STS Weeks 7, 8 & 9 (Workouts 10. 11 & 12)

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


Wow! I have never strength trained like this before. STS was definitely money well spent. Well worth every cent for the program and for equipment needed to do it properly. It is also well worth the time I had to put in for the 1RM testing in order to be using the proper weight. If I had not done the 1RM testing, these workouts would not be nearly as challenging. However, I have decided to make some changes, at least in Meso 2. I will admit that my diet hasn’t been stellar but I haven’t eaten any different than I usually eat. However, during Meso 1 I gained weight. There is some controversy over how much muscle weight you can gain and how quickly. The consensus of most trainers is that you cannot gain a significant amount of muscle (that shows up on the scale) in a mere 8 weeks. When the scale does go up it is due to water retention (here is an article about it by Chalene Johnson) not muscle packing onto your body in massive amounts. The end of her article states that if the weight gain doesn’t stop after 2 weeks I need to look at what I am putting in my mouth.


Here is my issue with that. First, I am not new to lifting weights, so this should not be shocking my system in such a significant way that I am retaining excessive amounts of water. Second, I am not eating any different than I was pre-STS (except for my whey protein drinks, but I work the calories into my daily calorie allotment so I am not drinking it in addition to what I usually  consume), so why am I now gaining weight? Do I think it is muscle or fat? That is a good question. I can see this weight. I see it in my belly, my waist and my thighs. My belly and waist have always been where the weight goes when I gain, but my thighs have remained pretty stationary over the years. Well, now they are touching and I do not dig it at all. I am also lifting heavier on my lower body than I ever have in my life. Surely there is some correlation? Regardless of what all the trainers say, on the past season of Biggest Loser the winner, Danni, gained 19 pounds of muscle in approx. 3 months. NINETEEN POUNDS OF MUSCLE. This was not determined using calipers or some cheap scale that was purchased at Walmart. The Biggest Loser uses DXA to measure the contestants body composition. This is what elite athletes use to measure their body composition. This clearly conflicts with what all the trainers say. If you can’t gain a significant amount of muscle in such a short time… then how did Danni manage to do it?


With that said, do I think I gained muscle? Yes, I can tell I gained muscle–particularly in my upper body. Do I think I gained enough muscle to make the scale go up? I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t want or need bigger thighs regardless of whether they are muscle or fat. So my plan for Meso 2 is to stop using 1RM for lower body. I will still use it for upper body workouts, but not the Legs workouts. I’m not real happy about this. I am very impressed with my results (minus the weight gain) from STS. My arms have definitely changed. I am definitely much stronger. But I do not want to be bigger thank you very much. I’m a little worried about Meso 3 because of this. I bought the squat rack routines and I had every intention of doing them and squatting some serious weight. But now….. I don’t know anymore. I’ll decide when I get closer to Meso 3. We’ll see how this change works for me during Meso 2.

Enough about me. Onward with the review.  


Now that I have completed Mesocycle 1, I am pretty sure there is a lot of high quality editing going on with these DVDs. As I mentioned in the post for workouts 7, 8 & 9, there is a lot of repetition in things Cathe says—to the point of being identical—including odd hesitations in her speech. Though I have not (and do not have the time) to do an actual comparison, I believe that this repetition is due to editing. I don’t think Cathe and crew created each workout fresh in it’s entirety. I think they did all of the exercises in Meso 1, then edited them according to workout. Meaning they filmed lots and lots of exercises then pieced them together for each individual workout. Due to wardrobe differences, I do think they did the body parts separately. Such as one day they did all of the leg segments. Another day they did all of the Chest, Shoulder and Bicep exercises; and another day they did all of the Back and Tricep exercises. The reason it “seems” like she is saying exactly the same thing is because she is! This doesn’t really bother me, other than the odd sense of deja vu I was having. And btw—it is impossible to perceive that these workouts are pieced together—the editing is superb.


Workout #10 Chest, Shoulders & Biceps: 56 minutes; 4 minute warm up, 51 minute training time, 1 minute stretch. I’m in the final stretch of Mesocyle #1 and the weights have increased to 70% of my 1RM. And as usual—this workout is tough! Unlike Legs and Back & Triceps, other than the actual “warm up,” Cathe does not give you warm up sets for these. She starts the difficult stuff immediately. And, as you would expect at this point, I felt she worked the targeted muscle groups harder than ever. My biceps seem rock-like! **The next day my chest and delts were so sore! So the 5% increase in weight definitely made a difference!


