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Cathe Live Review: Upper Body Pump (#344)

Cathe Live Review: Upper Body Pump (#344)

Upper Body Pump is a really enjoyable and fairly challenging upper body strength workout. I really liked this routine as it has lots of variety and the time just flies by! Before doing the routine, I was wondering if this might have a bit of a dread factor, as Cathe mentioned it was a high rep workout. In reality though, it wasn’t too bad and she certainly doesn’t rep you out like in some of her older workouts (Total Body Reps #22 (review HERE) & High Reps Total Body #28 (review HERE) I’m looking at you!) However, the “pump” is more from the fact that you do several exercises, for the same muscle group, one after the other with very little rest.

The workout consists of four rounds of grouped upper body exercises. You start with biceps and back, then shoulders, chest and triceps and finally core. Most of the exercises use the stability ball for extra core challenge in maintaining your balance and alignment. I don’t always enjoy ball upper body workouts but this one I really loved. There is nothing awkward in this one and the pace is slow and controlled enough that I didn’t feel that my form was suffering, using the ball, and I was still able to go a little heavier on some moves. Cathe uses a range of dumbbells from 5 to 15 pounds. I also used 20’s for two of the moves and now having done the workout I would probably increase, on a few more of the exercises, as I know how many reps we are doing. The reps vary from 8 to 24 reps - with some higher than others. However, as mentioned none of the exercises were really high rep, like Cathe sometimes does, so I was never really burning out too badly. The upright rows and the incline press (I used 15’s for this), I definitely did start to really feel. The challenge however, is more often in the fact that you are compounding the work, by doing one exercise after another targeting the same muscle group, with very little rest, and this is where you will start to feel it. Therefore, this is definitely a good routine to have a notepad handy so you can jot down what worked and what didn’t each time so you can get an even better workout next time.

Each round includes multiple exercises for each muscle group and they are all familiar Cathe moves so you can really focus on going as heavy as you can, whilst maintaining good form. This isn’t a really heavy strength routine though, given the set up and the reps, but is more focused on muscle endurance. The only muscle group that didn’t feel that well targeted was the Back, as there were only two exercises specifically for that body part. Ideally, I would have liked a couple more, particularly given the amount of shoulder, bicep and tricep work.

The routine ends with a giant set of five exercises for core, all using the stability ball. These weren’t as tough as I was expecting but they still provided some decent core work to end the workout.

Overall, an excellent and effective upper body strength workout.

(For more information about Cathe Live, how to sign up & to see all of my Cathe Live reviews, click HERE).

The Workout

Upper Body Pump is a higher rep upper body strength workout consisting of four rounds of grouped exercises – Biceps / Back, Shoulder, Chest / Triceps and Core.

What You Need to Know

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

The Moves

Upper Body Pump is 45 minutes long and originally aired on 22nd April 2021 (#344). The workout starts with a 4 minute warm-up, using 5 pound dumbbells, before a quick water break and then moving into the first round. You will need to have your equipment handy, as you be moving quite quickly from one move to the next.

Biceps / Back

  • Sweeper curls – two 15# Dbs – 18 reps

  • Bicep curls 1.5’s – two 12# Dbs – 5 sets & 4 sets (each 1.5’s)

  • Bicep curls – two 10# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Incline bicep curls - two 12# Dbs & ball – 15 reps

  • 1 Arm row – Cathe held two 10# Dbs in one hand (I used 1x 20#) – 8 reps, 8 reps (wide row) & 12 reps (alternating) each side

  • Pullovers – two 15# Dbs & ball – 14 reps


  • Seated overhead press – two 12# Dbs & ball – 20 reps

  • Seated overhead press 1.5’s (palms facing forward) – two 10# Dbs & ball – 14 reps

  • Seated Arnold press – two 10# Dbs & ball – 12 reps

  • Incline press – two 12# Dbs (I used 15’s) & ball – 16 reps

  • Incline press 1.5’s – two 12# Dbs & ball – 8 sets (1.5’s)

  • Upright rows (drop sets) – two 15# Dbs – 8 reps

  • Upright rows (drop sets) – two 12# Dbs – 10 reps

  • Upright rows (drop sets) – two 10# Dbs – 12 reps

  • Rear delt flys (drop sets) – two 10# Dbs – 10 reps, 8 reps & 6 reps

  • Incline front raise / incline arcs – two 5# Dbs & ball – 8x front, 8x arc & 8x alternating

  • Incline front raise 1.5’s – two 5# Dbs & ball – 8 sets (1.5’s)

Chest / Triceps

  • Chest flys – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) & ball – 12 reps

  • Push-ups on knees – mat – 4 sets (1x 4/4, 1x 2/2 & 2x singles)

  • Bench press – two 15# Dbs (I used 20’s) & ball – 8 sets (2x 1 arm & 1x both (1.5’s)

  • Seesaw push-ups – ball – 10 sets (various tempos)

  • Standing overhead tricep extensions – two 10# Dbs – 10 reps (various tempos)

  • Side lying 1 arm tricep push-ups – mat – 6 sets (1x 2/2 & 2x singles) each side


  • Ball crunches (long lever arms) – ball – 24 reps

  • Arm circles in forearm plank on ball – ball – 5 circles each direction

  • Alternating foot tap-in in forearm plank on ball – ball - 10 reps

  • Windshield wipers (lying on back w/ ball between feet; legs straight up in air then tilt down to one side then other) – ball (between feet) & mat – 16 reps

  • Reverse crunch – ball (on shins) & mat – 24 reps

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

Take Action

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If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Upper Body Sculpting (#10) – HERE.

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1 Comment

Jan 17, 2022

This is a pretty fun upper body workout. It moves fast and although some moves are repeated, it never seemed to drag. I didn't always use the ball preferring to use a bench for chest and back work. I liked the usual core work too

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