STS Weeks 1 & 2‏ (Workouts 1, 2 & 3 + Extended Stretch)

meso1For more information on the STS program see STS Overview and Prep

I have decided that in mesocycles 1 and 2 I will review STS biweekly, which will equal out to 3 workouts reviewed per post. Since I am doing the 5.5 month rotation I will be spending 2 months in mesocycles 1 & 2 but only a month in mesocycle 3; however in mesocycle 3 I will be doing 4 STS workouts a week, so I’m not sure how that mesocycle will play out just yet. I’ll decide as I get closer. I may do one post a week for 4 weeks reviewing 3 of the workouts in each post then a separate single post at the end that reviews all 4 of the squat rack lower body workouts.

I have also decided to do doubles on the days that I do STS strength workouts. “Doubles” for me is just two workouts in one day–usually one (the strength workout) is a full length workout and the cardio is shorter (approx 30 minutes). Since I cannot do both cardio and strength in one sitting (due to the length of the STS workouts and the fact I only have approximately 1 hour to workout in the mornings), I will be doing my cardio double after work on strength days. Also, I had initially planned to do the extended stretch on my rest day, but I would really like to keep my rest day a true rest day. So I am fitting in the extended stretch wherever it fits. I want to do it at least once a week, but hopefully 2-3 times. But we will see where it actually fits.

Since I am reviewing 2 weeks at a time, I will be writing the reviews over a two week period. At the time I started this review I had only done two of the STS workouts: Disc #1 Chest, Shoulders and Biceps and Disc #3 Legs. My first is impression is WOW. Just two workouts (out of 40) into it and I am impressed, even more excited and a little scared! The two workouts I have done so far are HARD. Very, very challenging. I have almost every Cathe workout available for purchase, including her new Xtrain series (which I adore), and so far, these are different from any of her other workouts I’ve done. First impressions—few exercises are repeated (tho some are). So, in a sense, Xtrain seems to have taken after STS in the variability.

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I am nearing the end of week 1 (have done the first 3 workouts now) and one thing I noticed, that is unexpected, is no DOMS. Every time I do one of these workouts, they are so tough that they totally burn out the muscle group they working so that I feel it for hours afterward. And of course, I am expecting some serious DOMS the next day. Except, that hasn’t happened. I am not sure what to attribute this to since I was sore throughout Xtrain. Part of me thinks maybe Xtrain prepped me for it, but part of me wonders if it is the whey protein shakes I am drinking after the strength workouts. I started doing it just for STS. I have read that whey protein increases muscle recovery and reduces soreness. So I am wondering if that is the reason because it just seems so odd that these workouts are so hardcore and challenging and my muscles feel completely burned out afterward… and yet, no DOMS.

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This format for blogging is kind of weird–adding things at different times during the two week period. But as of wiritng this I am almost done with the first 2 weeks. I’ve done each workout twice–so next week is new workouts. I can’t wait! So lets get on with the actual workout reviews.

Each workout has a short warm up and stretch before starting. Each workout also has a very short stretch at the end, which was something of a relief for me. I feared that because each disk has the separate 15 minute Extended Stretch, that we would get no stretch at the end of the workout. As it is, the stretch is very brief (1-2 minutes), but it is better than nothing. Also, she frequently has you stretch throughout the workouts; not after every exercise but probably 4-5 times throughout a workout. Since this is the first STS review post, I will also be reviewing the Exteneded Stretch in this post, but it is the exact same stretch on every disk.

Disc #1 Chest, Shoulders and Biceps: 50 minutes;  4 minute warm up, 45 minute training time, 1 minute stretch. This workout is crazy tough and moves very quickly with a lot of equipment needed: step with 5 risers each side, plus you will be inclining it (or use an incline bench if you have one), stability ball, dynaband, dumbbells, barbell, matt and chair. There are A LOT of push ups. A LOT. Very challenging workout.