Equipment needed: step with 5 risers or bench that inclines, chair, stability ball, dumbbells, barbell and dynaband.


Pushups – Pyramid Up (4 count)

Pushups – Pyramid Up (2 count)

Pushups – Pyramid Up (Singles)

Superset Seated Lateral Raise & Seated Rear Flys (dumbbell)

Standing Dumbbell Curl (dropsets)

Standing Dumbbell Curl (dropsets) 

Standing Dumbbell Curl (dropsets)  

Incline Chest Flys (dumbbell)

Seated Rear Flys into Band Pulls (dumbbells and band) 

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

Pushups – Wide, Standard, Narrow

Incline Side Raise on Stability Ball (dumbbell)

Seated Barbell Isolation Curls (chair)

Chest Flys on Stability Ball (dumbbell)

Lateral Side to Front Combo (dumbbell)

Incline Band Hammer Curl

Core Pushups – boot camp style

Seated Front Press Double Arms 1.5 count (barbell)

Reverse Dumbbell Curl

Stability Ball Pushups- Ball at hips, knees, feet

Functional Overhead Press (Rt & LF) then Front raise

Barbell Curls with Band Attached

Prone Pushups on Stability Ball

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

Seated Curls Alternating + Both Arms (dumbbell and chair)

Pushups 21’s

Standing Barbell Front Press 21’s 

Barbell Curl Narrow Grip 21’s 

Staggered Pushups

Standing Overhead Press Both Arms (dumbbell) (dropset) 

Standing Overhead Press Both Arms (dumbbell) (dropset) 

Standing Overhead Press Both Arms (dumbbell) dropset) 

Preacher Curl on Stability Ball Double Arm (dumbbell)


Workout #11 Back and Biceps 53 minutes; 4:15 warm up, 48 training time and 45 second stretch. What can I say, except the usual. These workouts are very difficult and this trio in particular. It is due to the increase in weight to 70% and a few new exercises, but overall, it is just hard and my muscles are aching afterward.


Equipment needed: step with 5 risers or bench, chair (or just used your step/bench), stability ball, dumbbells, barbell, dynaband and a pull up bar or resistance band.


Lat pull downs with band

Double Arm Rows with Band

Dips on chair

Seated Overhead Extensions One Arm (dumbbell)


Flat Bench Barbell Triceps Extensions

One Arm Row (dumbbell)

T-Pull with band

Flat Bench Tricep Extensions (dumbbell)

Barbell Rows

Y’s with band

Kickbacks One Arm (dumbbell)

One Arm Horizontal Row (dumbbell)

Deadlifts (dumbbell)

Seasaw Pushups (stability ball)

One Arm press Down with Band


Seated Overhead Extensions Both Arms (dumbbell)

Barbell Rows

Double Arm Rows with Band

Side Leaning One Arm Overhead Extensions on Ball (dumbbell)

Pullovers (barbell)

Kickbacks Double Arm (dumbbell)

One Arm Band Kickbacks


Cross Body Kickbacks (dumbbell)

Dumbbell Rows Both Arms (dropsets) 

Dumbbell Rows Both Arms (dropsets) 

Dumbbell Rows Both Arms (dropsets)    

Close Grip Bench Press (dumbbell) (dropsets) 

Close Grip Bench Press (dumbbell) (dropsets) 

Close Grip Bench Press (dumbbell) (dropsets) 


Workout #12 Legs 54 minutes; 5 minute warm up, 49 minute training time and 20 second stretch (really just some very brief back stretching). I know the whole point of STS is that these workouts get harder and more challenging, but my GOD. This workout was so difficult. I honestly wondered near the end of the workout if my legs would carry me through to the end of this workout. It’s hard for me to pinpoint which of the 3 workouts each week is the hardest and challenges me the most as they all have their own brutal moments. Chest, Shoulders & Biceps it’s always the bazillion push ups. Back & Triceps is the 21 rows with a very heavy barbell (80 pounds for me this week). Today was Legs. Somehow, it seems the hardest of the three every week. Today I went back to 45 pound dumbbells for the squats. Holy cow! I’ll be honest. I did every rep, but I had to set them down for the calf raises. I think next week I’ll have lighter dumbbells at the ready for the calf raises. I just could not hold the dumbbells any longer. And those nightmarish ball/wall squats.  I had to modify this time. I mean, they are immediately after elevated straight leg deadlifts with 80 pounds! My back is already feeling it after that! So… I didn’t set my dumbbells on the floor this time when doing the ball/wall squats. I gotta say–my legs were trembling anyway. But I just didn’t feel my back could handle it after the deadlifts. And this is the first workout that near the end I began to wonder if my legs were going to carry me through to the end. They did–but even now, two hours later, my glutes, hamstrings and quads are still stinging and weak.


