Step Jam

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 1996

Categories: Step Aerobics

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"Step Jam" "Step Jam"

This is a review of Cathe Frederich's new video, Step Jam. What can I say - this is Cathe at her best. Awesome workout, very intense, with a lot of interesting combos. Part III is especially interesting; you won't get bored. It's one of Cathe's longest tapes (cardio section is 47 minutes!).

Kathy Lapinski


Step Jam

I think Step Jam is more fun than Step Max, but intensity wise I'd compare it to Mega Step Blast. The choreography is more intricate than any of her other tapes. I love this tape! I haven't done any of my other aerobic tapes since I've gotten this one. FUN FUN FUN!!! Try it!

Debbie Kenny


How much fun can one tape possibly be? This one keeps you on your toes (not literally, of course...Cathe's form is great)! Some of the most interesting choreography I've ever seen. Lot's of power moves (about a million hop turns from just about every side of the bench). This one will make you sweat and smile at the same time! Good music (some of the same songs used in other Cathe videos), great moves, TONS of fun! A++

Shonie Maxwell


(Cursory review after my first workout with Step Jam)

I was surpised it didn't require a lot of rewinds even though the choreograpy is the most intricate Cathe has ever done. It's awesome! Much better than Step Heat and it might even become my favorite over Step Max. There are a lot of hop turns to every side of the bench you can imagine, and your back is to the tv a lot. Simple over the tops become turns in mid air, then you go over airborne and turn the other way back to the front. The warm-up is really good; not at all difficult, and it's done to the tribal beat music, which is passable, at least by my standards. Of course I was too busy learning the choreography.

Her cuing is better than ever in this video, just like in Mega Step Blast, and I believe that's the reason I followed her so easily. I couldn't believe with all those moves with your back to the tv I ended up in the right place 98% of the time.

In the warm-up, she starts by teaching you an "arm jive", which is just arms going side to side right, left, right, out and down, then she combines it with side steps. After that you do 2 grapevines, 2 hamstring curls, 2 knee lifts (to the right and then to the left). Then she teaches you a "3-in-1", which is 3 side steps and a calf pump. Eventually you take the ham curls and knee lifts over the step making a full circle. This is the whole warm-up, doing it all to the right side, then to the left. The calf pumps are a simple move that have your weight balanced to take the pattern to the left side.

There is so much choreography it's hard to remember what sections contain what moves, and how they are blended together. I'll try to type some out but they might end up to be in different patterns than what you'll see on the video.

The first section contains the techno-country music. Again, it's passable, since it's a rather short section. It begins with basics like in Step Heat only with different arms (quarter arms which is up-up, down-down, bicep curls, and backward shoulder rolls alternating shoulders). Then she goes into jump ups like in Step Heat, and hop turns just like you see in the other tapes. Then she does corner to corner outer thighs like in Step Max, but on the 3rd one, you straddle down, hop-turn over the step still doing an outer thigh, and end up on the front of the bench (facing tv), but in the opposite direction you started. When she first did it, I was amazed I ended up in the right place. Oh, before the outer thighs she does knee-up corner to corner, first with arms up and down, and then changes the arms to clap underneath the knee and chest press (then goes into the outer thighs). After the outer thigh/straddle hop turn move you do regular horseshoes, then power horseshoes, so you're jumping into the turn with both feet landing on the bench simultaneously, then step down. This is all I can remember of the first section; there might be one other combo. Oh, I think it's the step knee, tap down on the opposite side, like in Step Heat; you do it once I think, then come back to the front of your bench into a repeater, which transitions you to the other lead leg. She also does the run-runs onto the step followed by lunge-offs the front (like in Step Heat), but I can't remember if this is in section 1 or 2.

