Slow and Heavy: Legs and Shoulders

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2001

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

I love the Slow and Heavy series because it has an almost meditative quality about it. Each exercise has a preliminary pre-exhaustive set and is followed by slow sets with a full minute rest in between each. During the rest you do brief stretches so you're stretching throughout the entire workout.

The Legs & Shoulders workout clocks in at about 67 minutes. A little longer than I usually like to workout, but the time really flies for me because I'm concentrating on every rep.

The 3 1/2 minute warm up consists of some side steps, a few squats (with no weights) and some very light stretching.

Next you move on to a pre-exhaustive set of lunges with two 10 pound dumb bells. You follow up with 3 sets of squats using a 50 pound barbell. The count is two down and six up and it catches up fast!

Next is a set of light reverse lunges with two 10 pound dumb bells, then onto three sets of slow static lunges (two counts down and six up) with a 50 pound barbell. Cathe actually lightens up after the second set, explaining that it's a lot more difficult to lift as much when you're in a split stance.

The next exercise is my least favorite because I don't feel it as much as all the others. You do a four count side lunch with a 15 pound dumb bell pushing off on the fourth count, alternating sides. You follow this up with a plie squat using a 40 pound dumb bell. I love this. It's a little easier with a dumb bell rather than a barbell on your back.

The last leg exercise is two sets of 25 calf raises. Cathe uses two 20 pound weights for these.

I've read on the forum that many think S&H Legs is a waste of time, but I think that this is a good alternative to endurance exercises. I would never go 50 pounds on any other leg workout. I think the secret is to really concentrate on every rep and to go as heavy as you can. I enjoy working my legs in this way.

On to shoulder work! Cathe starts you with three sets of front raises with two 8 pound dumb bells. This is tough because she has you tilt from the hip at a 10 degree angle. This adds a lot of gravity to the excercise and eliminates any potential momentum. Your muscles are doing ALL the work here.

Next you do side lateral raises with a longer lever. The count is 6 up and 2 down. Cathe starts with two 5 pounds dumb bells, but heavies up to 8 for the second and third sets. I use two 7 pound weights and it's perfect.

The next exercise is a posterior delt raise. Cathe has you bend over so your back is flat, then you raise your extend arms up and back until they're a little past level with your back. This is tough and really gets the back of your shoulder.

Then you do seated overhead presses. Cathe starts out with two 15 pound dumb bells then drops to 12's. These are tough with such a slow count. You really have to concentrate on not arching your back. I swear there's only two sets of these instead of three, which seems a little odd.

Lastly, you work your rotator cuff for two sets. I really like this exercise. It's very effective. Lying on your side with a 5 pound weight, you bend your arm so it's perpendicular to your legs then you slowly (6 counts) raise your arm up as Cathe's says, "As if your arm is a rotisserie." It starts out really easy and starts burning about the third rep.

This is followed by a brief stretch.

Overall, an excellent workout!

Instructor Comments:
I just love Cathe. She's one of my favorite instructors because she is such a great icon of great fitness. She's a wonderful, polite and precise instructor who encourages me to push my limits in both cardio workouts and weight workouts.

Tami Skelton