Imax 3 is the third workout in Cathe’s Imax series. It is 59 minutes; 9 minute warm up, 41 minute step/HIIT/cardio, 9 minute cool down/stretch. Cathe and crew used a 6 inch step.
I love the other two Imax workouts, so I was looking forward to Imax 3. I did my research and I knew that Imax 3 was supposed to be the most difficult Imax workout in all domains—complex choreography and more intense blasts. In addition, it turns out the recovery periods are shorter. None of these things are lies. This was a very tough workout and the hardest of the 3. And just like the other two Imaxes, it is a high impact workout.
First let me get the structure of the workout out of the way. It is set up the same as the other two Imax workouts. After the warm up there are 10 intervals. Each interval is made up of a step routine that is repeated 6 times, a blast (HIIT) and a recovery period. There is no learning curve in any of the Imax workouts; meaning, you jump right into the step routine and it is done 6 times with no teaching or layering.
Just like in the reviews of Imax 1 and Imax 2, I am not going to break down the step routines, but here is a breakdown of the 10 blasts. These blasts are longer and much more involved than the blasts from Imax 1 and Imax 2.
1. over the top, side hop turn, turn back straddle then 16 straddle taps, power 7, jump on and off step 16 times. Repeat this sequence 4 times.
2. step knee, 2 jacks, power squat, hop on and off step–repeat this 3 times then power squat 4 times changing direction with each one. Repeat this sequence 4 times and end with 8 power squats.
3. step knee, 3 long hop turns, 4 star bursts on side of step, 27 plunge lunges of varying tempos and arm movements. Repeat 4 times.
4. on the floor jump forward the length of the step, jump to the side, jump turn, tuck jump, ricochet then jack–repeat 6 times, then do 3 A-steps, turn step, 3 A-steps–then repeat the whole sequence.
5. 24 plie jacks, 4 criss-cross recovery jumps, 16 plie jacks, 4 criss-cross recovery jumps, 8 plie jacks, 4 cross-cross recovery jumps, 8 plie jacks, 4 criss-cross recovery jumps.
6. knee off side, over step (laterally) 3 times, uneven lunge, circle over (laterally), uneven lunge, circle over (laterally), 9 wide lunges (off step), 14 wide lunges, 14 wide lunges–then repeat the sequence.
7. straddle down and jump up 8 times, jump up and down 8 times, triple straddle jump combo 8 times, jumping jacks on step 8 times. Repeat sequence.
8. on floor do one plyo jack, one air jack, one tuck jump then alternate knees–do this sequence 3 times then end with 4 plyo jacks. Repeat whole sequence 4 times.
9. knee off side, lateral over the top twice, side hop turn to back (now your back is facing the tv), lateral over the top 3 times, side hop and turn to face front, 7 power abductions off side of step, 7 power leg extensions off side of step. Repeat sequence 4 times.
10. jump wide onto step, jump together (bring feet together while still on step), jump down (off step)–repeat this sequence 4 times, then 8 wide jump squats, 8 air born jumps (feet together). Repeat whole sequence 3 times.
The Imax workouts are basically on a complexity continuum, with Imax 1 having the simplest choreography and Imax 3 the most complex. And obviously Imax 2 falls somewhere in the middle. The intensity doesn’t fall in the same order, though. First, I have to point out that all three are intense workouts. However, Imax 2 is the least intense of the three and Imax 3 is the most intense. Imax 1 is close behind Imax 3.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about Imax 3. I wanted to love it. I so love the other two. And I definitely don’t hate Imax 3. But the choreography was so complex! The step choreography for the warm up wasn’t overly complex and that bolstered me initially. I’ve done a lot of Cathe step workouts over the past few months and I am really catching on to her step routines. I was hoping that Imax 3 wouldn’t be as difficult for me to do as I feared. But I was wrong. Almost every single interval had complex choreography and even the simpler routines were still more complex than the step routines in Imax 1 and 2! Oh—and the blasts! No easy choreography there either. Surprise! Yeah. I didn’t expect to get lost on the blasts.
Now, remember that you do each step routine 6 times before moving into the blast. In Imax 2, I sometimes fumbled the first or second time through, but by the 3rd time through, I had caught on. That happened sometimes in Imax 3. The rest of the time? I couldn’t even catch on by the 6th time through! Now, I am not saying I merely stood there staring at the TV. I was able to catch onto some of the steps in the routine, but others just eluded me. I will say that every single blast was so intense that fumbling through the choreography did not stop me from getting an excellent and intense workout. As for the level of complexity of the blasts—I was able to catch onto those relatively quickly. There were a few that I feared I would miss out on my HIIT because I had to stand and watch for a few seconds, but I had nothing to fear. These are long HIITs. So once I caught on, there was still plenty more to do.
Let’s talk recovery. I don’t really have a problem with the shorter recovery period. However, two little quibbles. The first actually leads into the second. The recoveries in all of the Imax workouts are “active” recoveries. In Imax 1 and Imax 2 you are doing grapevines and stepping side to side. You do that sometimes in Imax 3, too; but other times you continue to do knee lifts on the step. Yes, that is lower intensity than a blast, but not as low as the recoveries in the other two Imaxes. Now, again, this wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the problem of complex choreography. If the choreography was simple, I would be ready to launch into the next step routine after a shorter, more active recovery. But it’s not simple choreography. So you are sucking wind after a long anaerobic HIIT—you get a short active recovery, then you have to fumble through complex choreography. I don’t know about you, but my brain isn’t in the right gear at that point to absorb fast-paced sequences.
Does all of this mean I don’t like Imax 3? Not at all. Like I said, I have mixed feelings about it. I do not like it as much as Imax 1 or Imax 2, but because this is clearly such an intense workout (and did I mention the music? Awesome music!), I want to give it a chance. So I will be doing this workout regularly to try to learn the choreography better. I have a feeling that once I get the choreography down I will probably love it, too. But it will take time.
There is another reason why it is important for me to learn the Imax 3 choreography. Cathe created a compilation DVD using some of the Hardcore workouts and one the main workouts used in these compilations is Imax 3. She has several compilation workouts, but the two that are most similar to each other are Terminator and Hardcore Extreme. Both of these compilations contain 3 long “premixes.” Each of these long premixes is pieced together using 4 workouts from the series. For Terminator, the workouts are from the Intensity series and Imax 2 appears in all 3 Terminator workouts. Well, Imax 3 plays the same role in Hardcore Extreme. Hardcore Extreme uses 4 workouts from the Hardcore series: Imax 3, High Step Challenge, Low Max and Kick Max to create 3 long premixes. Imax 3 is the only one of those 4 workouts that appears in all 3 of the premixes. And I of course own Hardcore Extreme! I LOVE the Terminator workouts and I am expecting to also love the Hardcore Extreme workouts—so I really want to learn the Imax 3 choreography! Especially since High Step Challenge is one of my favorite workouts and one of the premixes combines Imax 3 and High Step Challenge. I just know I’m going to adore that one!
Premixes: All 10 Blasts only 24 minutes, Step only (no blasts) 31 minutes, Intervals 1-5 35 minutes, Intervals 6-10 37 minutes.