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Cathe Live Review: Total Body Barbell Challenge – An Excellent Muscle Endurance Workout!

Cathe Live: Total Body Barbell Challenge

Cathe Live: Total Body Barbell Challenge

This is a pure strength total body workout from Cathe Live. The whole workout uses the barbell but I used dumbbells throughout and had no issues.

Total Body Barbell Challenge is a high rep endurance workout. At the start of the workout, Cathe says she is using lighter weights for this routine. She encourages the home exerciser to go heavier, if they want to, but I actually found the weights she used, for most of the exercises, very challenging. I only increased my weights slightly on a few of the moves (noted below).

The strength work is all traditional straight forward exercises that you will be familiar with. The reps are high but they are a mix of different rep counts and patterns so if doesn't feel very repetitive (and to be honest your muscles are talking to you so much that you really don’t have time to think about much else!) The rep patterns include singles, low ends, 2/2, 3/1 & 1/3 counts etc.

This is an excellent tough workout that really burns out each muscle group. I really felt the lower body work, particularly the squats and static lunges, as there are about a million reps! The whole body is worked very effectively, throughout the workout, as you alternate between lower body exercises and upper body exercises. The routine ends with an efficient core section with lots of crunch variations. My shoulders were particularly fried by the end of this workout. I think this is a combination of them acting as supporting muscles for both the upper and lower body moves but also the grouping of shoulder exercises at the end were just really tough! I really had to push through those final sets of front raises / front swings / upright rows and then this was followed up by lateral raises, front pushes, rotator cuff and chest presses…. Ouchie!! You are using light weights at this point but I really felt them.

(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

Total Body Barbell Challenge is a high rep total body strength endurance workout that alternates between lower body and upper body exercises. The routine ends with an approx. 7 minute core section on the floor. Cathe and class use a barbell with 3, 5 & 10# plates (a total of 10 – 40# on the barbell at any time), however, I used dumbbells throughout – just using those that totalled the same weight as Cathe's barbell.

What You Need to Know

Instructor: Cathe Friedrich. Length 60 mins. Equipment:Barbell 10 – 40# plus 3# plates (Cathe has 3, 5, 10# plates for her barbell the bar of which weighs 5#. I used 4– 20# dumbbells), full size step with 3 risers each side and a mat. (Optional – lifting gloves). Fun factor: 3/5. Sweat factor: 3/5. Coordination required: 1/5

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

The Moves

Total Body Barbell Challenge is 60 minutes long and originally aired on 13th December 2018. The workout starts with a 5:30 minute fairly low key warm up before moving into the first moves which is squats. You will need your barbell loaded to 30# for this exercise (if you are following the same weights as Cathe). The step is set at 3 risers each side (10”) for all of the exercises that use the step below.

1. Squats30# barbell

2. Incline push-ups with hands on step

Incline pushups

3. Chest bench press30# barbell & step

4. Repeat 2. & 3.

5. Plie squats30# barbell

6. Barbell back rows30# barbell

Barbell Back Rows

7. Plie squats30# barbell

8. Close grip bench press (lying on step) – 25# barbell (I used 15# dbs) & step

9. Pullovers 25# barbell (I used 15# dbs) & step

10. Tricep dips (hands on step) – extend 1 leg out then other – 32 reps & 24 reps (for 2nd set no leg extension)

Tricep Dips

11. Close grip bench press25# barbell & step

12. Lying tricep extensions (2/2 count) – 25# barbell & step

13. Combination of 2x close grip bench press & 1 tricep extension25# barbell & step

Close Grip Bench Press

14. Clean & press (4 reps) , shoulder shrugs (4 or 8 reps) & push presses (pushing up 3x) – 25# barbell (I did hammer curl to shoulder press with dumbbells instead of clean & press)

15. Static lunges20# barbell

16. Crazy 8 bicep curls20# barbell (I used 12# dbs)

17. 8 Point bicep curls (bicep curl up then come down a little further each time for 8 reps then start from the top again and repeat) – 20# barbell (I used 12# dbs)

8 Point Bicep Curls

18. Repeat 16. & 17.

19. Deadlifts40# barbell

20. Front raise / front swing & press / upright rows10# barbell

21. Lateral raises / hold at 90 degrees & push front / scarecrows / chest presstwo 3# plates (I used 4# dbs)


Cathe now does a 2 minute full body stretch before moving on to the floor for core work.

Core – at 50 minutes (No equipment is required for this section except a mat to lie on)

1. Crunches – with heels into the floor moving them out in increments until you are lying flat and then bring them back in

2. Frog style crunches

3. Crunches with knees bent and feet on floor

4. Frog style crunches

5. Frog style crunches with feet lifted off the floor

Frog Style Crunches with Feet Lifted Off The Floor

6. Bike manoeuvre & gliding bike manoeuvre (more slowly never stopping the movement – just glide from one side to the other)

7. Crunches with knees bent off the floor

8. 1 arm lifts – lying on back and plant 1 elbow on the ground with fingers pointing straight up, then lift up your torso reaching other arm straight to the ceiling (other elbow remains planted on the mat)

1 Arm Lifts

9. Reverse crunches – slow & fast

10. Butterfly sit-ups with long straight arms – 10 reps

The workout ends with a brief 2 minute stretch (as Cathe has already stretched out the body before the Core section).

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 21, 2021

Challenging high rep workout. I would put it up there with Flextrain.

My Modifications: I used dumbbells because I don't like barbell work.

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