Strong & Sweaty: Cardio Slam

sscardioslamCardio Slam  is a pure cardio workout from Cathe and it is part of the Strong & Sweaty Series. I really enjoyed this workout. It is not a HIIT level workout, but it does have its moments of intensity. In fact, that is what I really like about it. It is a good length for a pure cardio workout (50 minutes including warm up and cool down) and the intensity varies; high impact moves alternated with low impact exercises. Most of the exercises are done for 2 sets. Cathe uses some equipment to increase intensity: light dumbbells, a fitness mat and the step topper (4 inches). If you want to increase intensity even more, use heavier dumbbells and raise your step to 6 inches–or even 8 inches. I might do that the next time I do this workout. I did use heavier dumbbells for a few of the exercises (8 and 10 pound dumbbells) and I might swap out 5 pound dumbbells for the exercises that use 3 pound dumbbells. There are other ways to increase the intensity. Compared to many of Cathe’s other workouts, this isn’t super high impact. There are a lot of moves that do not use any dumbbells that you could easily grab a set of 3 or 5 pound dumbbells and increase the intensity. You’ll figure out which ones after doing the workout once.

If this workout is too hard for you? Then Cathe has you covered there, too. She has a modified version of this workout. To see it you have to go to the premixes. I have not watched it so I have no clue what the modifications are, but they are there for you if you need them. **I have viewed the modifications now. Scroll down to the comment section below if you are interested; I have broken down all of the modifications in a comment on 1/06/17.** Just like all of the workouts in the Strong & Sweaty Series, the Bonus Ab segment is included (breakdown below). There is a free digital handbook associated with the Strong & Sweaty Series that has all kinds of information–including several rotations.

One last note–the DVD case has the time for this workout listed incorrectly (40 minutes). It is a 50 minute workout.

***12/31/16 Update: I did this workout for the second time today doing the modifications listed above to make the workout more challenging. I used 5 pound dumbbells in place of the 3 pound dumbbells, an 8 or 10 pound dumbbell any time Cathe used a 5 pound dumbbell and I raised the step to 6 inches. Other changes: added 5 pound dumbbells to Floor Cardio #14 and Step Cardio #3. The result is that it felt more intense. My workout clothes and hair were much sweatier. But according to my Fitbit I burned almost the exact same amount of calories and and I spent less time in my Peak heart rate zone than I did the first time I did it! So “perceived exertion”? It seemed harder. According to my Fitbit… I guess not?***

Cardio Slam is 50 minutes; 5 minute warm up and 4:30 minute stretch. Equipment needed: 3 & 5 pound dumbbells (I also used an 8 and a 10 pound dumbbell), step platform and fitness mat.

Floor Cardio (16 minutes):

  1. Power Scissor w/ one 5# DB (row w/ the DB as you jump lunge)
  2. Drop Squat & Cross Jack
  3. Double Unders (squat walking 2x to each side, staying low)
  4. Scissor, Scissor, Wide Plie Jack
  5. Low Loaded Squat w/ 3# DBs (staying low, squat, side lunge w/ punch, squat, side lunge w/ punch (other side)–jumping with each move)
  6. Shuffle, Shuffle, Long Reach
  7. 3 Lateral Skates / 2 High Knee Runs
  8. Power Scissors w/ Lateral Arm Raise w/ 3# DBs
  9. Low Impact Squat Butt Kicks w/ 3# DBs (like a butt kick run, but more of a step hop w/ hammer curl arms)
  10. Front/Back Jack / Jack / Air Jack
  11. Touch Down Jacks w/ one 5# DB (I used one 8# DB)
  12. Front Swing Tree Pose w/ one 5# DB (I used one 10# DB)
  13. Wide Squat Thrust Burpee w/ Criss Cross Jack
  14. Explosive Butt Kicks (same as #9 but jump higher and no DBs)

Mat Cardio (16 minutes):

  1. Slam Its (jump squat to corner of mat; alternate sides)
  2. Traveling Power Scissor (8 scissors to side the length of mat, then 4 plyo jump lunges back in the other direction)
  3. Power Hop Forward / Block Jack Back
  4. Spiderman Mountain Climbers
  5. Squat Thrust Jump Over Top (burpee and lateral jump over mat)
  6. 2 Lateral Hops / Jump Front / Jump Back
  7. Long Jump /  Straddle Jump (long jump 4x to side of mat, long jump wide 4x straddling mat; repeat on other side of mat)
  8. Football Runs (straddling mat)
  9. Lateral Skate Over / Jump Return
  10. Speed Lateral Runs (out-out-in-in fast, using mat as marker)

