High Step Training

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Step Aerobics

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I'm not new to Cathe, but thought this DVD would be a great way to get back into her workouts. I consider myself to be an advanced level exerciser, but have been on hiatus from Cathe's workouts for a few years now.

Well I'm very happy that I ordered High Step Training. This is an advanced level circuit training workout that has a little of everything. It has cardio, heavier upper body weight training, and endurance lower body weight training. There is no traditional ab work but Cathe explains that you do work your core with some of the other exercises included in this workout.

This workout consists of five fitness cycles that includes intense cardio using the high step, lower body work, and upper body work. Being a Firm Believer from years ago, I was thrilled that Cathe included leg presses in this workout. But be warned, leg presses are in all five lower body cycles! So if you really hate leg presses, this may not be the workout for you.

The cardio is intense and advanced but for me the moves are more athletic and very easy to follow since they are all on the high step. I don't have a "high step" but I use my old fashoned Step Company health club step facing the tv vertically for all the cardio sections and it works fine. For the segments requiring adjusting the height of the high step (mostly the lower body segments), I just use my old Firm fanny lifter. There is enough time in the workout to move the fanny lifter since Cathe allows time to adjust the high step from the cardio to weights segments.

I absolutely love the upper body weights segment and that is a big complement coming from me. I consider upper body weight work to be the equivilant of eating my veggies. I know I have to do it, but no matter the video or workout, working the upper body is usually so boring to me. But not in this DVD! I love the upper body work and the time seems to fly by since you are working one or two muscle groups per cycle.

I know Cathe designed this new series of workouts using the high step mostly for the beginner/intermediate crowd, but I think this workout series, especially the High Step Training DVD, is a great way to introduce/reintroduce advanced exercisers (like myself) to Cathe.

I have some of Cathe's step workouts but never really got into her strength workouts. Actually, prior to ordering this workout, I hadn't ordered a Cathe Strength training workout in 4-5 years and it has probably been that long since I've done one. Well thanks to High Step Training, I've been doing some major catching up (via my credit card) with Ms. Friedrich and have ordered other workouts from the Intensity and Body Blasts series. I'm absolutely loving them! I've been on a Cathe rotation for several weeks now and have not sweated or worked so hard for a long time! This is one old friend that I'm happy I caught up with.

Instructor Comments:

Tiffanee Saunders


Other reviewers have already provided a break-down of this workout. I just wanted to add comments for those advanced Cathe-ites who want to know the differences between this workout and Cathe's previous workouts. Do you need to add this one to your collection if you already have Cathe's other workouts? Probably not.

I think the strength-training sections of this workout closely resemble Cathe's Supersets & Push/Pull workouts. The cardio is high-impact simple choreography and it reminded me of many of the cardio segments in Boot Camp or MIC done in a condensed manner.

I have to admit I didn't do the lower body exercises in this routine (sorry, it was upper body day for me!). But it consisted of 5 sets of leg presses on a 14" step (!) and variations of the squat. Cathe does do static lunges in compound exercises with some overhead tricep presses and hammer curls.

Things I liked about HSTA:
I liked some of the exercises such as the side-lying side lateral shoulder raises (more comfortable done on a stability ball), the decline push-ups, and the tricep push-ups on the High Step.

Things I didn't like:
The sequence of strength exercises was backwards, progressing from small to larger muscle groups: triceps -> shoulders -> biceps -> back -> chest. There's no ab/core work.

I didn't care much for the high-impact plyo jumps. I thought an 8" step was too high for the tempo and I used a 6" step. The one-armed tricep dips were hard to do properly. I think I could have used more form pointers on that exercise.

I didn't like the cross-over push-ups done on the step as it strained my shoulders, so I did them on the floor. This is partially because the shoulders are so fatigued by the time you get to chest.

There's not enough back work to make it a balanced workout: only two exercises for back.

The music (PowerMixes) was unimaginative, a step backwards from Power Hour or the Body Blast and Intensity Series. It was more like MIS meets Dynamix.

Overall HSTA is a circuit workout that resembles Cardio + Weights or Bootcamp, with tons of leg presses and high-impact step. In my opinion the minuses in this workout outweighed the pluses and it's not a necessary addition to your collection if you already own Cathe's other circuit workouts (Cardio + Weights, Bootcamp) or her Supersets/Push-Pull workouts.

It's probably a nice progression for those new to Cathe who have purchased the High Step and are ready to move up from the other High Step beginner workouts.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is her usual professional perky self in this workout. Her form pointers are very good.

I did find that some of her cueing in the cardio segments was late - cued right when you started the move or after. Since the step choreography is so simple this is not likely to be a huge problem.

