Hardcore: Muscle Max

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Total Body Workouts

This is the first Cathe strength workout I've tried, and I found it to be intense and challenging without being gruelling. However, keep in mind that this is an advanced workout, so intermediates like myself will probably need to lift less weight than Cathe (I generally used 1/2 to 2/3 of what Cathe was using) in order to complete the workout. Cathe uses a variety of equipment in this workout, including a barbell, several sets of dumbbells, a full club step, and a toning band, but I was able to get by without the barbell, step, or band (although my modifications may have further lowered the intensity of the workout).

The main workout on Muscle Max is 68 minutes long, but the DVD also offers several premixes: Upper Body Only (42 minutes), Upper Body Push-Pull (33 minutes), Lower Body Only (23 minutes), and Timesaver (56 minutes). The full workout breaks down as follows: Warm-Up, Lower Body, Chest, Back, Lower Body, Shoulders, Bicep, Tricpes, Core and Stretch (the DVD includes subchapters under each of the above categories; see Cathe's web site for a full list of exercises plus video clip). During the warm-up, you are constantly moving rather than performing static stretches, but I liked that Cathe still managed to thoroughly stretch each muscle group that was going to be worked. Also, Cathe constantly varies the count, which adds interest as well as varying intensity to each movement. Another thing I liked about this workout was that Cathe allows plenty of time between exercises, thereby providing you with an opportunity to rest AND to change your weights as needed. I also enjoyed the upbeat music, some of it vocal.

Overall, this routine left me feeling completely worked out, yet not exhausted, which means that it was enjoyable and has little dread factor. I think that both advanced exercisers and intermediates who are will to modify can get a great workout from this video--highly recommended!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is clearly one of the best fitness instructors out there; she is professional, cues well, and displays perfect form. Sometimes I find her way of talking to be a bit stilted, but obviously, that's just a matter of personal preference.

Beth C (aka toaster)