Cathe Friedrich Reviews

4 Day Split Cardio + Weights by Cathe Friedrich (A Review of Higher Intensity Step)

February 8, 2019

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Cathe Friedrich’s Higher Intensity Step is a fun classic step routine followed by an upper body weight training segment that focuses on the chest and back.

I wish I could tell you the choreography in the step segment is simple but it’s not.

You probably won’t be able to do it the first time.  Don’t let that discourage you. 

The moves fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle and Cathe is a pro at cueing.  When you learn the steps you’ll feel like a superstar and this will be one of your favorite videos.

Here’s a peek at what you’ll see in 4 Day Split Higher Intensity Step:

I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to totally crush this workout.

Let’s get started…

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Instructor-Cathe Friedrich

Category-Cardio + Strength


aerobic step with 2 risers* (on each side)

*If you only have 1 set of risers you can still do this routine.  Cathe uses one riser (on each side) for the step routine and adds extra risers to do the weight work.


dumbbells (12, 20, 25, 30 lbs.)

an exercise band

a barbell with up to about 60 lbs.*

*you can substitute dumbbells for the barbell exercises

Length-58 minutes

HRM-353 calories


Follow the link for a quick explanation of my choreography rating.

My rating– A

If you don’t own any dumbbells and don’t know where to start then read this, A Woman’s Guide to Buying Dumbbells.

✔ Pro Tip: This guide will be helpful if you’re in the market for an aerobic step: Your Expert Guide to Buying and Using an Aerobic Step

Important Stuff about 4 Day Split Higher Intensity Step

There are two discs and 4 main workouts on 4 Day Split Cardio + Weights.  Higher Intensity Step and Lower Intensity Step are on one disc, Boot Camp and Kickbox are on another.

There are 12 premix workouts compiled from Higher Intensity Step and Lower Intensity Step, and 11 more premix workouts on the second disk taken from Boot Camp and Kickbox (yep, that’s 27 total routines!).  You get a lot for your money.  Read about one of my favorite premix routines from this program here.

This post is a detailed summary and review of one of the main programs on this video, Higher Intensity Step (Plus Heavy Weights Chest/Back).  This workout has a short step routine followed by a weight section that focuses on the chest and back muscles. As the title says, Cathe uses heavy weights (and low reps).  Challenge yourself to try heavy weights.  That’s how you tone and change your body.

The step routine is done with one riser under your step. Cathe adds a second riser for the weight work.

Remember to read to the end of this post for helpful tips on every section as well as links to a few places you can compare prices on this video.


This section is almost 6 minutes.

The warm-up is a step routine. You get a taste of the choreography that’s coming up in the rest of the workout.  The tempo is pretty fast.  Listen to Cathe.  She cues perfectly.

Main Workout (The Exercises in 4 Day Split Higher Intensity Step)

Step Routine

This segment is about 22 minutes long.

Keep your aerobic step with one riser for the step routine.  This is fun.  You’re not allowed to give up.

There are three combinations to learn.

I think it took me longer to learn the transition blasts you do in between each combo than the steps of the combos (although the step-hitch-kick from the 3rd set eluded me for years…I simply couldn’t figure out what the hell she was doing).

The parts come at you fast and you don’t really get a chance to ease into the pieces.  But once you figure it out the transition segments are the most fun.

You get to do all three combinations together at the end but you don’t have to repeat those transition moves.

Upper Body Strengthening

Add that second set of risers to your step.  (If you have them.)

Maybe you’ve never done an exercise with dumbbells this heavy.  Take each exercise and decide what weight you want to use.  (I’ll tell you exactly what I use for each move.)  If this is too much weight then go lighter.

Don’t injure yourself.  But these exercises are all done with a smooth and slow pattern that will allow you to try a heavier weight without the risk of injury.

Form is everything.  If you aren’t able to maintain proper form then go back down in weight.

Round One

You need your mat for Supermans first.

One-Arm Lat Row is next (2 sets).  The first set is with a 12 lb. dumbbell (16 reps each side).  Go heavy on the second set.  I use a 30 lb. dumbbell (only 8 reps in the second set).  You have to do push-ups between sets.

Push-Ups are the last exercise in this round.  Cathe alternates between full and partials and then does a set of crazy 8’s (she doesn’t call them this but it’s a similar pattern to a crazy 8 pattern you can do with bicep curls) after another set of one-arm rows.

Round Two

Barbell Rows with an underhand grip (Cathe uses a barbell with 62 lbs.).  I use two 30 lb. dumbbells for this.  I do an underhand grip for the first set and then change my wrists to face my body on the second set of these rows and use two 25’s.

Now position 3 risers on one side and remove the riser from the other side of your step so you’re on an incline.  The next exercise is an Inclined Fly.  There are 12 reps.  I use my 25 lb. dumbbells.

Repeat all of those exercises.  I use the same weights for the second set.

When you’re done with this round go ahead and put your risers back to 2 on each end of the step.

Round Three

Wide Lat Row.   Notice the position of the hand on this exercise.  I use a 20 lb. dumbbell.  There are 12 reps.

More Push-Ups are next.  There are 12.

Round Four

Put your step back into that inclined position.  You’ll be doing Pull-Overs.  Cathe uses a 15 lb. dumbbell on this exercise, but you might be able to do this with a 20.  If you’re nervous about moving a heavy weight over your face then stay with the 15.

Chest Press is next.  Keep your step in the incline position.  Cathe uses 30’s for this exercise but I use my 25’s.  There are 12.

Round Five

You won’t need your step for the last round of exercises.  Go get your band for back work.  There are T-Pulls and Y-Pulls with that band.  If your band is shorter than the one Cathe is using then you don’t need to criss-cross it over your feet.  You’ll feel these in your shoulders, too.

The last exercise is more Push-Ups (of course).  There are 12.

Cool Down/Stretch

The stretch segment is about 4 minutes long and focuses mostly on the lower body.  You may want to add a few more back and chest stretches to what she does.

Now What?

4-Day Split Cardio + Weights is one of my favorite Cathe Friedrich videos.

With all the premix routines, you can’t beat how much you get for your money and, as always, the workouts will challenge you.

You can find this workout in several places:

Cathe’s website


And don’t forget you can access every single Cathe Friedrich routine (300+ workouts) with a membership to Cathe on Demand

Read more about Cathe on Demand here.

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