Step Cardio (8:30 minutes):

  1. Hopscotch (burpee back and when you jump in and up, jump on step w/ one leg; alternate legs)
  2. Low Impact Sprinters (knee pulls w/ a hop)
  3. Elevated Jacks (jacks on and off step w/ bicep curl arms)
  4. Squat Thrust / 2 Plank Jacks
  5. Straddle Taps
  6. Swim Lunges (done slowly holding 3# DBs)

Bonus Abs is 13 minutes long. This is a tough and unique little Ab bonus. Cathe used a lot of familiar core exercises but put a new spin on them, making this fresh and different from what she has done in the past. I haven’t even seen these moves in her live workouts! Equipment needed: 8 pound dumbbells and a fitness mat.

  1. Roll Downs (as you roll down you pause at 3 different levels and hold to the count of 8 each time)
  2. Reverse Crunch & Pilate Press (lay flat on back, head down, knees bent and raised; do reverse crunch into straight legs twice; then hold straight legs a few inches off floor and raise head/shoulders, arms straight at sides (but off ground); pump arms 8 times; repeat these two exercises)
  3. Side Plank Elevated Toe Taps (straight arm side plank with feet staggered, bottom foot in front of top foot and back leg bent; raise and lower hips while lifting bottom leg and tapping toe with top hand)
  4. Rope Climb (in C sit with feet elevated, do rope climbs)
  5. L Position Leg Circles (lay on back with straight legs in “L” position; do small circles with leg that is raised to ceiling)
  6. Weighted Sit Ups (holding one DB in both hands, do a full butterfly sit up, doing a pullover with DB at bottom and raising DB overhead at top)
  7. Sit Up Twist (still holding one DB in both hands, do a full sit up and at the top, twist DB to side of body while same side leg raises and at bottom do a pullover; this changes to Russian Twists–these are done pulsing and slow singles)
  8. L Position Pull Overs (lay on back holding both DBs straight to ceiling with straight legs also raised to ceiling; slowly scissor straight legs while also doing DB pullovers)
  9. Plank Complex (start in straight arm plank; tap your lower back with same side arm (do both arms), then tap hand to opposite foot under the body (both sides), do a push up and raise into soldier plank (raising opposite hand and arm), do another push up and a soldier plank on other side of body)


Basic Premixes
#1 Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Mat Cardio + Step Cardio + Bonus Abs + Stretch (62:39)
Modification #1: Normal routine is shown with modifications. (49:21)
Modification #2: Normal routine is shown with modifications + Bonus Abs + Stretch (62:33)
Timesaver Premixes
#1 (No Mat Cardio): Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Step Cardio + Stretch (33:48)
#2 (No Step Cardio): Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Mat Cardio + Stretch (40:37)
#3 (No Floor Cardio): Warm Up Mat Cardio + Step Cardio + Stretch (33:10)
#4 (Floor Cardio Only): Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Stretch (24:57)
#5 (Mat Cardio Only): Warm Up + Mat Cardio + Stretch (24:19)
#6 (Step Cardio Only): Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Stretch (17:31)
#7 (Floor & Mat Cardio Exercises Reduced): Warm Up + Floor Cardio First Half (Power Scissor through 3 Lateral Skates) + Mat Cardio Second Half (Squat Thrust Jump Over The Top through Speed Lateral Runs) + Step Cardio (All Exercises) + Stretch (35:20)
Mish Mosh Premixes
Scrambled #1 (Step First): Warm Up + Step Cardio + Floor Cardio + Mat Cardio + Stretch (49:28)
Scrambled #2 (Mat First): Warm Up + Mat Cardio + Floor Cardio + Step Cardio + Stretch (49:28)
Extreme #1 (Double It): Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Mat Cardio + Step Cardio + Floor Cardio + Mat Cardio + Step Cardio + Stretch (90:15)
Extreme #2 (2 Rounds of Abs Mixed In): Warm Up + Floor Cardio + Bonus Abs (Roll Downs through Rope Climb) + Mat Cardio + Bonus Abs (L Position Leg Circles through Plank Complex) + Step Cardio + Stretch (62:39)







27 responses to “Strong & Sweaty: Cardio Slam

  1. I wish you well with your cancer treatments. Yes you will be back to HIIT soon!! Thank you for your thorough answers! you are great! Again I wish you well.

