Shock Cardio Step Moves

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Step Aerobics

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Some background about me: I was a huge fan of Cathe back in the days of PowerMax, StepFit, and her mainly-cardio videos. I started to lose interest after the Intensity Series as I was just not interested in heavy lifting videos from her.
I acquired this one recently, and was pleasantly surprised. It is dancy enough to be interesting, but not so complex that I couldn't get it within a few tries. I agree that the music isn't fantastic, but it's not terrible, IMO. 45 minutes is short for a Cathe video, but some days that's all I can do. Overall, this is not her very best, but it's still a good little video that I will reach for again.

Instructor Comments:
I had read reviews saying that her cuing was not as good in this video; I can't disagree entirely, but I wouldn't say her cuing was bad.

Christine S.


There are enough long reviews of this for me to be brief. I agree that the cueing is poor - often giving the cue as the move starts, rather than 2 beats beforehand. Bit annoying, but if you're the kind of person who does the same workout repeatedly, the choreography is simple enough that you'd soon get it - otherwise you could do what I did & treat it as a mental exercise to remember for yourself what's coming next.

The workout itself is an old-fashioned 1980s style step workout. Nothing fancy, not too complex, steady state. No athletic drills, not dancy either. I did it for the first time on an 8" step (I'm intermediate) and wasn't difficult fitness-wise to cope with that. Noted to do it at 10" next time.

I don't recall the music at all - but then again I don't usually, unless it's exceptionally fun (Christi Taylor), memorably delightful (Cathe's CTX stretch), or annoyingly tragic (STS for some). This was none of those - it was just a beat to follow, nothing more.

Since this hasn't been given:

(9:06) Warmup
(30:11) Workout
_____(8:46) Step Combo 1
_____(7:46) Step Combo 2
_____(6:57) Step Combo 3
_____(6:42) Finished Product
(4:44) Stretch

(44:01) Total Duration

Instructor Comments:
Kind of typical Cathe, apart from the poor cueing.



I felt sort of lukewarm about this workout the first time I used it, but I have warmed up to it more over time.

Music: The biggest problem with the workout is the soundtrack is fairly boring. There are a few decent songs in there, but mostly it is non-descript instrumental music which doesn't motivate me. Also, the volume is really, really soft. I have to remember to crank up the volume (and then remember to turn it down when I'm done, or I'll get a shock when I play a new dvd!)

Cues: The cueing is like Cathe's cueing of late - not that great. So it's a little irritating the first time through, but my muscle memory is pretty good and once I learn the routine, I'm OK. My first time with the routine, I strangely got confused by the simplest move - the basic step backwards, which is just taking a step back, off of the step. I think because she said it was "really tricky" I assumed it would be, and I was making it harder than it needed to be.

Intensity/Impact: This is pretty moderate for Cathe. I think you can do a majority of the moves with minimal impact. It is the type of workout that the intensity is going to depend on how much you put into it - there are plenty of places to up the intensity with jumping, but it is not necessary to the routine as is.

Choregoraphy: Pretty good - and this is why I like the workout. The 3 combos are 64 counts and interesting. It is a more dancy workout with triple-steps, cha-chas, etc.

I know many were disappointed with the length of this, but I am pretty happy to have a nice shorter step workout from Cathe for my time crunched days (which I have a lot of lately.) I do generally like my more moderate workouts to be longer, but being able to workout and get a nice stretch completed in under 45 minutes has come in handy this past year.

This is not my favorite Cathe step workout, but I do like it and won't be giving it up anytime soon.

Lisa C


This is a solid step workout for those who don't have a full hour but who don't want to feel like they "skimped out" either. I am not exactly choreography-challenged, but definitely consider myself more of an Atheltic Step kind of girl. It took me a few tries to get this one, and I *still* cannot figure out the triples over the top thingy but other than that I don't think it was that difficult to grasp even for a non-dancy move person like me. As far as level goes, I'd agree with previous posters that someone at a high intermediate level could probably handle this one, but it wouldn't bore an advanced person either. I consider myself low advanced and worked up a good sweat and had fun too. I'm glad I didn't give up after the first try, this one's a keeper!



Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: This DVD has one 44.5-min. step aerobics video.
The warm-up (9 min.) runs through several steps, which are then chopped up and put into a combo, followed by dynamic stretches (which I prefer in a warm-up).
In the main workout (30 min.) Cathe teaches three mega combos, each built up in halves. There's minimal layering; pretty much what you see the first run through is what you'll get, although there are a few tweaks here and there. Cathe does three to four run throughs of any parts and then two of the full combo, and then it's onto the next bit. The workout ends with a final run through of all three combos, each done twice in a row before the next one is done, so no real TIFTing, as you'll find in other complex choreo videos.
The choreography is decently interesting. It has some dance-inspired moves like mambos, cha chas, box steps, and pivots, but itís not dancey, if that makes sense. Youíll be traveling all over the step and around it; Cathe leaves no corner on and off the step untouched. The 4-point turn - insole up - cross wide - hold - wide pump was probably the only block I found that just didnít flow as well for me as the others.
For the cool-down, Cathe does a few knees corner to corner, marches with a few breaths, step touches a few times, and thens tell you to finish cooling down on your own. (Personally I would have preferred another few minutes provided in a separate chapter for those of us who need and/or prefer to have a cool-down provided; it wouldnít have to be another combo, just some 8 counts of basic steps that gradually reduce in intensity, for example.)
The stretch (4.5 min.), done standing, touches upon the chest, upper back, low back, (back of the) shoulders, inner thighs, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves; it also includes a spinal twist. As always Catheís lower body stretches focus on the hamstrings, although she pays a lot of attention to the inner thighs here, too. As in many of her other videos, thereís nothing directed at the quadriceps, but at least thereís a little something for the hip flexors, which I always need, especially after stepping.

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate through low (maybe mid-) advanced steppers comfortable with at least moderately complex choreography, using an appropriate step height for your fitness level or intensity needs.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced in cardio, although I sometimes still feel like more of an intermediate plus when it comes to step, which Iíve only been doing for a few years now. I pick choreography up quickly if itís broken down and cued well, which is somewhat true here. Mainly because the choreography wasnít too complicated I felt fairly confident with it after one through (again, know I think Iím better than average at picking up Ė although probably not exactly executing Ė choreography), although I could stand to clean up a few places and add the rest of the hops and arms back in (this is too clap-happy for my tastes, though). This gave me more of a steady state workout that had me in a moderately high work zone, with my heart rate actually just above where it has been during my recent working through Christi Taylorís step workouts (many of them also for the first time). I will say that the second half of the second combo and most of the third combo were less intense than the first combo and the first half of the second combo; when Cathe came off of the step and started mamboing or spinning around the floor, my HR dropped some.

Class: Cedie, Brenda, and Lorraine join Cathe.

Music: courtesy of DJ Brian Howe, itís upbeat, mostly instrumental stuff with a strong beat. I recognized a few tunes, including ďPut Your Hands up in the Air,Ē which appears in one of the MMAs (although this might be a slightly different mix). The musicís all right; it could be better, but it could be worse. Actually, the music didnít really register with me, so I can see why others find it uninspiring.

Set: bright interior studio with ďwindowsĒ featuring views of NYC rooftops and Cathe-labeled racks of dumbbells and other equipment neatly placed around the outside walls.

Production: clear picture and sound, with Catheís voice clearly audible over the music. Greg Twombly is the producer, so the camera angles are what youíve come to expect from his work and are mostly helpful rather than distracting.

Equipment: Cathe and company use a step with 1 set of risers (6Ē) for the workout, and thatís what I used, too.

Space Requirements: You should be able to run around with your step, with enough room for some turns in there (for someone like me, with size 10-11 feet, that means at least 18Ē of clearance to the sides and front). Youíll need a little more space behind the step, as there are a few moves that back up off of the step onto the floor, many of them off to the side (although you could keep them directly behind the step if you donít have tons of room in the corners).

DVD Notes: The main menu options are Introduction, Play, Chapters (Warm Up, Step Combo 1, Step Combo 2, Step Combo 3, Finished Product, Stretch), and Credits.

Comments: Iím coming from a different place than Nancy, so Iím going to offer a different opinion. I seem to be doing that a lot with these Shock Cardios, liking what others dislike or even hate and disliking what others like or even loveÖ
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Iím glad I got it for the discounted preorder price, however, since the workoutís relatively short and thereís nothing else on the DVD. I have so many other fun step workouts on my shelf that Iím worried this may not get a lot of play, though. 45 minutes is kind of an odd length of time for me, too; I prefer a little shorter for add ons and a little longer for cardio only days.
I have done only a few of Catheís other step workouts, and those I have done (Basic Step, Low Impact Step, Low Max, Low Impact Circuit, Step Blast, and 4 Day Split Lower Intensity Step and Higher Intensity Step) I havenít done many times, so I canít really compare this with her other offerings.
I agree more helpful or at least consistent cuing and better music would give this a stronger chance at winning more folks over.

