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Cathe’s STEP BOSS Review: STEP Sync


Cathe’s STEP BOSS Review: STEP Sync

Cathe’s STEP BOSS Review: STEP Sync is an advanced and fun, all step cardio workout that will get your body moving!

STEP Sync is part of Cathe Friedrich’s new STEP BOSS workout series, which consists of 3 step DVDs plus a number of bonus add-ons and premixes. The series is aimed at advanced exercisers and while all the routines are step based, they follow different formats for three totally different types of challenge. For more details on the STEP BOSS program, click HERE or check out my blog post – Your Ultimate Guide to Cathe’s New STEP BOSS Series.

The workout starts with a step warm-up that includes combinations of a few moves that are repeated before moving onto something else. You then start the main workout, which consists of three advanced step combinations. Each of these are built up slowly and then the final combos are repeated four times before moving onto the next combo. Cathe does the routine on a 6” step but you can always increase the height further, if you want even more of a challenge. However, I found 6” was perfect particularly given the learning curve, for this routine, and not wanting to trip on the step.

As usual Cathe’s cueing is excellent throughout the routine. Also she breaks down each of the combos so that you learn a few moves, practicing these a few times, before adding on a little more. Therefore, you gradually build up the layers until you have the full combo and this gives you a chance to get familiar with the moves before putting them all together. You then move onto the next combo. Once you have built up all three combos you then string them all together for the ‘finished product’. Each combo is repeated on each side of the body and then you do 2 sets of Power Boxes before moving onto the next combo. The finished product is done twice through so by the end you are definitely starting to feel those Power Boxes! The whole workout is done at a nice controlled pace so you are not rushing from one thing to the next. I got a great cardio workout and my heart rate stayed reasonably elevated throughout.

The choreography, in this routine, is definitely more advanced than some of her workouts, as the step combos are all made up of fairly dancey moves. Also you are moving over and around your step quite a bit and you sometimes have your back to the TV. However, if you are familiar with Cathe’s other more dancey step workouts then these will all be fairly recognisable moves but they combined together in new and interesting ways.

If you are not an experienced stepper, this routine will definitely take some patience to learn the different moves and combinations. However, I think it’s definitely worth it. I did struggle on a couple of the moves but soon got the hang of them after a few tries. It just took a little perseverance and lots of concentration! In my opinion, Combo 2 has the most tricky choreography and Combo 3 is the longest one combining lots of different moves. The first time I did the reverse hop turn move I found it very tricky but once you get it down its actually quite easy and fun to do.

Due to the complexity of the choreography, Cathe does also offer a bonus intermediate step workout, on this DVD, for those who are not ready for the advanced routine or who want to build up gradually to it. The tempo here is much slower and Cathe breaks down the moves, a lot more, to really give you time to get familiar with them. This also includes elements of the advanced routine so you have a preview of what is to come in the main workout. Overall, this is a much more intermediate workout that is a fun little add-on. It is also great if you just want a quick cardio blast, on a day when you are short on time or are looking for something a little lighter. (For more details on the routine see the Bonus Add-Ons section below). The other option is to use one of the timesaver premix options, for the main routine, as an add-on to another workout so that you can practice the moves without having to worry about learning all of the choreography at once. Cathe offers a number of these premixes on the DVD, including just doing two combos at a time. Alternatively, you could just select one combo, from the chapter menu, to practice until you get the hang of it.

As Cathe often says with step workouts - ‘the name of the game is simply having fun’ and this is very much what this workout should be. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the steps, the first time through, just have some fun and eventually you will get there or if not have a lot of fun doing so!

I enjoyed the main workout and found it a fun routine. The routine focuses on the choreography and running through the moves, a number of times, to keep the intensity higher, rather than including blasts in this workout. This kept it a more of a steady state cardio challenge rather than really high intensity. The main routine comes in at just under an hour, however, there are obviously premixes to make it shorter or longer as you prefer. The Mish Mosh premix that includes all of the STEP Sync combos and double the finished product is good one to do, if you want a little more cardio. Also the Bonus Step & STEP Sync mix is also lots of fun, if you want combine a mix of both workouts. I was a little disappointed though that there isn’t a premix that allows you to do the all of bonus step routine and follow it with all of the main workout. However, you can just go back to the chapter menu and select the main workout, after the end of the bonus step, or alternatively if you have On Demand you can obviously make this premix, which is what I will probably do.

