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Cathe Friedrich's Butts & Guts

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Updated January 22, 2007

Cathe Friedrich's most recent video series includes a variety of workouts for both cardio and strength. Her Butts & Guts DVD offers a killer workout for advanced exercisers targeting the lower body and the abs. This workout focuses on muscular endurance rather than strength and involves light weights along with higher repetitions...but don't worry. Cathy changes up the tempo of each exercise so it's never boring or tedious. The entire workout is about 75 minutes long and includes bonus Stability Ball Abs and Bonus Lower Body as well as a variety of premixes offering shorter workouts.

Standing Glute Work

The Standing Glute Work is the first part of the workout and requires a stability ball, a high step (you can use a regular step here or a BOSU), light dumbbells, a barbell and a resistance band. The workout itself follows a circuit-like pattern where you move through a series of exercises once and then repeat them all with modifications. The exercises include:
  • Walking Lunges. These aren't the usual walking lunges but include pulsing lunges, plie squats and plie squat jumps. Ouch!
  • Barbell Deadlifts with tempo changes.
  • One-legged squats (back foot is on a step).
  • Hammer punches - with these you step forward into a lunge while punching down with the opposite hand.
  • Barbell Squats - These involve regular squats, pulsing squats and killer half-way up squats.

Once you complete the moves, you go through them all again, but this time there are some variations: The Walking Lunge set is shorter, you elevate the toes during the Deadlifts, the Hammer Punch becomes a side lunge, there's a new Lunge/Squat Combo and then you move into Firewalkers where you wrap a resistance band around your ankles and walk sideways for about a zillion steps.

Overall, this is a very tough workout and there are a lot of innovative moves like the Firewalkers and the Side Hammer Punches. I also liked the tempo changes throughout each set...definitely makes the moves less tedious. This section is about 30 minutes long, but it moves quickly and will definitely leave you with jello-legs.

The Floor Work

The Floor Work section, about 20 minutes long, is my least favorite part of the video, but only because I'm not a huge fan of floor work myself. This section starts off with outer thigh leg lifts on the ball followed by hamstring rolls. For each of these exercises, you do one set, but Cathe changes up the tempo so you'll really feel the burn, again, focusing on endurance.

The next section involves ankle weights and isn't all that special. The exercises cover the standard moves - inner thigh lifts, glute squeezes and hydrants. Again, all the moves include pulses and other tempo variations to challenge muscular endurance.

I have to say, this section was a little disappointing simply because there were no new exercises here and, about halfway through, I was ready to move on.

Core and Bonus Workouts

The Core section is about 14 minutes long and is interesting because it involves light weights as well as ankle weights. Some of the moves include:
  • Slow roll-down crunch with a punch at the top of the movement
  • A reverse crunch with a weight
  • Rollbacks (lifting the legs in a reverse crunch and rolling down slowly)
  • Side to side torso rotations
  • Straight leg drops, side to side
  • A variety of pulsing crunches
  • Planks
  • Back extensions

While I liked the variety of exercises and the addition of light weights, this section seemed long to me and a bit tedious. You'll definitely need endurance in the abs and hip flexors to get through the entire workout.

What I did enjoy was the bonus abs section using a ball...in fact, this might be one of my favorite ab workouts because it includes a variety of new and fun moves like a plank where you rest the forearms on the ball and make circles (very interesting!), rollouts, side rolls on the ball (another unusual move), oblique lifts with a band and leg drops with the ball, just to name a few. There are also some standard moves here like back extensions, oblique crunches and ball exchanges.

The other bonus exercises include Sit & Stands where you sit and then hover over the step for 4 counts (always killer), two sets of 16 Leg Presses and Hip Extensions on the ball. These are great add-ons for when you want more floor work or to mix and match different exercises together.

Premixes and Conclusion

I actually prefer some of the premixes over the main workout, especially the Standing Glutes & Abs Timesaver (about 45 minutes), which includes only standing leg work and some exercises from the bonus abs workout. There's also a 65-Minute Overall Legs workout that incorporates the bonus exercises as well as many of the standing exercises in the main workout, but the bulk of the workout is on the floor and includes two sets of many of the ankle-weight exercises.

Another pre-mix is the Leg Blast workout which is about 45 minutes long and is another favorite mine. This one is all standing work and has you repeating many of the more difficult exercises (like the Lunge/Squat Combo and Leg Presses) for several sets. The last premix is Floor Work & Abs.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great video for advanced exercisers looking for an endurance-oriented lower body and core workout. The only real drawbacks for me are that, first, the workout is very long although you can always choose a Premix workout. Second, the floor work was uninspiring and, frankly, a little boring. The highlights include:

  • Innovative standing and ab exercises
  • Great bonus workouts
  • Huge variety of premixed workouts give you lots of options
  • Excellent cueing
  • Great music
When it comes to home workout videos, Cathe really can't be beat with the innovations she offers. No other instructor offers so many premixed workouts, bonus exercises and other extras to keep you interested for months, even years, to come. This video is no exception, offering you something different every time.

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