Section 2 is trickier. This is where I had to rewind a few times. She begins by showing you what looks like a combination you'll never get in a million years. However, she breaks it down so easily while teaching it I had no problem doing it. (I was actually yelling, "Yeah, Cathe!" alone in my living room.) Step up right, 3 knee repeaters left, step down, step up left, scoop 3 times on the step. On the 3rd scoop, you hop turn off the back so you're on the end of the step with your back to the tv. Go over the top (either 2 or 3X) w/your back to the tv, straddle down off the back, tap the floor, step knee up to the front of your step, ready to go on the left lead. The next combo in this section is very tricky. I'm typing from memory so it might not be completely accurate, but will give you a general idea. It starts with T-steps off the side like in Step Heat, but then she changes the off the side to a hop turn so you land in front of your step facing the opposite direction. Using the width of your step, do a step insole on the floor, turn around on the floor, and jump up onto your bench facing the direction in which you started. It's difficult to type out, but again, she breaks this one down so you first do the t-steps front, and the step-insoles on the step (like in Step Max), then adds the step insoles on the floor and the turn on the t-step. This is all I can remember from section 2, but there's not much else to learn that would be difficult.

Section 3 is awesome, the most choreographed and fun of all. The very first combo is tricky; I had to watch it a couple times because a 2 knee-repeater actually pivots around to the back, straddle up, lunge down starting with the outside leg (facing the tv - I kept using the inside leg and messing up, so remember; it's the leg closest to the tv that starts lunging), lunge forward and back, exit off the front of your step. In fact, when she teaches the repeater-pivot straddle up, she simply marches on the bench and tells you not to panic; to collect your thoughts and keep trying. After this I believe she moves into 2 basic steps corner to corner (basics are hard to do corner to corner!), 3 knee repeaters, and then a repeater shuffle (also very tricky, stay on the balls of your feet and loosen up the body!). Then she does the up-jack like in Mega Step Blast, rock down (kinda funky), hop up 2X, step down, 3 hamstring curls corner to corner. After the 3rd one you turn over the top with your back to the tv (really tricky!) and do the ham curls to the back starting on the opposite side. I liken this move to the "circle jumps lunge overs" she does in Step Heat, because your body moves the same way only you're doing ham curls. Then she changes those ham curls to hop up and kick 3X, go over the step just like you did on the hams and do the kicks to the back. However, when you return to the front after those kicks you actually RUN-TURN over the top. Be careful on this one. It's an invitation for injury if you're tired, and you will be by that point! Eventually she blends the moves together so you do 3 hams to the front, turn over with your back to the tv, kick to the back 3X, and run-turn over to the front. This section also contains L steps on top of the the step, step off the side, go over the long way, and step hop to the front. Again, I'm not completely sure where they fit in with the above.

I think section 3 also contains a hop turn and over and overs with your back to the tv right in the beginning, and the combos above might not flow as described as far as sequence is concerned, but the moves themselves are pretty accurate.

Oh, Step Heat's music is used throughout section 2 and 3 of Step Jam, and I think that's why I could follow so easily. I knew the rhythm and could move to the beat.

The cooldown is really easy, very short, and not even funky, just has some funk-like arm movements to, as Cathe says, "free your mind." At some point during the cooldown she changes the grapevine to a side step but doesn't cue it, you just see her doing it. (It's all grapvevines and step touches with funk-like arms to "throw the sweat off". You clap on count 3 of the grapevine and throw your arms out to the side on 4, like you are tossing something out.)

This video is definitely not for the coordination impaired! In fact, for many it could be an accident waiting to happen, but advanced steppers will love the challenge, intensity, and 47 minutes of the hottest step combos I've ever done!

Roberta Kagno


I have to say that this is the funnest video I have ever done. I was kind of scared at first because although I have been doing stepping and power stepping for a few years, I never had a tape that had so many tricky moves. But I was very surprised when the second time I did the tape, I found myself actually doing it right. I didn't have all the moves down, but I was following along. I have done the tape about four times now, and the moves are becoming less tricky. I love this tape!!!! I think if I can do those moves, anyone can. The first time I tried the tape, it was about 4:30 A.M, and I only got through the first section because I was tired and should have stayed in bed. I was frustrated because it seemed to tricky. The next day, I did it -after watching it through first- and was totally surprised that I didn't fall on my face!! I really think this is a great tape, and agree with all the reviews that I have read about it on here!!! I find myself looking forward to doing this tape. When I get home from work today, I can't wait to pop it in the VCR and start "Jammin".

