Hardcore: IMax 3

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Step Aerobics

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Whoa. This one's tough. Really, really tough in some spots. Same format as the previous IMAXes with a step routine followed by blast and recovery, but the blasts are harder, longer, and the recovery time has been shortened. The impact in this one is very high, so if you have creaky knees this workout may not agree with you. But - the step routines are fun and the music is also once again a mix sprinkled with recognizable hits that you just may find yourself singing along to.



Well, what can I say? I can see how this video has the reputation as one of the hardest Cathe cardio videos and as one of the hardest exercise videos out there.

It has all of the classic Cathe things I love: great music, good combos, tough moves. It is a bit grueling, perhaps because of its toughness. But you know that when you finish it, you've had a real workout.

Definitely a keeper for me.

Instructor Comments:
She's a real drill instructor in this one, pleasant but tough.

Lady D


I am 17 years of age and have doing fitness videos for four consecutive years (after doing ballet, sports, and the like). I am tall and thin, yet strong and lean. I am an advanced exerciser, and I enjoy step aerobics, kickboxing, weight training and Yoga, and I LOVE doing Cathe's workouts.

The two best sources to buy this DVD are Collage and Cathe's website, which are the same for all her other workouts. It's $26.95, but well worth it due to its premixes and quality. All you need to do this workout is a step bench and lots of energy!

Imax 3 is comprised of 10 aerobic/anaerobic cycles, along with recovery periods, that get progressively harder as the workout goes on. You start off the cycle with a step combo, which are complex (turns, pivots, direction changes, etc.), but really fun! I think they are creative and innovative, which will shock one's metabolism. Then you "accelerate" and move on to the "goodies", as Cathe affectionately calls them. They are TOUGH!! However, after doing the workout several times, my stamina and endurance through those blasts has improved significantly. They consist of things like straddle taps, over- the-tops, plyo squats, plie jacks that really jack up my HR (no pun intended), tuck jumps, any jump that was ever known to mankind, "starbursts" and these really tough things where you do a single knee, lunge right then left for about 37 times ON BOTH SIDES! Ouchie! The recovery periods are very short, but ample, because Cathe lengthens and shortens them based on the rigor of the previous blast. These are simply marches, side steps, and step knees.

I cannot stress this enough: this is a KILLER workout and should only be used by advanced exercisers that are used to Cathe's workouts and can follow complex step combinations without a lot of instruction on them. And obviously, you must have both cardiovascular and muscular stamina (especially in the lower body).

I really enjoy Cathe's workouts, and this workout didn't disappoint me. It is challenging, and took a couple times to really nail, but nevertheless it was a lot of fun. I can see myself doing this workout for quite a while and not getting bored with it, because you can jump higher, lengthen the blasts by going through the recovery doing jacks, etc as your heart strenghtens. It is also really motivating to see Cathe and her crew looking so awesome and strong. I am looking forward to Imax 4 (hopefully)!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is the best in the business, IMO. She is professional, yet not stiff like Karen Voight. Cathe, therefore, is personable and motivating, and her charisma can get you through even the hardest workout and challenge your body like no one else can. She is my idol, and I could rave about her for hours. Many people would agree with me that she is just wonderful. She has definitely found her niche.



Imax3 is not for the faint of heart (literally and figuratively). The workout consists of 10 intervals alternating a step sequence and a cardio blast. The step sequences are fun and not too high intensity. The blasts are tough and get the heartrate way up there because they consist of mostly all plyo (jumping) moves, both on and off the step. This is a big calorie-burner. I find that the step sequences bring the heartrate and energy level down, and I prefer to do the pre-mix with only the blasts. This is an advanced workout. It is not easily modified and there are no modifications shown. This is classic, tough Cathe. It's not a workout to do more than twice a week. I give it a B+.

Instructor Comments:
Watching Cathe in motion is so inspirational. She has endless energy, and her body is so lean and defined that you can only imagine how intensely she must work out to achieve it (even more than this difficult workout). She has a great personality. My only negative criticism of her in this workout is that she does not give much instruction and there is very little cueing, so you have to keep on rewinding and watching until you pick up the sequences.



IMAX3 rocks - 1st impressions!!!!

