Cathe Friedrich Reviews

Body Max with Cathe Friedrich (A Rating and Review)

March 4, 2019

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Body Max is an incredible total body workout for women (But is it right for you? Find out here).

Yes, this program (Body Max) is old.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s an effective total-body ass-kicking workout.  (And always will be.)

Here’s a peek:

The Body Max routine is long.  You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) do it every day.  But hey, you spend way more hours than this watching TV.  This is more important.

Let me tell you what you’ll need and exactly what you’re going to be doing in Body Max with Cathe Friedrich…

This post may contain Amazon (or other) affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission. You can get more information about that here.

Cathe Friedrich doing a bench press with a barbell on top of an aerobic step

Instructor-Cathe Friedrich

Category-Cardio + Strength


aerobic step with 2 risers (on each side)

Cathe uses a 25 lb. barbell*

5, 8, 10, 12 and 20 lb. dumbbells

*You can use dumbbells in place of the barbell exercises but the link will take you to the barbell Cathe uses in her workouts

Length-90 minutes

HRM-660 calories


Make sure you read what each of my choreography ratings mean.  This rating is a reference to the complexity of the choreography, not the intensity.

My rating– A

✔This workout is a solid A.  If it was closer to 60 minutes I’d give it an A+

✔ 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

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

The Important Stuff about Body Max

You need extra space to do Body Max.  Give yourself enough room to move around your step and grapevine out to each side.  That should be enough room for everything.

This routine covers cardio step, interval training, lower and upper body resistance, and abs.  That’s right.  Everything.  There’s also a good stretch at the end.

There are no premixes (extra workouts) on this video.  But Body Max is part of a video that has 3 individual workouts (Power Hour, Maximum Intensity Strength, & Body Max) so you get your money’s worth when you buy this workout.  The only way you can get Body Max by itself is by purchasing a VHS (if you still have something that can play it) OR via a membership to Cathe on Demand (my recommendation)  The title of the DVD is Power Hour + MIS & Body Max.

This is a 2-drink workout for me.  Make sure you have your water close by.

Remember to read to the end of this post for tips on every section of Body Max (I’ll tell you exactly what weights I use for each exercise) and for links to a few places you can compare prices for this video 🙂


The warm-up is an 8-minute step routine with a short stretch.

Main Workout (The Exercises in Body Max)

Step Routine

This segment is 24 minutes.  The entire segment is completed on 2 risers (on each side) so your heart rate will get up there.

I put the choreography in the Experienced category because if you’ve never done step before I think you may have to do it a few times to really get every move.  

Cathe does a great job of cueing and building up the combinations in a way that makes the steps easy, so stick with it.

There are four combinations to learn.  She puts them all together at the end of the segment.

Keep your step with 2 risers.  You’ll use it for the next section, too.

Power Interval Circuits with Lower Body

There are 4 cardio sections in this segment.  Each interval consists of a short high-impact step routine followed by a power move and then a lower body exercise with weights

The power moves are really hard so get ready.

Here are the lower-body weight exercises you’ll do between cardio sections:

Alternating Back Pulse Lunges (off your step)

ATTENTION: Cathe fails to say what weight she’s using for the exercises.  I’ll tell you what I use when I do this program.  I use two 8 lb. weights for this exercise.


Cathe uses her barbell with unknown weight (we find out later that it’s 25 lbs.) I use two 10’s (or my barbell). 

I put them on my shoulders.  Cathe points out that this workout is to build up your muscular endurance so you shouldn’t be holding a really heavy weight.  The idea is to do more reps with a lower weight.

Front Lunges

I use 8 lb. dumbbells.  Cathe is holding 5’s or 8’s.

Plié Squats

There are about 32 of these.  Cathe uses her barbell.  I use two 12’s (or a barbell).

Static Lunges

I use my 12’s again.  There are 24 per leg.

*There’s a short cool down and lower body stretch section here before you move on to upper body conditioning.