Overall, this was a fun, solid cardio, advanced step workout that I really enjoyed. This will definitely get your heart rate up and you feeling the challenge – both mentally and physically!

The Workout

STEP Sync is an advanced choreography, all step workout. You will need a full size step, with one riser on each side, for this routine. You can obviously lower or increase the step height, if you prefer. (If you don’t have a step, you could do the routine on the floor, if you really wanted to).

This DVD also includes a Bonus Intermediate Step Routine and a Core Bonus (Bonus Ab Stacker Abs).

What You Need to Know

(The information below is based on the main workout, not including any of the bonus add-ons).

What you need to know: Instructor: Cathe Friedrich. Length: 56 mins. Equipment needed: Full size step with one riser on each side. Fun Factor: 4/5. Sweat Factor: 4/5. Coordination: 4/5

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

The Moves

STEP Sync is 56 minutes long. The workout starts with an 8 minute warm-up using the step. The step, with one riser on each side, is set up horizontally in front of you at the start of the routine. You will need to ensure that there is space all around your step, as you will be moving off every side. Below are the finished combos but each one is built up gradually, in stages, to give you a chance to learn a few of the moves before adding on more.

Combo 1

  • Walk, walk, turn around step x2, step, knee lift & straddle

  • Up & back, exit in, up behind (on step) & switch feet, exit, up behind (on step) & switch feet (other direction), exit

  • Step knee, knee off the side of step, box step (on floor), turn into step, up (onto step) & sweep outside leg in, exit

  • Chasse & cross front, chasse, knee off the side of step, box step (on floor), turn into step, up (onto step) & sweep leg in, exit, chasse & cross front (other direction), chasse

Repeat final combo four times through

Combo 2

  • Grapevine & cross front, spin back, side step (on step), shuffle backwards down the step, straddle, hitch kick over step (on diagonal), step touch x2

  • Knee off side of step, Elvis tap & box step (on step)

  • Tap, tap, pas de bourree, go over the step, tap, tap, pas de bourree (other side), go over the step

  • Stomp in & out (on step), switch stomp (other foot), go up on step, kick front & side, pony down

Repeat final combo four times through

Combo 3

  • Shuffle down the step, rock front & back, pivot turn

  • Up behind (on step), ball change & exit, up behind (on step), ball change & exit

  • Step touch x2, L-step, uneven squat, squat on step, uneven squat & box step (on floor)

  • Step skip (back & forward), reverse hop turn (x3 around step), stomp straddle x2, over with a clap, & 6-count mambo on step

Repeat final combo four times through

Finished Product - Combo 1, 2 & 3 together (two times each) with 2 sets of Power Boxes in between each combo. Run through the finished product two times.

The workout ends with a 1 minute cool down and a 2:30 minute stretch.

Bonus Add-Ons

Bonus Intermediate Step Routine

This routine is for those exercisers who want to challenge themselves with STEP Sync but need a slower start. This section is 21 minutes long and does not include a separate warm-up or stretch, as Cathe is assuming you will use the ones from the main workout. It does include a 20 second cool down, at the end, but I didn’t feel that was enough on its own.

You will need a full size step, with one riser on each side, for this routine. You can obviously raise the step height further, if you want to increase the intensity of this workout a little more. The step is set up horizontally, in front of you, at the start of the workout. You will need to ensure that you have space all around the step as you will be moving off every side.

This is a good bonus routine that was both fun and much easier in terms of learning curve. The moves are broken down a little more and are also performed at a slightly slower tempo, than the main routine, so they are much easier to pick up. Also the combos contain a number of elements from the main Step Sync workout so this really gives you a nice preview of what is to come and a chance to practice the moves at a slower pace. If you are worried about the choreography in Step Sync, even if you are familiar with step workouts, you may wish to do this one first to learn some of the moves and to give you confidence before tackling the main workout.

This routine consists of two extended combos and Cathe builds up each of the elements gradually so you have a chance to learn each of the moves before adding more. The moves are all fairly familiar but again are put together in new and interesting ways. Once you have the final combo you then repeat it, four times through, before moving onto the next one. You don’t put both combos together in this one so once you have repeated the finished product, for Combo 2, you are done. Overall, given its length, this is much more intermediate in level so it’s a nice one to get you moving without going all out. This is also good to do before the main workout to give you even more of a cardio challenge.