  2. Hi,
    I really enjoy reading your reviews. I am a High impact girl. I love all of cathe’s HIIT workouts. However, I have read that you should only do HIIT workouts 3x a week. What do you feel about that? Also as far as cardio slam. i have been using it as a lower impact when I have done a few HIIT workouts.

    • I have read the same thing. If you are doing a HIIT workout the way it was designed to be done (all out, 110% effort–completely maxing yourself out during the interval) then you risk overtraining. If you are finding the HIITs you are doing easy enough to do daily then you aren’t really doing HIITs–just intense cardio. If you are doing them as they are designed to be done (completing maxing yourself out during the interval), then your body needs to recover between HIIT workouts–just like when doing strength training.

      • Thank You. Just to review. I go all out on my HIIT workouts. So I should not do any other cardio like cardio slam? I do weight training with cathe’s x train workout for chest, back, and shoulder’s one day and the next day bi’s and tri’s.
        I thank you in advance. I look for your blogs all the time!!

      • Hi Debbie–yes, I do other cardio. Just not HIIT level. It all depends on the type of rotation I have put together. What I usually do is HIIT 2-3x a week then other types of cardio 1-2x a week. Step or kickboxing–something like that. Cardio Slam would fall into that category. BTW–I also normally do doubles workouts–a second workout of the day after I got home form work, so I was able to fit more in that way. I am not currently doing doubles now or HIIT workouts but that is because I am undergoing cancer treatment. But I still workout every day. I will be back to HIITing it soon!

    • And I am the same–I never used Cardio Slam as a HIIT workout either. For Cathe, I use her HIIT workouts (from her STS cardio series) and the HIIT workouts from Ripped with HIIT. And Tabatacise. Then there are ones from other trainers, too.

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  5. Hi! I want to thank you again for reviewing the low impact version and breaking things down so well for me. I finally bought Cardio Slam, and it’s great! I will use some of Cathe’s modifications, but I am doing a lot of my own, as well. I just wanted you to know that you really helped me to make an educated decision about purchasing this workout.

  6. Oh my goodness! This is amazing! Thank you so much! My apologies for not replying sooner, but I was disconnected this weekend. Yes, I agree that Cathe’s modifications look a lot easier. That’s one problem with low impact – the intensity falls off pretty fast. I’m going to make a table with the two side by side, and see what it looks like. I’ll probably be able to come up with some ideas of my own, too. I really, really appreciate you doing this. It’s a lot harder for me nowadays to figure out if a workout is worth buying with my limitations. The details you give are always super helpful, and you’ve really gone over and above for this one!

      • Yes, I have those (not X10), plus the other Low Impact HIIT and Cardio Super Sets. Glad you still think they’re intense, since you get to do all the high impact stuff. 🙂 It’s just that new, really good low impact workouts are few and far in between, so I keep my eye out for higher impact that I can modify. I used to have all of Cathe’s stuff, but my selection has shrunk dramatically over the past few years. But I keep going!

  7. Hi! I’m very interested in your review about this workout. This is the first series where I have not preordered a single DVD. I figured this one would have a high impact segment, low impact segment,etc, like Cathe has done in the past. I’ve had to switch completely over to low impact and eliminate the step. It stinks, but it keeps me injury free. Looking at your breakdown, I’m thinking I could make this work. I don’t suppose you’ve had a chance to look at the modified premix? I know you’d NEVER try it. 🙂 Thanks for any input you might be able to give.

    • Hi Shannon–I meant to look at the modifications and reply to your post yesterday but I didn’t have time. I’ll have a look at the modified premix this week and post back here.

      • Oh thank you! You really don’t have to – I know it’s not something you’d do as part of your rotation. But if you ever get in the mood, just remember me. 🙂 I really do appreciate your extensive review. It gives me a much better idea than what Cathe gave. I went back and watched her preview video with your post in mind. I’m sort of on the fence, but thinking about it.

      • Here are the modifications. I’ll break it down by section. Sometimes I will just refer to the exercise number since in the review above everything is numbered.

