ACEACE HIIT Series workouts are led by Chris Freytag. I have a few workouts by Chris and I really like them but I never do them anymore. They are more intermediate workouts and, well, I am an advanced exerciser now. However, when I was a more intermediate exerciser, I found them to be solid workouts.

The title alone of these workouts intrigued me, and when I saw they were led by Chris I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did. I love them! I will say that they are definitely not the most intense HIIT workouts I have ever done, and of course I have a lot to compare them to (Cathe, Amy Dixon, TurboFire, Insanity, and many more) but they are still intense little workouts. They are different than my other HIIT workouts and they are fun. I also really like having some Chris Freytag workouts that I know I will do regularly. I’ve just always liked her a lot. In these workouts, she combines a lot of things to make the workout interesting and intense: using weights to increase intensity, using your own body weight and plyometrics. In addition, if you cannot do plyomentrics for any reason, she gives a low impact modification for every single plyometric move.

The series comes with 2 disks. One disk consists of four 30 minute HIIT workouts and the second disk contains a 10 minute ab workout, a 10 minute lower body workout and a 20 minute yoga workout.

There is no crew for these workouts–it is just Chris. The 4 HIIT workouts each have a focus: Upper Body, Lower Body, Total Body and Core. The HIITs in these workouts are based on the tabata protocol, which is my favorite. Tabata HIITs consist of 20 seconds of all out 110% intensity followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You do 8 cycles of these 20/10 intervals totaling 4 minutes of hard, intense work. You then have a recovery period before doing another tabata drill. For these workouts you do 5 tabata cycles with 45 seconds of recovery between each cycle.

These tabata drills are set up similar to how Cathe sets up her tabatas. Chris gives you 4 moves, then you repeat them–giving you your 8 drills. All of the HIIT workouts are structured the same. After the warm up, she introduces the first tabata cycle (Tabata One). You do it once, have a 45 second recovery then repeat it. During the next 45 second recovery she introduces the next tabata cycle (Tabata Two). You do it once, have a 45 second recovery then repeat it. During the last 45 second recovery she introduces the third and final tabata cycle (Tabata Three). You only do Tabata Three once. Then you get a short cool down and stretch.

I will say that some of the moves were not intense enough, in my opinion, to qualify for a true tabata/HIIT move. I did find ways to increase the intensity for some of them, others I just looked at as a kind of “recovery” move, though they were never that low intensity. However, I will say that by the end of every HIIT workout I was spent. It creeps up on you and in different ways in each workout. So overall, the HIIT workouts are intense and effective workouts. They are just different than any of the other HIIT workouts I am accustomed to. But that is okay–great in fact! It adds diversity!

If I were to rate them from hardest to easiest, I would say that the Lower Body HIIT is the most intense, the Total Body HIIT the easiest. The one I like the best? The Upper Body HIIT is my favorite. And–here is the paradox–the Core HIIT worked my upper body harder than any of them–including the Upper Body HIIT! The Core HIIT was very difficult and, even though it was intense, the most difficult part was the upper body pain! I will say that when I did the Core HIIT I did it as a double (2nd workout of the day done later in the day–after work), and that morning I did an intense upper body strength workout (STS Chest, Shoulders & Triceps Disk 16), so my shoulders had already been worked pretty hard that morning. Core HIIT seriously burned them out even worse.

One last disclaimer before we move on with the reviews; though the titles have a focus (upper body/lower body/total body), they cannot qualify as real strength work. Sure you get a little, but the dumbbells primary purpose is to increase intensity.

Disk 1:

Upper Body HIIT is 31 minutes long; 5 minute warm up, 24 minute training time and 2 minute cool down and stretch. For this workout you need some dumbbells and a mat.

Tabata One:
Push ups
Mountain climbers
Tricep kickbacks with tap backs (dumbbells)
Jumping jacks with overhead press using one dumbbell
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recovery, then repeat Tabata One.

