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Review of Cathe’s LITE: Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

LITE Strong Body Stacked Sets Upper

Review of LITE: Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper from Cathe Friedrich - an all upper body weight routine that utilizes giant sets to elevate your metabolic rate and fatigue your muscles.

Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper is part of Cathe Friedrich’s new Low Impact Training Extreme (LITE) workout series, which consists of 7 DVDs plus numerous bonus add-ons and 100’s of premixes. The series is aimed at intermediate exercisers. However, Cathe states that it will also provide a solid challenge for the advanced exerciser through ramped up bonus segments, higher weight options, and premixes. For more details on the full LITE program, click HERE or check out my blog post – Your Ultimate Guide to Cathe’s New LITE Workout Series.

I was looking forward to this workout, I love to work my upper body and to have some new options, with all of the premixes available, was very appealing. The exercises used are generally familiar moves but some have a slight twist to them by changing up the rep patterns or incorporating more pulsing, low ends etc to increase the intensity. There are a couple of new moves though - hip huggers (upright rows to the side), and lateral 'U' raises, which mix things up a little! With the right weights you will definitely feel the work here.

The workout is set up in giant sets that each get repeated before moving to the next muscle grouping. The exercises move fairly quickly, from one to the next, with very short rest periods either between exercises or sets. This really helps to keep the heart rate up. The reps are generally not too high and I found the workout flew by. It targets each of the main muscle groups, with several exercises for each body part. Overall, this was an excellent, very metabolic upper body workout and I enjoyed it. I particularly liked the premix that mixes in the ab exercises, after the different sets, as this made it even more varied.

Now Cathe is again using much lighter weights than she normally would (5-15# dbs) and for some of the exercises this might be more appropriate, as the moves are often done at a faster pace and she includes low / high ends. However, I did automatically use heavier weights for all but two of the exercises and this worked well (the only one I felt was a little too fast was the close grip chest press / bench press combo - with 15's this was really fast). I have included the weights I used, as well as Cathe's, just in case it is useful. Therefore, to increase the intensity and get the most out of this workout, you will need to really select the right weights, which challenge you to the last rep, in order to fully benefit from this workout.

The biggest issue for me is that it is so short – just 35 minutes. Now I know many people will be extremely pleased at this time saving option (and sometimes I am too) but this does seem very short – before you know it its over! (Some days I know that is a good thing though!) However, obviously you can do a longer premix - there’s even one that does the workout twice! In addition, what’s good about this DVD is that it also includes Pyramid Pump: Lower Body, so you can actually convert this into a total body workout too, if you wish. This provides an excellent total body challenge that really works all of your muscle groups effectively.

The Workout

Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper is an upper body strength workout that utilises giant sets of exercises to provide a greater metabolic challenge and keep the muscles firing. The exercises are done by body part, within the giant set, with the aim of burning out one muscle group before moving on to the next. There are three giant sets that each get repeated before moving on to the next. These are triceps and chest, shoulders and finally back and biceps. The exercises are generally all traditional effective strength exercises – nothing particularly new or fancy but with the right weights they will work those muscles very effectively. The workout also uses a number of different rep patterns, low / high ends etc to increase the intensity. As the workout is so short (35 minutes), however the challenge here is to make sure that you really heavy up, where possible, so you make the most of your time.

To do this workout, you will need various weighted dumbbells and a full size step (to lie on), however you could just use the floor if you don’t have a step.

This DVD also includes Pyramid Pump Lower Body, Extended stretch #2 and 6 Pack Abs #2. As it includes the Pyramid Pump Lower Body, it allows you to do a lower body workout or an upper body workout or a total body workout all on the same disc.

What You Need To Know

(The information below is based on how I did the workout, using heavier weights, but not including any of the bonus add-ons).

Instructor: Cathe Friedrich. Length: 35 mins. Equipment: Dumbbells (Cathe uses 5-15# dbs), step with 3 risers & mat. Fun Factor 3/5. Sweat Factor 3/5. Coordination: 1/5

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

The Moves

(The weights listed below are what Cathe is using)

Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper is 35 minutes long. The workout starts with a 2:40 minute warm up to get those muscles ready for what is to come. The workout ends with a 3 minute stretch.