Exercises:

Push Ups 1.5 count

Push Up Wide 1.5 count

Push Ups – Standard

Alternating Seated Overhead Shoulder Press (dumbbell)

Barbell Curl (crazy 8s)

Incline Chest Flys (step/bench inclined & dumbbell)

Seated Rear Delts (chair & dumbbell)

Bonus Band Pulls

Incline Curl Alternating & Rotate at Top (dumbbell & stability ball)

Decline Pushups (off inclined step)

Incline Front Raise on Stability Ball (dumbbell)

Standing Quarter Stop Curls Both Arms (dumbbell)

Prone Pushups on Stability Ball

Seated Lateral Raise Both Arms High Ends (chair & dumbbell)

Seated Concentration Curls 1.5’s (chair & dumbbell)

Straddle Pushups (step with 2 risers)

Side Leaning Lateral Raise (stability ball & dumbbell)

Seated Curls Alternating + Both Arms (chair & dumbbell)

Chest Flys (Flat Bench) (dumbbell)

Seated Overhead Press (chair & dumbbell)

Preacher Curl on Stability Ball One Arm (dumbbell)

Core Pushups – boot camp style

Seated Front Press Double Arms 1.5’s (barbell)

Reverse Dumbbell Curl

Staggered Pushups

Incline Rear Raise on Stability Ball (dumbbell)

Barbell Curl Wide Grip

Disc #2 Back and Triceps 56 minutes; 3 minute warm up, 51 minute training time, 1.5 minute stretch.

Another toughie. I really loved this workout and it is one of the reasons I wanted the squat rack/bench press rack before starting STS. When I did P90X, I was unable to use a pull up bar during the workouts because my workout room has no place for one. French doors, no closet and low ceilings (so no doorway bar and I couldn’t bring a stand alone into the room). I had to use a heavy band in the top of the French doors. In my own time (outside of the workouts), I worked on assisted pull ups in another room in the house (I bought a doorway pull up bar). By the end of P90X, I could do two full unassisted pull ups. STS has pull ups, but I didn’t want to use the bands again. With a the squat rack, I can lay a barbell across the top (where it goes for squats) to do regular pull ups (legs bent and lifted off the ground obviously–I’m not that short!), or supine pull ups by laying the barbell on one of the lower levels. Since I haven’t even attempted pull ups in a long time, I would have to do assisted ones anyway in the beginning, so for this workout, I did the supine pull ups. I LOVED it! I felt it so much more than I ever did using the bands during P90X. And I did feel it when I used the bands. I used the heaviest band Beachbody sold, so I was giving my back a good workout, but this was different. So that was a very cool part of this workout.

Just like Disk #1 and Disk #3, this workout moves fast. She does a lot of superset/burnsets in this workout, too, especially for the back. For this workout you will need a barbell, dumbbells, a bench or step with 5 risers, a chair (or just use your step which is what I did), stability ball, a dyna band, and a pull up bar or bands in doorway.

Exercises:

Lat pulldowns with band

Dumbbell Rows Both Arms

Dips on chair

Straddle Pushups using top of step

Chinups

Seated Overhead Extensions One Arm (dumbbell)

One Arm Row (dumbbell)

T-Pull with band

Flat Bench Barbell Triceps Extensions

Barbell Rows

Y’s with band

Kickbacks One Arm (dumbbell)

One Arm Horizontal Row (dumbbell)

Deadlifts (dumbbell)

Close Grip Bench Press (dumbbell)

One Arm press Down with Band

Chinups

Seated Overhead Extensions Both Arms (dumbbell)

Barbell Rows

Double Arm Rows with Band

Side Leaning One Arm Overhead Extensions on Stability Ball (dumbbell)

One arm rows

Deadlifts (dumbbell)

Kickbacks Double Arm (dumbbell)

One Arm Band Kickbacks

Pullups

Cross Body Kickbacks (dumbbell)

Lat pulldowns with band

Side Lying One Arm Pushups

Superman on Floor Arms & Legs Elevate

Disc #3 Legs: 53 minutes; 5 minute warm up, 46 minute training time, 2 minute stretch.

This is a very intense workout! Many of the exercises are very challenging with or without dumbbells and it moves at such a rapid clip (plus you are exerting yourself a lot) that you get a cardio workout from this as well. Very, very challenging. Both times I did it my glutes were stinging for hours afterward! You need dumbbells, a high step with 3 risers, a stability ball, a firewalker, a chair and a slide and glide disk or paper plate.

Exercises:

Walking Lunges & Plie Squat jumps

One Leg Touch Down Squats

Firewalkers (band)

One Leg Elevated Lunges (dumbbell and high step)

Deadlifts Wide Stance (dumbbell)

One Leg Slide Back Lunges with Paper Plate/discs

Side Slide Lunges with Paper Plate/discs

Wall Squat with stability Ball and Leg Extension

Squats (dumbbell)

Calf Raises (dumbbell)

Front Lunge Same Leg (dumbbell)

Stiff Legged Deadlift on Platform (dumbell)

Wall Squats Double Leg (stability ball and dumbbell)

Lateral Step Ups (dumbbell and high step)

