment. She is a role model for every step enthusiaste.

Mandy Lee
9/20/98

Hold on to your steps! This workout really moves! It is non-stop, action packed with high intensity moves. There are a number of "old" favorite moves from past videos. Cathe cues well, but you must be very familiar with her style to enjoy this very complex workout; or be prepared to spend some time rewinding. She also came up with some really great moves: rebound, figure 8, power mamba, modified 3 count horse(which goes over the step) and lunges over the length of the step(killer!). She doesn't break the moves down-it's designed to keep your interest even AFTER you have learned the tape. My only negative comment- the soundtrack is the CIA 9701 music, which is losing it's charm. But it is a plague for all video instructors, not just Cathe. But still a fantastic workout!

Instructor comments: Cathe has just out done herself with this one! She is very creative and a superb instructor.

germaine
10/30/98

I've been doing this tape 1-3 times a week since September, but when I first got it, I almost traded it. In the beginning, I found the first section too fast, the entire second section awkward-- e.g. the set-up "ricochet" which has to be timed just right, or the skips across the step into a jumping jack on the floor, and the third section, with the little steps before the lunges, odd. Now, I'm a convert--but I remember complaining to MaryAnn Parker and doing MI-C three days in a row in a fit of pique.

This is why I wanted to post a review. If you are frustrated with this tape, leave it alone for a bit, and then try alternating it with a floor tape you like, and I think you'll find yourself settling in with it.

As others have said, this (and Body Max) assume you have prior knowledge. For folks who've been doing Cathe's earlier tapes, though, it's a wonderful feeling--like going on in your field with others in your same program.

Beth Simon
11-7-98

This isn't my most favorite Cathe step video of all time, but it ranks right up there. Like most of her other step workouts, this one has three separate sections. I like the choreography a lot in all the sections. Many times, her first section will be very basic choreography, but not this time.

Cathe really keeps you moving. She doesn't take as much time to teach routines as she has in past step videos. But I found this one pretty easy to pick up. I think it's a lot easier to learn than the step in Body Max.

During the last section, which is also the most complicated choreography-wise, it seems like her cueing is not quite as good. It comes just an instant too late sometimes. She's probably getting tired by that point (aren't we all!). But even so, I didn't find it all that difficult to follow.

Grade A+.

Annie S.
12-3-98

Everytime I do this video and think I am playing-it's so fun! From the warmup to the cooldown where does the time go? This is the one Cathe video where I love EVERY section, not just one or two like in StepJam.

Favorite Moves include: *Grapevine across, sashay across,shuffle, pivot, A step *power mambos, run up, 3 power kicks and side up *power runs and power lunges

This video is a close tie with my favorite PowerMax. StepWorks has great music and moves and ENERGY! You will feel awesome when you are through. This video needs to be in every Cathe fan's collection!

Instructor comments: Cathe is motivating, energetic and always upbeat! IMHO, she is the only instructor that makes me feel that she is there working right along with me. Sometimes to the point where she's in my exercise room! The point-she's real! I have every one of her videos and she's always has fresh, fun ideas that flow right with the music.

I also love the fact that she seems to "know" when you are giving out. An example is when she goes right into those power lunges and you're dying and that music just kicks in and magically....your energy returns!

Lesia English
12/13/98

The first Catheís tape I had was Mega Step Blast and I traded it away very quickly. But for fitness sake, I really need her strength tapes. So I order her PS series along with Stepworks and Stepfit. To test myself, I plunge right into this tape and come out of it with a blast! She makes it fun even in the warm-up when she does leg lift corner to corner then grapevine on the floor, shuffle turn and go to leg-lift again. Thatís really neat. My favourite is the second section. She does the full circle turn across the step, lift heels corner to corner on the width of the step, then skip across (kind of crossover your leg on the step-so much fun-, but I think it would feel more comfortable if you use the club style step. My step is a customized Reebok size and I have to be careful), jack , power mambo, 1-2-3 run and 3 hop kicks, turnstep straddle turnstep then cross over the step and side up with some attitude (I love it!). I donít know whether I describe it correctly or I may skip or confuse something. There are some moves that remind me of CIA. Such as figure 8 is similar to Christiís inside walk (?) in Hi/Lo section of 5004. The turnstep, straddle, turnstep can be found in 9701. But there are many moves that Iíve never seen before and itís refreshing. I donít feel that she goes too fast except in the third section. When she does shuffle, pivot, A step, 1-2-3 turnstep and 1-2-3 running on and off the step, I canít keep up with her pace. Power lunge is similar to step section in 9005. But one thing is different. The instructor in 9005 keeps her feet static on the centre of the step and lunge in low impact mode (if that makes sense), so if you are short, it will be difficult on your ankles. While Cathe makes you hop between lunges, so you can hop a little to the side that you will lunge. This makes it easier. All that said, I have to add that when I do this workout, I donít do the power moves. Such as when she does power around the world, I just do plain knee lifts. And my heartrate is in the highest range of my aerobic zone all the time. I have to admit that I do only a couple set of power lunges and after that I stand drinking water, think about all the cardio queens in VF and wonder if I am really an intermediate exerciser or a beginner (o.k. advanced beginner, to be specific) LOL

Instructor comments: When I preview the tape, I feel that Catheís voice grates on my nerves. But when I am doing the workout, I feel her voice is so sweet. Thatís the power of fun factor! But this tape convince me that Iíd better NOT buy her earlier tapes. I donít know. I might change my mind later.

pakavadi
pakavadi@loxinfo.co.th
02/22/99

This one is already in the Hall of Fame, so I just wanted to attest to the fact that it has stood (eek! or is that "withstood?") the test of time. I loved this video when it first came out and 7 months later, it is still my all time favorite step video.

As others have said, it's fast-paced and she doesn't break down moves that have been in her earlier videos. The choreography is complex at first, but not as complex as something like Christi Taylor's 9801. There are a number of "across the step" type moves -- moves where you skip across the length of the step or grapevine across or scoop three times and exit -- and shuffle-pivot. The last section has an intense series of lunges across the full length of the step. Overall, you get complexity, variety and a serious workout. I'll bet I've done this tape 20 or 25 times and I still love every minute of it!

Instructor comments: Cathe rules! She cues perfectly through every combo, maintains perfect form and manages to make you have fun. She is a gifted teacher and I relate well to her warm and natural personality. And she's cute too!

Daphne Magnuson

4/9/99



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