Cathe Live: Strong Upper Body Express

strongUpperBodyExpress-9-24-15For such a short strength workout, Strong Upper Body Express is excellent. As usual, Cathe does a thorough job hitting every muscle group and fatiguing them really well. By the end, she pretty much burned out nearly every muscle group in the upper body. It is pretty fast paced, too–the express part, I suppose. She actually spends more time on the core than I expected, for an “express” workout. So she even burned my core muscles out, too!

Here is the structure of this workout: each muscle group is superset (two exercises, done immediately back-to-back); each exercise is done for 12 reps (except 2 exercises, noted in breakdown below), then you repeat the superset, and end with a finisher move. You do the finisher move for more than 12 reps and it does what the name implies: it finishes frying the muscle group you just superset. Excellent job in such a short amount of time. Another wonderful Cathe Live that I will return to.

Strong Upper Body Express is 40 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up, 7 minutes core, 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment needed: a step w/ 3 risers on each side, a flat resistance band, a variety of dumbbells and a mat. The dumbbell weights Cathe recommends are 5, 10, 12 and 15. I used 5, 8, 12, 15, 25 and 30. You will use the 5 pound dumbbells both in the warm up and for a finisher exercise. This workout aired live on 9/24/15; here is a video clip.


  1. One Arm Row, 12 reps; Cathe uses two 12# DBs in one hand, I used one 30# DB
  2. Pullovers, 2 reps to a 4/4 count and 8 reps to a 2/2 count; Cathe used two 15# DBs, I used one 30# DB
  3. Repeat #1
  4. Repeat #2, except rep count is 4 to 4/4 count and 10 to 2/2 count
  5. Finisher: T band pulls


  1. Bicep Curls, 12 reps, 15# DBs
  2. Alternating Bicep Curls (start in hammer and turn to traditional at top); 12 reps total; Cathe uses 12# DBs, I used 20# DBs
  3. Repeat #1
  4. Repeat #2 except you do 24 total reps; Cathe used 12# DBs, I used 15# DBs
  5. Finisher: bicep curls w/ 5# DBs and band under foot, w/ each end wrapped with the DBs; I used 8# DBs + band


  1. Flat Bench Press, 12 reps; Cathe uses 15# DBs, I used 25# DBs
  2. Flat Bench Chest Flys, 12 reps; Cathe uses 15# DBs, I used 25# DBs
  3. Repeat 1 & 2
  4. Finisher: Drop Set Push Ups: 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps


  1. Standing Overhead Tricep Extensions, 12 reps, 12# DBs
  2. Lying Overhead Tricep Extensions, 12 reps; Cathe uses 10# DBs, I used 12# DBs
  3. Repeat 1 & 2
  4. Finisher: Tricep Kickbacks w/ band


  1. Overhead Press, 12 reps; 15# DBs
  2. Rear Delt Flys, 12 reps; 12# DBs
  3. Repeat 1 & 2
  4. Finisher: Lateral Raises, 8 reps; then you do lateral raises but hold at top and do high ends for 4 counts and lower; 6 reps like that; 5# DB


  1. Basic Crunches w/ hands behind head alternated with pulsing crunches w/ hands at knees
  2. Raise legs, knees bent, hands behind head and crunch
  3. Still on back w/ knees bent and raised, head and shoulders raised and arms along side, slowly raise arms overhead while straightening legs (but keep them several inches off floor) and slowly bring arms and legs back in
  4. Bicycles
  5. Bring one knee in to chest and hold with both hands while pulsing other leg for 2 counts; alternate legs
  6. Do crunches w/ upper body and as you crunch up, press one leg out straight (legs are doing bicycle)
  7. Windshield wiper the legs; first legs are bent, then straight
  8. Raise one leg to ceiling and one leg is a few inches off floor (both straight), head/shoulders raised and arms straight at sides; pulse up one, then pulse up 2, then pulse up 3, then pulse up 4; change legs and repeat
  9. Elbow Plank Hold; alternate punching arms straight in front of you; walk feet in and out; raise opposite arm and leg and hold for 8 counts

3 thoughts on “Cathe Live: Strong Upper Body Express

  1. Wow, that is a lot of core! It’s amazing really how much Cathe makes the body work in under 45 mins right?
    Thanks again for your detailed review.


    1. I think she spent longer on the core than any other individual muscle group! Yes, it is an excellent workout and so quick! Cathe Lives are really amazing. I love how they have changed the way I am working out.


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