Cathe Live: High Intensity Cardio Step

highIntensityCardioStep-6-26-14I found this Cathe Live workout very tough this morning. I gave blood yesterday and didn’t feel well afterward. Then this morning, I did Ripped with HIIT Lift It Hit It Chest, Shoulders & Triceps. I finished my workout off w/ High Intensity Cardio Step. And I struggled. So there was a lot going on–I was a pint low and I had just finished a tough workout. That’s not to say this isn’t a tough workout, but this morning’s experience is not the most accurate reflection of it. When I do this workout again, I will return and update this review. But for now, I am recording how it felt when I did it this morning. I did like it, even tho I kept running out of steam. BTW–it did seem to be challenging the exercisers, too. All of the step moves are familiar and there is no complicated choreography. It is basically a HIIT workout. Intense intervals on the step with short recoveries. Sometimes it is an actual recovery (getting a drink of water and toweling off) and sometimes it is one of Cathe’s active recoveries (jumping jacks, etc.).

The workout starts w/ the step at 6 inches for a long step cardio warm up. Right before the first interval, Cathe cues you to add another riser to each side (bringing step up to 8 inches) but only if you want to. She doesn’t and only one or two people in the gym add risers. After the first interval she cues you again to add risers if you felt you needed it after doing that first interval. A few more people add risers, but the majority of the people kept their step at 6 inches. I had mine at 8 inches from beginning to end, but in retrospect I should have lowered it to 6 inches since I was struggling. However, in the future, I will start at 6 inches, then raise it to 8 inches once the intervals start. After 24:30 minutes of HIIT cardio you grab a set of 3 or 5 pound dumbbells for some low impact step cardio. It starts lowering your heart rate but after Ripped w/HIIT Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, even the 5 pound dumbbells were too much for my shoulders, so I ended up grabbing my 3 pound dumbbells! You do the low impact weighted step for 5:30 minutes and end w/ a cool down and stretch. As I mentioned above, this workout really challenged me this morning. I do plan to return to it, probably late June/early July–when I’m not a pint low and as a morning cardio (rather than using it to finish off a tough strength workout), and I will update this review at that time.

7/05/16 Update: I returned to this workout this morning. I haven’t given blood recently and it was my morning workout–it didn’t follow anything. It was still a very tough workout, but I got through it fine. No running out of steam. So giving blood probably had something to do with how hard I found this workout the first time I did it. It is still an excellent workout that gave me an intense cardio/HIIT workout but I had no problems pushing through it this time. Also, I had my step at 6 inches for the warm up and raised it to 8 inches once the intervals began. Worked well for me!

High Intensity Cardio Step is 44:30 minutes long; 11:30 minute warm up, 24:30 minutes of HIIT, 5:30 minutes low impact step w/ light dumbbells and 3 minute cool down/stretch. It aired live on 6/26/14 and here is the video clip. The workout starts w/ the step at 6 inches then (if you want) when the intervals start, raise your step to 8 inches. You also need a set of 3 or 5 pound dumbbells. The warm up is cardio step. All familiar steps, no complex choreography–V steps, A steps, knee repeaters, mambo/cha-chas, squat/pendulums, squat cha-cha over step, uneven squats then jump lengthwise over step, knee repeaters, ponys, pony around the worlds, and lots more–but those are the basics. Below I will list the intervals, but there are also recoveries between most of the intervals. Sometimes it is active recovery, sometimes it is getting a drink and toweling off.


  1. Slam its; transitions into uneven squats then jump over step lengthwise; this transitions into singles jumping over step lengthwise (repeat after recovery)
  2. Turn to side and jump onto step (feet together) and step down other side, jump onto step and step down other side (starting side)–keep repeating, alternating sides; this ends in power 15s (repeat after short recovery)
  3. Repeat #2 but shorten it–only 4 jumps on and off step and end w/ a power 7
  4. Step knee touch back w/ 4 power scissors
  5. Ricochets alternated w/ one jack; this transitions into pushing up hops on corner 4x then jumping over step and repeating; this changes to 2 push up hops then singles w/ swim arms (repeat after recovery)
  6. Around the world hop knees (add one hop each time–she also called it power boxes); 3 times around the world, brief recovery, then repeat starting on other side
  7. Alternate knees, two jacks, two air jacks (repeat after recovery)
  8. 3 power turn jumps w/ one foot on the box and a rock back; do this 4x then do 7 power turn jumps w/ rock back and end w/ power 7; repeat immediately on other side (repeat entire thing after recovery)
  9. Straddle step and jump forward and back 3x then jump onto step and off; repeat 4x (repeat after recovery)
  10. Intermission/long active recovery: jacks, power 3s, walk around step
  11. Step knee touch back w/ jump 8x; do this move “around the world” fashion (repeat after recovery)
  12. Fast feet, jump rope, jacks; repeat 4x
  13. Jump over step lengthwise 6x; repeat 6x

Grab your dumbbells for low impact step

  1. Basic step holding DBs static in half bicep curls; start doing hammer curls while continuing basic step; change step to alternating knees
  2. Step touch corner to corner w/ hammer curls; changes to bent arm side lateral raises
  3. Side leg raise with bent arm lateral raises; do 3 then straddle and do 3 on other side; keep repeating; arm movement changes to hammer curls, then to traditional bicep curls
  4. T step off end of step while holding DBs at shoulders; add shoulder press
  5. Side step 3x w/ bent arm side lateral raises then U turn; keep repeating
  6. Straddle steps w/ side leg raise and bent arm side lateral raises
  7. Continue leg portion of #6, but change arms to alternating front raises; transitions to straight arm side lateral raises

4 thoughts on “Cathe Live: High Intensity Cardio Step

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