        Floor section: The first move is Power Scissors and she modifies that to alternating reverse lunges. No modification offered for 2nd and 3rd exercise. 4th exercise is scissor/scissor/wide plie jack and she modifies that to reverse lunges and squats. 5th exercise is the low loaded squat; she modifies that by using no weights and no jumping. No modification for the 6th exercise. For the 7th exercise (3 lateral skates + 2 high knee runs) she does low impact skaters + high knee marches. 8th exercise is Power Scissors w/ Lateral Arm Raise and she modifies this by doing alternating reverse lunges and not using dumbbells. No modification for exercise 9. Exercise #10 is Front/Back Jack/Jack/Air Jack and she modifies this by doing V steps + squat + a low impact hop. No modifications for #11 & #12. For #13 she modifies this by doing a modified burpee (stepping out into plank then stepping back in) and jack feet (no arms). No modifications for #14.

        Mat Cardio: No modification for 1st exercise. 2nd exercise is traveling power scissors; modification is a twisting hip hop the length of the mat then two alternating reverse lunges. For the 3rd exercise she squat walks instead of power hops and just marches backward. No modification for 4th exercise. 5th exercise she does the modified burpee then just steps over the mat. For exercise 6 she just substitutes steps for the jumps. For exercise 7 she alternates deep squat walks for long jumps. 8th exercise has no modifications. For 9th exercise she just does low impact skaters the entire time. No modification for 10th exercise.

        Step Cardio: For the first exercise you will do a low impact hopscotch on the step (no hopping and no burpee). No modification for exercise 2. Exercise 3 she does a quick straddle step off and on the step. For exercise 4 she does the low impact burpee (stepping out into plank then stepping back in) and rather than plank jacks she comes up and taps one foot on step. For exercise 5 she continues to do the slow taps–the same thing she is doing before she kicks it up to the fast straddle taps. For the 6th and final exercise she does a more shallow hop lunge with no dumbbells.

        Hope this helps–I didn’t actually do the workout with the modifications, I just viewed it and wrote it down here. But it looks a lot easier than the regular version of the workout.

  8. I did Cardio Slam again yesterday. For some reason it seemed harder this time around…ha! It’s not my favorite, but they can’t all be winners. We all like different things, so I appreciate all her videos because there are many many diamonds in the masses!

  9. I think I remember that from P90! I’ve done doubles before, mainly cardio in the morning and weights later. However I’m like you, I love metabolic training. I guess I just do one thing for awhile til I’m tired of it, then on to the next. It used to be spinning, now I’m kinda tired of that. Sadly Cathe’s new spin dvd was boring. Not sure if you do those, but heads up 🙂

    • I don’t have a spin bike tho I have done some of her spin workouts using my recumbent bike–but the workouts are the same done on a recumbent bike. One day I may get one. I did Cardio Slam for the second time today and I made the modifications I mentioned in the review to make it more challenging. I updated the review with my results. In short–it felt more challenging, but according to my Fitbit it wasn’t!

  10. Hi!! I found this workout to not be that challenging unless using heavier weights like you mentioned. After doing her HIIT workouts, it’s hard to find anything with that intensity…which I love! Have to tell you I love your blog….don’t ever stop writing your reviews. I really appreciate them!!!

    • I agree it is not as intense as many of Cathe’s other HIIT level workouts–but she doesn’t label it as a HIIT so I wasn’t expecting it to be crazy intense. I really liked it. It was especially welcome yesterday since I am doing Bob Harper’s Black Fire as my doubles workouts and my lower body is so very, very sore.

      • I’ve never heard of Black Fire….sounds interesting! I find myself being in the same if not better shape than when I was doing 45-1hr cardios vs doing shorter hiits. Do you feel the same? I’ve been so loyal to Cathe that I haven’t ventured far from her workouts.

      • I do think I am in better shape than I was just 5 years ago. But I went through a period where I was doing primarily HIIT level workouts for all of my cardio and I started getting burned out on it. So I started to mix things up–not hit it hard every single day. For longer, more steady state cardio workouts, I prefer kickboxing. I feel like I am getting total body conditioning when I do it–not just an hour of boring cardio. But my favorite cardio is metabolic. I just have a thing about dumbbells. I want to use them in everything–including my cardio!

        I just started Black Fire as my doubles workouts this week so I have only done 2 but they are tough. I am so incredibly sore. I felt like I was walking funny yesterday! They are definitely HIIT workouts. Bob Harper is a Crossfit fanatic so he bases his recent workouts on Crossfit modalities–but safer! It has been out for a while but you can only stream it through Daily Burn.

      • I work out twice a day 4 times a week. I workout for an hour in the morning every day and Mon-Thurs I come home and do a second workout that is around 30 minutes. I got the “doubles” term a million years ago when I did P90X. It has several rotations and for one of them you did “doubles”–2 workouts a day.

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