Body Blast: Push & Pull

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Total Body Workouts

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Note: The following review is based on the version of Push Pull from FitTV; however, since the workout is only 45 minutes and it was an hour long program with commercials, I believe that there are few, if any edits.

Push Pull is a 45-minute, full-body weight training routine which works opposing muscle groups (hence the push-pull concept). In some cases, the muscle group is worked with only one exercise, whereas other muscles are targeted with several different exercises. Equipment used for this workout includes a tall step, a stability ball, a barbell, and several sets of dumbbells; I don't have a barbell and was able to make out fine with dumbbells (Cathe keeps her barbell set at 40#, so this makes substituting easier). I've provided an overview of the workout below, but for a full breakdown of the exercises included, the soundtrack, and a video clip, visit Cathe's web site.

The workout begins with a 3-minute warm-up which consists of some light cardio plus stretches using the tall step. Cathe then jumps right in on the legs, performing squats with the barbell, deadlifts, lunges (placing one heel on a smaller barbell to increase the work to the quads), and tall box presses. She often varies the count (ie, 2 up, 2 down; 2 down, hold 2, 4 up; 3 pulse down, 1 up; etc.) for greater variety during the lower body work. Moving on to the upper body, Cathe begins lying on the floor for a chest press, and then back to standing for rows with the barbell.

Next comes the ball work, starting with chest flyes on the ball and then flipping over to work the back with a "Y" move. A particularly tough move for the shoulders follows: you place your feet on the box, your hands on the floor, and then do a shoulder press. Additional upper body work includes a one-arm row, a front raise while seated on the ball, a rear delt raise lying on the ball, bicep work with one leg on the ball for balance, and tricep dips/kickbacks.

Cathe then incorporates the ball for what would normally be leg work on the floor: draped sideways over the ball, you do an outer thigh lift, and then lying with the ball between your legs, you do an inner thigh squeeze. Further back work comes in the form of a modified superman on the ball, and then abs are worked with a reverse curl, touching your toes to the ball. Calf raises with the box and shin work seated on the ball finish the workout.

Cathe concludes with a short (4.5 minutes) stretch that includes some nice shoulder stretches; I just wish the stretches had been held a bit longer. By the end of this routine, I felt like I had gotten an excellent workout without feeling completely exhausted. Similarly, the next day, I was pleasantly sore in certain areas (mainly my lower glutes, inner thighs, and front shoulders/chest), but I wasn't in pain to the extent of making me dread doing the workout again. Also, I really liked how the stability ball was incorporated into the exercises, both for balance and just to add interest. My one complaint was that there was only a single exercise for the abdominals; I wish Cathe had targeted the abs as fully as she did the back. Overall, however, I enjoyed this workout and know that I will continue to find it useful and effective.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe always displays impeccable form, although I wish she had cued a bit more here, especially with the ball work. I also find her to be a bit goofy--she makes a comment about getting "toasty" several times during this workout. She works out here in her usual studio with three background exercisers (one of whom shows a few modifications) to a soft rock soundtrack (recognizable songs performed by different artists at a more upbeat pace).

Beth C (aka toaster)


In a perfect world I would have all the time I need to workout as much as I want to/need to to maintain my level of fitness, stay a healthy weight, and stave off the threat of osteoperosis as I age. In the REAL world, there are weeks when I'm lucky to be able to get in any workouts at all, much less have the time to worry about finding the correct balance and volume to reach that perfect health status. Enter Push/Pull. In just under 45 minutes I get a total body workout that hits all of the major muscle groups in an effective way. No, it isn't killer, but some days I don't have time for killer. Some days, weeks . . . MONTHS I'm happy to get in enough of a challenge to keep from seeing my muscles turn to mush. This workout fits the bill. Others have done thorough breakdowns of this workout, so I will just add that I really enjoy incorporating the stability ball into my weight training. I think Cathe has done an excellent job doing so in a way that is logical and effective. My one wish is that there was more ab work. It's easy to add on myself though, for the days when I do have the time for it. The DVD version is well chaptered. The cover doesn't mention the stability ball in the equipment needed for the workout, so it may take some people by surprise. For my needs this workout is a must-have.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe always presents solid workouts that get the job, whatever that job happens to be, done. She presents herself in a postive, upbeat manner that isn't overbearingly cheerful and perky.



