Cathe’s 4 Day Split

Cathe‘s 4 Day Split is an amazing split series cardio + strength workout collection. It contains 4 full cardio + strength workouts: Higher Intensity Step with Chest and Back, Lower Intensity Step with Shoulders and Core, Bootcamp with Biceps and Triceps, and Kickbox with Legs and Core. These 4 workouts are created to make the best use of your time, giving you your cardio and some heavy strength training in a single workout. But, naturally, Cathe has gone much further by making a plethora of premixes so that this wonderful series can be used any way you choose. I absolutely adore this series. The music is very motivating and the weight training reps/tempo are purposely paced so that you can lift pretty heavy.

First off, I need to state that when I bought 4DS I knew what I was getting into. I knew traditional Cathe step work was in this collection. I also knew from reading reviews that it was very complex step choreography (which I loathe). However, in addition, I also knew that it contained bootcamp and kickboxing cardio, plus the collection is FULL of amazing premixes. So I need never do the step workouts and still get all of the strength work. I knew I’d love the kickbox and bootcamp cardios from doing Cathe’s other workouts. So I bought it.

For review purposes the first thing I tried out were the step workouts. There is a premix called Double Cardio. It is 57 minutes long and combines the Higher Intensity Step with the Lower Intensity Step minus the strength work–so a cardio only workout. I hated them both. HATED them. The first thing I want to say is that Higher Intensity Step was not high intensity–it was highly complex and moderate intensity. It was dancy and complicated and not fun. Lower Intensity Step was more athletic and higher intensity–but the choreography was just as complex. During Lower Intensity Step I twisted my ankle! Each of the step workouts is set up with 3 combos with a “blast” in between each step combo. The step section ends by combining all of the combos into one long routine. I hated them and will never do them again. But like I said at the beginning, I was well aware of what I was getting into when I purchased it. I knew the step-cardio workouts would be complex choreography and that I would probably hate them and never do them again. So that part of 4DS lived up to my expectations! As side note, there is another 55 minute long pure cardio premix that combines the bootcamp and kickbox cardios–YES! That, of course, was the second workout I did. It is awesome and intense and I love it!

12/29/12 Update: Since doing 4DS I’ve started doing a lot more Cathe workouts that contain step cardio and most of them have grown on me. In fact, I love a lot of them now. However, there are a few very complex ones (Step Blast, Low Impact Challenge) that I still hate because of how incredibly complex the choreography is. However, I found many others with moderately complex choreography to be very doable and fun (Intensity, Body Max 1 and Body Max 2, the Imaxes and more). So I decided to come back and give the step cardios in 4DS another try, since I love everything else about 4DS. First, let me state that the more you do Cathe step choreography, the easier it gets. So workouts in which the step choreography was once too complex for me (Body Max) are now very fun and doable. With that said, the choreography in the step cardio of Higher Intensity Step and Lower Intensity Step is absurd. WOW! It seems even more ridiculously complex to me now that I actually do a lot of Cathe step. So I gave them a second try and they are now officially on the “never do again” list.

Ok–back to the original review–update over!

There is also a new element to all of my workouts, starting with 4 Day Split–I finally have a barbell! So I can now do Cathe’s workouts exactly as she does them. I finally get to discover if there is a difference between lifting with dumbbells and lifting with a barbell. And I did notice a difference right away. The first time I used it was for the bicep and tricep workout. For both there was a… balance issue. Not as in “I’m going to fall over” but as in one arm is stronger and appears to compensate for the other. Which seems a bit odd since I have been lifting with dumbbells all these years and I use the same poundage on both sides. Nevertheless, one arm seems stronger than the other. I also found the weight is definitely distributed differently. It felt very different from lifting dumbbells. I like the difference and feel it is definitely working my muscles in a new and different way. Next I used it for the lower body workout and WOW! What a difference! I have the bar pad for squats to protect my neck/shoulders. Not only could I go heavier, but it felt different. More balanced and way more comfortable across my shoulders than dumbbells. And finally, I used it in the back workout for underhand rows. Again, it felt different. I went pretty heavy, too—heavier than I could with dumbbells for an underhand row. No buyers remorse! I love the barbell!

On to the rest of 4 Day Split!

Higher Intensity Step + Chest and Back 58 minutes; 6 minute warm up, 23 minute step cardio, 25 minute strength, 4 minute stretch. After the warm up you go into 3 step combos interspersed with blasts and ending with all of the combos combined. The step choreography is complex and the intensity is moderate. The strength portion is set up in “rounds” and done push/pull style. In each round you will do both chest and back exercises. You will need barbell, dumbbells and 8 inch club step.