Melanie Higgins


First I should say that this is a very challenging, creative workout from one of the best instructors out there. I own most of Cathe's tapes, so please take these comments as being relative to my feelings about Cathe's other videos, which are better than nearly all of my other step videos.

For some inexplicable reason, this video just didn't "grab" me the way that PowerMax and Step Max did. Step Jam contains some of Cathe's best choreography, but unfortunately, the video just isn't as much fun for me as PowerMax or Step Max. I find myself getting distracted during it instead of really getting into the rhythm of it.

Again, this is just my gut reaction--I don't really have any good reason to feel this way. I just find myself pulling PowerMax off the shelf instead of Step Jam every time! The one criticism I can can pinpoint is that I found both the warm up and cool down to be less inspired than Cathe's usual fare.



I wish I had known about Cathe Friedrich a long time ago ... I've tried renting and buying several videos for choreography ideas and an option to work out at home, but they were all too simple for me. I just did Step Jam for the second time, and it is by far the closest thing to an advanced step class I've ever seen. The choreography is great and the aerobics section actually last longer than twenty minutes!

The only real complaint I can think of is that during some parts I wished that she or one of the others had their back toward the camera. It was hard to figure out some of those moves that go over the step when she's facing you ... but I did have an easier time the second workout, so from now on it probably won't be a problem at all.

If I buy another step tape, it will definitely be one of Cathe's!

Jennifer M. Blaske


I got this tape from the exchange, and since it is an older tape I won't go into much detail. This was an okay tape-I really liked the second section, the third section was good, the warmup and cooldown were so-so, and I hated the first section! The tape overall just wasn't as fun for me as PowerMax and didn't even seem as intense. I will combine the second and maybe third sections with other tapes because I do like them. My biggest beef is with the music! I maybe only have twenty tapes and already I have heard this particular sound track enough to be sick of it!

Instructor Comments:
Excellent instructor. However I dislike when she makes those little "coyote" barking or whooping noises every once in a while. Also I wasn't crazy about the one time when she said "you look pretty". Believe me at that point I did not! And besides what's that got to do with an exercise video anyways? Overall though she is the best instructor out there.

Tannis Topham


This was one of the last Cathe videos I purchased which may be a key factor of my slight dislike of it. I think its because I jumped right into StepMax, PowerMax, and StepFit first that this video seems a little repetitive and not as intense to me.

I'm definately in the minority here and I have no problem with the workout itself, it just doesn't rev me up like StepFit, PowerMax, or StepMax.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe's a fabulous instructor and I absolutely love most of her videos. For some reason, (gasp! I can't believe I'm saying this!) I just don't like this one as well as the others.

Eulonda Skyles


This is not destined to be one of my most-liked tapes, but I've come to terms with it :). I was so turned off by the music in the first section (ESPECIALLY that country song), that it soured my taste for the rest of the workout, too. I had intended to put it on the exchange. Finally, on my third time through, I realized that I really do like the second and third sections a lot. Then it dawned on me -- hey, why not keep the tape and just do the 2nd and 3rd parts? DUH! So that's what I'm going to do. Those two parts combined are about 30 minutes, so it will make an excellent add-on for another workout, or even a good, intense workout for a day when I don't have much time.

If I were to rate the tape overall, I'd have to give it a C because I dislike the first part so much. But just looking at the last two parts, it would definitely be an A.

Annie S.


