Xtrain: Chest, Back and Shoulders


Chest, Back & Shoulders is part of Cathe‘s Xtrain series. For more info on the series as a program see My Intro to Xtrain.

Chest, Back & Shoulders is 51 minute split series strength workout; 5 minute warm up, 42 minute training time and 4 minute stretch. This workout also includes Bonus Core #1 and 100 Rep Challenge Lateral Raises which will be reviewed below. Equipment needed for the main workout: dumbbells, stability balls and medium resistance tubing. Cathe states that for this workout you should be lifting 70% of your 1RM (1 rep max).

I love this workout. It was the first Xtrain workout I did and it delivered all I expected from Cathe’s new series. The first thing I (unexpectedly) loved is that you never repeat an exercise. They are done once. Since there are 8 rounds, and each round has 3 exercises; one for the chest, one for the back and one for the shoulders, you end up working each muscle group comprehensively. Then do what I do–tack on one of the two shoulder 100 Rep Challenges (Lateral Raises or Scarecrows) and you will completely burn out your muscle groups. BTW–the Scarecrow 100 Rep Challenge is not included on this DVD and I’m not sure why. It is included on Cardio Leg Blast and All Out Low Impact HIIT. I love how she includes her bonuses on multiple workouts; however, it seems appropriate that a rotator cuff challenge should be included with a shoulder workout. Just saying.

Anyway–I ADORED this workout! It was fun and challenging. And as I mention in other reviews, expertly pieced together. Before each exercise, the bottom half of the screen tells you what exercise you are about to do, how many reps you will be performing and the weight that Cathe uses.

Round One
Tempo Push Up
One arm Rotational Row
Side Leaning Lateral Raise

Round Two
Dumbbell Press on Ball
T Band Pull
Shoulder Circle

Round Three
Reach Tap Push Up
T Prone on Ball
Seated Alternating Dumbbell Overhead Press

Round Four
Chest Fly on Stability Ball
One Arm Row with tubing
Bent Over Rear Delt Drop Sets

Round Five
Lower Chest Incline Fly on ball
Dumbbell Pullover on Stability Ball
Double Arm Upright Row

Round Six
Incline Dumbbell Press on Stability Ball
Back Fly on Stability Ball
Dumbbell W Press on Ball

Round Seven
Three Way Chest Fly
One Arm Row
Simultaneous Incline Hammer Front Raise on Ball

Round Eight
Push Up
Superman Y on Ball
Lateral Raise with 10-20 Degree Tilt Dropset

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.

100 Rep Challenge Lateral Raises (8 minutes). This challenge is done the same as the others. Cathe gives instructions as one crew member performs the challenge. As of the writing of this challenge review I have done 4 of the 5 challenges and lateral raises is my least favorite. However, it is correctable I think. I do understand that when you are doing 100 reps you can’t go heavy, yet 3 pounds felt like nothing to me–even for a 100 reps. And what really surprised me is that the crew member (Brenda) stopped for breaks more often than the other crew members during a challenge (at least in the 4 challenges I’ve done).  An easy fix will be to lift heavier dumbbells and take less breaks–and I will the next time I do this challenge, but the first time I do these challenges I am doing them just as the crew member does the exercise and this one did not challenge me at all. This was after doing Burn Sets: Chest, Back and Shoulders! Which is a heavy lifting workout–so my shoulders were already burned out and this challenge still didn’t challenge me–at least not with 3 pound dumbbells. Here is Brenda’s count: 38 reps, 30 second break, 20 more reps, 30 second break, 17 more reps, 30 second break, 15 more reps, 30 second break, last 10 reps=100.

Edit: It was pointed out by a reader that the crew members have been filming workouts all day and their muscles are probably already fatigued. This is, of course, true. Cathe mentions in most (if not all) of the 100 Rep Challenges to go at your own pace, which is what the crew members are doing. I noticed myself that when doing the 100 Rep Bicep Challenge that I needed more rests when I did the challenge after Burn Sets Bi’s & Tri’s than after I did the regular Bi’s and Tri’s workout. So Burn Sets burned my biceps out more, which made the challenge more difficult. This is obviously what is going on with some of the crew members—their muscles are burned out.


Chest/Back/Shoulders + Core #1 62 minutes

Chest/Back/Shoulders (No Resistance Tubing) 49 minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 4) 32 minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 4) + Core #1  43 minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 5)  37 minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 5) + Core #1  47 minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 6)  41 minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 6) + Core #1  51  minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1- 7)  46  minutes

Timesaver (Rounds 1-7) + Core #1  56 minutes

Extreme (Rounds 1- 8) + (Rounds 1- 3) + Core #1  78  minutes

Double Trouble  94 minutes


19 thoughts on “Xtrain: Chest, Back and Shoulders

  1. Good Morning. A couple of questions. How often can you do the 100 rep challenges. For example if I just finished doing triceps and after that I do the 100 rep challenges for the triceps, Can I do the tricep challenge thru out the week after doing my tricep workout? Also can Abs be done everyday or should I do them every other day?

    thank You

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can do the 100 rep challenges as frequently as you do any other strength workout. So if you want to tack them onto the end of every tricep workout, do it. I know I did. I did the 90 day Xtrain rotation and tacked on 100 Rep challenges to every strength workout I did.

      As for abs, it really depends on who you talk to. Some trainers say it is a muscle group and should be treated like any other muscle group–i.e. giving it 48 hours rest before working it again. Other trainers say you can work your core every day if you want to. Personally, I don’t worry about it. So many workouts contain core work that I rarely get 48 hours of rest between working my core. So I am working it more days than I am not working it.


  2. Hi, I really like Xtrain but I don’t see anywhere on the workouts where you would incorporate the 100’s challenge. For instance, where do you put in the bicep challenge? etc. thank you


    1. Since Cathe did not include the 100 rep challenges in any premixes I always just added them on to the end of a workout. When doing the Bicep & Tricep workout I did both the bicep and the tricep 100 rep challenges at the end of that workout and since Cathe chapters her workouts so well, I did them before the stretch then returned to the stretch through the chapter menu. I did the same with the other 100 rep challenges. The 100 rep hip thrusts was the one I used more than any other. I added it on to the end of other workouts, too.


  3. Hello! My question. Which do you think would give the best upper body workout. Strong and sweaty Ramped Upper Body or Xtrain chest, back, and shoulders, bi’s and tri’s? I have done them both. I am just curious for your opinion. Thank you in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debbie,
      It’s been a while since I’ve done the Xtrain workouts though I do keep planning to return to them. If you are talking about Xtrain’s Burn Sets, then that is the best in my opinion. But if you are talking about Xtrain’s other upper body workouts then Ramped Up Upper Body wins. I have done Ramped Up Upper Body recently and that is an excellent workout that I love. But like I said, it has been years since I have done the other Xtrain upper body workouts (I’ve done Burn Sets more recently).


  4. So, can you just do Chest & Shoulders or say just Shoulders with this layout? Looks like there aren’t any premixes to divide the upper body if you do not want to do all three.


    1. The only way to do shoulders only would be to go to chaptering. She has this workout set up in trisets–so the 3 different muscle group exercises are always grouped together for each round. To do separate muscle groups you’d have to use the Burnsets DVD–different workout in Xtrain, but she does have it broken down by muscle group.


  5. commenting on how many breaks the cast members took and the weights they used – keep in mind they probably have been filming all day and multiple days in a row!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s