Low Impact Series: Low Impact Challenge Step

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Step Aerobics

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From Cathe's Low Impact series is this fun all step routine that will give you a great sweaty workout without all the high impact that (my) your joints dont need! You will only need a step bench for this workout.

After a warmup, exercises include: knee ups, pivots, kicks, march around the step, repeaters, up & over variations, swing steps, L variations, straddles, around the world, and concludes with a cooldown & stretch. There are 4 routines, the last being the most challenging.

This is an intermediate step routine in terms of intensity and high intermediate in terms of choreography. The moves themselves are not overly complex but to keep the heart rate up the pace is quick. Love the intensity and the pace of this workout, and as always Cathe is an excellent instructor with great cuing and fun choreography. I received this dvd to review.



LICS is a 50.5 minute all step workout which is part of Catheís Low Impact Series. I wanted to like this one. I really did. However, it hits so many of my pet peeves that I just didnít. That makes me sad, because Iím a huge fan of Catheís steady state step in general.

The Workout

The workout consists of a 7.5 minute warm up, four stand alone combos ranging from 5.25 to 8 minutes, a 5 minute section where she puts all of the combos together, and 9 minutes of low-impact blasts. The workout ends with a brief cool down and stretch. Cathe teaches each combo in pieces then she runs through it several times before moving on to the next one. There is no TIFTTing, other than in the final ďall combosĒ section which includes the warm up choreography as well as the four mini-routines. The cool down is separately chaptered but not identified on the chapter menu.

The DVD also contains 7 premixes, some of which contain footage from Cardio Supersets (identified as ďbonus materialĒ below). These are:

Step Express #1 ó no blasts
Step Express #2 ó no all combos and no blasts
Step Express #3 ó warm up, all combos, blasts, all combos, blasts, cool down and stretch
Step Express #4 ó warm up, bonus material, and stretch
Step Express #5 ó warm up, blasts, bonus material, and stretch
Double Lower Body Blast - combos 1 & 2, blasts, combos 3 & 4, blasts, cool down and stretch
Low Impact Challenge Extreme - total workout less cool down, bonus material, then stretch

The premixes range in length from just under 32 minutes to a little more than 71 minutes.

Iíd rate the level of this DVD at intermediate for the energy level. However, Iíd rate it intermediate to advanced for the choreography because Catheís cueing isnít the best and some of the moves are taught with your back to the TV. Combo 4 is the trickiest, and itís made even harder by the way that itís cued.

What I Didnít Like

Iíve done this workout several times ó once or twice when it first came out and again yesterday. Now I remember why I havenít done it in three years:

1. The music is instrumental techno. Techno can be high energy and motivating, but Catheís music selection here isnít either. The energy level of the music does get better as the workout progresses, but the only tune I recognized (or liked) is an instrumental version of Michael Jacksonís Billy Jean, and there are seven highly repetitive minutes of it. Itís too much of an almost good thing, too late. Sigh

2. Catheís cueing is late and sometimes uninformative. The choreography is at times interesting and it could have been relatively easy to learn. However, Catheís cueing made it tricky. For example, in Combo 4, she tells you to do ďtwo knees around, rock, rock, exitĒ but she doesnít tell you to only go half way around and then end with the second knee on the top of the step . Your back is to the TV so you canít see what sheís doing. Admittedly, previewing will help mitigate the cueing problem, but if you donít preview, you should prepare to be frustrated until you learn the more complicated routines.

3. The camera work is generally ok, but in a few places the camera swayed and rotated and in a few more it showed only Cathe's and the crewís feet. I find this type of camera work annoying ó itís a particular pet peeve of mine. I expect it wonít annoy everyone, but I mention it just in case this type of thing bothers you too.

4. There are squat thrusts (alone and then with push ups) in Combo 2. I know some people like this, but I found it totally unnecessary. If I donít ever do this workout again, it will be because of the squat thrusts/push ups. Thereís no way to avoid them (unless you manually skip over the chapter or come up with a substitute move) because all of the premixes with the main workout step content include Combo 2. Arrrrgh!

5. Speaking of premixes, the DVD doesnít contain any descriptions, just titles. Iíve added descriptions above, but if I want to know what the premixes contain in the future, Iíll have to come back to this review. Thatís not super convenient!

None of the above is a deal breaker for me, except maybe #4 (the squat thrusts). Therefore, I likely wonít do this one again. That's too bad, because most of the choreography on its own is good. With better music, better cueing, and no squat thrusts, this one could have been a real winner.

Instructor Comments:
Catheís cueing isnít great here, but she offers a lot of encouragement to get through it. She seems to enjoy the workout. I wish that I liked it as much as she did!



This could be a really good workout, but it has some flaws. I would probably grade it a B-. I do it about once a year, and I enjoy it enough to keep it, but it could be so much better.

The biggest problem is the music. I was very disappointed to hear all instrumentals on this. And not very good instrumental music at that. It feels like elevator music and it brings the fun factor down a bit, to what is otherwise and interesting workout.

Cathe's cueing is not great, but that is nothing new with her step. I can handle that aspect of this workout.

I think she does do a good job of making this (mostly) low-impact workout a decent intensity without jumping. One way she does that is with some squat thrusts mixed into the choreography, and a few pushups. I liked that part, but some people won't. It isn't as high intensity as Step Blast, but I end up getting an adequate steady-state cardio workout.

There are 5 64-count combos (including the warm-up) and the choreography is pretty fun.

The blast section at the end is a nice change of pace. It is not choreographed and has some non-weighted lower body work mixed in. I sometimes skip this section, but I do like it when I have time.

I should mention that there are a few spots where you need to jump just a bit. Just a few, but this is not a no-impact workout, just "low".

This workout could be an A workout with a good soundtrack and better cueing. I can handle the flaws, but it does keep me from doing this workout more often.

Lisa C