Cathe Friedrich Reviews

A Review of Maximum Intensity by Cathe Friedrich

June 20, 2019

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Maximum Intensity is just ONE OF THE ROUTINES in the Intensity program by Cathe Friedrich.  This post is a detailed breakdown of that routine (Maximum Intensity).

Maximum Intensity is an advanced workout, people.

I love the Insanity Max:30 series with Shaun T because it’s so difficult—the first 30 minutes of Maximum Intensity is as hard as any Max:30 workout.

You can find a link to a breakdown of the main workout on Intensity in the next section.  Pay attention to my choreography rating.

This workout is over an hour.  Don’t whine about it.  You’ll burn a truck-load of calories.  It’s all good.

Let me explain what tools you’re going to need and what you can expect in this routine…

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.

a close up image of Cathe Friedrich from the Intensity workout program cover art

Instructor-Cathe Friedrich



aerobic step with 1 riser on each side

exercise loop (firewalker loop*)

dumbbells (8 and 10 lbs.)

a mat

*The firewalker loop is a closed circle also called an exercise loop (check out the link above to see it), if you don’t have one you can tie a band around your ankles when it’s time to use it

Length-70 minutes

HRM-551 calories


My rating- 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

Pro Tip #2-If you’re still trying to figure out how to stock up on dumbbells read, A Woman’s Guide to Buying Dumbbells.  It’ll help answer your questions.

Important Stuff about Maximum Intensity 

I’ve already posted a review of the main workout on Intensity. I gave the main workout a Simple+ choreography rating.  I debated between labeling that workout Simple+ or Experienced.  Read about my choreography ratings and let me know what you think, but I’m keeping Maximum Intensity (this workout) in the Experienced category.  Just know that the choreography (of the aerobic step segment) requires you to have some experience in step aerobics but you don’t have be a graduate of Juilliard to figure it out.

There are 9 total premix workouts on the Intensity video—this one (Maximum Intensity), as well as 2 other routines that are longer than the main workout, 5 timesaver premixes, and one Step Only premix.  Rest assured there’s something in the Intensity program that works for you.

Maximum Intensity (this workout) has four sections—Step, High-Impact Hiit, Low-Impact Hiit, and Boot Camp.  (Hiit stands for high intensity interval training).  In this premix, the step segment is the hardest part.

All of the exercises are done as a group.  All you have to do is keep up.

Intensity reminds me a lot of X10, another incredible program by Cathe Friedrich.  If you love this routine then I suggest you try that one out, too.

This workout will be easier to pull off  if you’re able to give yourself a little more room than I normally recommend However, the extra space isn’t a requirement.

Remember to read to the end for specific tips about each section in this routine as well as links to a few places you can compare prices for this video 🙂


The warm-up is about five minutes long and uses the step (with 1 riser).  There’s some choreography in this section so pay attention.

Main Workout (The Exercises in Maximum Intensity)

Part One-STEP

This segment is about 25 minutes long.  You’ll need your aerobic step with one riser on each side.

This (the step segment) is the only part of Maximum Intensity that has choreography to worry about (besides the warm-up).  Cathe is a master at cuing so listen to her and you’ll figure the steps out fast.

But have your inhaler close by!  The step routine is intense cardio.  If you’re not winded and dripping in sweat after this section then Bless Your Heart!  You’re an animal.


You won’t need any equipment for this part, which is 10 about minutes long.

The pattern is about 1 minute of work and 30 seconds of rest.

The 1 minute exercises:

Side jumps with bunny hops and a jumping jack (just follow the group, it’s fun)

REST (30 seconds)

Side leaps with a jumping jack, 3 air jacks, 1 tuck jump (the hardest combination in this section!)


Wide leg burpee/plié jump combo


3 Forward jumps with a ½ turn and 4 lateral jumps


Burpee with a ‘flying angel’ jump


Right/Left scissor with a wide tuck jump


Left/Right scissor with a wide tuck jump


2 wide-stance vertical jumps with a leap frog up and back


Leap frogs up and back



The pattern in this section is 30-60 seconds of work followed by a short rest period.  You’ll stay low-impact, though, so this interval is the easiest part of the premix.  Make the moves big so your heart rate stays high.

You won’t need any equipment.  The Low-Impact section is about 10 minutes long.

The exercises:

Climb the rope with a hammer punch


Repeat the exercise starting on the other lead


Squat Digs (32 reps)


Reaching lunges


Repeat reaching lunges


Split lunge pulses with a pull down (thigh burners!)


Puddle jumpers (low-impact lateral leaps)


Windmills (outer thigh/hip killers)


Repeat windmills on the other lead leg


Air Squats (32 reps)


Another set of 32 air squats



You’ll need your weights for this part.  Cathe has weight gloves.  Those are optional (I’ve never used them).  Get out your 8 and 10 lb. dumbbells and your exercise loop (or band that you can tie into a closed circle).

The pattern this time is 5 drills made up of a short cardio exercise followed by a compound strength move.  Your heart-rate stays really high when you work this way.  It’s all good.  You’ll burn a ton of calories and sculpt your body.

This part is also about 10 minutes long.

Drill One

T-jumps with a plyo jack and 2 air jacks

Squat/overhead press with your 10 lb. dumbbells (16 reps)

Drill Two

Sumo squats/line taps

Functional rotational lunges with 10 lb. dumbbells (8 reps per side)

Bent-arm lateral raises

Functional rotational lunges on other side

Shoulder shrugs

Drill Three

Jumping jacks with a ¼ turn and shuffle back with punches

Squat with hammer curls (I use 10 lbs. on this exercise but have your 8’s close by, just in case)

Drill Four

High knee jogs with pendulums

Put that firewalker loop around your ankles and do lateral walks (if your outer thighs are still locked up from those windmills we did in the low-impact hiit section then these will be a challenge)

Don’t throw your loop across the room after this exercise is over.  You’ll need if for Drill Five.

Drill Five

Get your mat and band/loop out.  Slide the band up around your thighs for the next exercise.  Guess what?  You’ll feel this exercise in your outer thighs (and obliques).  I hope you’ve recovered from the windmills at this point.

You’ll be on your side reaching over your head and flexing your knee in to meet your elbow.  Keep your hips off the ground.  Check out the abs on the girl in the back row.  That’s our goal.  (Your abs may already look like that.  And if you’ve never had kids then it’s entirely possible.  If you’ve had kids and your abs still look like that then you’re a total badass and I hate you so bad right now.)

Push-ups are the last exercise (grand finale, if you will).

You’ll do 24 reps and then rest and do 12 more.


You need this!  For the love of monkeys stretch out your abductors (outer thighs).

You just worked out hard for over an hour, don’t be crazy and skip 5 more minutes that your body needs to stretch.

Now What?

The Maximum Intensity premix is a challenging program from Cathe’s Intensity program.  The name says it all—it’s intense.  But who couldn’t use a good challenge in their workout?  And with all the premix options you’re getting a lot for your money.  Intensity is a good investment.

You can find the Intensity program in several places:

Cathe’s website

Collage Video


And remember that Cathe Friedrich has an On Demand service.  The subscription will give you streaming access to all of her exercise programs (including this one).

For more details about Cathe Friedrich’s on demand program read, Everything You Need to Know About Cathe Live and Cathe on Demand + Live.

As always, thank you for reading!  I love you guys.  You’re awesome!


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