Tabata Two:
Renegade rows (dumbbells)
Burpee shoulder presses (dumbbells)
Jab and cross with light dumbbells
Plyo side to side with one dumbbell as a marker on the floor
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recovery, then repeat Tabata One.

Tabata Three:
Tricep push ups
Side plank (on elbow) while raising one dumbbell from floor to sky
Bicep curls with squat and knee lifts (dumbbells)
Power jacks

Cool down and stretch

Lower Body HIIT is 31 minutes long; 4 minute warm up, 24 minute training time, 3 minute cool down and stretch. For this workout you need some dumbbells and a mat.

Tabata One:
Surrenders: get on your knees on the mat with dumbbells held at shoulders. Stand up, using lower body only and press weights overhead at top
Squat jumps
Pass through lunges (dumbbells needed): basically pendulum lunges; do front lunge to back lunge, not tapping/touching ground between
Split jumps (alternating plyo jump lunges)
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recovery, then repeat Tabata One.

Tabata Two:
Plie squats with dumbbells
Plyo plie jumps
Tap back lunges
Track star hops
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recovery, then repeat Tabata Two

Tabata Three:
Set down and pick up (with legs wide apart you set down and pick up heavy dumbbells)
High knee run
Front lunge with power knee (with dumbbells)
Stationary lunge jumps
Repeat these 4 moves

Cool down and stretch

Total Body HIIT is 30 minutes; 5 minute warm up, 23.5 minute training time and 1.5 minute cool down and stretch. For this workout you will need a mat and dumbbells.

Tabata One:
Alternating front lunges with bicep curls (dumbbells)
Plyo squat and swing (this is a kettlebell move using one dumbbell; hop side-to-side swinging the dumbbell and alternating hands)
Side lunge with one arm row; when you row up you lift your foot/leg up off the ground, so also a balance move (dumbbell)
Ski hopping (moguls)
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recovery, then repeat Tabata One.

Tabata Two:
3 point push up (as you lower your upper body, one of your legs slides under the other and touches the side; alternate legs)
Fast feet with a jump when Chris tells you to jump
Alternating cross-back lunges (curtsey lunges) with a lateral raise in between lunges (dumbbells)

Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recovery, then repeat Tabata Two

Tabata Three:
Lunge back then kick with same leg while punching with opposite arm (the punching arm holds one dumbbell)
Plyo frog hops front and back while holding one dumbbell
Overhead tricep extensions while keeping lower body moving (dumbbells)
Flip your squat (180 squat jumps)

Cool down and stretch

Core HIIT is 30 minutes; 5 minute warm up, 22 minute training time and 2 minute cool down. For this workout you need a set of dumbbells and a mat.

When this workout started, I initially thought it was too easy. But as the workout went on I was in some serious pain. However it was more muscle pain than cardio intensity pain–though I won’t lie, I was breathing hard by the halfway mark, too. But wow–this workout surprisingly burned out my arms–much more than my core!

Tabata One:
Get in side plank then raise top leg up and over to the front and back
Plank squats (in plank jump both legs forward then while staying in low/wide squat raise arms overhead, then jump back to plank)
Oblique side blocks (while standing, raise knee to side of body and touch with elbow–hop each time you touch knee to elbow)
Knee thrusts–also with a hop
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recover then repeat Tabata One

Tabata Two:
Army/military crawls (in high plank lower to elbows then back to high plank)
Spiderman lunges (in high plank, alternate bringing foot up to hand)
Roll up with chest press (grab dumbbells and lay on back; roll up and at top press dumbbells forward)
Tabletop jacks (get in table top and hop feet/legs open and closed)
Repeat these 4 moves

45 second recover then repeat Tabata Two

Tabata Three:
Side/oblique crunch
Row boats
Standing squat jacks

Cool down and stretch

Disk 2 contains three short workouts: 10 Minute Booty Blast, 10 Minute Ab Blast and Vinyassa Flow Yoga. These were all surprising workouts. I really wasn’t expecting much. Even though they are short, they are all surprisingly effective!