Giant Set 1 - Triceps & Chest

1. Tricep dips – using the step with 3 risers each side - 32 reps

Tricep Dips on Step

2. Incline tricep pushups on the knees with hands on the step -12 reps

3. Tricep kickbacks rotating palms to the ceiling - two 8# dbs (I used 10's) - 12 reps

Tricep kickbacks rotating palms to ceiling

4. Close grip bench press & flat bench press (start with 8 reps close grip then 8 reps bench press then one of each for 8 reps - these are all done very fast) - two 10# dbs (I used 15's)

Flat bench press

6. Chest flys with low ends (pulse up half way from the bottom then down & up) - two 10# dbs (I used 15#s) - 8 reps

7. Plyo pushups on the knees with hands on the step (3 risers each side) - 12 reps

Plyo pushups on step

(Repeat Giant Set)

Giant Set 2 - Shoulders

1. Dumbbell front squeeze & press (with dumbbells held together at the chest push dumbbells straight out in front of you but at a slight angle up) – two 5# dbs (I used 8's) - 12 reps

Dumbbell Front Squeeze & Press

2. Overhead press (up, half way down, up & down) – two 10#dbs (I used 12's) - 8 reps

3. Lateral raises – high end pulses – two 5# dbs - 8 reps

lateral raise

4. Lateral 'U' raises (lateral flys out to the side then pulse overhead press) - two 5# dbs (I used 8's) - 8 reps

Lateral U raise

5. Hip huggers (upright rows to the side) - two 12# dbs - 16 reps

Hip Huggers

(Repeat Giant Set)

Giant Set 3 - Back & Biceps

1. Pullovers on the step (pulse up half way then down & up) – two 12# dbs (I used 15's) - 8 reps

2. Double arm back rows – two 15# dbs (I used 20's) - 16 reps

Double arm back rows

3. Hip hinge & back fly – two 8# dbs (I used 10's) - in sets of 3

4. Standing bicep curls - two 12# dbs (I used 15's) - 2/2 count for 8 reps

5. 8 Point drop curls (bicep curl up then come down a little further each time for 8 reps then start from the top again and repeat) - two 10# dbs (I used 15's)

5. Hammer curls – two 12# dbs (I used 15's) - 8 reps

6. Reverse curls – two 8# dbs (I used 12's) - 8 reps

Reverse curls

(Repeat Giant Set)

Bonus Add-Ons

Pyramid Pump Lower Body Bonus is 38 minutes long. Pyramid training is a stepped approach to sets and repetitions. In this case you start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight, whilst decreasing the reps, for 3 sets of each exercise (pyramid up) then you reverse that starting heavy and going lighter, whilst increasing the reps, for 2 sets of each exercise (pyramid down). This bonus is focused on lower body and goes both up and down the Pyramid for the different exercises listed below (5 sets per exercise). The rep pattern, for all of the exercises, except calf raises, is as follows: 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps, 12 reps. For calf raises, you do 30 reps, 25 reps, 20 reps, 25 reps & 30 reps.

You will need dumbbells, a high step with 3 risers and a gliding device for this segment. This is a very metabolic routine, the exercises move from one thing to the next fairly quickly with little rest between the sets. This really helps to keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout. With the right weights you will really feel these exercises and this makes a good lower body add-on for any workout.

Lower Body

  • Rear slide lunges - two 8, 10, 12# dbs & one gliding device

  • Step ups - two 8, 10, 12# dbs & high step with 3 risers

  • Side slide lunges – two 10, 12, 15# dbs & one gliding devices

  • Elevated lunges – one 8, 10, 12# db & high step with 3 risers

  • Sliding crossback lunges - two 8, 10, 12# dbs & one gliding devices

  • Deadlifts - two 10, 12, 15# dbs

  • Calf raises - two 10, 12, 15# dbs

6 Pack Abs 2 is also included on this DVD. This bonus core section is 10 minutes long and does not include a warm-up (as Cathe is assuming you are adding it on to another workout) but does include a quick stretch at the end. You will just need a mat for this core bonus.

This is a really nice bonus and works the core well. There are 8 moves and most of them are done lying on the mat except the last two, which are plank moves. The routine includes several new moves or twists on more familiar moves but they are all very doable and there are no awkward moves. I really enjoyed this bonus and will use it often!