I LOVED this workout. To me it was a party in a box, the entire way through.

Now I just jumped (literally) straight into the workout without previewing it (I do Cathe pretty much exclusively these days so thought this would be fine), and I also used an 8" step.

The warmup was good as it gradually increased the heart-rate and Cathe used both the floor and the step. I especially liked the dynamic stretching which meant that my heart-rate didnt plummet too much.

I found the choreography more challenging than Cathe's previous work as she had a few new tricky moves indispersed with old classics (the reverse turn manbo on the step springs to mind). She doesnt break down the choreography which I personally liked because although there is a learning curve initially, this keeps the intensity up nicely. i found I picked up 98% the first time though.

Being an intensity junkie, to me it was what IMAX 2 tried to be but didnt quite succeed. My heart rate stayed at the upper end of my anaerobic range durning the intervals and then dropped into my aerobic zone during the aerobic portions. It seemed very much like IMAX1 in terms of intensity. Even the aerobic portions got the heart rate up! There are a mixture of floor and step intervals and the recovery periods are quite short in places.

This is definately a workout that I see myself growing with as I did find it extremely challenging, those last intervals were really really hard as I was so tired! I did enjoy the stretch segment at the end as Cathe seemed to hold her stretches for longer than usual (perhaps becuase this time around she has done a stretch workout)?

I ADORED the music also. On my dvd player it was on a par with the level of Cathe's voice so this was fine for me. The tracks were really upbeat and suited the choreography.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is her usual motivating upbeat self in this workout. She does tend to cue more as she's doing the moves in this workout which those new to Cathe might find a challenge.

K irsty


This was the 1st of the Hardcores that I tried, and anticipation was running high. During the warmup, I was feeling pretty confident. My heart was pounding a bit more than I expected, but I put that down to the excitement of FINALLY having my own Hardcores, as opposed to just reading about them. About the time we started the 1st blast, apprehension began to set in. I had been laying off on Cathe in recent weeks so I wouldn't be burned out on her when my 11 Hardcores arrived. I begin to think this may have been a tactical error. Cathe has warned that the blasts just keep on getting harder. The step sections are fun. There's no breakdown since since they're short and you're just repeating them 6 times before hopping back on the Heart Failure Express. I thought her cues were a tad bit late, but that may have been the oxygen deprivation. On blast 3, I declared out loud that I was going to die before reaching the end of the workout. After blast 4, I spat out, "You call THAT recovery?" I took heart that Cathe said we were almost halfway there. I began to dread the word "accelerate." Blasts 5 and 6 had me wondering what Cathe and crew had for breakfast that they could do all of those jumps. Jumps onto the step. Jumps down to the floor. Jumps ON the floor. Jumps on the STEP. During blast 7 I had to walk around for the last 15 seconds or so to avoid, as Mindy so delicately puts it, "throwing up in a bucket" level of perceived exertion. This was not metaphorical. I really didn't want to know what a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be like going the other direction. I started marching in place for the 1st pass of the step portions. After all, I reasoned, since I didn't preview, and Cathe does some things facing the back, it's only prudent to watch the 1st time through. Contrary to the earlier statement that the blasts get progressively harder, Cathe promised that blast 9 was easier. Cathe doesn't lie to me. Blast 9 was much more friendly. Blast 10 was doable, mostly because I knew it was the very last one. The cooldown and stretch felt great. I thought the stretch, especially, was very thorough, and exactly what I needed after that tough workout. The music volume on my IMax 3 was fine. There wasn't anything I considered party music, but it was fun, at least when I could hear it above the roaring in my ears. I have to agree that this is Cathe's toughest IMax, partly because of the MUCH shorter recovery periods. Usually with Cathe's intervals, I hit the limits of my muscles before I hit the limits of my aerobic capacity. That is, I physically cannot perform the moves the way Cathe does, even though I'm not "throwing up in a bucket." With the shorter recoveries, by the time I got to blast 7, I was absolutely dead on my feet, aerobically speaking. Thank goodness for blast 9, which gave me a bit of a break! It definitely earned it's place in a series called "Hardcore!"

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is inspiring and fun in this workout. She's friendly and upbeat without being overly cheerful.