STS - Mesocycle 1, Chest, Biceps & ShouldersCathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2009
Categories: Total Body Workouts
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I thought about doing STS for a long time, but honestly stayed away from it because I dreaded Meso 1 just thinking about it. One thing I really dislike about Cathe's typical lifting style is the endless reps, pulses, low ends, etc, of the same move. It's just not my preference to lift in that manner; I prefer heavy weight work with less reps. I was pleasantly surprised by this workout in that Cathe does only 15 reps of each exercise. Although you're supposed to do the 1 rep max test and lift a certain percentage of that for this meso, I did not complete that because it took so darn long and then the %'s didn't really equate to weights I actually had, and I have a lot! I liked the fact you didn't do a lot of sets of the same exercise, but I couldn't keep up with her speed/pace for the push ups; there were a ton of them. For those of you who have done P90X, it was similar in that there were a lot of spaced out push up variations but the difference here was the entire cast did them at the same speed and the same number of reps. There was a lot of variety in this workout, which I liked, but also meant a lot of QUICK equipment changes and lots of equipment needed: dumbbells, barbell with various plates, a band, a step with risers or a bench, and a ball. There were 24 exercises in total, all focused on chest, shoulders and biceps. The exercises alternated body parts so you ended up doing 8 exercises for each area by the time the workout was over. I am happy to report that I am feeling it today! There is definitely room for this intermediate to grow; lots of push up variations, also similar to P90X. The stretch was super quick, but Cathe recommends doing the extended stretch on the DVD which I did, and felt a bit yoga-like in nature. Overall, I really liked this workout although I needed to pause for equipment changes!
Cathe seemed a bit more relaxed in this series, comfortable and at ease. As usual, lots of helpful form pointers and great information was provided.
This morning, I did my first STS workout. It was Disc 1 of Mesocycle 1 for Chest, Bi's and Shoulders.
The warm up was typical Cathe. It was 5 minutes in length and was just a general cardio movement warm up. Very simple. Although I am not that picky about music, I have to admit that there were times that she was not in beat with the music. Not a big deal, it's just the warm up, but something was off a couple of times. I'm not used to that with her. Usually the beat is consistent throughout.
The workout surprised me. I have most of her weight workouts, so I am used to (and very much like) her style. But for me this was different from her other workouts (or any workout I have done before). In this mesocycle, you are only doing one set of each exercise and you are only doing 15ish reps of that exercise. In the past, with her workouts, if you were doing only 12-15 reps, there was more than one set. Or if you were only doing 1 set, you were doing more like 30-40 reps. Although I did the 1 rep max test, I found that I needed to go a bit heavier on a lot of the exercises to feel fatigued. But that brings me to my next comment . . .
For me, this workout seemed to be at a very, very fast pace. Not only the performance of the exercises was fast, but also the time in between exercises. I know that the idea is to keep working without rest, but there wasn't even enough time to write down the actual weight used and reps. Also, because I needed heavier weights to feel fatigued, I felt like the reps were too fast. Although she says to "go at your own pace", the workout moves so fast that there isn't any time to "go at your own pace." I felt like I was constantly rushing around to get my equipment, get into position and write down my results. I thought to myself . . ."gosh, this is like Cathe on speed". The pace did seem to slow a bit toward the end (or maybe I got used to it). I noticed on the last few exercises I wasn't feeling "rushed" but I did look down at the floor and saw equipment everywhere because I didn't have time to put stuff away.
I feel that this workout would have benefited from her doing a test group. Maybe filming a few rehersals and having people try the workouts and give feedback. She put SO MUCH work and thought into this, but I feel like some of the basics of her past workout mechanics are missing.
Although she has a timer and tag with the name of the exercise on the screen, the name doesn't stay on the screen but for a few seconds and sometimes I would look up to see what we were doing next and it was gone (there wasn't always time to look at my workout card). And, it would have been good if the body part being worked was still on the screen to help me mentally prepare. It was just moving SO FAST I didn't have time to think.
The speed of the workout would probably be fine over time, I would get used to it and could anticipate being ready as I learned the routine, but isn't each week a different workout? Am I going to be rushing around, confused for 4 weeks????
On a positive side, I will say that there was a tremendous variety of exercises and the time FLEW by. I have been getting really bored with workouts lately, and this one kept me interested. There were a lot of new exercises or variations of exercises. It was fun not to know what was coming next.
During the workout, because there was only one set of around 15 reps of each exercise (except for the pushups) I felt like I wasn't working my muscles enough. I wasn't getting the same burn as I would get with gym styles or muscle max. But, by the end of the workout and as I am typing this hours later, I must say that I am feeling pumped and fatigued (in a good way).
Also, there were a lot of pushups in this (not as many as in P90X) and I enjoyed the way they were worked in. There wasn't too many, but enough to feel challenged. However, I will admit, I like pushups.
Overall, I am a bit disappointed in the execution of the workout, but not the workout itself. Maybe it's just that I need to get used to a new style of lifting.