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Cathe Live: Awesome Upper Body – A Challenging Strength Workout That Will Fry Your Upper Body!

Cathe Live Review: Awesome Upper Body

Awesome Upper Body is a Cathe live workout that works your upper body through focused, fast paced strength training. The routine is set up in giant sets of upper body exercises that are then repeated once more. The whole workout moves at a fast pace, with very little rest between the exercises, and the reps are often done at a faster pace too. I really felt this workout and found it very challenging.

When I looked at this workout and saw that it was only 40 minutes, initially I was thinking that seemed rather short but wow does Cathe fit a lot into that 40 minutes! You burn out every muscle group, as she sequences the exercises really effectively to ensure that there is also a compound effect. So by the time you move to another grouping, those muscle groups are already feeling the work from being supporting muscle groups on the previous exercises. The really short rest periods also add to the intensity of the workout.

I really enjoyed this workout and found it extremely effective. Cathe used 5-15# dbs and generally these weights were enough for me to really feel the work. I did go heavier on a few of the exercises (I have listed these below next to Cathe’s weights) but it would probably be difficult to go to much heavier and still follow at the same pace. Cathe does mention if you wish to go heavier you can slow down the pace, if required. In addition, Cathe included pulsing low ends for the pullovers and wow do you feel these. I used 15# dbs for this and was really feeling it by the end – far more than usual for pullovers. Also she did something similar for overhead presses and rear delt flys, by changing the rep pattern (low ends & pulsing), and these were also pretty tough by the end. Overall, you will definitely feel the work here!

(In case you are not familiar with Cathe Live - it is a streaming service from veteran fitness professional Cathe Friedrich, where she provides access to her live classes filmed at her gym in Jersey. Currently, there are over 200 workouts available in the archive, which you can access at any time and a new class is recorded nearly every week. More details are provided at the end of this article).

The Workout

Awesome Upper Body is a pure strength workout focused on the upper body. The routine consists of 3 giant sets of upper body exercises. Each giant set is repeated before moving on to the next. The sets focus on triceps / chest, shoulders and back / biceps. In each giant set there are a number of different exercises for each body part so you get quite a lot of variety in each grouping. The reps are often performed at a slightly faster pace than usual and you are doing generally between 8 -16 reps for each exercise. You will need a range of dumbbells and a full size step with 3 risers each side set up to use as a weight bench.

What You Need to Know

Instructor: Cathe Friedrich. length: 40 mins. Equipment: 5-15# dbs, full size step with 3 risers & a mat. Fun Factor: 3/5. Sweat Factor 3/5. Coordination required: 1/5

(Rating scale – 1= lowest & 5 = highest).

The Moves

Awesome Upper Body is 40 minutes long and originally aired on 27th December 2018. The workout starts with a fairly low key 3 minute warm up before moving straight in to the first move, which is triceps dips using the step so you will need to have it ready in front of you.

Giant Set 1 - Triceps & Chest

1. Tricep dips on the step

2. Overhead tricep extensions – two 12# dbs

Tricep Overhead Extensions

3. Incline pushups on the step

4. Close grip chest press – two 15# dbs

Close Grip Chest Press

5. Chest flys – two 15# dbs

6. Combo – 2 narrow grip chest press & 1 chest fly – two 15# dbs

7. Side lying 1 arm tricep pushups

Side Lying 1 Arm Tricep Pushups

(Repeat giant set)

Giant Set 2 – Shoulders

1. Overhead press (up / half way down / up & down) – two 12# dbs

2. Lateral raises – two 5# dbs

Lateral Raises

3. Iron cross – two 5# dbs

4. Rear delt flys (including pulsing & high ends) – two 5# dbs

Rear Delt Flys

5. Upright rows – two 12# dbs

(Repeat giant set)

Giant Set 3 – Back & Biceps

1. Pullovers (including low ends) – two 15# dbs


2. 1 Arm back fly – one 10# db

3. 1 Arm row – two 10# dbs (I used one 20# db)

4. Standing bicep curls – two 15# dbs

5. Crazy 8 bicep curls (half way up & half way down then full reps) – two 10# dbs (I used two 12# dbs)

Crazy 8 Bicep Curls

6. W curls – two 12# dbs

7. Reverse curls – two 8# dbs (I used two 10# dbs)

(Repeat giant set)

The workout ends with a 2:30 minute stretch.

Take Action

Try it today! Cathe Live is a streaming service available from – you can subscribe to monthly ($9.99 pm), six monthly or yearly plans and has over 200 live workouts in the archive for you to access at any time.

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May 19, 2021

Excellent fast moving upper body workout. It will definitely work you. The missing piece here is core work. Weird.

My modifications: I substituted core moves for the last exercise in each giant set and repeated it accordingly

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