Cathe Live Heavy Weight Rotation

I am so enamored of the “heavy weight” live workouts Cathe has created that I decided to create a rotation using them. In order to get measurable strength results, I needed to return to these workouts on a regular basis, which I had not been doing. So I decided to create a 6 week rotation. In order to avoid hating these workouts by the end of the 6 weeks, I tried to mix things up. I am using all of the live heavy weight workouts to date (there might be more by the time this rotation posts but currently there are 5). The main strength workouts in this rotation are all used 4 times during the 6 weeks. That includes the Burn Sets Live workouts and Push Pull Heavy Weights. Boot Camp w/ Heavy Weights is used twice, and that is more to keep things interesting, though it should also reveal any strength gains you made the second time you do the workout. The final workout in this rotation that is used is not one of Cathe’s live workouts but a DVD (or On Demand or download)–STS Total Body, probably the best total body strength workout out there. It always challenges me and I felt it needed to be part of a rotation designed to increase your strength. STS Total Body is also used 4 times.

That’s it for strength work. You are revisiting these workouts for a reason. You need to keep track of the weights you lift every single time you do the workouts, even Boot Camp. The first time you do each workout, look at it as a sort of eval. In the rotation below, I link to each workout review. In the reviews I break down the workouts, listing every exercise performed and the weight Cathe uses as well as the weight I used. Use a notebook or create a chart using the breakdowns I have provided in the reviews. When you do each exercise, if you think you can lift heavier the next time you do the workout, place an up arrow beside the weight. After you complete the workout, update your chart in preparation for the next time you do the workout. The next time you do the workout, use a heavier weight. You will do this every single time you do the strength workouts. You will not increase every weight every time you repeat a workout, but your goal is to be lifting heavier dumbbells for most of the exercises by the end of 6 weeks.

Outside of the strength workouts, you have a lot of freedom. The Burn Sets workouts are short. I workout for an hour every morning so I added on finisher workouts to round out my hour. Sometimes it was a cardio finisher (Bicep & Tricep day), sometimes it was a lower body finisher (Leg day) and sometimes it is an extended stretch (Back, Chest & Shoulders day). On most non-strength days I did cardio. You can do any cardio workout you want: HIIT, low impact, step, kickboxing, cardio walks (such as Jessica Smith)–it is up to you. Just do some form of cardiovascular exercise and at least 30 minutes of it (I do an hour). However, you need to mix it up and there are 2 types of cardio workouts I included each week–one HIIT workout and at least one kickboxing workout. Every week you have two back to back cardio days. I suggest varying your cardio on those two days. HIIT one day, kickboxing the next. The weeks that you have a 3rd cardio day it is your choice–do whatever kind of cardio you want on that 3rd day, but if you are doing a high impact HIIT workout and a high impact kickboxing workout then I suggest doing something low impact that 3rd day. But if your HIIT is low impact, you have a bit more leeway. I did rebounder workouts on most of my non-kickboxing cardio days but I never repeated the same rebounder workout in the entire 6 weeks. I did a different type of cardio every cardio day.

Finally, every Sunday (or day 7) is your recovery day but that doesn’t mean you will do nothing. I did Classical Stretch plus one of Cathe’s Perfect 30 Perfect Flow workouts or one of Mark Lauren’s Bodyweight Training 2.0 workouts. Day 7 should be devoted to flexibility and mobility, however you want to approach it–with yoga, long stretch/flexibility workouts and/or mobility workouts. I used Classical Stretch/Essentrics workouts to achieve all 3 of these modalities but other trainers also create these types of workouts. Not necessarily Miranda Esmond-White‘s technique, but still mobility and dynamic flexibility workouts. As already mentioned, Cathe’s new series has two 30 minute workouts on her Perfect Flow DVD that fit this need perfectly.

