A Mega Review of Strong and Sweaty Cardio Slam
If you’re looking for a workout to do that falls somewhere between ‘Wow, that was awesome,’ and ‘Holy crap, get the defibrillator,’ then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to find out exactly what makes this a great cardio workout for women (including a breakdown of each section in Cardio Slam).
Here’s what Strong and Sweaty Cardio Slam looks like:
Keep reading to find out exactly what equipment you’ll need for Cardio Slam…
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A mat (optional)
3 and 5 lb. Dumbbells (I only have 5 lb. dumbbells and had no issues doing all of the exercises)
An aerobic step with no risers (just the top portion)
Check this out 👉 Your Ultimate Guide to Buying and Using an Aerobic Step
My rating- A
👉 My Favorite Premix on Cardio Slam: Basic #1 (62 minutes)
Important Stuff about Cardio Slam
Cardio Slam has 12 premix routines (in addition to the main workout). There are 7 shorter timesaver workouts, 4 ‘Mish Mosh’ routines that are varying reorganizations of the main routine and then Basic #1 (my favorite premix) which is the main program plus an ab section.
If you play the Cardio Slam with modifications video then you’ll see a low-impact modification of each exercise displayed for you on the screen as you begin each segment.
There are 3 sections in the main routine: Floor, Mat and Step.
There are Intensity Breaks in the Floor section. These exercises keep you moving but allow your heart rate to come down while you catch your breath. You repeat each cardio section once (during the floor section) while doing the intensity break exercises for only one set.
Intensity Breaks are sprinkled in after every 2 cardio intervals.
The floor section is about 16 minutes long and has 10 exercises and 4 Intensity Breaks.
The mat section is about 16 minutes long. There are 10 exercises in the mat section.
The step section is about 9 minutes long and has 6 exercises. I think the step section is the easiest interval.
A mat is optional equipment for Cardio Slam. Sometimes I pull one out for this routine and sometimes I don’t. Cathe uses the mat as a reference point in the last interval to keep you honest. A mat forces you to make the moves bigger and more intense.
If you don’t use a mat just make sure you’re making the moves big and not cheating yourself. Another option is to measure out a mat on the floor with masking tape. I catch my toe on the mat a lot (this could be user-error or equipment-error, but probably a little of both) and taping out a mat keeps me safe and less frustrated.
If you use tape, keep in mind that some of the exercises are done over the short side of the mat and some over the long side. So, you’ll want to put your tape mat right in the center of your space.
I’m shocked at the number of calories I burn when I do Cardio Slam. It’s not that intense compared to (most of) Cathe’s other programs.
There are a lot of new moves in Cardio Slam but you’ll also recognize some of the classics.
I love the tights Cathe wears in this video. I can’t decide if I like her shoes, though. Just saying.
Remember to read to the end of this post for links to a few places you can compare prices on this video as well as tips and advice for mastering each exercise.
The warm-up is about 5 minutes long and low-impact. Your thighs will be warm even if nothing else is.
Main Workout (The Exercises in Cardio Slam)
Section One-Cardio on the Floor
In case you skipped it earlier, this section is about 16 minutes long with 10 exercises and 4 Intensity Breaks.
Power Scissors with a 5 lb. DB
There are 22 reps (11 per side) in the first set and 24 in the second.
The exercise is done off-beat which makes me a crazy person.
Make sure you keep your core tight when you’re moving the weight side to side so you don’t tweak your back. Don’t try to go really deep in the lunge or you won’t be able to keep up.
Drop Squat & Cross Jack
You’ll do 2 sets of 16. Again, the exercise is done off-beat.
FIRST INTENSITY BREAK
If you’re familiar with Cathe’s routines then you’ve seen her do an ‘under the rope’ before. This move is very similar (if not identical).
Remember the intensity breaks are when you get to catch your breath.
Scissor Scissor Wide Plié Jacks
Guess what? These are hard.
There are 6 in each set. Don’t be a wimp. Your legs are getting stronger with every rep.
Low Loaded Squats with 3 lb. (or 5 lb) DB’s
There are 16 reps in each set (8 per side).
You do a squat in the middle and then a side punch/reach with your DB. Your hips follow your arms so you’ll be rotating side to side.
I don’t have 3 lb. DB’s so I use my 5’s. I kind of wish I had some of Cathe’s green 3 lb. DB’s, though.
I’ve never seen this exercise in Cathe’s other workouts (that 100% doesn’t mean she’s never done it, just that I don’t remember doing it before and I like to point out new moves because we can all appreciate them).
Shuffle Shuffle Long Reach
Remember there’s only one set of the exercises in the Intensity Break
3 Lateral Skates/2 High Knee Runs
These are fun. And on the beat (thank you!) There are 2 sets.
Power Scissors with Lateral Arm Raises with 3 lb. DB’s
There are 12 reps in each set
Your arms will be going up and down alternating with each scissor of your legs. This will fire up your core (a good thing).
Keep control of those DB’s so you don’t donk your knees with them (like I do sometimes, it hurts).
Low Impact Squat Butt Kicks with 3 lb. DB’s
This exercise is fun. It makes me feel like a cheerleader.