Combo 1

  • Grapevine, cross front, walk back, side step (or side up) x2 (moving back)

  • Diagonal over face & over, inside leg rocks front & back, step knee

  • Shuffle on step & rock front / back, pivot turn

  • 6-Count mambo (on step), march, V-step (on step), back it up & V-step (on floor), shuffle, hop turn (1 foot), hop turn back (other foot)

Repeat final combo four times through

Combo 2

  • Step skip (back & forward), knee off the side of step, pump repeater back & around the step

  • Stomp straddle around the world (on each corner of step), step knee

  • Up behind (on step), ball change & rock x4 (alternating sides)

  • Knee around the world x2 (two corners), basic step, hop turn to front (over the step)

Repeat final combo four times through

Bonus Abs

Ab Stacker Abs is also included on this DVD. This bonus core section is 9:30 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 need a mat & 4 risers for this core bonus (if you don’t have risers you could use light dumbbells or other small items. For info a standard riser weighs approx. 2.2 pounds or 1kg).

This is a really interesting routine that works the core in different ways by incorporating step risers into the core moves. This really helps to increase the intensity and challenge of the moves and means you have to engage your core even harder to maintain stability in a few of the moves. The routine includes many familiar moves but they are given a different twist by using the risers. I found some of the moves a little awkward with the risers, for example, supermans and in future would probably just use light dumbbells instead, but most were very doable and worked my core well. I was also a little nervous about flipping the riser over my head, for the stacking crunches, but actually it was much easier than I was expecting.

This bonus has a good mix of harder and easier moves and I found the boat pose moves quite challenging with the additional weight of the riser. However, I would probably use a heavier dumbbell for some of the others though, to increase the intensity a little more, as the riser is quite light for some of the moves, such as, the stacking oblique rotations and plank stacking. The moves flow from one to the next, with little rest, so it keeps the core working nicely. This isn’t the toughest core routine but I did find it more challenging than Bonus Abs #2.

  • Stacking crunches (lying on your back with 4 risers in front of your feet, you will grab one riser (underhand) every time you do a crunch, flip it over your head & place each one on top of the other just behind your head. Then repeat taking each riser as you do a sit up and stacking them at the front of your feet) – 4 risers & mat – 3 sets

  • Side to side oblique stacking (leaning back with feet off the floor & 4 risers to one side of you, move the stack of risers, one at a time, from one side of the body & back to the other) - 4 risers & mat – 3 sets

Oblique stacking

  • Modified boat pose (holding one riser between hands back over head, sit-up & hold briefly in boat pose (with knees bent & feet out parallel to the floors) & tap riser to shins) - 1 riser & mat – 13 reps

  • Side oblique sit-ups with boat pose (lie back with riser in hands, arms back over head, then sit-up & twist bringing riser to alternating sides as you lift the same side leg x2 then sit-up & hold in boat pose bringing riser to shins) – one riser & mat – 8 sets

Boat Pose

  • Plank stacking (in straight arm plank with 4 risers in front of 1 arm, one at a time move the risers with 1 hand. Move 2 out to one side & 2 out to other side then bring them back into centre) – 4 risers & mat – 5 sets

  • Supermans (lying on stomach, holding one riser between hands outstretched in front of you – raise & lower arms & legs at the same time) – 1 riser & mat – 16 reps (holding up for 3 counts)



PHA Step has 9 premixes on the dvd.

(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

  • Main Workout + Bonus Ab Stacker Abs – 65:37

  • Bonus Intermediate Step + Bonus Ab Stacker Abs – 40:43

Timesaver Premixes

  • Timesaver #1: Combos 1& 2 - 33:04

  • Timesaver #2: Combos 2 & 3 - 38:26

  • Timesaver #3: Combos 1 & 3 - 33:23

  • Timesaver #4: Only the Finished Product - Done Twice - 28:31

  • Timesaver #5: Only the Finished Product - Done Three Times – 37:27

Mish Mosh Premixes

  • Bonus Step & Step Sync Mix - 53:42

  • All Step Sync Combos + Double The Finished Product – 65:04

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 Cathe DVD Reviews page HERE.

If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Get Steppin’ 2– HERE.

If you enjoyed this review, please share it using the links below.


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