Round #1:

Supermans

One arm row with dumbbells (warm up set)

One arm row with heavier dumbbells

Push ups

One arm rows with dumbbells

Push ups

Round #2:

Underhand row with barbell

Chest flys on incline step with dumbbells

Underhand row with barbell

Chest flys on incline step with dumbbells

Round #3:

Wide one arm row with dumbbell

Decline push ups

Round #4:

Incline pullovers with dumbbells

Incline chest press with dumbbells

Round #5:

T-band Flyes using dynaband

Around the clock push ups

Lower Intensity Step + Shoulders, Core and Calves 66 minutes; 8 minute warm up, 24 minute step cardio, 30 minute strength (shoulders 13:30 minutes, calves 5 minutes and core 11 minutes), 4 minute stretch. After the warm up you go into 3 step combos interspersed with blasts and ending with all of the combos combined. The step choreography is complex and the intensity is a higher intensity than Higher Intensity Step. The strength section is set up in rounds. You do 5 rounds of shoulders (basically completely burning them out) before doing a round of calf work and ending with core work. You will need dumbbells, dyna band and high step at 14 inches.

Round #1:

Seated overhead press with dumbbells done pyramid style (so you’ll need 4 sets of weights and she goes from light to heavy)

Round #2:

Seated isolation dumbbell overhead press

Dumbbell upright rows

Round #3:

Standing straight arm lateral raise

Standing bent arm lateral raise

Round #4:

Seated front rear raise with dumbbells

Rear isolation flys with dumbbells

Seated front rear raise with dumbbells

Rear isolation flys with dumbbells

Round #5:

External rotation pulls with dynaband

Round #6:

Calf raises (toes straight, toes in, toes out)

Calf raises on 4 inch step (toes straight, toes in, toes out)

Calf raises on floor with dumbbells

The workout ends with core work then a stretch.

Bootcamp + Bicep and Triceps 62 minutes; 8 minute warm up, 23 minute cardio drills, 28 minute strength, 3 minute stretch. Bootcamp is made up of 12 drills that use a lot of equipment: 6 inch step, up to 5 dumbbells (as markers on the floor) and a 6 foot dynaband (again, as a marker on the floor). The Bootcamp portion of this workout is an excellent workout, but not the most intense cardio Cathe has done; to be more specific, some of the bootcamp drills are more intense than others. So the intensity varies. But overall I really like it. The strength portion of this workout is broken down in “Rounds” and is done push/pull style. Each round starts with tricep exercises and ends with bicep exercises. You will need barbell, dumbbell, high step at 14 inches, stability ball and dyna band.

Round #1:

Tricep dips on high step

Seated overhead tricep extensions done pyramid style; so you’ll need 4 different sets of weights (she goes from light to heavy)

Biceps are done pyramid style, too:

Standing hammer curls with twist at top (select your two sets of lighter weights)

Standing traditional bicep curls (two sets of heavier weights)

Round #2:

Lying tricep extensions with barbell

Lying tricep extensions with dumbbells

Biceps: Crazy 8s with barbell

Reverse bicep curls with dumbbells

Round #3:

Tricep dips off high step with feet on stability ball

Tricep push ups off high step

Incline bicep hammer curls with twist on stability ball (dumbbells)

Seated hammer curls on stability ball (dumbbells)

Round #4:

Single arm tricep press down with resistance/dynaband

Tricep kickbacks with resistance/dynaband

Hanging bicep concentration curls with one hand on high step (dumbbells)

Wrist curls with dumbbells

Kickbox + Legs and Core 71 minutes; 12 minute warm up, 19 minute kickboxing, 25 minute strength, core 8 minutes and 5 minute stretch. This workout has a long warm up and short cardio segment, but don’t let that fool you. The kickboxing cardio is made up of kickboxing drills and those drills start in the warm up. The warm up itself is a great workout–but wait till you get to the actual kickboxing drills–super intense! In fact, I would say the most intense cardio of the four. An awesome, intense and fun cardio segment, followed by a unique and challenging lower body workout. She did traditional lower body exercises but many of them she put a new twist on that intensified the move. My lower body was burning after this workout. As a whole, this is the most deliciously put together workout of the 4, I think. Kickboxing naturally uses your lower body on all planes and is constantly engaging your core. Then you move on to an intense lower body and core strength series. Very solid and incredible workout. And she makes very good use of the time. True, it is a relatively longish workout at 71 minutes, but considering all she crams into that 71 minutes, it’s pretty incredible. You will need high step at 4, 10 and 14 inches, barbell, dumbbells, dyna band and something to raise your heels (I used 3 pound dumbbells).

Round #1:

Warm up squats with barbell

Squats heels raised with barbell (Cathe uses a 2×4 to raise heels; I used 3 pound weights)

Deadlifts off 4 inch step with dumbbells

Round #2:

Plie squats over 4 inch step with dumbbell

Leg press on high step (14 inches) with dumbbells

Round #3:

Low plane lunges with one toe/foot on 4 inch step with dumbbells

Leg press/outer thigh lift on 10 inch step with dumbbell and ankle weights

Round #4:

Outer thigh work sitting on 14 inch step with dynaband

Squats with barbell

The workout ends with core work then a stretch.