Things I wish I had known before tackling this workout that would have eased the learning curve:
- Catheís cue timing is inconsistent. She alternates cuing a beat ahead of the move change and cuing right on it, and there are even a few times she cues after it. I prefer cuing ahead of the move, but I would have been fine with her usual cuing on or almost on the move change if she had just been consistent.
- Cathe provides few verbal directional cues, except during some turns, when I definitely needed them. Donít expect to have right and left pointed out, especially in footfalls, all that often. That said, she does include some pointing to let you know which direction to go; sadly, some of these were when my back was to the TV.
- In a few places Cathe throws out whole blocks of choreography at once, saying, ďNow weíll do A, B, C, D, E, F, and G,Ē then launching right into the whole shebang. This seems to be the latest trend in teaching complex choreo on videos, based on feedback from experienced exercisers who want less breakdown to bog them down as they do a video over and over. However, I believe there is a happy medium that doesnít alienate repeat viewers while still enabling folks to learn the routine in the first place. Cathe introduces some of the blocks in smaller chunks, however, so not all are taught in this manner, fortunately.
- Cathe does not always give a clear heads up on new moves or alterations to moves already in place. A few times she adds changes in as youíre running through the block again without letting you know at the beginning of the combo that a change is coming.
- Two of the moves in the warm-up reappear in the workout itself, although one of them is done in a different direction. Again, a little heads up to put those moves into the memory bank would have been appreciated. Introducing moves during the warm-up, especially those that are more complicated, is one good way to cut down on breakdown in the workout itself, so Iím surprised Cathe didnít do this more systematically.
- The usual filler move, the power knee (or knee with a hop) corner to corner, also begins the first combo. While this makes a smooth transition into this particular combo, it also creates a little confusion, as Cathe once or twice cues this move without telling you whether youíre running through the combo again or stopping for a (mental) breather before moving on.
- As I mentioned above, Cathe builds each combo in halves, which she immediately weaves together. Thereís no repetition on right and left of the first half, then the second; she goes right into first half on the right side, second half on the left, first on the left, and second on the right (or whatever direction she uses). Those who are experienced with Catheís step workouts may be used to this, but for those of us who arenít this was a bit of a surprise that first time through.
None of these issues prevented me from learning or enjoying the workout my first time through Ė thankfully Iím a pretty visual learner, so unclear or lacking cues donít trip me up all that much Ė but I point them out in the hopes that someone else will be spared some of the surprise and confusion I had during my first run through.

Instructor Comments:
Catheís cuing here assumes prior familiarity with her style. Although she seems to be trying to cue this workout for those new to it, her cuing makes more sense the more youíre familiar with the workout itself (She does tell you to preview firstÖ). Even though Cathe still exudes a positive attitude I agree that sheís more subdued than in previous series; sheís more ďItís time to work out, so letís get started,Ē rather than ďWoo hoo! Itís time get stepping! Are you ready?Ē



Let me preface this by saying that Iím a long-time Cathe fan. I have every DVD and video that sheís ever produced, except for her beginner ones. Iíve been working out with Cathe since the 80ís.

Iím not that fussy when it comes to my workouts. As long as I feel like Iím getting a good workout, Iím happy. I donít care about modifiers, I donít care about the outfits, and I donít care about the background exercisers or background scenery. I like getting my DVDs at a good price, so Iíve always ordered from Cathe on the first day her pre-sales start. I donít mind the long wait for the DVDs.

That being said, I am sad to admit that I hated this workout. It pains me to say this, but itís true. The music was the worst music I have ever heard. Itís nondescript music, yet itís very, very annoying.

I liked this DVD when I started the workout. I liked the longer warm-up and I liked Catheís step routines. They were more complex than the usual Cathe, but I liked this since it got my brain working. I picked up the steps pretty quickly.

However, about 20 minutes into the workout, I started getting tired. This is when I really need some good music to pick me up. Instead, I hear the whiney, techno muzak. It was painful to listen to this. Iíve been spoiled by Amy Bento and her great choices in music.

I have all of the latest Cathe Shock Cardio DVDs and Iíve done sections of the others. Iím happy to say the music didnít seem so bad in those other DVDs, so Iíll be glad to write more positive reviews about those, once Iíve done them all the way through.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe seems more subdued in this DVD, compared to past ones. Since I didn't feel much energy doing this workout, I felt that Cathe wasn't as motivating in this one as others.

Nancy Loderick