10 Minute Lower Body Blast
This was a bit surprising. I really didn’t expect much from a 10 minute workout. I never do expect much from short workouts for some reason, then some of them really surprise me. This was one of them. A very solid 10 minute lower body workout. Before we even hit 10 minutes my legs were burning. Perfect for an add on workout. I did this one after an hour long STS upper body workout. It finished it off nicely.

All you need for this workout is a set of weights. I used 12 pound dumbbells, but I could probably use both 12 pounds and 15 pounds in the future. For some of the exercises 12 pounds was perfect, and some of them I needed to go a little heavier.

Alternating front lunges (no dumbbell)
Rocking horse lunges (dumbbells)
Side-to-side squats (dumbbells)
Deadlifts (dumbbells)
Close leg squats (dumbbells)
Plie squats (dumbbells)
“Tap ins” (place end of dumbbells on floor and hold the other end in hand; get into deep lunge and tap back leg in and out)
Glute squeeze (remain in “Tap in” starting position and raise back leg up and down)
Bridges on mat

Vinyassa Flow Yoga is a 20 minute yoga workout. Though not advanced, it was more intense than I expected. Definitely intermediate. All you need for this workout is a mat.

Child’s pose
While still in child’s pose stretch shoulders
Cat and cow
Down dog
Forward bend
Rag doll
Standing back bend to lateral stretches

The next 3 moves are the vinyassa flow and Chris returns to them repeatedly throughout the workout, so when “Vinyassa flow” is seen, this is what it refers to:
Down dog and lift one leg high in a hip stretch

Crescent lunge
Vinyassa flow
Warrior 2
Reverse warrior
Extended angle
Vinyassa flow
Warrior 3
Tree pose
Chair pose
Forward bend
Vinyassa flow
Warrior 2
Swan dive to straddle splits
Vinyassa flow
Warrior 2
Goddess pose
Yogi squat
Vinyassa flow
Pigeon pose
Sleeping pigeon
Screaming pigeon
Spinal twist

10 Minute Ab Blast
This is a solid, intermediate level abdominal workout. I liked it but didn’t love it. All you need for this workout is a mat.

Full body roll ups
High boat/low boat
In side plank lower and lift hips
Double leg stretch (lie on back on mat and bring legs and arms out and in)
On back, bend legs to bring them in then raise straight and lower slowly (keeping legs straight)
Scissor legs
Walk the Plank (get in high plank with legs wider than mat; “walk” forward 3 counts then lower to forearms and back up to hands, walk back 3 counts)
Lay on belly and do back extensions


9 thoughts on “ACE HIIT Series

  1. Hi, If I wanted to use this DVD to make a rotation for a few weeks would I just add in a few with weight work or just rotate the dvds. I am doing Cathe PHA right now and LOVE it! I use the dvd of PHA 3x week. What would your suggestion be. My name is Jackie at THANKS


    1. I’m not sure how you plan to use them but you can definitely use them with other strength work. I never use them as strength workouts but as cardio. So alternating it with PHA days would be a great way to use them.


  2. Thanks for all the great reviews you do. I just ordered this DVD based on your review. I was going to order Cathe’s crossfire but I think it might be too advanced for me so this seems like a better choice for me right now.


    1. That’s a great idea. Crossfire is more advanced than ACE HIIT, plus I don’t think Cathe gives any modifications for the high impact moves in Crossfire. Once you master ACE HIIT, I think you’ll love Crossfire. It is still one of my all time favorite workouts.


  3. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your reviews. I found your site a few months ago and get excited whenever I see a new review. As a fellow Cathe-devotee, I’ve bought several based on your reviews. We seem to have similar likes/dislikes! I, too, have always enjoyed Chris Freytag’s workouts. I think I’ll check this one out, too! Thanks again 🙂


    1. I’m so glad my reviews are helpful. I used to be so much more versatile before I discovered Cathe! I’m trying to branch out again, even though I am still obsessed with her workouts!


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