Shock Cardio HIIT

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Step Aerobics

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I LOVED these workouts! These are the intensity and energy that I expect from Cathe. After being quite disappointed in the Athletic Step, Step Moves and MMA: Kickboxing workouts in the Shock Cardio series, I'm happy to say that this workout is a keeper.

KATHAL has done a great job at explaining the details, so I'm just going to give my impressions.

I enjoyed all 3 workouts: the 40/20, the 30/30 and the Double Wave Pyramid. I think the Double Wave Pyramid is my favorite, since it doesn't use any equipment.

I'm an advanced exerciser, but I can no longer do a lot of high impact. Even with my low impact modifications, my heart rate was at the high end of my aerobic range for all workouts. Cathe doesn't give many modifications, but I was completely okay with that, I made up my own. For example, if she was doing a tuck jump, I would rise up on my toes and reach my hands towards the ceiling.

More specifics on what I loved:

--Cathe is her energetic and encouraging self.
--music was upbeat and peppy and this really helped me get through the workouts.
--cast members (Cedie, Brenda, Deazie and Lorraine) had good chemistry. I loved watching them high-five each other throughout the workout.
--workouts flew by! I was disappointed to have them end.
--30 minutes for each workout was perfect. I could really give it my all for the entire time.
--the timer at the bottom of the screen, showing length of interval and then length of rest.
--quick warm-up and adequate cooldown. Unlike some of the other Shock Cardios, which seemed to me to have an endless warm-up (over 10 minutes) and no cool down, the timing of these was just right for me.

A minor thing (and it IS minor), the workout order on the DVD is: 40/20, 30/30 and Double Wave Pyramid. However, on the back of the DVD, the order is: 30/30, 40/20 and Double Wave Pyramid. The English major in me likes to have the descriptions consistent with the actual order. As I said, this is no big deal and certainly doesn't detract from the workouts.

So far, this is my favorite DVD of the Shock Cardio series. This is definitely for the advanced exerciser. An intermediate exerciser should be very familiar with lower impact modifications before attempting this workout.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is energetic, encouraging and having fun in this workout.

Nancy Loderick


Iím reviewing this workout after doing each of the three HiiT programs once.

General workout breakdown: This DVD contains three HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.

* 40/20 (29 min. total) is the hardest of the three. As its name suggests, you alternate 40 seconds of high intensity moves with 20 seconds of rest. Cathe and the crew use a step with 2 sets of risers (8Ē) for the warm-up and the first half of the workout but add 2 additional sets of risers (to make it 12Ē) for the last half or so.
The warm-up (6 min.) leads you through marches, basics, v steps, tap offs, repeater, L-step - outer thighs - knee off the back, step knee tap out, front kicks, hop turn, power 3, insoles around the world, hamstrings around the world, run up on top, ski hops on the floor, power 7, jacks, and side steps. This has the most choreographed feel of the three warm-ups, with several moves strung together and some even repeated several times, like the basic into a hop turn.
The intervals are divided into groups of four, with 1 min. rests between groups. The first group is Plunge Lunges on Step; Jump Forward, Side, Turn, Tuck Jump; Jump Forward, Side, Turn, Tuck Jump (other side); and Split Jumps. The second is Split Jumps (other side); Squat Thrust w/ Push-up on Step; Fast Feet Shuffle on Step; and Wide Lateral Tap Downs w/ Step. The third is Straddle Jacks on Step; Butt Kicks on Step; Uneven Squats on Step; and Explosive Running Man on Step. The fourth is Explosive Running Man on Step (other side); Sprawl & Jab; Double Leg Lateral Jumps Across Step; and Jacks / Straddle Wide on Step.
The cool down (5 min.) begins with a few step touches, during which Cathe tells you to push pause and cool down on your own if you need it; the stretches, done mostly standing and with a few yoga cover breathing, calves, hip flexors, hamstrings, low back, glutes, spine (twist), inner thighs, and outer hips. (Yet again I needed to add in quadriceps.)

