Ripped with HIIT: HIIT Upper Body Circuit

upperbodyFor more information on Cathe’s Ripped with HIIT program see the overview post. (Also, these reviews are being posted out of order–this was the first workout I did after receiving the series, but it is the last one that will post–that is why they read a little “off.”)

It arrived! It finally arrived! Cathe‘s new series/program Ripped with HIIT. I won’t go into too much detail about the series/program since that is covered in a separate post, but this is the first workout I’ve done from the series, so I am pretty excited!

HIIT Upper Body Circuit is a cardio + strength workout; the cardio is HIIT level cardio and the strength is primarily upper body strength work that is very metabolic for the most part. It is a high intensity, fast paced workout that had me drenched in sweat. And for an upper body workout it left my legs feeling pretty fried a few times! But that was due to the HIITs. I loved this workout.  With this series/program Cathe is delivering exactly what I am looking for in a workout–the best of both worlds–HIIT and strength all wrapped up in one tough but fun package.

The workout is set up circuit fashion  as the title suggests, alternating strength work with cardio blasts. The first time I did it, I did the premix that added Abs #1 on the end. Here is my one problem with this DVD (all of the Ripped w/ HIIT workouts have this issue actually). The premix left off the stretch. So even tho the premix says it is 49 minutes (and it is) that is not including the stretch. I had to go to the chapter breakdown to do the stretch which actually made the workout/premix 56 minutes. The second time I did this workout I did premix 5 which was awesome. At the end of each round abdominal exercises are added. By the end of the workout you will have done Bonus Abs #1 and Bonus Abs #2 in their entirety. However, just like the other premix I did, the stretch was omitted from the end, so I had to go into the chaptering to add it on myself making the workout 67 minutes long.

Now, the first time I did the workout, I used the same dumbbell weights as Cathe and I found about half of them too light. I am not posting this review until I have done the workout 3 times; the second time I did the workout I increased the weights and that still wasn’t enough, tho I did feel like I got better strength work. The third time I did this workout I had gone even heavier and found it much more intense. I am posting this after doing it 3 times, but I have to note I still had a more up arrows! So I can go a lot heavier than I think I can–every time I do it I increase the weights and get an even better workout. I love so many of these new workouts that I am not sure which is my favorite–but this is definitely in the lead.

HIIT Upper Body Circuit is 46 minutes long with a 5 minute warm up, 34 minute training time and 7 minute stretch. All you need is various sets of dumbbells. (Update***Listed below are the weights I used the most recent time I did this workout.)

Round #1 Squat Presses/Front Swing Lat Pull Down Combo (15# DBs); 2 sets. (15# DBs) Cardio Blast: High Jacks and Low Jacks.

Round #2 Forward Leaning Lunge with Rear Delt into Rear Lunges with Front Raise (8# DBs); 3 sets.

One Arm Rows (one 25# DB); 2 sets. Cardio Blast: Vertical Butt Kicks.

Round #3 Lunge Kick/Lunge Squat Combo (12# DBs). Push Up Leg Lift Combo. Cardio Blast: Line Taps

Round #4 Overhead Press/Lunge Down Combo (10# DBs). Cardio Blast: Power Circle Scissors

Round #5 W-Press, W-Curl, Rear Lunges (10# DBs), Bicep Curls (12# DBs). Cardio Blast: Snowboards

Round #6 Side Lunge Wood Chops (12# DBs). Plie Upright Row/Snatch Combo (15# DBs). Cardio Blast: Plie Jacks

Round #7 Weighted Marching Sumos (one 15# DB). Single Leg Dead Lift/Front Raise (10# DBs). Cardio Blast: Lateral Skates

Round #8 Rear Lunges, Lateral Raise (8# DBs). Sumo Drop Squat/Tricep Extension Combo (10# DBs). Tricep/Chest Isolation Work – Kickbacks and Chest Flys (10# DBs).  Cardio Blast: Total Body (4 jacks, squat thrust but stay in plank, 2 plank jacks, 2 push ups, jump legs back in (finish squat thrust), 3 air jacks–do series 4 times)

All of the Ripped with HIIT workouts included two Bonus Ab workouts:

Bonus Abs 1 is 10 minutes. I really enjoyed this abs workout. Lots of fun–I love how it starts standing. You will need an 8 pound dumbbell and a mat for this bonus. The workout starts standing, holding one 8 pound dumbbell. 1. Standing Oblique Crunches, 2. Alternating Oblique Crunches with Knee Lift, 3. Lay on mat, still holding one 8 pound dumbbell. Seated Lean Back Crunches, 4. Pullover Sit Ups with a Twist, 5. Pullover Heel Tap Extended Crunches, 6. Set dumbbells aside for this move; High Low Planks with plank Jacks.

