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Cathe Live Review: Upper Body Core Crush

Cathe Live: Upper Body Core Crush

Cathe Live Review: Upper Body Core Crush

Upper Body Core Crush is a tough upper body and core workout from Cathe Live. This really worked me hard and I was drenched by the end of this routine. The workout is set up in rounds of giant sets of exercises, which are then repeated. This is a pure strength workout but my heart rate was pretty elevated throughout.

There are three giant sets for the upper body – triceps & chest, shoulders and back & biceps and one giant set for the core. For each giant set there are a number of different exercises that are each then repeated before moving on to the next giant set. The upper body exercises are all familiar moves from Cathe’s previous workouts. The rep patterns vary and often include 1.5’s as well as standard reps, however, what makes this such a tough workout are the very brief rest periods between the exercises. This was particularly apparent in the first giant set and for me this one was definitely the hardest. I was wondering if I would actually make it through the second set as my muscles were already so fatigued from the first set! I particularly found the second set of incline tricep push-ups really tough.

I generally stayed with the same weights as Cathe and only increased on a few (listed below). This was sufficiently challenging for most of the exercises, given the number of reps and the speed you are moving at.

The core section at the end was seriously tough. I can’t say I really enjoyed it but wow was it effective and did I feel the work. It worked the core in a different way by incorporating the use of the gliding devices (discs), on many of the exercises, and this really added to the challenge. The exercises alternate between core moves on the floor, with a dumbbell, and core moves in plank position using the discs. I particularly found the disc moguls to be really challenging, so then when Cathe said we had to repeat all the exercises again, I may have talked back to her a little!

This is one of Cathe’s longer workouts at 57 minutes, which I really like. However, the time just flew by in this one and it didn’t feel it was too long at all.

Overall, this was highly effective strength workout, which worked my upper body well and was rounded out with a really tough core section. I will definitely be returning to this one.

(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 240 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

Upper Body Core Crush is a pure strength upper body and core workout that consists of three giant sets for the upper body and one for the core. All exercises are then repeated once more. The upper body exercises are performed using dumbbells, resistance tubing and bodyweight, while the core exercises use a light dumbbell and gliding devices.

What You Need to Know

Instructor: Cathe Friedrich. Length: 57 mins. Equipment needed:  5 - 15# dumbbells, full size step with 3 risers two gliding devices & a mat. Optional: Lifting gloves Fun Factor: 3/5. Sweat Factor: 3/5. Coordination: 2/5

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

The Moves

Upper Body Core Crush is 57 minutes long and originally aired on 18th April 2019 (#245). The workout begins with a 5 minute warm up that starts with no equipment and ends using 5# dumbbells to simulate some of the moves to come. The step, with 3 risers on each side, is set up horizontally in front of and is only used as a weight bench.

Giant Set 1 – Triceps & Chest

  • Push-ups – crossing alternating legs over each other as you do the push-up – 16 reps

Push-Ups Crossing Alt Leg

  • Narrow grip chest press & bench press combo – two 12# (1st set) & two 15# (2nd set) dumbbells & step (I used 15’s for both sets) – 6 sets

  • Incline tricep push-ups – on the knees with hands on end of the step – step & mat – 4 sets of 2/2 & 2x singles then 4x 1.5’s

  • Chest flys two 15# dumbbells & step – 8x 2/2 count & 6 sets of 1.5’s (knees elevated for 1st set)

  • Tricep lying extensions two 10# dumbbells & step – 6 sets of down & 2 partials then back up

Tricep Lying Extensions

  • Tricep dips – step – 24 reps (1st set) & 32 reps (2nd set)

Repeat all of the above

Giant Set 2 – Shoulders

  • 2 Push-ups, 4 counts move back to pike position & 2 shoulder press push-ups – 3 sets

Shoulder Press Pushups

  • Overhead presstwo 12# (1st set) & two 10# (2nd set) dumbbells (I used 12’s for both sets) - 6 sets of 1.5’s

  • Rear delt flystwo 10# dumbbells – 10 reps (1st set) & 16 reps (2nd set)

  • Lateral raisestwo 5# dumbbells – 24 reps (1st set) & 12 + 8 reps (2nd set)

Lateral Raises

  • Hip Huggers (with shoulders back - lift weights up to side – as Cathe says like “pulling up your pants!”) – two 15# dumbbells – 16 reps

Repeat all of the above

Giant Set 3 – Back & Biceps

  • Pulloverstwo 15# dumbbells & step – 2x 4/4 count & 8 sets of 1.5’s (1st set) & 8 sets of 1.5’s (2nd set)


  • 1 Arm row two 12# dumbbells (I used one 20# dumbbell) – 16 reps

  • T-Band pullsresistance tubing & mat – 16 singles & 3x 7pulses

T Band Pulls

  • Bicep curlsresistance tubing & 5# dumbbells (I used 15# dumbbells and no tubing) – 21 reps (1st set) & 16 reps (2nd set)

  • 8-Point bicep curlstwo 10# dumbbells (I used two 12# dumbbells) – 2 sets

  • Hammer curlstwo 15# dumbbells – 8 reps of 2/2

Repeat all of the above

Giant Set 4 - Core

  • Crunches with one foot on top of the othermat - singles & pulsing

  • Elbow to knee (discs under your feet & bring in one knee to elbow & alternate) – two gliding devices

Elbow to Knee

  • Flutter kicks (lying on your back with one dumbbell held horizontally in straight arms over your head, flutter the legs slowly. To make it harder Cathe suggests tilting the arms back slightly further over your head. Be careful not to tilt back too far though). One 10# dumbbell & mat

Flutter Kicks

  • Moguls (start in plank with each foot on a disc then bring both feet in towards one shoulder then back out & towards the other shoulder) – two gliding devices – 8 reps each side


  • Sit up & knee twist (lying on back, bring one dumbbell, held horizontally between hands, back over head then sit up & twist to one side bringing knee up) – one 10# dumbbell (Cathe uses one 8# the second time – I just stayed with the 10#)

  • Pike circles (start in plank with both feet on the discs, pike up bringing feet in towards the body then circle them back out to starting position) – two gliding devices – 8 reps

Repeat all of the above

The workout ends with a 3:30 minute cool down and 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 240 live workouts in the archive for you to access at any time.

If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Awesome Upper Body – HERE.

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

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Jun 20, 2021

Not her hardest UB workout, but not the easiest either. Overall it moved quickly and the core work was doable

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