Power Hour

Power Hour is a 62 minute strength workout; 6 minute warm up, 46 minute strength training, 6 minute ab work and 3 minute stretch. Power Hour is one of Cathe’s older workouts included on her multi-workout DVD that also includes BodyMax and Maximum Intensity Strength. BodyMax was the first workout I did from this DVD collection and I was very disappointed with it. However, Power Hour alone makes up for it! And I still have Maximum Intensity Strength to do–fingers crossed I’ll love that one, too.

Power Hour is another excellent and intense Cathe workout. Power Hour is a total body muscle endurance workout—lots of reps. I hit muscle failure several times. I don’t know the actual date this workout was originally released but it is reminiscent of Jari Love’s early workout DVDs (which I LOVE); however, I think Cathe came before Jari Love, so it is probably the other way around! However, I discovered Jari Love long before I discovered Cathe.

Equipment needed for Power Hour is a barbell, dumbbells and a step/bench at 14 inches. You will not be climbing the bench. It is used to lay on for chest and tricep work, and to put one hand on when doing back and tricep work, so substitutions can be used. Also, I (still!) don’t have a barbell (working on it!), so I used dumbbells for everything. The barbell was used for the majority of the moves, so I feel like I might get a different (even better?) workout with a barbell. Not sure. I used the same amount of weight as Cathe had on her barbell, but you do carry it differently with a barbell. One day, I’ll discover whether there is a difference!

The workout is pretty straight forward, focusing on one muscle group at a time and working it to fatigue with lots of reps. The rep tempos are varied—sometimes single count, sometimes to the count of 2 or the count of 4, sometimes lifting up to the count of 3 and lowering to the count of one, and sometimes lifting up to the count of one and lowering to the count of 3. She also does “low ends” for the lower body; an example is with a squat or lunge, you squat/lunge down and do reps while never actually rising to the starting position, so your muscles are constantly engaged. She does something similar with upper body work; an example is when doing bicep curls, sometimes you will only curl halfway up, or halfway down. In other workouts she calls these Crazy Eights. So even though you are doing a lot of reps, she keeps it interesting.

The workout started with a warm up that used lighter weights to warm up all muscle groups.  The strength training begins with squats followed by plies—both using the barbell. Next we move into chest work: pushups, chest flies with dumbbells (palms facing legs) and finish with chest press with barbell. Deadrows and deadlifts with barbell; one arm rows with dumbbell. Lots and lots of static lunges starting with barbell and ending with lighter dumbbells. I went to failure with the lunges and was very trembly afterward. Shoulder work: front raise with a plate, bent arm lateral raises with dumbbells, rear delt raises with dumbbells and finish with shoulder presses with barbell. Biceps: (I was too ambitious with biceps and had to keep lowering my weight—they still feel burned out.) She uses a barbell; lots of curls to various tempos, then lots more reps half way up and half way down (Crazy Eights). Triceps: lying on bench tricep extensions with barbell. Then one arm kickbacks with dumbbells. Finish back on the bench with more tricep extensions with barbell.

Go to the floor for ab work: basic crunches mixed with oblique crunches, reverse crunches, bike crunches and finish with plank work.

From the reviews I’ve read, this workout resembles a “pump” workout, which I have never done, so I can’t say whether it does or doesn’t. However, it does resemble Jari Love’s early workouts in several ways. First with the weighted warm up. Second with the break between muscle groups in which form for the next moves are explained and demonstrated. And third, working each muscle group to failure. But these are just similarities. I felt Jari and Cathe’s workouts are different enough that I did not feel like I was doing the same workout led by a different instructor. I enjoy them both.  I also really liked the music in Power Hour. Apparently, each muscle group gets it’s own tune. I didn’t really notice the specific tunes, just that it was good workout music.

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