The first time I did each workout, I used the same weights I used in the workout reviews. I also added up arrows beside several exercises in each workout but the majority of the exercises I was not (yet) ready to increase my weights. I was also still doing all push ups on my knees. During week 1 I did not have any muscle soreness, which kind of surprised me. Week 2 however was a different story. I had some soreness after Push Pull Heavy Weights and STS Total Body. I have not done STS Total Body since 2017–so when I pulled out my workout card for that workout I was in awe of how strong I used to be and also saddened at how far I have fallen. But that’s life right? At least I continued to exercise throughout cancer treatment and when recovering from multiple surgeries. Even with my weights greatly reduced from what I could lift in 2017, STS Total Body kicked my a$$. By the end of the workout I was exhausted and my legs were trembling. That btw is why that workout was included in this rotation. Due to the way this workout is structured (trisets), for many of the exercises you cannot lift as heavy as you can in the live heavy weight workouts, but if you challenge yourself to lift as heavy as you can with good form, STS Total Body will help you build strength and endurance for the other workouts in this rotation. Finally, at the end of Week 2, I had my first repeated workout–Push Pull Heavy Weights. I lifted heavier for some exercises and I was able to add yet more up arrows for the next time I did the workout. The best part though is that I did 4 of the 16 push ups on my toes. I think I could have done 1 or 2 more but I was afraid my form would deteriorate so I dropped to my knees. So already I am seeing some gains!

Week 3: I am back to Burn Sets Live. For #302 (Back, Chest & Shoulders) I added more up arrows this week-but the best part, I did a total of 18 push ups on my toes. #302 has 3 sets of push ups (well, more than that because one is drop set push ups, so a total of 5 sets), between the first two times you do push ups, I did a total of 18 on my toes. The last set of push ups I was on my knees the entire set. But still–progress! For #305 (Legs), I used the heavier weights from the up arrows I added during week 1 and that was sufficient. No up arrows for #305 in week 3. For #304 (Biceps & Triceps) I only added one up arrow during week 3 and I was working hard. I did feel like a few of the exercises might receive up arrows the next time I do the workout but I’m not there yet. The final strength workout in week 3 was STS Total Body. I increased two weights from up arrows when I did it in week 2–and it still kicked my butt! I was able to do 4 of the 12 push ups on my toes before dropping to my knees. Those are finisher push ups btw, which means your chest is already fried from the weighted chest and tricep work before hand.

Week 4: This week starts with Bootcamp Heavy Weights, which I did increase my weight on but it’s not really giving me the same strength measurements the other workouts give me since it is only done twice during the 6 weeks. But I did add a few up arrows. Push Pull Heavy Weights, which is done on Day 3, is a measuring guide and I am definitely getting stronger. I did 11 push ups (out of a set of 16) on my toes before dropping to my knees. I also added more up arrows. The week ended with STS Total Body. Though I used heavier weights from the last time I did it, I did not add any up arrows. That workout continues to kick my butt. I also was not able to do any push ups on my toes which was a little irritating. But maybe that was because some of the exercises I increased my weights on were chest exercises so I was already burned out, and the push ups are the burn set finisher.

Week 5: This week and next week focus on the Burn Sets Live workouts. #302 (Back, Chest & Shoulders) I added more up arrows (though not as many as I hoped for) and I did a total of 20 push ups on my toes. #305 (Legs) challenges me as is, though I did add one up arrow. #304 (Biceps & Triceps) I added several up arrows, so my biceps and triceps are getting stronger. Even though when I did STS Total Body last week I did not add any up arrows, I decided to increase my weights on most of the exercises anyway. It is the last time in this rotation that I am doing STS Total Body and I probably won’t return to it again for a while, so I decided to challenged myself. Wow. I did it but it worked me very hard. I was seriously worn out by the end of the workout. I did 6 of the 16 push ups on my toes. I am using what I lifted in STS Total Body to determine if I should increase my weight on all of next week’s workouts, including exercises I did not add up arrows to. It’s my last week and if I was able to do it during STS Total Body, I should be able to do it during the Burn Sets Live workouts.

Week 6: For the final week, there isn’t much to analyze here. Instead, I am updating the reviews of all of the strength workouts I did this week. In the exercise breakdown for each workout, I list the weight I used at the beginning of the 6 weeks and the weight I used at the end of the 6 weeks so you can see for yourself any strength I gains I made in the course of this rotation. The workouts where I do this are:

Cathe Live #302: Burn Sets Back, Chest & Shoulders

Cathe Live #305: Burn Sets Express Legs Heavy Weights

Cathe Live #304: Burn Sets Biceps & Triceps

Cathe Live #309: Push Pull Total Body Heavy Weight

However, I will note here that in workout #302–I did 28 push ups on my toes in week 6. As already mentioned, there are a total of 5 sets of push ups in that workout (58 push ups total), so I did almost half of them on my toes. And my final strength workout of the 6 weeks, #309, I did all 16 push ups on my toes–and I felt strong to the very end. Plus, I added a few up arrows!