Which leads me to a comment I want to make about the lack of stretching at the end of the Leg workouts. Ok, I know Cathe puts her Extended Stretch on every disk. And she even gives you stretches occasionally throughout the workout. However, at the end of the Legs workout your lower body is burned out. At the end of the upper body workouts you get a stretch, however brief. You need SOMETHING at the end of her Legs workouts. Of course, these are the optimal workouts to do the Extended Stretch afterward. But it is 15 minutes long and the legs workouts in Meso 1 are all nearly an hour! I have to get up 10 minutes earlier to fit in the Extended Stretch and I am already getting  up at 4:30am! I am very unhappy about this. I just do not have the time for the much needed stretch. She should give you something at the end of her Legs workouts. SOMETHING. I end up stretching out myself for 2-3 minutes afterward but I would like more. The Leg workouts in Meso 2 and 3 are shorter I believe so I plan to get up 5-10 minutes earlier on my Leg days and do the Extended Stretch on Leg days.


Equipment needs: high step, chair, Slide N Glide disks or paper plate, stability ball, dumbbells.


Squats (16 reps) + Plie Squats (16 reps) (dumbbell)

4 Point alternating Lunge (front/45 degree/side/reverse) (body weight)

Firewalkers (band)

One Leg Elevated Lunges (dumbbell)

Deadlifts Wide Stance (dumbbell)

Front Lunge Same Leg (dumbbell)

Squats (dumbbell)

Calf Raises (dumbbell)

Leg Press (dumbbell, High Step)

One Leg Slide Back Lunges with Slide N Glide disk or paper plate (dumbbell)

Side Slide Lunges with Slide N Glide disk or paper plate  (dumbbell) 

Stiff Legged Deadlift on Platform (dumbell)

Wall Squats Double Leg (stability ball and dumbbell)

Lateral Step Ups (high step and dumbbell)

One Leg Sit N Stands (chair and dumbbell) 

Squats Narrow Stance (dumbbell)

Calf Raises (dumbbell)

One Leg Deadlift (Toes Elevated) 3/1 Count (dumbbell) 

Static Low End Lunge Same Leg 3/1 Count (dumbbell) 

One Leg Sit N Slide with Slide N Glide disk or paper plate (dumbbell) 

Calf Raises (dumbbell)

Outer Thigh Lift on Stability Ball

Hamstring Roll Ins on Stability Ball

One leg Hamstring Roll Ins on Stability Ball

Frog Style Roll Ins on Stability Ball

Inner Thigh Squeeze using Stability Ball

Glute Squeeze on Stability Ball


Rotation calendar for weeks 7, 8 & 9:

Week 7

Day 1: Disk #10 Chest, Shoulders & Biceps + TurboFire HIIT 15

Day 2: To The Max 30/20 HIIT premix (+Bonus Fitness Tabata) + Ab Circuits Weights & Plates + Extended Stretch

Day 3: Disk #12 Legs
Day 4: Disk #11 Back & Triceps

Day 5: Cardio Core Circuit

Day 6: High Step Training

Day 7: Rest


Week 8

Day 1: Disk #10 Chest, Shoulders & Biceps

Day 2: Xtrain Tabatacise premix 5 (includes Core 1)

Day 3: Disk #12 Legs

Day 4: Disk #11 Back & Triceps

Day 5: Imax 3

Day 6: Terminator The Gauntlet + Ab Circuits Medicine Ball Abs + Extended Stretch

Day 7: Rest Day

I had a really hard time deciding what to do for my recovery week. The purpose of the recovery week is to recover from the heavy strength training, so I decided to go with primarily metabolic weight training. You can also see that I alternated high impact workouts with low impact to give my joints a rest.

Week 9 (Recovery Week)

Day 1: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning + Butt and Balance 

Day 2: Low Max

Day 3: To The Max Extreme premix
Day 4: Afterburn

Day 5: Crossfire + Core premix

Day 6: Low Impact Circuit

Day 7: Rest

2 thoughts on “STS Weeks 7, 8 & 9 (Workouts 10. 11 & 12)

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