Hardcore: Gym Style Legs

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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Holy burning hamstrings, Batman! I had major DOMS in the hamstrings the next day - great news, as I feel too many Cathe weight tapes emphasize quad work at the expense of the hanmstrings.

I was surprised that I wasn't bored during a 67-minute leg tape, except once, during the super-slow lunges (but that was only at the beginning, as I soon began groaning and having to use all my energy to finish the set). My continued interest has to be due to Cathe's teaching, since the music was horrid most of the time, especially during the first set of lunges. The stretch music was fantastic, though.

Instructor Comments:
Instructs the whole way through without seeming to be out of breath - how does she do that? Excellent at keeping both sides even, thanks, in large part to Cedie's counting.

BTW, I have every Cathe tape, and have never seen Cedie look so lovely - her hairstyle here is really flattering.



Gym Style Legs is not what I was expecting but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. She starts with the typical dynamic warm up. If you've done one Cathe weights warm up, you've done them all.

First up is squats. 3 sets of 16. Gym style seems to mean less pulsing reps, low ends, etc. When she does do those, they come as a bonus at the end of the traditional sets. The bonus on the third set of squats is fairly short. I could have gone longer. All in all, not a very tough squat segment. Cathe includes about 30 seconds of rest between sets and stretches between each set. Cathe used a 40 lb barbell and I used a 50 lb barbell (but her legs are still nicer than mine.)

Next is lunges. Cathe goes very light here, 8 lbs. I had flashbacks to the light weights she used in Muscle Max for legs and decided that Cathe might have a point with the light weight. Alas, Cathe appeared not to have a point. The second round of lunges I doubled my weight and even with the bonus reps, I wasn't that challenged. Her light weight is puzzling because she goes SO heavy in the upper body workouts but relatively speaking seems to go very light in the leg work. There just doesn't seem to be enough reps to justify the low weight.

Following lunges are plie squats. Again 2 rounds although she included pulses in each round. She goes light here again with 10 lb dumbells. I used 15 lbers and I do not have thighs that could crack walnuts.

Band leg press is next. If you remember my Muscle Max review, I said this move had flames shooting out of my butt. Suffice to say I kept my fire extinguisher handy during this round. She does 2 sets of 16 reps. I swear Cedie forgot to count and we did more (at least that's my butt's story and it's sticking to it.)

Two new versions of deadlifts are next. Doing the deadlift with the toe elevated caused me to feel it more in the calves. Not sure if that's what is supposed to happen but there you go. The other version, where you stand on a platform and work from the bottom, seemed tougher than normal deadlifts. Watch your back on these, very easy to arch when you stay that low.

Slow motion lunges are the final kiss of death for your quads. Once again, Cathe goes light and uses only 5 (!) lb dumbells. I used 15 lbs. She does 4 sets of very very slow lunges that stay low for most of the reps. Tough but she gives you breaks between sets and the sets aren't that long. I think most people could go heavier than Cathe.

Standing calf raises are the last standing work exercise. Pretty standard here but she did some count variations that helped keep me awake.

Floor exercise is next. She starts with those tibalis anterior toe pulls she does in the Body Blast series. As a runner, I appreciate these. Lots of traditional Cathe stuff like inner thigh squeezes. A new sequence where you lie on top of the ball and roll out on one leg and than back in had some choice words coming out of my mouth. She also uses the band to replace ankle weights in some exercises which is nice because it's easier to adjust the tension with a band than ankle weights. The floor work is a good 20 minutes long.

Stretch is standard Cathe stuff with lots of yoga moves like downward facing dog.

My final verdict is the jury is still out. Except for Slow and Heavy legs, I'd have to say this is the easiest Cathe leg workout I've done. It also feels a bit unbalanced as the floor work was tougher than the standing work. The floor work in PLB, however, is still tougher. The music is also barely audible (although that could just be my copy.) I'd classify the workout as classic work with a few twists. Nothing radical or killer, just a solid workout.

Instructor Comments:
Professional as always. Provides form pointers but they are more reminders than instructions. She is obviously working hard right along with you. Very encouraging without being perky.