Summary: When I went back into the Cathe Live workout reviews to add the weights I used at the end of the rotation, I was a little disappointed. My workout cards are a mess, so I expected bigger strength gains. But I was microloading. I own dumbbells in one pound increments from 1-15 pounds plus I use plate mates (2.5 pounds) to increase the weight on heavier dumbbells. So even though I was increasing my weights almost every time I returned to the workouts, the difference between week 1 and week 6 doesn’t look very exciting. But that’s the reason most strength based rotations are longer–90 days. It takes longer than 6 weeks to make real gains. But I did make strength gains and I am pleased with my results. Unfortunately, my injured shoulder still held me back. Even though my left shoulder is still healing (according to my ortho, it could take up to a year before it is pain free) and gaining strength (thanks to this rotation), shoulder pain was still the most limiting reason I could not lift heavier on some exercises. Having completed the 6 weeks, I feel like I could and should have done this rotation for longer. I did not get tired of these workouts. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this rotation. So if you are thinking of doing this rotation and want to make bigger strength gains, I suggest doing it twice for a total of 12 weeks. The workouts I have planned for the next 3 weeks after this rotation should continue to build on the gains I have made during this rotation. And after those 3 weeks, I want to continue lifting heavy on a regular basis by returning to these workouts and also doing Cathe’s Burn Sets DVD workouts from her Xtrain series. I do suffer from exercise ADHD but in order to have measurable increases in strength, or whatever fitness goal you are working toward, you have to return to the same workouts. So I am going to make a point to start returning to heavy strength workouts on a regular basis. Eventually, I am going to tackle STS again–for the 4th time, but the first time since cancer knocked me down.

Rotation:

Week 1:

Day 1: Cathe Live #302: Burn Sets Back, Chest & Shoulders

Day 2: Cathe Live #305: Burn Sets Express Legs Heavy Weights

Day 3: Cathe Live #304: Burn Sets Biceps & Triceps

Day 4: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing)

Day 5: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing but different from what you did on Day 4)

Day 6: Cathe Live #303: Bootcamp Heavy Weights

Day 7: Recovery (yoga/flexibility/mobility)

Week 2:

Day 1: Cathe Live #309: Push Pull Total Body Heavy Weight

Day 2: Cardio

Day 3: STS Total Body

Day 4: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing)

Day 5: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing but different from what you did on Day 4)

Day 6: Cathe Live #309: Push Pull Total Body Heavy Weight

Day 7: Recovery (yoga/flexibility/mobility)

Week 3:

Day 1: Cathe Live #302: Burn Sets Back, Chest & Shoulders

Day 2: Cathe Live #305: Burn Sets Express Legs Heavy Weights

Day 3: Cathe Live #304: Burn Sets Biceps & Triceps

Day 4: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing)

Day 5: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing but different from what you did on Day 4)

Day 6: STS Total Body

Day 7: Recovery (yoga/flexibility/mobility)

Week 4:

Day 1: Cathe Live #303: Bootcamp Heavy Weights

Day 2: Cardio

Day 3: Cathe Live #309: Push Pull Total Body Heavy Weight

Day 4: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing)

Day 5: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing but different from what you did on Day 4)

Day 6: STS Total Body

Day 7: Recovery (yoga/flexibility/mobility)

Week 5:

Day 1: Cathe Live #302: Burn Sets Back, Chest & Shoulders

Day 2: Cathe Live #305: Burn Sets Express Legs Heavy Weights

Day 3: Cathe Live #304: Burn Sets Biceps & Triceps

Day 4: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing)

Day 5: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing but different from what you did on Day 4)

Day 6: STS Total Body

Day 7: Recovery (yoga/flexibility/mobility)

Week 6:

Day 1: Cathe Live #302: Burn Sets Back, Chest & Shoulders

Day 2: Cathe Live #305: Burn Sets Express Legs Heavy Weights

Day 3: Cathe Live #304: Burn Sets Biceps & Triceps

Day 4: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing)

Day 5: Cardio (HIIT or kickboxing but different from what you did on Day 4)

Day 6: Cathe Live #309: Push Pull Total Body Heavy Weight

Day 7: Recovery (yoga/flexibility/mobility)

19 thoughts on “Cathe Live Heavy Weight Rotation

  1. Thank you so much for this rotation! I’ve been doing Cathe’s monthly rotations for the last year, and while certainly I have increased my fitness and strength, I don’t use the same workouts consistently enough to really work on increasing the weights I’m using.

