Cross Fire

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Gliding Disks, Total Body Workouts

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This is a 55-minute advanced cardio workout which features two tabata chapters (fire walker band and plyos), along with another cardio set with no equipment needed (more plyo/high intensity work), and a longer circuit workout which included fast paced toning and cardio intervals. This DVD is FULL of high impact, high intensity work. Cathe does describe how you could modify (to low impact or less intense) however there is not a modifier to demonstrate. I love high impact/high intensity work but I don’t think this is a good choice if you have to modify throughout. Cathe leads with about four female backgrounders in a lovely spacious studio setting, and the music is GREAT – I bought this DVD for the recognizable pop music, and it did NOT disappoint! The DVD menu allows you to play the whole workout or choose from a variety of premixes. I am reviewing this workout after doing the whole 55-minute workout in entirety.

Equipment needed is 3#, 5#, and 10# dumbbells, and one 15# bell (3# and 10# pairs and 15# for the circuit chapter; the 3# and 5# pairs are used for the second tabata), gliding discs (only used for one exercise in the circuit chapter), and the firewalker band (used in the firewalker tabata chapter and circuit chapter). There is a small timer for the tabata chapters but not for the other two chapters.

The six-minute warm up is very energetic with lots of arm movements paired with step touches, leg raises, and the like, is very easy to follow and all low impact, which I appreciate. I don’t like it when instructors jump right into, well, jumping, right from the first exercise in the warm up! The warm up is really comprehensive to wake up all your muscles and get ready for the tough “aggressive” as Cathe calls it, workout.

The first about eight minutes is a no equipment needed cardio workout, in which you do several exercises twice, then repeat all of them once. Exercises include side shuffle into floor tap, 180-degree jumps, squat jumps (32 per set), and sprint from side to side of your workout area with floor tap “suicides?”. This work definitely got my heart rate up and I wasn’t able to complete as many 180-degree jumps as them, but something to work up to!

The next about six minutes is the first tabata chapter, using the firewalker band. The exercises are basically jumping jack variations – low jacks, air jacks, etc., in the classic 20 work/10 rest tabata design. This definitely works the thighs hard!

The next chapter, the longest at about 24 minutes, is the circuit blast chapter, and includes a (generally high impact) cardio exercise followed by a strength exercise – mostly functional, multi-limb work to keep the heart rate up. This chapter reminded me a bit of Toby Massenberg’s Chiseled with the cardio/strength sequencing and exercises. Cathe has you do the same cardio/strength exercise then repeat once (working the other side during the second round, if applicable). Strength included walking plie squats with the 10#, side lunge into curtsey with overhead press with 3#, swing-type wood chop with 15#, low front/back lunge on same leg (work other leg second time), pushups with plank jack using gliding disks. The cardio included skaters (optional 3# weights), warrior lunges into heel raise, high knees. This chapter really kept the heart rate up from the previous chapters and I was relieved that there was only one short chapter left!

The final chapter at about 4 minutes is the second tabata chapter, which is plyo work. Truth be told, there’s nothing exceptionally ‘more’ plyometric here than in the other chapters, but this one has a bigger emphasis on plyo lunge variations, as well as tuck jumps. There are four exercises in the 20/10 format, each repeated once. Rotating jumping lunges, hops with 3# weights, jumping lunges with 5# then 3# weights, and tuck jumps.

The stretch was long-ish at about eight minutes and I do my own stretch in this timeframe, so wasn’t really paying attention to hers. I do enjoy a longer stretch after all that high impact work so enjoyed this.

This is a great cardio workout and just really intense and fun. Assuming you can do high impact exercises, you can modify this by doing less reps than them (they just whip through those 180 degree jumps, I did them a little slower) or making your moves less explosive. It was just the perfect length for this type of work – definitely challenging (maybe even a little grueling) but the chapters break up the work and it is 55 minutes very well spent on endurance. I think this would really improve your endurance with repeated use. The super fun music really made the workout. Grade A+!

Instructor Comments:
I haven’t particularly been a Cathe fan in the past – not because of her (super sweet and professional) personality, but because I found her workouts to be sort of dry. But this one had such great music, I thought I would give it a go, and so glad I did! She constantly demonstrates and describes good form, and encourages you to modify if you are too tired to do an exercise with good form. She is very jovial and sometimes jokes, but nothing that would become annoying with repeated use. She really is a wonderful instructor, I would definitely buy more of her DVDs if they had great music and were an exercise style that interested me.

Emily B.


This is a fully chaptered 55 minute workout & includes plenty of premixes. Cathe leads with 4 background exercisers in a nice gym set. You will need dumbbells, a step, a stretchy loop and gliding discs (or alternatives) for this workout. Love the top 40-esque music.

The main workout chapters are: w/u, Fitness Blast, Firewalker Tabata, Circuit Blast, Plyo Tabata, Stretch. The bonus workouts are: Core and Low Impact Cardio Tabata.

Exercises include: scissor & tuck jumps, walking pliets, crouching band jacks, squat -adduct - military press, weighted skater, heel click jacks, jack & tuck, air jacks, hi knee run, disc pushup jacks, warrior lunge & knee raise, wood chops, weighted plyo lunges, weighted mogul & hop up, crab kicks, bike, disc climbers, cardio lunges, pliet raises, disc lunges, 180 hops, squat digs, floor touches.

This is an advanced workout that really packs a cardio punch! I thought the weights really added to the cardio effect. Cathe provides great motivation, excellent cuing, and unique & original exercises. I really enjoyed the tabata segments and love the use of the discs. I really liked the athletic & unique choreography that was easy to follow. Great pace- no wasted time but not rushed. I received this dvd to review.



If you are looking for a TRULY breathless workout, this is IT! The warm-up alone nearly wiped me out. LOL! This tabata-style workout had some TOUGH moves -- side shuffles with floor touches, jump-twists front and back, tuck jumps, etc. -- Cathe says you can modify the moves, but none of the background exercisers did (I *REALLY* dislike when an instructor says you can modify but no one show modifications!) However, I modified on my own: Instead of a turn-jump to face the back wall, I turn-jumped to face the side wall.

The moves aren't overly complex, but they aren't easy either! I absolutely LOVE the setting (nicely-lit studio with large windows showing beautiful landscaping outside), and the music is PUMPIN’!!!!

Debbie J