This is the workout that I have been wanting from Cathe, but never really thought she would make.

I am somewhat tired of long weight workouts - like in S&H where you spend an hour weight training and in the end you have only worked 2 body parts. I have enjoyed all of Cathe's strength workouts, but I had been yearning for a change for a while, and this really fits the bill. A total body workout in under 45 minutes. Yeah!

It is fun and different. It is not the typical Cathe work your legs, then your chest, then back, then biceps, etc, like many of her previous work. Because she designed it to work the push muscle followed by the pull muscle, it is mixed up, which I really like. It gives me what I like about Firm workouts, and I am happy to be able to get that kind of workout from one of my favorite instructors.

I am guessing some people will feel like this isn't enough weight training, but it is for me. The count is mostly (but not completely) a 2-2 count so you can go pretty heavy. There are only 2 sets for some body parts, but I have always felt like that was enough for me if I go heavy.

I also really liked the music. It was a little mellow in parts, but I like that sometimes with weight lifting. Other aspects that I loved:
~ use of the stability ball
~ some different exercises never before seen in other workouts
~ working the back without any weights in a few moves
~ working the shins
~ a nice stretch at the end

I didn't actually care for the abs, which was basically only one move. However, since the workout is so short, if I want to add some more ab work that day, it isn't hard to find the time.

I do have some complaints about the DVD though. My music louder option is not any louder on this workout. Also, I think the premixes are not really what I want. I don't see a way to do just upper or just lower body with one premix. You can make this workout more intense by doing the weight work twice, but I can't see myself doing that. I don't really want to hear Cathe say how they should make 7# weights two times in one workout. (They do make them, Cathe!) If I want more weight training in a workout, I will choose something different. This workout is going to be saved for the days when I want something shorter and a little different.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe has always been one of my favorites, and she continues to be after many years. Some say her workouts are the same old thing, but I never find that to be true with her. I am always amazed at how different her new workouts are from the old, so she usually doesn't disappoint me.

Lisa C


Cathe already HAS an Intermediate workout!

I did Push Pull for the first time today. This definitely didn't feel like an advanced workout. Just the one set of the exercises. An abs section I was actually able to do. No endless, mind-numbing sets and reps. All done in under 45 minutes! If I'd known this workout was so moderate, I'd have ordered it a long time ago.

I'm looking forward to getting my BodyWedge to use with this. Using the ball was ok, but it feels too awkward. I know I can go a lot heavier next time. I really like the slower pace of the reps!

I didn't try the shoulder push-up thing. Maybe next time. The stretches were lacking. You probably would want to add more at the end.

I can see why our VF amazons are complaining about the intensity of Cathe's recent workouts. If I can do them, anybody can! (LOL!)

Cathe is, as always, the consummate professional.



The workout is about 45 minutes long. It starts with a short warm up before moving into a total body workout. It works opposing muscle groups. You do 2 exercises for each body part. Cathe uses the stability ball on some exercises. At the end Cathe includes some floor work for the legs. I liked the workout because I got a total body workout in only 45 minutes. But, I don't think that it was intense as many of her other strength workouts. I will use it when I am short on time, but I will probably stick with some of her older strength videos for a more complete workout.

I don't have the DVD so I am not able to comment on all of the premix options!

Instructor Comments:
I like Cathe, I don't love her.



This workout is part of Cathe’s Body Blast series and is available by itself on VHS or on a dvd bundled with the Supersets workout. The dvd is very well-chaptered and features numerous pre-mix options.

The workout is about 45 minutes long and works the body parts in pairs. You begin with a short warm-up, then do sets of two exercises each, one for each body part in the pair. You do two lower body sets, two for chest/back, two for shoulders/back and two for biceps/triceps (although unlike the other pairs, you do all the biceps work together and all the triceps work together). Then you move to the floor and do one set of two exercises for inner/outer thigh, one set for core/abs and one for calves/tibialis.