Bonus Abs 2 is 13 minutes long. Bonus Abs 2 is much more challenging than Bonus Abs 1 and not nearly as fun. But still, very effective–I really felt it! 1. Seated One Arm V-Ups, 2. Ankle Grabber Sit Ups, 3. Bent Leg/Straight Leg Bike Maneuver, 4. Banana Holds, 5. Alternating Leg Forward Crunches, 6. Hip Lifts into Balancing Snow Angels, 7. Supermans into Swimmers


Premix #1: All Blast Premix: only the blasts from the main workout. 22 minutes

Premix #2: No Blast Premix: full workout minus the cardio blasts. 37 minutes
Premix #3 Scrambled Rounds: all 8 rounds scarmbled 47 minutes
Premix #4 Timesaver #1 Premix: 5 of the 8 rounds. 34 minutes
Premix #5 Upper Body Mixed With Abs: one or two ab exercises mixed into each round. 60 minutes
Premix #6 Upper Body Mixed With Abs (No Blasts): No Cardio Blasts, but one or two ab exercises mixed into each round. 51 minutes
Premix #7 Upper Body Mixed With Abs #1 49 minutes
Premix #8 Upper Body Mixed With Abs #2 51 minutes



19 thoughts on “Ripped with HIIT: HIIT Upper Body Circuit

  1. Hi! I haven’t done this workout yet. However, I watched it. It looks as though cathe is mainly doing shoulder workouts, very little on the other upper body parts. What is your take on this?


    1. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I have been in the hospital. I agree. She does hit every upper body muscle group in some fashion in this workout but it is very shoulder heavy.


      1. Thanks, 2L! I want to do this one soon, and I always always reference your site before doing a WO, esp. a Cathe one!

        PS Did you update your Cathe Live page, as well? I noticed there are now asterisks after some of the classes. I don’t recall them being there before, and I couldn’t find any mention of what the asterisks denote/represent. Am I losing my mind or did you just add those? Are they there to let you know which one are your favorites?


      2. You’re welcome! I love RwH Upper Body Circuit–one of my favorite Cathe workouts. I find tho that the HIITs are intense enough that I cannot lift as heavy on my upper body as I can on a pure strength workout. It is an excellent and intense workout, but (for me at least) hard to lift heavy.

        And yes! I did recently add those asterisks! They are some of my favorite Live workouts but that’s not why I added them, exactly. They are just to keep track of workouts I have used in a rotation. I am creating one (that I will post today) and I was trying to keep track of Live workouts I have used before–both in personal rotations and ones I post. I use this blog a lot for creating rotations and reading over a workout before I do it again (to re-familiarize myself with it)–I have so many workouts! It is hard to keep track of everything so sometimes I have to go in and make little notes for myself!


  2. Hi there! I want to buy only one of the the Ripped with Hiit circuits (Upper / Lower body splits) . Which one would you recommend?
    I own Low Impact Hiit but to me it’s just like a short & easier version of Afterburn.
    I want something which feels like a new way of training.
    Since I purchased PRS2 over PRS1 based on your blog , you are my enabler and official fitness DVD adviser! I already own around 70% of Cathe’s workouts and will continue hoarding them 😉 but the new RWH series seemingly provide shorter footage and less extras / bonuses to justify the price for me.
    I will really appreciate – and follow – your advise 🙂
    Continue the excellent job, J.!


    1. Hi! Well, I have been very happy with all of the RwH workouts except the low impact workouts as well. I did like Low Impact HIIT #2, but I agree, it is nowhere near the intensity of Cathe’s other low impact workouts. As for the circuit workouts–I say Upper Body. I love them both, but Upper Body Circuit is excellent and pretty much a total body workout if you take all the plyometrics into account–they work your lower body pretty well! Plus, it has a premix I adore–the one that adds core work to each circuit. That’s my opinion. Hope it helps!


    1. Well, it was different for each workout. For the HIIT circuit workouts I went heavier than Cathe on a lot of the exercises for lower body and just about every exercise for upper body. However, I found the Rip It Hit It workouts more challenging (strength-wise that is) and I stuck closer to Cathe on those. I would say I used the same weight as she did on 80% of the exercises and went heavier on 20%. And I use the same height of step as Cathe on all of her workouts–both RwH and all of her other workouts.


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