Shock Cardio Circuit Blast

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Step Aerobics

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This is a great, tough workout, clocking in at under 45 minutes! There are six rounds consisting of four exercises per round - one straight cardio, one leg focused cardio, one compound strength, and one core exercise, which is either cardio (like squat thrusts) or strength focused (like plank pushups). All of the cardio moves are simple, drill moves like frog jumps, air jacks, lateral jumps, air squats, squat jumps, plyo squats, etc. There are plenty of plyo moves, but I'm sure with some creativity they can be modified into lower impact. The strength exercises were done with weighted, unweighted, and with a band (I used tubing). There were some very creative compound moves and core based moves. So glad there wasn't a single crunch or sit up! I feel like all muscles were hit at least once, except for triceps. Shoulders, legs, and chest (because of the pushups)were hit pretty good. Equipment needed are a step with four risers per side, a medicine ball, resistance band, and weights. You can easily sub the dumbbell for the medicine ball and tubing for the resistance band. Although this is supposed to be a circuit workout, I agree with a previous reviewer that this is better classified as cardio.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is a little more serious in this workout, although she remains very pleasant.



This is a fun 44 minute circuit workout that uses all types of exercises to keep your heart rate up. Any of the strength moves included are more for cardio effect, rather than strength building, so I categorize this as cardio more than a strength circuit.

Equipment: Med-ball, Step with 4 rises on each side, Band, 15 lb dumbbell and set of 10 lb dumbells

~ 6 minute warm-up
~ 6 circuits of 4 exercises each. Cathe's description say: a) cardio, b) cardio/legs, c) compound exercise, d) core work. I actually didn't notice that while I was doing the workout. The core work was mostly either pushup/plank work or med ball work.
~ 6 min cool-down/stretch

Music: Didn't make much impact. It is non-offensive, but a little boring. I wish it was better, but it is not a deal-breaker for me.

Impact: There are some very high impact moves in here. HOWEVER, there are also a lot of great lower impact but high intensity moves. She does some burpee/terminator variations and also uses weights to keep the intensity up. Also, some of the really high impact moves are very short! The first one is over so fast, I was shocked we were done. Sometimes she does something like 4 jumps, then a little bit of a shuffle, then repeats that a few times. The longest number of reps was 10 I think. It seems to me there is on average 1 high impact move during each of the circuits. The rest the intensity comes from using weights, speed, or your entire body in burpee type moves.

I know some are reluctant to jump onto their step. The first time I saw her do the moves in STS Plyo legs, I was scared myself. But I started with a lower step and moved up to 4 risers. Now I love those moves. They are not as hard on the joints if you have a full step. And if you jump down carefully, they can be OK. They are done in a controlled manner, so it just feels like some good plyo fun to me.

Intensity: Mostly pretty high for me. It may not be intense enough for the Insanity fans - I'm not sure, because I haven't done those workouts. It was slightly uneven - there are some moves where your HR will drop - mostly when she explaining the next move. I think in some cases, if you don't like that, it would be easy to keep doing the previous move, or the next move (once you know it.) I don't mind the uneven intensity - my HR never dropped too much. She mostly keeps things moving.

Modifications: Cathe demonstrates modifications before many of the exercises. I understand a lot of people prefer that someone is actually doing the modification during the exercise instead, so that isn't enough for everyone. But I think she does a good job of presenting alternatives. Honestly, in many of the moves where you might want a modification, you can't even look at the screen, so I'm not sure how much it would help. The hardest thing to modify will be the box jumps. A rebounder might work here though.

Fun factor: High! I really enjoyed this workout. It is a little bit like Drill Max, but it felt quite different to me. The drills are much shorter, so even if you hate a move (I didn't hate any of them) you are moving on to the next quickly. Also, I think this has more of a cardio factor than Drill Max. There are definitely some moves in here that she hasn't done before.

I think this would be hard to fit in if you are doing a 3 or 4 day strength split (like STS!) It can't count as strength work really, but there is enough work in there, that would make it hard to do after a strength workout. But I think it will fit in nicely with some total body strength workouts.

This might be the first Cathe workout were I didn't notice a single isolation move. It is time-efficient, fun and probably effective as a calorie burner for many.

Lisa C


Shock Cardio Ė Circuit Blast

Circuit Blast has six rounds and each round includes cardio, legs, upper body and core. Itís 44 minutes long, and it requires (if done ďas isĒ) a step with 4 risers on each side, medium weight dumbbells, a med ball (Cathe uses a 6 lb. ball), and a dyna band.

In my view, the fun factor is really high. The moves are varied, and there is just enough rest so that you arenít exhausted but not too much so that the workout drags. If you want to be more exhausted, you can extend the moves a little longer (which I did on some of them)! The six rounds go by quickly.

Although there are some old favorites revisited [hop forward/jack back (from Cardio Kicks); firewalkers; leg presses; tuck jumps], there are some fresh moves as well. There are two sets of box jumps Ė jumps onto the step with 4 risers. Cathe reminds us several times to keep the knees soft. The pace is just right so you can really focus on using your core and quads instead of your knees. The one-legged squats on 4 risers is a lot of fun; you really feel it in the glutes and quads.

The core work, which is mostly plank and push-up based, engages the muscles very nicely. I think this is some of the best core work Cathe has incorporated.

There are two premixes--a cardio only and a scrambled one (same moves, different order). Itís unfortunate that Cathe didnít include an all legs premix. I always add on to the workout to make it at least 60 minutes, and I often go back and do a second or third set of the leg exercises.

I do wish this was a full 60 minute workout. Another good way to lengthen it, however, is to add one of the Shock Cardio Hiit workouts onto it. I also use 1 lb. hand weights on many of the cardio moves to increase intensity.

A caveat for those with knee issues: really practice the box jumps so that you take the impact in your core and quads rather than the knees. Also, the turning lunge press and the one arm lunge press can torque the knee if you donít have a smooth surface. I jump these rather than pivot because I work out on puzzle mats.

Circuit Blast is quickly becoming one of my favorite workouts (but I love circuit workouts!). In my opinion, CB is more intense than Catheís Bootcamp but not quite as intense as either High Step Training Advanced or Drill Max.

Below is a break-down of the workout:

Warm up
Side hops and Air Jacks (this stops really suddenly; I keep going a bit!)
Fast hover squats over step
Squat w/ military press Ė uses dumbbells
T-Thrusts (burpee-like moves from side to side)

Frog Leaps
Uneven Squats w/ db.
Plie Squatt w/ lateral raise using dyna band
Side Knee-in Planks

Box Jump with plie jacks
Hop over band
Plank Push up w/ Bird Dog

Wide leg tuck jumps
Hop fwd/jack back
Squat thrusts with push up on board
Uneven push-up with one hand on med ball

Lunge/reach w med ball
Turning lunge press
1 arm squat lunge press w db.
Wood chops w/ med ball

Wide box jumps w plyo jack
Leg Press
Lunge back with band pulls
Squat thrusts with jack push-ups
Cool down

Instructor Comments:
Although Cathe is generally more subdued in Shock Cardio, the energy in Circuit Blast is pretty high.