Premixes: The premixes are AMAZING!

Cardio + Strength premixes: I love well done cardio + strength workouts–but generally not set up the ways these are, with the cardio and strength work done separately. I like them interspersed circuit style. Well, guess what? There are two premixes that give me just that mix: Bootcamp Upper Body Circuit which intersperses rounds from all of the upper body workouts (not every round mind you, but enough to give you a good upper body strength workout) with bootcamp drills (61 minutes) and Bootcamp Lower Body Circuit which intersperses the lower body rounds from Kickbox with Legs and Core with the bootcamp drills (63 minutes). To be fair, there are two more that do that as well–but they use the step cardios, so I will never do them. They are: Low Impact Circuit (68 minutes) and Higher Intensity Circuit (65 minutes).

There are premixes which swap the workouts around–strength work first followed by cardio; the workout times for those are the same as the main workout times. You can do all of the upper body work + bootcamp cardio (105 minutes), all the upper body work + kickbox cardio (103 minutes), all the upper body work + Lower Intensity Step (103 minutes) or all the upper body work + Higher Intensity Step (99 minutes).

Strength only premixes: lower body (31 minutes), Total Body (all of strength work) (97 minutes), all of the Upper Body strength work (67 minutes), Back & Biceps (25 minutes), Chest, Shoulders and Triceps (34 minutes) and Lower Body + Calves (31 minutes).

Cardio only premixes: Cardio Power (kickbox/bootcamp cardio) (55 minutes–premix screen says 53 but it is actually 55), Double Cardio (Higher Intensity Step/Lower Intensity Step) (57 minutes), High Intensity Step only (33 minutes), Low Intensity Step only (36 minutes), Kickbox only (37 minutes) and Bootcamp only (34 minutes).

To give you an idea of the amazing ways you can create a complete rotation using only this collection, I will share my 4 Day Split workout week. Nothing except 4 Day Split workouts:

Monday: Bootcamp with biceps and triceps

Tuesday: Kickbox with legs and core

Wednesday: Chest & Back + Shoulders, Core & Calves

Thursday: Cardio Power

Friday: Bootcamp Lower Body Circuit

Saturday: Upper Body + Kickbox Cardio

Sunday: Rest

So as you can see I got 5 days of cardio and worked every muscle in my body twice, all with lots of variety. And never once did those horrid step-cardios. However, if you like the step cardio, you have an even bigger variety to your workouts than I do! And of course on Sunday you can do some yoga rather than take a complete rest day (which is what I will probably do).

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13 responses to “Cathe’s 4 Day Split

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  2. I am an avid follower of your blog, and really appreciate the advice you gave me regarding barbells (I eventually selected Les Mills and love it). I just ran through this series again over the last four days. As usual, I really wish we lived within travel distance, because I would love to work together through these step combinations! I agree they are complex; however, in the long run, the complexity is what gives them lasting appeal…it is fun and mentally challenging to keep your focus and move to the music!

    • I don’t know! I have two left feet. I’ve never been a much of a dancer. I look like Elaine from Sienfeld when I try! (am I showing my age?) (o:

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  6. Hello!

    I’ve begun the 4 day split workout but feel I am not making the most without a barbell set. Which set did you buy it currently own for the series? I am overwhelmed by the many options I find that I am unable to make a decision and buy something already. This will be my first barbell set and I am not sure I want to invest more than $150-$200 on a set being that I am a beginner.

    Please let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Patti

    • Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I wasn’t on the computer much yesterday. I can’t remember the brand name of the barbell I got but I got it from Dicks Sporting Goods. It was $100 for a barbell (which weighs 15 pounds) + 100 pounds of plates. I have since increased my plates by just buying them in increments from Dick’s. I also bought a new barbell at a later date off of Amazon for $45. I needed a longer one to fit my bench press/squat rack. That one weighs 20 pounds. It didn’t come with plates. For a beginner to using a barbell and for Cathe’s workouts (not counting STS–STS is why I needed the longer barbell) I would recommend just getting something inexpensive and adding to it as your strength/need increases. This is what I got–I might have paid the $110 it is asking or maybe it was $10 cheaper when I bought it, it was a while ago so I don’t remember: http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=19734976&cp=4406646.4413986.12598195

      Also, via Amazon, I bought different clips. You have to change your plates quickly and those screw on clips don’t work for Cathe’s workouts–they take too long. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IQD7UWO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      Hope this helps!

      • Thank you so much. This definitely helps. I have a coupon from Dicks that I can use as well!

        Patti

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

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