Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cathe Friedrich's XTrain Series


Cathe Friedrich's - XTrain Series
Recently, I was lucky enough to receive Cathe's latest series (XTrain) to review. Those of you who've read my blog for any length of time probably have already gotten the hint that I am a huge fan of Cathe. I've been doing her DVDs for 8-9 (or more) years.

I was lucky enough to even go to her Road Trip three summers ago and meet her. She's just a sweet in person as you think she'd be from the DVDs. I think she's just a very solid instructor. She's enthusiastic, but not annoying. She is always good about showing correct form and for showing modifications for all exercises.

So, needless to say, I couldn't wait to dive right into the Xtrain DVDs. Especially since I'm trying to rebuild muscle lost after not being able to lift because of the blood clot.

I received the bundled set, minus the Ride DVD. I loved that the Xtrain Bundle set comes with a user's guide that also included 4 different workout rotations to choose from as well as the exercises included on each disc, the premixes, and even the weights she uses just to give you a general idea.

Unfortunately, due to my foot injury, I wasn't able to try out the Cardio Leg Blast or the All Out Low Impact HIIT workouts. But I most definitely will be doing those as soon as I'm able to.

XTrain Super Cuts
This is a fantastic, fully-body conditioning workout. Cathe uses dynamic and compound moves to hit every muscle group while keeping your heart rate going strong. This one is great because you don't need a ton of equipment or a huge range of weights. I think most at-home exercises would have the necessary equipment already. And if you don't, it's not expensive equipment either.

She only uses 5 and 8 pound dumbbells, a resistance tube (you could use just a band but you would need to be careful on the grip), a band to go around your thighs (she does have a special "firewalker" band but I just tied up one of my regular bands), and some sliding discs (paper plates work too). Oh and Dixie cups, but I just did the lunges without them.

So if you're looking for a full body workout but don't have a lot of time to do a down and dirty weight workout, this is a great option. You'll work all muscles; you'll keep your heart rate at a pretty decent level, and you won't be working out for hours on end. I also tried one of the bonus abs workouts at the end. One word: killer. 

XTrain Hard Strikes
I was super excited to try this one out. I absolutely love Cathe's MMA Boxing and Kickboxing workouts and was hoping for more of the same. While it's a really good workout, it isn't quite like the MMA workouts.

It's definitely one I will keep in my rotation of workouts, but probably not at the top of the list. I will say that I really liked the heavy bag tabatas at the end of the workout. You definitely don't have to have a heavy bag. I just used my 1 pound weighted gloves throughout the workout and for the heavy bag session. And if you have any agressions to take out...the tabatas will take care of that one I promise.

Tabatacise
If you like tabata workouts, then this one is right up your alley. It's amazing how high you can get your heart rate going in 4-minute intervals and just your body weight. But Cathe takes it to another level by including a step blast between each of the 5 tabata segments.

So just when you think you're done with the tabata round, she throws in an extra cardio blast using the step (with 2 risers on each side). This workout will leave you with shaky legs and a puddle of sweat!

Biceps/Triceps and Chest, Back & Shoulders
At first I wasn't sure I was going to like these two discs. I loved the idea of the supersets and trisets, but not the 16 reps. I definitely prefer heavier weights with lower reps. However, this one...it's not light weights despite the number of reps.

You still go with about 70% of your 1 Rep Max (1RM), so be prepare to work and work hard. You'll be praying to eek out that last rep throughout the workout.

It moves pretty quickly too. So you really don't get bored with the higher reps (if you're prone to that like I am). You don't need a lot of equipment with this one. Just your dumbbells, mat, resistance tubing, and a ball. She uses a stability ball to also engage the stabilizer muscles and the tube along with a weight to make the eccentric move more challenging.

And get ready to do a lot of pushups for chest. Cathe is queen of pushup variations, and she definitely makes use of them here. Not only various pushups, but tempo patterns as well. 

Burn Sets
Burn sets is another weight DVD for biceps and triceps and shoulders, chest and back. This one uses 75-80% of your 1RM for 2 sets of 10 reps and a 3rd set to failure. The workouts are done as straight sets, so you complete one muscle group before moving to the next. There are 3 exercises for each muscle followed by one final burnout exercise.

This is a great DVD with tons of premix options to choose from. You'll definitely feel the burn!
Post Biceps/Triceps Workout

Legs
This isn't your traditional heavy leg workout. Actually, it's not really a traditional weighted leg workout period. But that doesn't mean it's easy; trust me on that one. Get ready to feel the burn with this one.

I gotta say that if you're a runner, you'll definitely want to check this one out. It's a terrific workout for hitting the glutes, hams, inner/outer thighs - all problem areas for most runners.

You'll need either a paper plate or a sliding disc, band or firewalker band, and light dumbbell. Again, this isn't a heavy weight workout. But, it's a great conditioning workout and will definitely give your bum a lift.

Final Thoughts
I may be a little biased seeing as how much I have always loved Cathe's workouts. But I'm not just touting the XTrain Series as great because I like Cathe; I'm saying they're good because I firmly believe they are solid workouts and would definitely have purchased the XTrain Series on my own. If you don't have much equipment at home, but do have access to a gym, I would highly recommend the download option so that you could take it with you. I think that is a fantastic option to have. 

Disclaimer: I received these DVDs for free to review. My opinions, however, are completely my own.