The workout felt very complete to me. I did not feel like it over-worked the lower body, and it is great to have a total-body workout I enjoy that has floor work in it. The ab work was a little skimpy (I did my own thing during that section) but in spite of Cathe’s impressive use of words like “anterior” and “lateral” and such, I am not fully convinced the back needs quite this much attention. (Interesting too that in Supersets, on this same dvd, she seems to include an overabundance of shoulder work). I thought the calf work was a little on the long side, but I was pleasantly surprised at the tibialis exercise which I have never seen.

I am not a Cathe groupie who has every single tape of hers, and of the workouts I do have, they are all strength tapes. This workout is more accessible than some of Cathe’s killer 3-day splits like Slow & Heavy or Pure Strength, and is less equipment-fussy than Supersets---I used only two sets of weights and the step was only needed for one exercise. I don’t do back work on the ball so I would up using mine mostly to sit on for the shoulder work. The one thing I wouldn’t think you could modify would be the tibialis move at the end, but other than that it could all be done ball-free.



This workout could be also titled Supersets. Cathe does supersets in between different push and pull muscle groups. Then for bicep and tricep work, she supersets within the same muscle group. You do only 1 set for each exercise.

The warmup is low impact and involves some pushups. No stretching. The first exercise works the legs. You will work the two opposing muscle groups. The quads and hamstrings. For the quadracep muscle, you do squats. They are done nice and slow so you can use your heaviest weight. She does do low know! For hamstrings, you will do deadlifts. Nice and slow for 20 two count lifts. Then you move on to leg press and Cathe holds a dumbbell in her hand(I think it is 15 lbs). You do 16 reps per leg.

Next you move to chest/ back supersets. The first exercise is bench press on the floor w/ dumbbells and Cathe looks like she is using 20lbs. Then you stand up and get your barbell and do dead rows for 8 counts and then 15 reps.

The next superset is Chest flies on the ball. Cathe says, " I hope your getting your balls out!" and right at that time my husband was walking by and he looked at the tv really weird. I was laughing. Anyway the next exercise is back work on the ball with no weight. It looks like a rear delt exercise.

Then you move on to shoulder/back supersets. For shoulders, Cathe does this incredible exercise called the inverted shoulder press. IT looks like doing a pushup in a handstand position. Your feet are on the step and your head is pointing down. Thankfully, Cedie shows overhead press modifications so I did just that. For back, you do 1 arm rows(12 reps so make sure you use a heavy weight!). The last shouler exercise is front raises sitting on the ball and for back work, you do rear delt raises on the ball.

For bicep and tricep work. You do supersets within the same muscle group. So for biceps. You do hammer curls(1 set) balancing on one leg. The other leg is on the ball. Then switch legs and do regular bicep curls(1 set). The the tricep supersets are tricep dips(you can always modify to double arm French press like Cathe says to do in Pure Strength) and kickbacks.

Then its back to leg work with side leg raises on the ball. Just 1 set on each side. For inner thigh, you put the stability ball in between your legs and squeeze really hard.

Cathe then moves on to a lower back exercise using the ball. You balance and lift your legs up. This worked my butt too.

For abs, you will use your ball for resistance,lifting it up as well as up and transfering it to your feet. This was challenging. There is no oblique work.

Cathe ends the workout with 1 set of calf work using the tall step. She uses a stick for balance. You can use a body bar or barbell or the Firm sculpting stick for substitution. She also does shin work where you sit on your tall step and put the ball on top of your feet and pull so your shin muscles are working.

The cool down is wonderful the music is nice too.

This workout really uses the stability ball in an excellent way. Its also a shorter workout about 45 minutes. The music is instrumental in the warmup but during the entire workout and stretch, its vocal upbeat songs. Like "Walking in Memphis" or "I miss you" during the stretch.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe gives good tip on form as well as shows perfect form herself.