* 30/30 (27.5 min. total) is the easiest of the three. As its name suggests, you alternate 30 seconds of high intensity moves with 30 seconds of rest. Cathe and the crew use a step with 2 sets of risers (8í).
The warm-up (6.5 min.), done almost all on the step, leads you through insoles corner to corner, hamstrings corner to corner, bow & arrow L-step, over facing over, dynamic outer thigh, leg extensions, step knee tap outside, march on top, tap offs, lunge off the step (singles & triples), single lunge kicking over, repeater, step touch corner to corner, outer thigh around the world, knees corner to corner / alternating knee lift with explosion, jump up corner to corner, jumping jack, shuffle side to side, jump rope
The intervals are Ice Breakers, Lunges Touching Corners, Power Turn Squat Lunges, Power Turn Squat Lunges (other side), Lateral Jump on Step, High Wide Run, Fast Feet Shuffle, Plyo Jacks, Sequential Power Kicks, Sequential Power Kicks (other side), Air Jacks, Tuck Jumps, Side Kick / Hammer Punch, Side Kick / Hammer Punch (other side), Squat Thrust Jump, Line and Taps. In between intervals Cathe and crew just walk around, sometimes grabbing a sip of water.
The cool down (4 min.) begins with a few step touches, during which Cathe tells you to push pause and cool down on your own if you need it; the stretches, done standing, cover breathing, low back, back of the shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs, hip flexors, calves, and side of the torso. (I needed to add on something for the quadriceps.)

* Double Wave Pyramid (just under 30 min. total) has progressively longer, and then shorter intervals (hence the pyramid), and you repeat the sequence twice (hence the double in the title). This requires no equipment except for a mat for the stretch.
The warm-up (5.5 min.) leads you through pump it up, walk forward & back, leg out to side, leg back, pumps with legs wide, wide tap with arms up / across chest, swing & travel, hamstring curl, outer thigh w/ arms pull back / overhead, insoles, elbow to knee, digs, jump rope, heels, jabs, and jacks.
The intervals are Plie Jacks (20 sec.), Tuck Jumps (25 sec.), Power Scissors (30 sec.), 1/4 Turn Jumps - right (35 sec.), 3 Jumps Forward & Jump Turn (40 second.), 1/4 Turn Jumps - left (35 sec.), Squat Jumps (30 sec.), Mountain Climbers (25 sec.), and Air Jacks (20 sec.). A 1 min. rest follows before the entire routine is repeated. Each interval is followed by a rest period of the same length, so the 20 sec. of plie jacks are followed by a 20 sec. rest. In between intervals Cathe and crew just walk around, sometimes grabbing a sip of water or high fives.
The cool down (6 min.) begins with a few side steps and lunges side to side (with arm reaches), during which Cathe tells you to push pause and cool down on your own if you need more; the stretches, starting standing but moving to the floor, cover breathing, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, shoulder (rolls), abs and hip flexors, outer hips, spinal (twist), inner thighs, and calves. (I needed to add more for the calves and hip flexors plus something for the quadriceps.)

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate / advanced through advanced exercisers comfortable with executing high impact moves Ė or at least modifying or substituting for them (although youíre on your own with these, pretty much, as Cathe just tells you to go at your own pace or donít go as deep). It sounds like some of the more advanced exercisers are finding these good general interval workouts rather than true HiiT, but for those of us who arenít as advanced these can easily serve as HiiT.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser, although interval workouts like this always make me feel more intermediate than advanced! Iíve been trying to do some HiiT and related interval work (I had been doing 1:2 work to rest ratio rather than the 1:1 or 2:1 presented here) over the past year and a half but donít usually average more than once a week or two. Iím a dabbler in Catheís workouts and donít have many of her cardio videos; Iíve never tried Drill Max or the IMaxes. I found these challenging, but because the segments were short enough and came with rests so that I found them fairly doable challenges - although 40/20 was just a straight up challenge! - especially since I took some exercises at my own pace and took out some impact. (In contrast, I seem to be just about the only one who doesnít care for Cardio Core Circuit, which is similarly intense, because Iím not able to sustain that level of intensity for that period of time and thus ended up modifying or substituting so heavily it was a different workout. I can make it through 18-20 min. of high intensity with frequent rests, but beyond that Iím toast!)

