Cathe’s Slow and Heavy

Slow and Heavy is another of Cathe’s amazing multi-workout DVDs. I’m going to review some of her multi-workout DVDs differently now that I’m doing her split workouts. If it is a DVD that contains split workouts, I’ll review all of the splits in one post since they are designed to be used in conjunction with each other. However, keep in mind that Cathe has a lot of split workouts and they all either have premixes or, if they are older, “mix and match” sections—so you could do back and biceps from one split series, legs from another, and shoulders and triceps from a third if you wish. Pretty cool, huh?

Slow and Heavy is a pretty amazing split series. There was an aspect of it I wasn’t prepared for. Yes, I knew it was going to be “slow and heavy,” but what surprised me is the long break between sets–approximately a full minute of rest between sets. I’m ok with that because the super-slow tempo really burned my muscles out. I will say, however, that I am used to working up quite a sweat when I workout—that includes my strength workouts, not just cardio. So the fact I didn’t sweat nearly as much as usual when doing these workouts was a bit disconcerting. However, the DOMS afterwards was significant–some of the worst I’ve had in long time. I did do doubles on the days I did these workouts—just to set my own mind at ease, not because I found any deficiency in these exceptional workouts. Since I workout 4:30am every morning, on the days I did Slow and Heavy in the morning, I did Cathe’s 30 minute HIIT workouts in the afternoon after I got home from work.

This is one of Cathe’s older workouts, so we have the same introduction at the beginning of each workout. It is 2:45 minutes long and you can’t skip it, so you’ll have to fast forward through it. In it, she states that because you are lifting so slow, you probably will not be able to lift as heavy of weights as you normally do and I found this to be true. I will say that I either used the same weight as Cathe or went heavier. For the majority of the exercises in all of the workouts she does 3 sets of each exercise and each set consists of 8 super-slow reps. The super slow tempo was usually a 2/6 tempo count–2 up and 6 down, or 2 down and 6 up. It took real focus and control to do this count properly with heavy weights.

I expected these workouts to be done in a push-pull fashion, since they are working opposing muscle groups. For example, in the Bicep and Tricep workout—I expected a bicep exercise followed by a tricep exercise and back and forth. Cathe, of course, did not do what I expected. She does all of the tricep work first. Then all of the bicep work. This is how it is set up in all of the workouts. Each muscle group is worked in its entirety separately. This, again, makes it easier to split the workouts up anyway you want. You could do legs and biceps one day if you wish and triceps and back another. Or, if you want shorter workouts–do one muscle group a day.

Triceps and Biceps: 60 minutes; 2:30 minute warm up, 55 minute training period and 2:30 minute stretch.  To break the strength work down further: triceps 23 minutes, biceps 24 minutes and abs 7:30 minutes. The warm up is very basic—you are warming up your biceps and triceps without weights. For this workout you will need dumbbells, a barbell and a 14 inch step/bench to lay and sit on.


3 sets seated French press (dumbbells)

3 sets lying tricep extensions (skull crushers) (dumbbells)

3 sets tricep kickbacks (dumbbells)

2 sets tricep dips off the step


3 sets dumbbell curls

3 sets hammer curls (dumbbells)

3 sets barbell curls

The next two exercises are in the “bicep” section, but actually work the forearms:

Barbell wrist curl (only one set)

Dumbbell reverse wrist curl (only one set)

The workout ends with tough abdominal work. My arms were burning and trembling by the end of this workout. I love it!

Legs and Shoulders: 64 minutes; 3 minute warm up, 59 minutes strength training and 2 minute stretch.  To break the strength work down further: legs/glutes 29 minutes and shoulders 30 minutes.

Legs and Shoulders is a little different from the other two workouts and that is because of the lower body segment. To begin with, the warm up is slightly more intense. In Biceps & Triceps and Chest & Back, the warm ups consisted of warming up the body parts you will be working. Well, the same is true of Legs & Shoulders–but you get a more active warm up due to warming up the lower body. In addition, the lower body segment has something called “pre-exhaust sets.” It is a single set of alternating moves that are neither slow nor heavy. I got a lot warmer and sweatier in this workout than I did in the other two. It could be due to the pre-exhaust sets or the fact it is a lower body workout, which warms you up more anyway–or a combination of both!

Cathe uses fairly light weights on the pre-exhaust sets and because it was my first time doing the workout, I used the same weight as she did. But in the future I can go heavier on all of the lower body exercises, including the pre-exhaust sets, and get a better workout. I also didn’t understand why we only did two sets of overhead presses on the shoulders. I was at failure on the last rep of the second set–but that’s the point, right? She gives us a one minute recovery between sets. I wanted another set!

Equipment needed: barbell, dumbbells and a tall step to sit on.

Lower Body:

1 pre-exhaust set of alternating lunges with dumbbells

3 sets barbell squat

1 pre-exhaust set of alternating rear lunges with dumbbells

2 sets barbell static lunges (2 sets on each side)

1 pre-exhaust set side lunges with dumbbell

3 sets plie squats with dumbbells

2 sets of 25 calf raises with dumbbells


3 sets front raises with dumbbells

3 sets side lateral raise with dumbbells

3 sets posterior delt raise with dumbbells

2 sets seated overhead press with dumbbells

2 sets side lying external rotation (rotator cuff) with dumbbells

Chest and Back: 59 minutes; 3 minute warm up, 54 minute training period and 2 minute stretch. To break the strength work down further: chest 26:30 minutes, back 21 minutes and planks 6 minutes. This one was very tough and very effective. I am suffering some serious DOMS the next day. You know you hit the muscles hard when it hurts to lift your purse afterward. For this workout you need dumbbells, a 14 inch bench that also inclines and a mat. Optional are wrist and ankle weights for supermans. No barbell for this workout.


3 sets bench press

3 sets chest flys

3 sets of incline bench press

3 sets of incline chest flyes

1 set of slow push ups


3 sets bent-over rows

3 sets pullovers

3 sets of straight leg deadlifts

2 sets supermans—first set 16 reps, second set 8 reps

The workout finishes with plank holds. You do 3 different kinds of planks: low planks on elbows/forearms, high straight arm planks on hands and supine straight arm planks. You hold each plank variety for approximately one minute.

Summary: Overall I found this an excellent and effective split series. I really enjoyed it and have some serious muscle soreness. This is the workout you are looking for to bust through a strength plateau. It is one I will work into my routines regularly–3-4 times a year.

3 thoughts on “Cathe’s Slow and Heavy

  1. Hi there and Happy Holidays to all!! Just received Cathe’s Slow and Heavy. Just wondering if anyone has a super rotation using this DVD with other Cathe’s Dvds or others to mix it up a bit. Thanks


    Liked by 1 person

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