    I’m wondering if you’d share some specific examples of the finisher workouts you used on the days of doing the Burn Sets workouts? I also give myself an hour to workout and want to take full advantage of it!

    Thanks again for all the work you do, your website is a go-to for me several times a week.

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    1. You’re welcome! I am glad you like the rotation and it is useful. I can definitely give you some examples of the finisher workouts I did. On Leg Day it was usually a Heather Robertson finisher workout such as Brutal HIIT Workout // Legs, Glutes + Thighs or The Best At Home Booty Workout // No Equipment. I also own a rebounder and subscribe to Bellicon Home. I did some 20 minute lower body workouts from them, too. On Chest, Back & Shoulders day I always did one of Cathe’s extended stretches on her DVDs–usually the two from her LITE program. And on Bicep & Triceps day I usually did a short rebounder cardio workout from Bellicon Home streaming–they have a lot of 15-20 minute ones. But once I did a short Heather Robertson cardio workout that also included core work: Low Impact Cardio + Abs. Heather Robertson has a lot of finisher workouts. Check out the page I created for her. I list all of her workouts that I have reviewed as well as their length. I also add if they are missing a warm up or stretch. This is useful because the ones that are missing a warm up but have a stretch are prefect finisher workouts.

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  2. Hi! I started on Monday and love your picks so far. I’ve been working out to Cathe for 17 years now and never get sick of it. I am a 55 years young female and I’m seeing more and more body fat creeping in so hopefully this will help some. I don’t see on your website that you talk about your diet. Is that something you can share? Thank you in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Berneda! My diet isn’t anything great. I turn 50 in January but due to chemo I was forced into early menopause at 47. I have been fighting weight gain ever since and I am still seeing the creep. I don’t generally talk about my diet or weight loss because that is not why I exercise. I exercise for physical and mental health reasons. But if you want to lose weight and fat, diet is the only way to go. Currently, I am not doing so well. I spent more than a decade journaling everything I put in my mouth. About a year ago I decided I didn’t feel like doing it anymore and just quit. It did not lead to weight loss or gain but less stress! Anyway, I did diet a few years ago. I did it in conjunction with a Cathe Live rotation I created. Here is the rotation. For more info about what I did to lose weight, read the comments below the rotation. Short story–I did Weight Watchers. And it worked really well but I have not been able to motivate myself to count points again.

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  3. Thanks so much for this! I started on Sunday. The leg workout had a lot of dead lifts and those hurt my back. Do you have any suggestions on what to switch out for those? I am very sore today from both workouts. She moved so fast through the exercises that I thought I wouldn’t even be sore at all! Ha – was I ever wrong!

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    1. There are a lot of deadlifts in that workout. You can do several things. A weighted hip thrust: https://youtu.be/Zp26q4BY5HE
      Supermans are another exercise that works the low back and glutes. This site shows traditional Supermans and some variations: https://redefiningstrength.com/superman-exercise/

      Since you do so many deadlifts, it might work best to do some hip thrusts, some Superman variations and some stability ball hamstring curls: https://youtu.be/9L-9NTPiw8E

      Mix it up. They all hit the same basic muscle groups but in different ways. And yes! That workout doubles as cardio for me! My FitBit shows I even get into my peak heart rate during it!

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  4. Man I love your information!!!!! I’ve followed you for a number of years and always enjoy and benefit from your posts! Will you be returning to fitbodybyjulia again? MAN SHE’S A BEAST!!! You introduced her to me and do her workouts on strong days. Keep up the great work and soo happy for you to beat the CπŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ‘πŸ‘

    On Sat, Nov 28, 2020 at 12:39 PM 2 Lazy 4 the Gym wrote:

    > 2lazy4gym posted: “I am so enamored of the “heavy weight” live workouts > Cathe has created that I decided to create a rotation using them. In order > to get measurable strength results, I needed to return to these workouts on > a regular basis, which I had not been doing. So I d” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have thought about returning to some of Julia’s workouts–but the ones I have already reviewed. Who knows–returning to them might inspire me to try some of her newer offerings.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. When I do this rotation again (or some form of it), I will do it for longer. So if you’re willing, I would suggest repeating it for 12 weeks total. That will give you better strength gains.

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