This video is awesome!! It's my first Cathe Friedrich tape, and I couldn't be more pleased. I watched it once before I did it, and I didn't think I'd be able to do all of the challenging choreography. But, with Cathe's incredible cueing, I was! She certainly has a gift for instructing. The best thing about this workout is that, although it is very challening, the time just flies by! You have no idea that you're working so hard because you're having too much fun. I now understand what all the fuss is about! I've already ordered another of her videos, and I can't wait to get it!!


Instructor Comments:
Cathe has a great personality for instructing. She is entertaining, but not annoying at all. She encourages and motivates you with her energy and words. She is great!



The first time I tried Step Jam, I was frustrated by the complicated choreography, especially in the third section. I could get some of less complex stuff and the moves that were similar to those in Mega Step, Step Max, and Step Heat (the Cathe Step videos that I've mastered--I'm working my way through her catalogue, chronilogically).

I'm stubbon and decided to not to throw in the towel. Today was my second attempt at the video. Much to my surprise, I really concentrated, listened to her instruction, and was able to do ALL the combinations except a shuffle repeater move that is going to take some practice. Cathe--as always--is an excellent teacher. If you really listen to her instructions and take your time, you'll catch on. It's so satisfying to master her complex moves and it keeps you challenged.

The video is fun. Other reviewers haven't enjoyed this one as much as Cathe's other tapes, but since I've been able to do 99% of the moves, I really like it. There's a lot of power in this one, so it's a tough workout. While Step Max remains my favorite of Cathe's earlier stuff, I think Step Jam is right up there.

The music--except for the goofy country stuff--is good. Poor Cathe seems like she's trying to convince herself that it isn't that bad when she makes the comments about it being "cute" and having a hoe down. Luckily, the hootenany theme isn't prevalent throughout the whole tape. I felt like we should be stepping on bales of hay instead of steps!

I recommend this tape to anyone who enjoys Cathe's step workouts. It's a solid, sweat-inducing workout and the choreography will keep you challenged.



Workout Type: Step Aerobics

Workout Length: 60 Minutes

Equipment needed: Long step is best.

Fitness Level: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced.

Effectiveness: This tape makes you sweat and is simple enough for anyone to follow.

Music: Appropriate, good.

Presentation: This tape definitely keeps you entertained, and working hard, you forget the time as you are going from one move to another.

Cast: Cathe Friedrich and 4 students

Attire: Grey leotards. Cathe in white lycra shorts, the others in black lycra shorts.

The Set: Pearl beige color walls, with windows in middle and left corners, In the left corner a fireplace with plants.

The Warmup:
marching and arm movements,
then side steps and circle arms
1 min. later add grapevines and step knees
step hams to other side of step then back
later add calf pumps.
Stretches at 6min.
1st. Step Section: at 8 min.
Basic with arms up, curl then circle shoulders
Music: country hillbilly type music with a fun beat.
double foot jump onto box
hop turn (jump up on right foot, put left foot on other side)
at 10 min. puts together marching hops and hop turn.
at 10 min 30 sec. begins entire sequence left foot leads.
at 13 min. knees up corner to corner, (clap hands under knee)
music change...
corner to corner leg lifts side.
at 14 min. combo: corner to corner, straddle then hop turn around
at 15 min. horseshoe, then onto power horse. she does 4 and 4 of each.
at 16 min. diagonal hop turn then go overboard and 2 step knees
knee up and tap out with opposite foot.
at 17 min. says let's put all this together = 2nd combo.
does each move 4 times.
at 19 min. combines 1st and 2nd combos
music change.
at 22.40 Heart Rate Check
2nd. Step Segment
step up and tap off, run up and tap off
music: "this is love that I'm feeling"
basic several times...
Fun move: right leg on step then left hops there then right steps to other side.
alternating knee lifts.
at 25.30 min. Entire combo left leg leads.
at 28 min. Combo 4:
T-step insole and a side two feet up.
then 3 steps on floor insole come back and side up to step.
at 29.30 adds power to t-step
at 30 min. repeater then shuffle repeater, then front step 2 feet hop on step.
at 32.30 min. puts this together with run run lunge.
at 34 min. Music change - more base.
at 35.40 min Heart Rate Check
3rd. Step Segment
combo: 2 repeaters, step hop on step.
hop turn, and goes to the end of step. then scoots along step to other side.
then knee up straddle.
at 40 min.
new combo: L-step on board, 2 to the right side up.
then knee off the back. (several times this combo.)
up, jack on the board, step off,
jack, rock and repeaters.
combine these with previous combo.
at 46 min.
combo: 2 diagonal basic 2 repeaters 2 knees airborne
march on step, diagonal lunges.
at 47.30 min. - hamstring curls, corner to corner, step over to other side of step.
then jump kick then run run.
combines precious combo to this one.
at 51 min. all combos in 3rd step segment

