Body Blast: Super Sets

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Total Body Workouts

This workout is part of Cathe’s Body Blast series and is available by itself on VHS or on a dvd bundled with the Push Pull workout. The dvd is very well-chaptered and features numerous pre-mix options (note though that some of these radically change a workout like this one: by bundling all the upper or lower body work together, you lose the circuit effect, which you might not intend to be doing).

This workout is, in spite of its title, a circuit routine. There are four circuits of five exercises each, done in sequence for one set. By one set I mean that you do all the reps for that exercise at once---you are still getting a lot of work in because some of the sets are very long and feature two or three variations during the set. For example for squats you do them the normal way, then at half range of motion, then with pulsing, then the normal way again. But then you are done with that exercise forever :-) The time just flew by in this workout. I liked that :-)

I liked that every circuit included lower body work. Cathe has some killer lower body stuff so it was nice to have it spaced out like this. But I felt as far as the upper body went that it was very shoulder-biased. Only two of the circuits had biceps and triceps work, but all of them had something that worked the shoulders. I am not sure why Cathe chose this ratio but for me it felt a little much. Also the ab work was not as comprehensive as some of Cathe’s other workouts.

I found some of the uses for the stability ball to be uncomfortable, especially the parts where you lie on your stomach on it, but I think that is more my fault than Cathe’s fault. And I absolutely cannot stand deadlifts. But I liked the rest of the exercises and since you do not repeat any the time went by quickly. I had some frustration the first time through in finding the right weight to use---I had to use lighter weights to manage the ball work, and I am not sure the trade-off in strength gains is worth the benefit in core and balance gains. But now that I have done the workout a few times and know which exercises I feel more comfortable modifying (e.g. I prefer to go heavier with triceps and not use the ball). In the past I have enjoyed circuit workouts but felt that they had a negative effect on my endurance. Cathe’s sets are fairly high rep so I don’t see that being a problem here, and I am delighted to finally have a circuit workout that works for me. I may have a few small quibbles with some of Cathe’s exercise choices, but overall this is an excellent routine that I think I can grow with.