**Updated 10/25/15 (scroll to bottom)
STS Total Body is a 66 minute strength workout by Cathe and it is amazing. One of the most challenging pure strength workouts I have ever done. 6 minute warm up, 55 minute training time and 5 minute stretch.
The key to getting the full benefit of this workout is to lift 60 to 80 percent of your one rep max. If you purchased the entire STS program (36-40 workouts) it comes with instructions on how to determine your one rep max. Cathe’s website also has a free workout manager that has information on how to determine your one rep max. It is a time consuming process because you need to determine it for each individual move. So I did it my way; I lifted to muscle failure–as heavy as I was able for the amount of reps in a set. More on this in a moment.
STS Total Body is structured in trisets. A triset is three moves completed consecutively with no rest between them. You get a short break then you repeat the triset. You get a longer break (which you use to set up equipment) before you move on to your next triset. The first time you do the triset you do 16 reps. When you repeat the triset you do 12 reps. In addition, some of the trisets (the upper body trisets) have “bonus burns” tacked onto the end to completely burn out the muscle group. This feeds back into how I chose the weight I was going to use for each exercise. I am familiar with how much I can normally lift for a move and for how many reps I can lift that amount of weight for. My goal was to reach muscle failure by rep 16, so I chose according to how much I thought I could lift for 16 reps. I didn’t always choose right, so for the next 12 rep triset I would pyramid up or down depending on whether or not I reached muscle failure. In the end, it will come back to doing the workout more often–the more familiar I become with the moves, the more I will know how heavy I can lift.
This workout is equipment heavy: barbell, dumbbells, a step that will be used at 4 inches (just the topper) and 14 inches, one sliding disk, a flat (non-handled) 6 foot resistance band (dynaband) and a yoga mat. She also uses a tower to hold her barbell, but it is not essential for the workout.
The workout starts with a warm up using light weights–squats, deadlifts, rows, static lunges and bicep curls. You need your barbell for the warm up but with light plates on it (I used 15 pounds total). The times listed are approximates.
Triset #1 (8:30 minutes): dumbbell squats, elevated lunges (back foot on 4 inch step topper), power barbell deadlifts. One triset of 16 reps followed by one triset of 12 reps.
Triset #2 (9:30 minutes): barbell bench presses (laying on 14 inch step), dumbbell flies (still laying on 14 inch step), tricep dips (off of 14 inch step). One triset of 16 reps followed by one triset of 12 reps. *Bonus burn: 8 tricep push ups and 16 regular push ups.
Triset #3 (9:30 minutes): barbell rows with underhand grip, one arm dumbbell rows, dumbbell curls. One triset of 16 reps followed by one triset of 12 reps. *Bonus burn: “T” raises with band (loop band around foot and lift straight arms in a T), choke up on band to do band bicep curls.
Triset #4 (6 minutes): narrow stance dumbbell squats, static dumbbell lunges, stiff leg barbell deadlifts. One triset of 16 reps followed by one triset of 12 reps.
Triset #5 (6:30 minutes): dumbbell military press, barbell upright rows, straight arm lateral raises (dumbbells). One triset of 16 reps followed by one triset of 12 reps. *Bonus burn: band rear delt raises while standing.
Triset #6 (7:30 minutes): side slide plate lunges (dumbbells), back slide plate lunges (dumbbells), wide stance barbell deadlifts. One triset of 16 reps followed by one triset of 12 reps.
The first move is a roll up. She gives many variations of how to do this move, but basically you have bent open knees with soles of feet touching and you roll up and down with hands in front of you or behind head.
Full leg presses (knees in and out while in C-sit).
Row with the band. You will do two sets of this; the first with just the band and the second with the band and a 3 pound hand weight. You fold the band in half and hold in both hands, arms overhead. You will be rotating to the side and bringing the arm down (on the same side you are rotating) toward the ground. You will also keep the leg elevated on the same side that you are rotating towards. You do that on both sides of the body, then add the hand weight to the side you are rotating toward. I seriously felt this in my obliques and lats. Very effective.
The workout ends with a much needed stretch.
It also includes a bunch of premixes, including an upper body only premix (24 minutes), lower body only premix (23 minutes–does not include warm up or cool down), no bonus burn premix (60:30 minutes), no bonus burn and no abs (52 minutes) and no abs premix (58 minutes). There are more premixes than what I listed, but those are (in my opinion at least) the most significant of the premixes (scroll to bottom for all premixes).
This is an incredible full body workout if you make the effort to lift as heavy as you can. It has sealed my decision to (eventually) get the entire STS program.
**Updated 4/23/14: I have had this workout a long time and I just discovered there is a bonus segment that is only included in at least one (maybe more) of the premixes. Pull ups! It is in the first premix listed below (Timesver – Compound Only Exercises) and possibly more.
**Updated 10/25/15: There is a lot more bonus work on this DVD than I thought! There are 3 more supersets that are apparently also included in the premixes (but obviously not the main workout). I still have not done any of the premixes, only the full workout, so I don’t know which ones. On a forum I found that the supersets below are included in these two premixes: Compound Only Exercises(53:44) and Timesaver: Compound Only + No Abs (44:53).
The supersets are set up exactly the same structure as the trisets–sets of 16 and 12; the only difference is you are doing 2 exercises, not 3.
Chest/Tricep Superset is 3:30 minutes and consists of barbell chest presses and tricep dips.
Shoulder Superset is 4:30 minutes and consists of military presses with barbell rows
Back Superset is 4:30 minutes and consists of lat rows and pull ups.
Timesaver – Compound Only Exercises 53.44 min
Lower Body Only – 22.29 min
Upper Body Only – 24.00 min
Timesaver – No Bonus Burn – 60.32 min
Timesaver – No Bonus Burn + No Abs – 51.40 min
Timesaver – No Abs – 57.54 min
Timesaver – Compound Only + No Abs – 44.53 min
Timesaver – Single Sets – 45.50 min