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Cathe Live Review: Upper Body Shred (#328)

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Cathe Live Review: Upper Body Shred (#328)


Upper Body Shred is a very metabolic and pretty tough upper body strength workout. I really liked this routine and with the right weights it will definitely challenge the upper body nicely.


The workout consists of seven circuits, each focusing on a different body part, aimed at burning out that muscle group before moving onto the next circuit. The routine starts with shoulders, then chest, back, triceps, shoulders again but with lighter weights and finally biceps and core. The circuits include several different moves, for that muscle group, some of which are repeated. However, they are usually repeated in sets so you do several moves and then repeat those all again rather than just the same move over and over. I like this approach much better, as it still burns out the muscles nicely but does not feel so repetitive. Also where you are doing a similar move, back to back, you often vary the tempo, such as 2/2 or 3/1 counts etc.


The moves are all traditional and familiar upper body strength moves so you can really focus on getting the best out of each one. The reps vary widely, as Cathe mentions she is not going for a number of reps but more to feel the work - so some are higher and some lower. As you progress, through the workout, you will really start to feel the work compounding, as the muscles start to fatigue. I particularly found the triple row / upright row combo really challenging and was definitely struggling with the last set. Even Cathe seemed to be feeling this workout and you could see she was struggling a little too. She even mentioned a few times that her form was a little off, as she was really trying to push out the last reps.


Cathe used slightly lighter weights for this routine, ranging from 5 to 15 pounds. This is because she says she is focusing on making this more of a faster paced, cardio workout and so the reps are definitely done at a faster tempo than usual. So just be aware of this when selecting your weights. Also there is often very little rest between the exercises and so the muscles don’t get much of a breather before moving straight into the next exercise, using the same muscle group. I did use my 20 pound dumbbells, for some of the chest moves, and I was still able to keep the pace and good form. Any heavier though and I think I would have been struggling. The format of the routine means that my heart rate was reasonably elevated throughout and I felt I had gotten a great workout by the end. I also went heavier on a few other moves and in future would probably also keep my 15’s for the bicep section rather than changing to 12’s.


The mix of exercises, in this routine, is really good and I loved the variety. She also uses a mix of lighter and heavier weights and even varied the push-ups – doing them on both the knees and the toes, as she used different tempos.


The workout ends with a short core section. This was the only part of the workout that I didn’t absolutely love, as I wasn’t overly keen on the moves. I also didn’t really feel the same challenge for my core, with these exercises, that I got from the rest of the routine, however, that’s just my view! The moves were different to Cathe’s usual and for example, the plank rotation I really didn’t feel in my core much at all. It just felt a little awkward and easy (in terms of core challenge). There are only four moves here and none are high rep so I added on a short 10 minute core session afterwards, just to feel like I had worked all of my upper body fully.


Overall, a fantastic new addition to my favourites list of Cathe’s upper body workouts! I will definitely be returning to this one often.


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


The Workout

Upper Body Shred is a pure strength upper body workout consisting of seven circuits of different exercises, each targeting a different muscle group. The last circuit is four moves targeting the core.


What You Need to Know

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


The Moves

Upper Body Shred is 48 minutes long and originally aired on 31st December 2020 (#328). The workout starts with a 4 minute warm-up, using 5 pound dumbbells, before a quick water break and moving into the first circuit. You will need to have your equipment handy, as you will be moving reasonably quickly from one thing to the next.


Circuit 1 – Shoulders

  • Overhead press – two 10# Dbs – 18 reps

  • Overhead press (palms facing forward) – two 10# Dbs – 12 reps

  • Arnold press – two 10# Dbs – 8 reps

  • Overhead press – two 10# Dbs – 10 reps

  • Overhead press (palms facing forward) – two 10# Dbs – 8 reps

  • Arnold press – two 10# Dbs – 8 reps

  • Simultaneous 1 arm press – two 12# Dbs – 17 reps

  • Simultaneous 1 arm press – two 10# Dbs – 12 reps

  • 1 Arm dip & press – one 12# Db – 16 reps each side & 12 reps each side


Circuit 2 – Chest

  • Chest fly w/ leg extension – two 15# Dbs & mat (I used 20’s) – 16 reps

  • Push-ups (on knees) – mat – 3 sets of 10 reps (faster tempo)

  • Sit-up & chest fly – two 5# Dbs & mat – 10 reps

  • Bench press – two 15# Dbs & mat (I used 20’s) – 16 reps (fast)

  • Chest fly / bench press combo – two 15# Dbs & mat (I used 20’s) – 6 sets (1x fly & 2x press)

  • Push-ups (on toes) – mat – 10 reps

  • Sit-up & chest fly w/ leg lift – two 5# Dbs & mat – 12 reps

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


Circuit 3 – Back (& shoulders)

  • 1 Arm row – Cathe used two 12# Dbs in one hand (I used 1x 25#) – 16 reps each side & 10 reps each side

  • Hip hinge & double arm row / triple row & 4 upright row – two 15# Dbs – 4x single rows, 2x 3’s, 1x 7 row & 4 sets (3x row & 4x upright row)

  • Alternating 1 arm back fly – one 10# Db (I used 1x 12) – 12 reps

  • Rear delt flys – two 10# Dbs – 2 sets of 10 reps


Circuit 4 – Triceps

  • Overhead tricep extensions – two 10# Dbs – 12x 1.5’s & 4x 2/2

  • Narrow grip chest press – two 15# Dbs & mat – 8x 1.5’s & 4x singles

  • Tricep kickbacks – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 8x 1.5’s & 8x singles

  • Lying tricep extensions – two 10# Dbs & mat – 8x 1.5’s & 4x singles

  • Crab kicks – mat – 23 reps


Circuit 5 – Shoulders (lighter weights)

  • Front raise / V-raise / 2 lateral raise – two 5# Dbs – 6 sets

  • Scarecrows – two 5# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Front & side raises – two 5# Dbs – 16 reps

  • Lateral raises (palms face forward) – two 5# Dbs – 8x 1.5’s


Circuit 6 – Biceps

  • Sweeper curls – two 15# Dbs – 8 reps

  • Hammer curls – two 12# Dbs (I used 15’s) – 8 reps

  • Bicep curls – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 8x 1.5’s

  • Bicep curls – two 10# Dbs (I used 12’s) – 4x 1/3 & 4x 3/1

  • Bicep curls – two 12# Dbs – 9 reps


Circuit 7 – Core (at 40:15 minutes)

  • Sit-up & tap foot in – mat – 5 sets (2x 1 leg & 2x both legs)

  • Plank w/ rotation (bring straight leg under & across body; rotate body w/ 1 arm lifted & hold) – mat – 8 reps

  • Swinging heel taps (leaning back & bring bent knees in to one side & tap feet; switch sides) – mat – 22 reps

  • Plank walk & taps (in straight arm plank; walk each hand over Db & back then tap opposite side of Db) – one 10# Db & mat – 9 sets


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


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If you liked this workout, check out my review of Cathe Live: Buff Upper Body (#163) – HERE.


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