Xtrain: Burn Sets


Burn Sets contains two upper body strength workouts in which you lift heavy weights. The two main workouts are Chest, Back & Shoulders, and Bi’s & Tri’s; however, these muscle groups are also put together in all different ways–see the many premixes below. So this is an excellent split series–designed to be used however is most convenient for you. Each muscle group has its own segment and those individual segments are actually the “Bonus Burn Sets” that are included as bonuses in the cardio workouts and integrated into some of the cardio premixes (so that you can get cardio + strength workouts). The only bonus on this DVD is Bonus Core #1 which is reviewed at the end.

Xtrain Burn Sets is part of Cathe‘s Xtrain series. For more info on the series as a program see My Intro to Xtrain.

Unlike the majority of the other workouts in Xtrain, there is exercise repetition. Even though I absolutely LOVE how no exercise is repeated in most of the other Xtrain workouts, I also really love this workout. I have done all of Cathe‘s strength workouts (except the STS program) and these are the heaviest lifting workouts I have done. You can go seriously heavy. I love the way she sets it up, too. You do 3 sets of each exercise (except for the burn set–but I’ll get to that in a moment); for sets 1 and 2 you do 10 reps and for the third set, you lift to failure. This is such a great way to make sure you are truly lifting as heavy as you possibly can. In fact, I don’t even think you need to do 1RM (1 rep max test) to make sure you are lifting the correct amount of weight. Just follow Cathe’s instructions and you are automatically lifting the proper amount of weight. It only took me one time through this workout to know if my weight needed to be adjusted in the future. If on the third set I failed around the 10th rep then I was spot on. If I kept going past 12 reps–I need to lift heavier next time. There weren’t any I failed before the 8th rep but a few I struggled to push out rep 8 on the third set, so that was the perfect weight in my opinion. Each muscle group has 3 exercises that you use this pattern with. Once you finish the three exercises, you do a “burn set” on the muscle group to completely burn out the muscle. You only do one set of the burn set exercise and you do a lot of reps.

Both workouts use the same warm up and stretch.

If used properly (as in the rotations Cathe created for this program), I can see the combination of these workouts will give you some serious muscle confusion and give you great results. You are lifting heavy weights in Burn Sets, moderate weights in the other two strength workouts (Chest, Back & Shoulders, and Bi’s & Tri’s), and you get metabolic weight training in Super Cuts. Add in the 100 Rep Challenges and I don’t see how you can’t get superior results. Since I am doing the 90 Day Undulating Rotation, we shall see!

Burn Sets: Chest, Back & Shoulders 51 minutes; 5 warm up, 41 minute training period and 5 minute stretch.  I found this workout to be very challenging–well, because I challenged myself! I lifted as heavy as I could and I failed when I was supposed to on the 3rd set almost every time. And the very few times I didn’t–I will be sure to lift heavier weights next time. Very tough workout! The next day my shoulders and chest were very sore!

Chest (14 minutes)
Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
Chest Fly (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
Incline Dumbbell chest press (3 sets on step w/ 2&5 risers)
Burn Set: Push ups (1 set/16 reps)

Back (13 minutes)
One Arm Row (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
Double Arm Row (3 sets)
Seated Rear Delts (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
Burn Set: Superman (1 set/24 reps)

Shoulders (14 minutes)
Standing Overhead Dumbbell Press (3 sets)
Single Arm Lateral Raise (3 sets)
Single Arm Rear Delt Fly (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
Burn Set: Forward Lunging Scarecrow (1 set/11 reps)

Burn Sets: Bi’s & Tri’s 37 minutes; 5 warm up,  28 minute training period and 5 minute stretch. I really pushed myself on the bicep portion of this workout and I am feeling it. Triceps are not as easy to push. They are a smaller muscle group and you have to increase weight in smaller increments. I used 12 pound dumbbells like Cathe. They worked fine on the bench tricep extensions (just barely–before the 90 days is over I will need to increase the weight) but were too light for the kickbacks. Next time I will try 15 pound dumbbells for that one, but I fear it will be too heavy. She makes the suggestion of using weighted gloves which I will try if the 15 pound dumbbells don’t work.

Biceps (14 minutes)
Standing Dumbbell Curls (3 sets)
Simultaneous Rotational Curl (3 sets)
Seated Concentration Curl (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
Burn Set: Hammer Curl Double Arm Crazy 8’s (1 set/24 reps)

Triceps (14 minutes)
Tricep Push Ups (3 sets)
Flat Bench Tricep Extension (3 sets on step w/ 5 risers)
One Arm Tricep Kickbacks (3 sets)
Burn Set: Double Arm Tricep Extension with tubing (1 set/14+ pulses)

Bonus Core #1 is 10:30. It is a great core workout. Bonus Core #2 is tougher, but this one is still pretty challenging. You start with full sit ups with speed bag arms. Then you do pulse crunches with hands to knees, then hands behind head. Sit up touching hands to knees, toes, knees and lay back down to mat. You alternate this move with pulse crunches touching hands to knees. Next is frog style crunches (knees to side and bottoms of feet touching). In banana position, twist to the side bringing in knees and touching opposite knee to elbow–alternate (this is a tough move!). In C-sit position with knees bent and feet off ground, do oblique twists. Next is something Cathe calls stacked crunches. What is stacked is your feet. Both legs are extended straight and one heel sits on the opposite toe. As you crunch up, you lift the top leg. Next is full sit ups. The workout ends with a plank series. First, while in straight arm plank, alternate bringing your foot to your hand. Then drop to elbows (low plank) and alternate bringing your knees to your arms. Next is a “jog” while still in low plank–alternating dropping your knees to the mat. The plank series ends by holding low plank. Then she briefly stretches out your core.

Chest, Back & Shoulders + Core #1 61 minutes
Bi’s & tri’s + Core #1 48 minutes
Chest only 14 minutes
Back only 13 minutes
Shoulders only 14 minutes
Biceps only 14 minutes
Triceps only 14 minutes
Upper Body 79 minutes
Upper Body + Core #1 89 minutes
Chest + Shoulders + Triceps 51:30 minutes
Chest + Shoulders + Triceps + Core #1 62 minutes
Chest + Back 36:30 minutes
Chest + Back + Core #1 47 minutes
Back + Biceps 36:30 minutes
Back + Biceps + Core #1 47 minutes


20 thoughts on “Xtrain: Burn Sets

    1. Now that I do primarily YouTube workouts I don’t create workout cards anymore–so I put my file box of workout cards in storage. I will have to dig them out when the weather is better. We are getting several days of bad weather. Once it passes I will find them and update this post.


  1. how many days a week should I do chest back and shoulders and bi’s and tri’s? I will be doing them on seperate days.


    1. That’s really a personal preference. I always like to hit each muscle group twice a week but a lot of people only hit each muscle group once a week. It really depends on how intense and heavy you are lifting. The heavier you are lifting and the more intense the workout, the longer you need to give your muscles to recover. So if you are really burning them out using the heaviest weight you can lift (with good form, and being close to or at failure on your last 1-2 reps) then hitting each muscle group once a week is sufficient.


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