Dawn P


High Step Training Advanced (HSTA) is definitely an advanced workout. Cathe and the crew use 8" high steps for the cardio. I used 6" and was in my target training zone. I did move to 8" on the last circuit to work my abs a bit more.

This program is structured very well. There are 5 cycles of cardio, leg training, and upper body weights. By working out your triceps, biceps, and shoulders before your back and chest, you are able to go heavier for the smaller muscle groups. Since your back and chest are used in combination with arms and shoulders, your back and chest get a good workout as well.

The cardio is easy to learn but tough to do. As with any workout, however, the more you do it, the easier it gets. These cardio segments really get my heart rate to the high end of my training zone. I stay in my zone for the legs and upper body segments as well, so I feel that this is a good fat-burning workout for me. I never thought I'd get the tap straddle move, but have managed to do most of it now. This is a challenging move!

The legs are worked in a high rep-low weight manner. You do leg presses, squats, lunges, sit- n-stands, and hover squats. Just when you think you can do no more, Cathe urges you on and you do it!

The upper body has 2-3 moves for each part. All are challenging. The nice thing about this tape is that they are relatively short sets which enable me to go all out knowing that it won't last forever.

I highly recommend this tape to anyone looking for a circuit program that allows you to continue to grow. I am drenched at the end of this workout, and feel like I got a thorough weightlifting and cardio workout.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is motivating and inspiring in this video. She cues well and keeps me focused!

Beth D.


This is really a circuit and interval workout in one. The cardio parts of it, done on the step, are high-intensity/anaerobic combos, making this an interval workout. You follow those sections with a variety of strength exercises, and then you have the circuit part of the workout. There are 5 circuits. All of the circuits include leg presses and another leg exercise. The upper body work in each circuit changes. For example, one circuit will have biceps, while another will concentrate on triceps. The bicep work was really good, by the way. Although I did like this workout, I donít care to keep it. There are very few circuit workouts I like, and my collection of workouts in general is huge, so Iím only keeping what I love. I liked this one, but did not love it. I feel I have circuit work adequately covered with a couple of Catheís I do love: Cardio & Weights, and Step, Jump, & Pump.

Instructor Comments:

Annie S.


This video is a great addition to an advanced exerciser's collection. The circuit style workout is a great way to get a solid workout in a shorter amount of time. My heartrate stayed up through the whole workout!

There are five cycles that each begin with two minute "cardio blasts". These are fairly simple moves, but tough to get through! For example, 2 knee repeater with power scissors. They keep your heart rate up through the weight work that follows.

After the cardio blasts, you move into lower body work and then upper body work. All five cycles incoportate leg presses, then one other great leg exercise.

After leg work, each cycle then incoporates upper body. These are tough! Each cycle hits a different body part with 3 or 4 exercises each: , triceps (one arm dips nearly kill me!!), shoulders, biceps, back and chest.

Since the core was incorporated into many of the exercises, there's no separate core segment, but I still feel like my abs get a solid workout as well.

I use my standard step vertically and just adjust it between the cardio and lifting segments and there is usually plenty of time.

This has become a new staple in my workout rotation. I like the DVD options of mixing up the workouts. For example, you can choose to do just the cardio--only 12 minutes, but you'll feel like you did 30! I like to combine the cardio with either upper or lower body and then do one last cardio only cycle to finish it off.

I've heard and read over and over that variation to continuously shock your body is the key to keep yourself from hitting a plateau, and that is exactly what this video delivers! I can't wait to see what Cathe comes up with next!

Instructor Comments:
I really enjoy Cathe's instructing style. She stays upbeat, but not hyper or "yappy."



there are 5 cycles the include cardio,legs, compound exercise, and an upper body part. there is a workout blender option, chapter, and mix and match. BUT, the chapters goes by the cycles NOT the exercises themselves. there are premixes but they don't include the warm up or stretch so you have to do that on your own. so if you want to do only certain parts like upper body, you have to use the premixes. the music sounds like she pulled it from tamilee's tighter assets workouts, she even calls the cardio segments "cardio blast" and it happens to use the same music from tamilee's cardio blast. when she slows down the music for leg work it sounds like somebody turned a dial to slow it down. not the high budget production i expect from cathe. it was like she rush to film this workout. its GREAT workout itselt though. the cardio was very fast paced and high impact. the weight work is a combo of high weight/low rep to endurance high rep/low weight. each cycle, as you will see, hits a different upper body spot,which makes up most of the cycle itself. i mixed it up using 5,8, and 10 pound db while for legs and back i use 30lb barbell and the rest used a 25lb barbell. cathe only uses one fixed barbell throughout the workout. if the music was better and the chaptering was up to cathe standards this would be an A+ workout, but b/c of this i give it a B-. premixes and chaptering are the number two reason we spend more money for cathe and this doesn't fit the cathe i know.


