Interval Max is the first in Cathe’s Imax series. There are two more after this one—Imax 2 and Imax 3. These are tough workouts. They are all basically very long HIIT workouts. I really, really like this workout. It was tough and exhausting and rather impressive, considering Interval Max came out in 1999.
Before I go any further, Interval Max is featured on one of Cathe’s multi-workout DVDs in which she combines several workouts that originally came out on VHS. Unfortunately, there are no premixes, but the workouts are all chaptered so you can do your own mixing and matching. The other two workouts in this collection are Rhythmic Step and Maximum Intensity Cardio which will be reviewed at a later date.
Interval Max is a 60 minute cardio/HIIT workout; 13 minute warm up, 38 minute cardio/HIITs, 3 minute cool down and 6 minute stretch. There is an intro that lasts about 2:30 bringing total time to 62:30. Equipment needed: 8 inch step.
Interval Max choreography is fairly basic compared to her other step workouts—including the later Imax workouts. This is a good thing, in my opinion, because after a long and intense interval, the last thing I want to do is deal with complex choreography. From my understanding and experience, the complexity of the choreography increases with each Imax. Interval Max (or Imax 1) is the most basic; I’ve done the majority of Imax 2 in the Terminator: Imax Extreme workout and though the choreography is more complex than Interval Max, it is still more basic than other Cathe step workouts. And I’ve read reviews that Imax 3 choreography is very complex. I don’t actually own Imax 2 or 3, but they are both featured in compilation DVDs that I do own: Terminator (which combines Imax 2, Cardio & Weights, Bootcamp and Muscle Endurance into 3 long “premixes”) and Hardcore Extreme (which combines Imax 3, Low Max, Kick Max and High Step Challenge into 3 long “premixes”). I haven’t done Hardcore Extreme yet, so at this point I don’t have any personal experience with Imax 3.
Interval Max starts with a very active warm up, which is needed in light of what is to come. After the warm up, you get right into the intervals. There are 10 of them and they are all structured the same: an aerobic phase, an anaerobic phase and a recovery phase. For the aerobic phase she introduces a short, basic and (I think) fun step routine that is repeated 6 times. The anaerobic phase is shorter, but not short. I would estimate it to be a good 60 seconds, which is pretty long for a HIIT; and which also explains why this workout is so exhausting. The recovery period is very basic—grapevines, side-to-side steps and some fast walking. This workout moves very fast and for the most part it seems to fly by… the aerobic and recovery phases at least. Some of the HIITs seem to go on forever!
The intervals are all high impact moves. Some on the step, some on the floor, some on both the step and the floor. Remember—you are doing these moves for approximately a minute—so there are a LOT of reps. In fact, there are so many of some (60-70 reps—I am not exaggerating)—like plyo jacks—that you feel as if you are getting an endurance/strength workout.
The interval circuits are:
1. Power 7s on step
2. Air jumps on floor
3. Jumping repeaters on step
4. Plyo jacks on floor
5. Jumps onto step and plyo jacks on floor
6. Ski jumps on floor
7. Side lunges off step
8. Jump lunges on floor
9. Hitch kick side lunges on floor
10. Air jacks and tuck jumps
Though parts of this workout appear dated (Cathe’s outfit and headband, the cheesy set), the workout itself stands the test of time. I LOVE it. And though initially, I felt owning Terminator and Hardcore Extreme were suitable substitutes for Imax 2 and Imax 3, and therefore Imax 2 and Imax 3 were not needed—Interval Max has made me rethink that assumption. These workouts are so incredible that I want the full range of them—including the premixes that the other two contain. So Imax 2 & 3 are on their way. Reviews will be posted soon!