Cathe’s Step Pump and Jump

SPJStep, Pump and Jump is a very cool circuit workout–and it was a relief! It comes on a multi-workout DVD. The other workout on the DVD is Step Blast, which I did not care for. It’s good to know I didn’t waste my money! I previewed Step, Pump and Jump by watching the clip on Cathe’s website and immediately became worried that that step choreography would be as complex and difficult to do as the choreography in Step Blast. It kind of looked that way when I watched the clip, but that is not the case. The choreography is moderately complex, but the difference in Step, Pump and Jump is Cathe actually teaches the step combos and gives you the opportunity to learn them. Plus the step combo routines are not long and involved. Let me give a breakdown before I go any further.

Step, Pump and Jump is a cardio + strength circuit workout that is 73 minutes long; 6 minute warm up, 16 minutes step cardio, 39 minutes of cardio + strength, 8 minutes of abs, 4 minute stretch. Cathe and crew use a 6 inch step for the first 21 minutes of the workout. Now that I’ve done the workout, I will use an 8 inch step in the future.

The choreography for the warm up and the step portion was moderately complex, but Cathe cued well and layered it very well, so you really have the opportunity to learn each combo. There are 4 combos and the complexity of the choreography increases with each combo. What is odd, is that as the complexity increases, the intensity decreases, which is why in the future I will use the 8 inch step to get the best possible workout. The music was awesome in this workout–especially during the step work. That’s when it was the most fun and motivating. It was great in the rest of the workout too (except the stretch, but I’ll get to that in a minute), but the music in the step portion was the best (in my opinion at least).

Once the step work is done, you put the step away and you move into High/Low cardio work and strength work. I really like this part. The High/Low cardio is similar to Maximum Intensity Cardio floor High/Low cardio–except not nearly as intense. Still, it’s good cardio and it’s fun. It is set up circuit style with 4 circuits. The cardio in the first 3 circuits is pretty high impact and each cardio combo has a blast (HIIT). The 4th and final cardio is all low impact cardio with no blast. Here is a break down of the circuits:

Circuit #1:
High/Low cardio
Barbell squats
Barbell deadrow/deadlifts

Circuit #2:
High/Low cardio
Barbell bicep curls
Dumbbell side lateral raises
Dumbbell front raises
Dumbbell rear delt raises

Circuit #3:
High/Low cardio
Barbell lunges

Circuit #4:
Low impact cardio
Dumbbell bench press
Dumbbell chest flys
Barbell tricep extensions

The workout ends with abdominal work. The first part is a lot of crunch variations that start out easy and get much tougher, then it finishes with a lot of plank work. (One of the premixes leaves out the ab work to give you a 65 minute workout.)

To address the music during the stretch. All the other music in this workout was great and motivating and I loved it. It is all cover songs from the 80s and 90s. Well, the stretch music is too, and it is a song I love, but the cover version of it sucks horribly! It mutilated one of my favorite songs! Linger by the Cranberries. I adore that song, but the cover is just awful.

Even though I really enjoyed this workout, I have some nitpicks. It didn’t flow well. Each individual section flowed great, but it had a “pasted together” feel to it–like a premix! In most of the Cathe’s workouts, the main workout flows. There is no “cutting and pasting” feel to them. She does the entire main workout just as you are doing it–in real time. Of course there is cutting and pasting in the premixes, but that is to be expected, since that is what they are. Also, in her newer workouts–Crossfire and To the Max–those are pieced together as well, but they are done beautifully and cleanly–expert editing. That’s not the way Step, Pump and Jump is put together. For instance, when you finish the step portion, there is a quick cut and there is Cathe and crew, starting the High/Low cardio with the step just gone. So you have to pause your DVD and put your step away–unless you have a lot of room and the step doesn’t get in your way just sitting there. Then again, at the end of the first High/Low cardio, it cuts to the strength section and there’s Cathe and crew, with a barbell already on their shoulders! WTF? Granted, she stood there long enough so that I did have time to grab my barbell and hoist it onto my shoulders, but the very moment my barbell was in place she started the squat section. No time for me to adjust or anything.

Another nitpick is the unevenness of the intensity. The step work is steady state cardio, but it starts out being decently intense then the intensity decreases! That seems odd. Then the intensity of the High/Low cardio segments is uneven. Some are pretty intense and others aren’t–same with the blasts. The third (and last) blast is in the 3rd High/Low cardio circuit and it is plie jacks. In Cathe’s other workouts that feature plie jacks, when she throws them at you, she does a lot of them–she burns your legs out completely. But in Step, Pump and Jump, after one set of plie jacks, that’s it. There wasn’t a lot of them and there was only one set. The first two High/Low cardios make you do the blast 2 times.

My last nitpick has to do with the strength work. Again, uneven. The first strength segment was long and tough–lots of reps. Then you get to the second one and I didn’t feel like my biceps and shoulders were worked nearly as hard as my lower body and back were in the first circuit. The last two circuits hit the muscle groups pretty good though. Normally, I would just increase the amount of weight I use to hit the muscles better in Circuit #2–and I will do that for the bicep work in the future, but for the shoulder work, it’s kind of hard to go real heavy. Nevertheless, I suppose I will just increase the amount of weight I use and see how that works.

Overall, I really enjoyed this workout and think the premixes will be well used as well. Well, not the premixes that combine Step Blast and Step, Pump and Jump together, because, sadly I do not like Step Blast.

Step, Pump and Jump premixes: All Step 26 minutes, Step and Weights 46 minutes, Step and High/Low 45 minutes, Step, High/Low and Weights 65 minutes, Step and High/Low circuit 44 minutes, Step and Weights circuit 46 minutes, High/Low and Weights circuit (no warm up or stretch) 39 minutes, Weights only (no warm up or stretch) 19 minutes, High/Low only (no warm up or stretch) 19 minutes.

Step, Pump and Jump/Step Blast premixes: Step and high/lo 90 minutes, step and weights 63 minutes, Step, high/lo and weights circuit 85 minutes, Step and high/lo cardio circuit 60 minutes, Step, high/lo and weights circuit 85 minutes, Step and weights circuit 81 minutes, Step and weights circuit #2 68 minutes, Weights and step circuit 61 minutes.


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