Upper Body Conditioning

This section is about 34 minutes long


Cathe says to get out a 25 lb. barbell (now she tells us), and 15 lb. dumbbellsI use my 12’s in this section (or my barbell).

Chest Press

I use two 15’s for this exercise. She varies the speed and pattern.  When she grabs her barbell, you might want to get 12’s (unless you’re using a barbell).


You had to know push-ups were coming. Cathe does more than most women can possibly manage.  Do your best.  Get on your knees if you have to.  Just be happy they’re out of the way now.


Cathe says she’s using 8 & 20 lb. dumbbells and a 25 lb. barbell

One-Arm Rows

I use a 20 lb. weight for these. You’ll feel it.  Keep your back flat.  There are two sets of 12.

You don’t need that mountain of risers she has stacked for hand placement.  Use your knee or a piece of furniture to get in the proper position.

Wide Grip Pull

I use my 12’s sometimes for this exercise, Cathe has her barbell. Watch the form.  This is for your upper back/rhomboids.  There are 2 sets of 12.

Rear Delt Fly

Sit down on your step and lean over slightly. There are 3 sets of 8I use 8 lb. dumbbells.


Cathe says she uses 8, 10, and 15 lb. dumbbells and a 25 lb. barbell.  Sometimes I use my 12’s instead of the barbell and the same weights as her for the other parts.

Overhead Press

It feels like there are about a million reps here. Usually I use my 15’s

You may want to grab something lighter.

Upright Rows

Most of the time I use my 12’s for this exercise while Cathe uses her 25 lb. barbell.

Lateral Raises

I alternate between 8’s and 10’s for these. I use the 8’s on the straight arm exercise.


Grab 10, 12, and 15 lb. dumbbells and a 25 lb. barbell (if your Cathe or are using your barbell for all exercises)


I use my 12’s. Cathe has that barbell.

Hammer Curls

Go heavier for this exercise. You may think you can’t do it but I bet you can.  I use 15’s.  The exercise is done at a slow-ish tempo.  Cathe tells you how to do it.

Crazy 8’s

I always get anxious about this exercise. I guess because I think it’s really hard.  Cathe uses her barbell again but I use 10’s (or a barbell( for this one.  I can’t manage the 12’s through all the reps.

Crazy 8’s are better with a barbell (in my opinion) so if you have one then go ahead and use it for this set.

Hammer Curls

One more set of these. I use 12’s.


Get out your 8’s (or whatever you use for kickbacks), 12’s (unless you have a 25 lb. barbell) and 15’s.

Close-Grip Bench Press

Try to emulate Cathe’s form with the dumbbells (unless you have a barbell). I use my 12’s or a barbell with 25 lbs.

Triceps Dips (off the step)

I usually have to take a break in the middle of these. Her arms are amazing.

Triceps Kickback

I use an 8 lb. weight. I think Cathe does, too.


This section is about 8 minutes.

Cathe props her feet up on her step for this segment.

All of the exercises are traditional abdominal crunches. 

I try so hard not to stop during this section but I’ve never been able to do it.  My abs hurt so bad.  I usually stop for a few reps to unlock my abs but always jump back in after a few reps.  Make sure you do the same.


Now you stretch.  (You’re already cooled down.)  Make sure you do this part.  You’re so amazing for completing this workout.  You burned a ton of calories.  Smile.  You’ve earned extra bread today.

Now What?

Body Max is so complete.  You’ll quickly forget what decade it was filmed in because it doesn’t matter.

If you’re looking for an amazing total body workout to add to your library then consider this one.

You can find Body Max in a few places:

Cathe’s website 


a membership to Cathe on Demand (where you can access every single Cathe Friedrich program–there are hundreds).

Cathe on Demand is how I access all of Cathe’s workouts these day.  If you want to know more about Cathe on Demand you can learn it here: Everything You Need to Know About Cathe Live and Cathe on Demand.


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  1. Alix Laney says:

    Trivia: The reason Cathe is alone during the ab work is because she and the crew had it all filmed and she realized she had left out oblique work. So she filmed it alone to minimize time and expense.

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