High Step Training ....This 60 minute advanced total body conditioning circuit will provide the ultimate overall fitness challenge. You will only need a light and heavy set of hand weights as well as a fixed weighted barbell. We used 5 pound and 10 pound hand weights and a 30 pound barbell.

After a 5 minute warm up you will start the first of five fitness cycles.

Cycle One: CARDIO: All the cardio step blasts are done on an eight inch step height. This one will consist of power 15's as well as fast feet agility-type footwork. A brief cool down period will follow. LEG PRESS: The music is slowed down considerably and you will take one 10 pound hand weight and do one set of leg presses (15 per side). Then you will immediately get your pre-made barbell and do one minute of squats. Now the music resumes its normal tempo and we do tricep exercises. Tricep push ups on the high step. Tricep overhead extensions while doing static lunges (one 10 pound in hand). One arm dips on the high step (overhead extension shown as option). Kickbacks (with 5 pound weights).

Cycle Two: CARDIO: A combination consisting of spike lunges, slam its and jump freezes. LEG PRESS: Same as above. Then you immediately go into one minute of Plie Squats with pre-made barbell. SHOULDERS: Overhead press with pre-made barbell. One arm side lateral raise inclined next to High Step(5 pounds). Decline push ups. Rear delt flys(5 pounds)

Cycle Three: CARDIO: A combination of wide steps (like a v-step), power jumps, and plyo jacks. Three levels of intensity are offered. We do all three. LEG PRESS: Same as above. Then immediately get a 10 pound hand weight and do hover squats. BICEPS: Pre-made barbell bicep curls going up 2 counts down 6 counts for a minute. Hammer curls with back lunges (10 pounds). Barbell curls again but this time up 6 counts and down 2 counts for a minute. Standing Hammer curls or one final round with barbell (your choice)

Cycle Four: CARDIO: A combination from Step Fit (2 knee repeater with power scissors). LEG PRESS: Same as above but we do two sets back to back this time. BACK: Barbell back rows, 2 long sets. Barbell deadlifts. Wide grip back rows (10 pounds in each hand)

Cycle Five: CARDIO: A combination of knee straddles and tap straddles (think Imax2). LEG PRESS: Same as above for one set and then immediately get barbell and do Sit N Stands for one minute. CHEST: Standard push ups. Chest flys with 10 pounds in each hand on floor while one foot is propped up on step doing hamstring and glute tucks. Switch legs repeat chest flys too. Cross Over Push Ups walking side to side across high step with hands. Stretch By the way, since the core was incorporated into many of the exercises as stabilizers, we did not have a separate core segment. Bring it on! \

Warm up
5 fitness cycles of:
cardio (2 min)
Legs (2 min)
3 or 4 exercises for one major upper body group.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe, as in instructor, is one of the best. She keeps you motivated while kicking your butt. She cues well and often reminds you of proper form and sometimes offers you modifcations by pointing out what her background exercisers are doing.



I left Cathe's High Step Training on the shelf while I did all of her other videos and forgot about it because I had H.S. Challenge and H.S. Circuit and wasn't thrilled with either one. Well, I just pulled it off the shelf, shook the dust off and did it and WOW is all I can say. What a gem! This is another ciruit style workout where she does cycles of leg presses (every cycle has leg presses off the high step), a cardio/leg exercise, i.e., hover squats, sit and stands, compound lunges, plie squats (all our favorites), a cardio blast(all of them were awesome, not boring and very challenging) and one upper body part which she works to a pulp. I liked this workout because with all those leg presses, you really sweat and the heart rate stayed up. She also got really creative with the upper body work; i.e., she does all types of pushups and does this one armed tricep dip where you dip with one arm and raise the other while one leg is down and one is raised. What a great move! Pec flies and hamstring exercise at the same time! Like I said, creative, compound, effective, interesting, exciting and gets the job done. This workout reminds me of the Firm's Aerobic Body Shaping with Allie, but it's a lot more advanced. It's an absolute keeper. It doesn't kill like BodyMax 2, Drillmax or Terminator, but it works you very hard and gets the job done and it's one of those workouts where you get out of it what you put in. YOu can go lighter with the weights and take it easy on the cardio for a lighter workouts, or push yourself with heavier weights and more umph in the cardio. IT's up to you.

Instructor Comments:
What can I say, Cathe is Cathe! She's great to work out with and talks to you a lot during this workout. I particularly liked her in this one.

Evelyn Jenkins