  • Long leg lift crunches (crunches lifting one leg then the other. Starts with hands behind head then changes to straight arms out)

  • Long reach butterfly sit-ups (lying on back with feet together in frog-style, 1 arm behind the head & the other straight out, do sit-ups)

  • Reverse cycling (leaning back on elbows, cycle legs slow & fast)

  • Wide knee swings (lying back with arms out / palms facing the sky, sit-up bringing one knee in and tapping side of hands (pinkies) together under the knee)

  • Side to side tap outs (leaning back on hands, swing to side & bring knees it at an angle & tap with hands then swing to other side)

  • Roll ups (leaning back with arms out, hold for 4 counts then roll back 2 counts & up 2 counts)

  • Knee circle planks (in straight arm plank, circle one knee inwards 8 x then outwards 8x. Repeat on other side)

  • Staggered arm plank holds (in elbow plank, start on the knees for 4 counts then up to the toes for 4 counts then step 1 arm forward & back then other arm then go back to knee plank)

Extended Stretch #2 – is 11 minutes long and only requires a mat. This is another really relaxing stretch routine that I enjoyed very much. The routine starts standing with a flow of moves, including breathing in, swan dive down into forward fold then half lifts. This is repeated a few times before you move to towards the floor. The stretches are all familiar moves, including downward dog, straddle stretch etc and provide a nice way to end a workout session or as a standalone if you want a little flexibility work. I found this very calming and it nicely stretched out my lower body. Again the upper body, I felt, was a little neglected but overall it’s still a nice addition to add to my weekly routine.


Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper features 24 premixes

(Premixes are extra bonus workouts included on the DVDs that use the main workout as the backbone and then add, remove or change the order of elements to create a new routine).

Basic Premixes

1. Upper Body Workout + Extended Stretch #2: 43:07

2. Upper Body Workout + 6 Pack Abs #2: 45:36

3. Upper Body Workout + 6 Pack Abs #2 +Extended Stretch #2: 53:00

4. Pyramid Lower Body Only: 41:45

5. Pyramid Lower Body + Extended Stretch #2: 49:09

6. Pyramid Lower Body + 6 Pack Abs #2: Stacked Warm Up + Pyramid Lower Body + 6 Pack Abs #2 + Stretch 51:38

7. Pyramid Lower Body + 6 Pack Abs #2 +Extended Stretch #2: 59:02

8. Total Body Workout (Pyramid Pump Lower Body + Main Workout): 71: 29

9. Total Body Workout + Abs (Pyramid Pump Lower Body + Main Workout + 6 Pack Abs #2: 81:22

Timesaver Premixes

1. Timesaver #1: First Half Only: 20:12

2. Timesaver #2: Last Half Only: 21:30

3. Timesaver #3: 2 Segments (Chest/Tri’s:1A + 1B): 16:36

4. Timesaver #4: 2 Segments Only (Shoulders: 2A + 2B): 13:22

5. Timesaver #5: 2 Segments Only (Back/Bi’s: 3A + 3B): 17:44

6. Timesaver #6: 4 Segments Only (Chest/Tri’s/Shoulders: 1A + 1B +2A +2B): 23:58

7. Timesaver #7: 4 Segments Only (Back/Biceps/Shoulders: 3A + 3B +2A + 2B): 25:07

8. Timesaver #8: 4 Segments (Chest/Tri’s/Back/Bi’s:1A + 1B + 3A + 3B): 28:23

9. Timesaver #9: Single Rounds (1A +2A + 3B): 20:49

10. Timesaver #10: Pyramid Lower + Single Upper Body Rounds (1A + 2A +3B): 57:27

Mish Mosh Premixes

1. Scrambled #1: 35:43

2. Scrambled #2 (Abs Mixed In After Rounds 1B, 2B and 3B): 45:36

3. Scrambled #3 (Abs Mixed In After Every Round): 48:41

4. Extreme #1: 8 Rounds: 46:48

5. Extreme #2: Double it- 12 Rounds: 65:19

Take Action

These workouts are available as a bundle or individually on DVD, download or through Cathe’s On Demand streaming service ($19.99 per month, which also includes access to all of the Cathe Live archived classes).

Check out my reviews of each of the other workouts in this series by visiting my Recent Posts Page HERE.

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