Drop Side Lunges & Stand with Knee Lift (dumbbell and high step @ 6 inches)

Sequential Lunge Into Front Kick Combo (dumbbell)

Squats Narrow Stance (dumbbell)

Calf Raises (dumbbell)

Deadlifts Wide Stance (dumbbell)

Pulse leg to side strait leg 24 reps (chair)

Bent Leg Pulse to Side balance paper plate or disc (chair)

Front/Back fan Kicks 12 reps (chair and stability ball)

Calf Raises (chair)

Tibialis Press and Pulls with Stability ball (chair)

Extended Stretch: 15 minutes

The extended stretch starts with side bends

Arch back with fists in small of back

Chair twists

Swan dive then touch the floor; alternate flat back/round back in this position

Runners lunge; in runners lunge twist and raise one arm toward ceiling while other stays on floor–do to each arm

Cat/cos

Child’s pose; while in child’s pose stretch hands to each side

Cobra

Pigeon

Cat/cow

Sit on butt with legs straight in front of you and reach for toes

Bend one leg and touch foot to inner thigh–reach for toes of straight leg

Butterfly stretch

Pilates saw stretch

Roll onto back into happy baby but no rocking

Still on back bring soles of feet together and press elbows into inner thighs

Still on back raise one leg straight in air while other bent and rotate ankle

Cross leg over knee and pull up (hands on bent knees hamstring) in a glute stretch

Sit up cross-legged and rotate to the side, looking behind you and stretching your spine

Stretch neck looking down, up and to each side

Place hands behind you on floor and stretch back (chest stretch)

Round forward

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Here is my rotation calendar for the first two weeks:

Week #1

Day 1: STS #1 Chest, Shoulders and Biceps

Doubles: CTX Step and Intervals (warm up, cardio and stretch only)

Day 2: HIIT #1 40/20 + Ab Circuits: Yoga Abs + STS Extended Stretch

Day 3: STS #3 Legs

Doubles: CTX Kickbox (warm up, cardio and stretch only)

Day 4: STS #2  Back and Triceps

Doubles: CTX All Step (warm up, cardio and stretch only)

Day 5: Cardio Core Circuit + Extended Stretch

Day 6: Body Max #1

Day 7: Rest

Week #2

Day 1: STS #1 Chest, Shoulders and Biceps+ Ab Circuits Medicine Ball Abs+ Extended Stretch

Doubles: Xtrain: Hardstrikes premix 16

Day 2: Imax #1

Day 3: STS #3 Legs

DoublesXtrain: Ride premix 1***

Day 4: STS #2  Back and Triceps

DoublesXtrain: All Out Low Impact HIIT

Day 5: 4 Day Split Cardio Power premix

Day 6: High Step Challenge

Day 7: Rest

***This was the “planned” double that did not occur. I am pretty religious about working out. If I decide I am going to do doubles add them to my rotation schedule, I stick with it. But sometimes life happens and you have to be flexible. About two years ago it was a tornado. I had to get in the closet with my daughter rather doing my planned doubles workout. This time–a freak ice storm destroyed the huge tree in our front yard. My husband and I left work early to cut it up since it crashed onto the roof and driveway. Hey, life happens. Rather than do the Ride premix, I dragged branches around outside while my hands were numb with cold. I have done all my other doubles without issue; however, it has made me recall one of the (many) reasons I love to workout early in the morning when everyone else is in bed. Sometimes during the doubles my cell phone would not stop with the calls and the text messages. I never answered the phone and would only reply to my husband with a brief text telling him I was working out (implied message–you will get no more replies until I am finished). But the little distractions (and the tree falling on the roof) are just a few reasons why morning workouts rule–no one bothers me! It is me time!

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15 responses to “STS Weeks 1 & 2‏ (Workouts 1, 2 & 3 + Extended Stretch)

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  11. Oh my gosh, I had to laugh about the trying to work out with the calls and texts coming in. When we first met, my fiancé would do that while I worked out and I would send back the same response as you, but it would just ruin my concentration. I finally told him that unless someone was dying, do not call or text during my work out time. He realized then just how important that “me time” was to me! Just started reading your STS reviews…very interested in the program but also a bit scared of it as well.

    • You will love STS! It is intense and very challenging–but well worth it. I am starting my next round of STS on Monday. And YES! If I have to text or answer the phone in the middle of a workout it throws my concentration off completely and it is so hard to get back into the groove again. Morning workouts are the way to go! Especially with the late sleepers in my house. I am a morning person, so I always have the house to myself in the mornings.

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