Cathe Friedrich Reviews

A Review of Muscle Max with Cathe Friedrich (a total body dumbbell workout for women)

July 12, 2019

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Muscle Max with Cathe Friedrich is total body classic weight training.

Here’s a look at the workout:

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Do Muscle Max once (or twice) a week (add cardio the other days), avoid donuts, and every inch of your body will be a chiseled masterpiece in no time.  *Sometimes avoiding donuts is the hardest step…*

Cathe Friedrich looks incredible in this workout.  Like a sculpted machine. It’s awesome.

Let me tell you exactly what you need to know about Muscle Max before you try it…

the cover art of the Muscle Max video with Cathe Friedrich doing a sumo squat holding a black dumbbell

Instructor-Cathe Friedrich



Aerobic Step with 2 risers (per side)

an exercise band

a barbell* with 20, 30, 35, and 40 lbs.

dumbbells-10, 15, 25 lbs.

a mat

*Sometimes I substitute all of the barbell work with the same weight in dumbbells.  You can do the entire workout with just the dumbbells but you’ll want to add a pair of 20 and 30 lb. dumbbells to the list above to be able to do all of the exercises with the same weight Cathe uses.

Length-68 minutes

HRM-342 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

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 Muscle Max with Cathe Friedrich

Muscle Max is a strength workout with weights.  Cathe hits every major muscle group in the main workout.

There are 4 extra/shorter premix workouts on Muscle Max:

Upper Only-42 minutes

Upper Body Push/Pull-33 minutes

Lower Body Only-23 minutes

Timesaver-56 minutes

Cathe uses changes in tempo to really hit each muscle group.  Follow her speed and pattern to get the most out of this program

I use the exact same weights that Cathe uses during this workout (but sometimes I substitute all of the BB work with DB’s. *BB=barbell, DB=dumbbell

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


The warm-up is about 5 minutes long.  You won’t need any equipment for this part.  It’s all low-impact.

Main Workout (The Exercises in Muscle Max)



Set One24 reps with 10 lb. DB’s to warm-up your legs.

Set Two40 lb. BB or 20 lb. DB’s

Cathe does a bunch of reps in this set with changing tempo and pattern (4 slow reps, 4 a little faster, 8 reps at regular pace, 3 sets of low-end pulses, and then she finishes the set with 8 single reps at regular speed).  Keep your chest up and bend at the waist.  Don’t cheat.

Static Lunges

Get a 30 lb. BB or 15 lb. DB’s for a set on each leg.

Cathe follows the same pattern she did in the second set of squats.  Get ready for those low-end pulses.



Two sets of 12 reps

Chest Flys

Cathe does these lying on her step.  You can do them on the floor, though.

Set One12 reps with 15 lb. DB’s

Set Two8 slow reps with 15 lb. DB’s


Here’s the pattern:4 counts down/2 counts up/2 counts down, then 4 counts up/2 counts down/2 counts up (keep repeating for 8 sets)

Yeah, it sounds like gibberish on paper but once you see the pattern you’ll think, OOOOHHHH…


Underhand Rows

Use a 40 lb. BB or 20 lb. DB’s

There are 2 sets of 15 reps

One-Arm Rows

25 lb. DB

There are a bunch of reps with changing tempo on each arm. (Remember the pattern you followed on the last set of push-ups?  She repeats it here.)


You can lie on your step or on the floor

Use a BB loaded with 30 lbs. or a 30 lb. DB; there are 10 slow reps


Leg Press on your aerobic step with a band

There are 2 sets of 16 on each leg

Try to stay in a semi-squat position to keep the glutes fired through the entire set.

You’ll thread your band under the step for this exercise.  Listen to me (and Cathe).  For the love of monkeys let go of the band BEFORE you get off the step.  (Or you can just lower your hands—I like to let go of my band because it snaps to the floor with a loud thwack and I think that’s kind of satisfying for some reason) You really don’t want to flip the step up with your band.  Speaking from experience, that’s a painful (and embarrassing) mistake.

Plié Squats

Get one 15 lb. DB

You’ll be doing low-end pulses and move the weight from hand to hand.  There are a shit-ton of reps here. If your legs aren’t trembling before the end of the second set then you’re a beast.


Bent-Arm Standing Lateral Raises

10 lb. DB’s; there are 2 sets of 12 reps

The BONUS exercise is a lateral raise using your band.  My old exercise band is shorter than Cathe’s (the link is for a long band like Cathe is using).  If you have a short band then sit on your step (with the band tucked under your feet) to do these.

Upright Rows

Grab your 10 lb. DB’s for two sets of 12

Front Raise with a Rear Delt Pull

Cathe uses a 20 lb. BB (I use two 10 lb. DB’s for these)

There are two sets of 7

These are really hard.  Try not to swing.  Your core needs to be solid or you’ll hurt your back.  If your form is sucky then go down in weight.  It only counts if your form is correct.



35 lb. BB or 15 lb. DB’s

Set One8 slow reps

Set Two6 slow reps

Partial Curls

Use your 10 lb. DB’s

Here’s the pattern: bottom half (of the curl) 8 reps, top half 8 reps, bottom half 4 reps, top half 4 reps, and you finish with 4 full curls


Seated (on your step) Overhead Press

15 lb. DB’s; 10 reps

Dips (off your step)

3 slow and 10 at regular speed

Repeat both exercises

Kickbacks with the band


Cathe starts off with Supermans and works all sections of your abs.  Warning: the frog crunches are neck-burners (and really hard).

Cool Down/Stretch

You’re going to be sore tomorrow (and of course the day after) but it’ll be worse if you don’t do any stretching.  Don’t be dumb and skip this part.

Now What?

Muscle Max is a great total body strength-training program.  Do this once a week and you’ll see a change in your body.

I use this workout regularly when I’m training for an obstacle race.  It’s also the perfect video when you want a challenge but don’t feel like doing a high-impact workout.

You can find Muscle Max in several places:

Cathe’s site

Collage Video


And remember you can access Muscle Max (and every single Cathe Friedrich workout) with a membership to Cathe on Demand.  I encourage you to try this program.  I love it.  

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

Thanks for reading to the end! You’re awesome!


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