Class: Cedie, Brenda, Deazie, and Lorraine join Cathe.

Music: courtesy of DJ BK Howe, itís upbeat, mostly instrumental stuff with a strong beat; there were a few recognizable songs (including some 80s hits) in there. Itís all right; it could be better, but it could be worse. The music switches to a mellower groove for the rests, and there isnít as much variation in the rest music as in the interval music.

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: See the individual descriptions above. I only have 2 sets of risers for my full-sized club step, but I made due; in fact, since Iím not as advanced I didnít mind having a lower step height, except for the moves with hands on the step in 40/20, which are harder when youíre lower to the floor!
Oh, and good sneakers, a supportive jog bra, and flooring that supports high impact are musts.

Space Requirements: Most of the moves are fairly compact, but there is some traveling to take into consideration; you should definitely have enough space to move comfortably around the step plus do a squat thrust behind it. At 5í8Ē I felt more comfortable with a space of 5í x 7í, and I think 6í by 8í would be better, especially when the step enters the equation.

DVD Notes: The main menu options are Introduction, 40/20 (Play, Chapters), 30/30 (Play, Chapters), Pyramid (Play, Chapters), and Credits.

Comments: HIIT is a specific type of interval training that pushes you to your limits (think 90% of your maximum heart rate as a goal or even as a minimum) for a short period of time, then allows you a short rest before resuming. Since you canít sustain going all out for very long, these workouts are short. The great news is that theyíre also efficient: youíll really challenge your cardiovascular system - and, according to some recent studies, rev up that fat burning - during that brief time. Because of the serious challenge to your cardiovascular system, the usual recommendation is 1-2x HiiT workouts a week, with 72 hours in between workouts, although advanced exercisers experienced in interval training like HiiT, can probably do 2-3x a week with 48 hours in between.

There are plenty of interval workouts out there (and Iím not counting the CIA and Collage use of ďintervalsĒ to mean any sort of workout that alternates between exercises), but there are very, very few true HiiT workouts on video. Most HiiT workouts are prescribed with the idea that youíre running or biking, so for those of us who arenít into those activities or who want some variety itís nice to have this option.

Although I like that Double Wave Pyramid uses no equipment, I think 30/30 is my favorite out of these. Yes, the work intervals are on average the shortest, but I also like the inclusion of kickboxing moves, which add some more variety to all of the jumping around. Itís definitely the most doable, and if youíre not sure how these will go for you I recommend starting there (and maybe not Double Wave Pyramid, as I did). After doing 40/20 I realize I need to work my way up to this one; 20 seconds of recovery after 40 seconds of work is not a lot of time, even with the 60 sec. breaks after every four exercises.

One complaint: I would have preferred more of a moving cool-down provided as an option, chaptered so those who donít need it can skip it. Just another minute or two of simple moves would have been satisfactory. I know Cathe is upfront about pausing to take your own cool-down as needed, but after Iíve bought this video to have her lead me through some nice long warm-ups and some intense workouts that should get my heart rate close to my maximum I expect more than a hint of a cool-down. But thatís just me.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe cues decently, with mirror cuing, as always. Note that she often cues on the move change during the warm-ups. During the intervals sheíll keep count, either by counting, repeating the name of the move, using a sound effect (e.g. ďshoo shooĒ during exhales while punching). I wish she had not counted reps after saying, ďGo at your own pace,Ē 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. Sheís pretty down to business here, but there are hints of warmth, like the moment she burst out laughing during the 30/30 warm-up after Cedie made some comment about Catheís chipper optimism about whatís to come. And, yes, she says ďLetís Hiit it!Ē about once each workout.