at 55 min. Cooldown
easy side steps, several grapevines.
at 57.20 min. stretching: including runner's lunge.
at 60 min. End.

Total Rating: - On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) I give it a 10 !...

My Opinion: If you are looking for a good step workout, this is it! If you are looking to learn and improve on step, this is it! You start with simple choreography that little by little leads you to more complex moves that are do-able even for beginners, after some practice. Each step segment takes you from simplest to more complex moves, never becomming overly difficult.

Instructor Comments:
Although Cathe is usually gears for Advanced, the clear and concise cueing allows you to follow every step, even as she gets more and more complex (but fun) moves later in the tape.



This is my first review, so please keep that in mind. For that reason too, I've gone with an older one with plenty of other reviews for it already. I think I'm at an intermediate fitness level, but love (and cope with)complex choreography.

I did this for the very first time today, and although I certainly worked up a sweat, I didn't find it TOUGH even though I added ALL the air I could on an 8" step. As for the choreography - I didn't have to hit rewind at all to 'get' the footwork. That is, I found it fairly straight forward.

So... For me, it was a decent cardio workout and interesting enough in the footwork not to be boring, but it wasn't a CHALLENGE for either.

I think this would be good for those moving up the intensity ladder and who are also ready to try something more than BASIC stepping.

Instructor Comments:
Always professional!

Helen Thurn


I've started doing older step tapes for steady-state cardio as a change of pace from all the current cardio offerings of no choreography, lots of drills. Once you get past the dated clothes (and I'm past them as soon as the warmup's done and I have to start paying attention to cues), Step Jam is a LOT of fun. Cathe and her four backgrounders - including Cedie as a strawberry blonde, and Rhonda in a scrunchie with hair down almost to her waist - do a dynamic warmup, three step segments, and a cooldown/stretch. The workout is an hour long, with the three step sections totaling 47 minutes. Cathe does a perceived-exertion test between sections 1 and 2, and a heart-rate check between sections 2 and 3, but your heart should be pumping hard enough that marching in place while you do the tests will still keep you well into your fat-burning zone, or higher.

The music on this workout is a mix of instrumentals and vocals. All step sections are well-paced to the music, and Cathe teaches in blocks: you'll do four reps of a move, four of another, then she'll "reduce" to two of each. By stringing together enough mini-step combinations, eventually you'll end up with a longer finished pattern that you'll repeat 4-6 times before moving on. Cathe cues extremely well in this workout, and if you're familiar with her basic package of moves (horseshoe, knee repeater, over/face-in/over, diagonal over the step, insole up) you'll be ready to string the moves together into some fun patterns. There is a decent amount of impact in this workout, with jumps onto the step, hop turns and some "power" horseshoes among other moves, but you could do everything low impact. There are two moves during which I'm careful about my knees: "power" knees around the corner of the step, and one move when you're on the side of the short end of your step and need to do a power knee with quarter turn to get back into starting position behind the step.

I really like this workout for its choreography, fun (sometimes silly) music, good step combinations and excellent energy.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe cues very well in this workout. Her energy is infectious.