Shock Cardio MMA Fusion

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Abs/Core , Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts



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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: This 49.5-min. workout uses moves from and inspired by MMA (mixed martial arts) to challenge the cardiovascular system in a slightly different way, by engaging core during the moves.
Warm up (7.5 min.): bob & weave, jab, hook, upper cut, weave & travel (adding in punches and arm swings), knee press, clench knee (low & high), knee lift w/ alternating arm down, insole, hamstring curl, side leg raises, reverse lunge (adding in block), front lunge w/ reach & pull back (high & low), side squat, side lunge, plie (or sumo) squat w/ elbow strike down, hammer punch, and marching.
Combo #1 (7 min.): jab – elbow strike up – reverse elbow strike (pivoting to back) – knee clench – forward lunge w/ reach & pull
Drill #1 (just over 1 min.): mountain climber (front) kick
Combo #2 (just over 3.5 min.): uses a mat for triangle choke hold – kick through – sumo squat (pulsing & jump switches) – tuck jump
Drill #2 (1.5 min.): uses a mat for drop roll into explosive push-up
Combo #3 (11 min.): reach – elbow smash – side kick – double pound down – explosive elbow strike down – hands down into floor to thrust to side & jump back in – horizontal elbow strike on each side – back kick
Drill #3 (just over 1 min.): power scissor – jump wide – tuck jump, followed by a few sets of marching in place to cool down
Conditioning Drills (just over 9.5 min.): superman punch, superman punch w/ flash (that is, a jump), plank – jump into pin down medicine ball w/ alternating knees, turtle spins, iron crosses (foot to opposite hand), thrust kicks, and ground & pound planks (that is, start on wrists, then go down to forearms, and then back up )
Stretch (7.5 min.): on hands and knees for cat & cow to release spine, child’s pose to stretch low back, child’s pose w/ arms to side to stretch upper back, up dog to stretch front of torso, down dog to stretch hamstrings and shoulders, 1-legged down dog w/ hip open to stretch front of hip, side-lying hip flexor stretch, forward bend while seated cross-legged to stretch outer hips, foot behind opposite knee to stretch outer hips (Cathe says this is for the hip flexors), knees to chest to release low back, hands around ankles with knees wide for groin stretch, hands on feet with legs open (also known as dead bug or happy baby) to realse groins and inner thighs, seated chest expansion, arms in front of chest to release low back, and a final breath.

Cathe does things evenly on each side, usually working in sets of 8. Shuffles and jump rope are common in between moves.

Level: I’d recommend this to high intermediate through mid-advanced exercisers with some martial arts or at least fitness kickboxing experience. Cathe just provides enough instruction to allow you to perform the moves; there’s little in the way of form tips or reminders.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser, with some experience in fitness kickboxing, although I’m no martial artist. (If caught on camera I’d look more like Mark and Robert while punching and kicking, sadly.) I find Amy Bento’s offerings and KPC doable challenges and Chalene Johnson’s Turbo Jam, Ilaria Montagnani and Patricia Moreno’s Powerstrikes (the DVD ones), Kelly Coffey-Meyer, Kimberly Spreen, and Janis Saffell’s offerings appropriate for my level of fitness. It’s kind of hard to compare this one to others since it’s so different. My heart rate was decently high (in that “cardio training” zone), even though as someone who hasn’t done a lot of floor-based cardio I had to take those exercises at my own pace and found them kind of frustratingly challenging at times.

Class: Lorraine, Mark, and Robert join Cathe.

Music: courtesy of DJ BK Howe, it’s upbeat, mostly instrumental stuff with a strong beat. It’s all right; it could be better, but it could be worse.

Set: bright interior studio with “windows” 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 Cathe’s voice clearly audible over the music. Greg Twombly is the producer, so the camera angles are what you’ve come to expect from his work and are mostly helpful rather than distracting.

Equipment: a med ball (you’ll want one that can support your weight) is used for one core exercise, and a mat is used for part of the regular routine plus some of the core exercises. (To get around the moving the mat back and forth I put down puzzle mats beforehand.) To make the combos more challenging, people experienced with using weighted gloves can add up to 1.5-2 lbs. on each hand, although with this workout having extra weight and/or bulk on the hands might get tricky in places.

Space Requirements: I put down 4’ x 6’ of puzzle mats and at 5’8” more or less used the full space, plus enjoyed having at least 6-12” of clearance on all sides, but then again I a) am not known for my coordination and b) was still learning the routine. Make sure your floor space is clear of toys, people, and pets for those rolling moves!

DVD Notes: The main menu options are Introduction, Play, Chapters (identical to the divisions I listed in the breakdown), and Credits.

Comments: I seem to be in the minority in that this is my least favorite of the MMAs; in fact, I’m going to buck trends even more by being one of the few not to like, much less love, this one. This is a very different workout, and it’s worth trying out for yourself to see if it’s for you. That said, I would caution those who get dizzy with rapid changes in elevation, don’t feel comfortable rolling on their back, or have wrist issues to approach this one carefully.

I would agree that this is easier than other workouts from the STS Shock Cardio set, such as HiiT and Cardio Core Circuit, but that it’s the hardest of the three MMA offerings. In fact, this one will get harder before it gets easier as you try to get the moves down better and put more into it. And you’ll be surprised how sore your lower body might be after doing this the first time; I know I definitely felt it in my glutes.

This in my mind has the most interesting core conditioning segment out of the three MMAs. When Cathe announced that the MMAs were going to be including abs work after all, I was expecting more of this: martial arts-inspired moves.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe cues decently. Note that she often cues on the move change in the warm-up and there aren’t a lot of directional cues given. I wish she had not counted reps after saying, “Go at your own pace,” but I realize she probably did that to keep her crew on track with her, and I know some will relish the challenge of keeping up with her. Cathe’s on the more serious side here, perhaps just her “game face” for these MMA workouts.

KathAL79

01/05/2010