Front/Back Jack/Jack/Air Jack
This interval is basically just 3 jumping jacks with an air jack on the end. Add forward and backward movement to your first two jumping jacks and you’ve mastered it. It’s harder to force a jumping jack backwards than you’d think.
If you’ve ever read my blog then you’ll know air jacks (and push-ups) are my nemeses. But I never skip them. You can’t either.
There are 6 in each set.
Touch Down Jacks with a 5 lb. DB
When you plié your legs into a jumping jack you’ll bend forward at the hips and drop the weight towards the floor with one hand. You’ll be passing the DB back and forth between your hands.
This one is done off beat.
There are 18 reps in the first set and 12 reps in set two
Front Swing Tree Pose with a 5 lb. DB
You’ll do 3 swings on the same side and bring your legs together on the 4th. Repeat to the other side.
Wide Squat Thrust Burpee with Criss Cross Jacks
These are done on the beat of the music so you don’t have to worry about watching the team. You’ll need to know that there are 2 criss cross jacks when you come up.
You’ll do 8 in each set.
This one is fun but if you hate burpees you may disagree with me.
Explosive Butt Kicks
When I did this routine the very first time I was sad when I heard Cathe announce ‘Explosive Butt Kicks’. Why?
Because I immediately assumed we were doing a vertical jump with our feet kicking back to our butts (that’s what she usually calls an explosive butt kick).
The Cardio Slam version of this exercise is much easier. This is the same exercise you did earlier (in the 3rd Intensity Break) holding the 3 lb. DB’s. Now you won’t need DB’s and you’ll be adding a jump.
This time you’ll be going off the beat and making the move bigger. It’s your job to make sure you do this version with more intensity than you did before. Slowing the exercise allows you to make the most of this move.
There are 21 reps in the first set and 12 in the second.
Section Two-Cardio using the Mat
Say goodbye to those Intensity Breaks you had in the floor section.
There are tiny breaks after each exercise but they’re short. Make sure your water is close. This section is about 16 minutes long.
There are 16 (8 per side) in each set. You’ll recognize these if you’ve been doing Cathe Friedrich exercises for a while. Travel all the way to each side. Don’t be lazy.
Traveling Power Scissors
Cathe talks you through this exercise. It’s done on the beat and your mat is just a marker in front of you to make sure you’re moving side to side.
Make the moves big to keep your heart rate up.
Power Hop Forward/Block Jack Back
There are a lot of pieces to this exercise so listen to the prompts.
Many of you will recognize this combination.
There are 3 straddle squats forward followed by a little jump rope in place and then 4 block jacks back to the front of the mat. It sounds confusing but it’s not.
You’ll notice a big difference in intensity if you really keep your feet straddled outside the mat (that’s your goal) the whole time.
There are 4 in each set.
If you’ve ever done P90X2 then you’ll know this exercise as ‘Groiners’. AKA Wide Mountain Climbers. Your feet stay outside of your hands (and outside of the mat). Stay on the beat with the team.
There are 16 in each set (8 per side).
Squat Thrust Jump Over Top
Cathe explains this exercise before you start. It’s a burpee on the side of the mat followed by a lateral jump over. You add a tiny jump in place and then drop back down into another set going the other way.
This exercise is always a lot harder than I think it’s going to be.
To keep up with the team you have to do the lateral jump over the mat in a crouched position as you come up from the burpee.
The pieces don’t fit together very well on this so it takes effort to keep up.
There are 8 per set. The second set is always a lot easier. It takes those first 8 to get all your body parts coordinated.
2 Lateral Hops/Jump Front/Jump Back
It’s so hard to clear the mat in a backwards jump! This exercise is self-explanatory.
There are 8 in each set.
Long Jump/Straddle Jump
You’ll turn your mat for this one. (If you’re using tape on the floor as your mat then you may suddenly find that you don’t have enough room. It’s ok. You can use an imaginary mat for this one if you have to, but make the jumps big).
The pattern for this exercise is in 4’s. You do four groupings of 4 long jumps.
If you’ve done Drill Max then you’ve seen football runs before. Do football runs around the mat for two sets.
Lateral Skate Over/Jump Return
Don’t get confused and think this is a lateral skate back and forth. This is two different moves. Make sure you’re doing a 2-foot jump on the return. Focus.
There are 2 sets of 12.
Speed Lateral Runs
Speed lateral runs take some coordination. If you can’t do exactly what the team is doing don’t get frustrated. Just do your best.
This is the last exercise in the mat section. You’ll finish this part with some jump ropes and jumping jacks.
Go grab your step. You don’t need any risers.
Section Three-Step Cardio
I can’t remember the last time I did a step routine with no risers.
If you’re like me and have been doing Cathe Friedrich workouts for a long time then this section will seem fairly easy (compared to what you’re used to). You alternate low-impact with high-impact exercises.
The step section is about 9 minutes long.
This is more than just a hopscotch.
You straddle the platform and theres’s a burpee thrown in after each hop onto the step. There are 8 in each set.
Low Impact Sprinters
I really wish these were done at a faster tempo. Use the slow speed to go deep and swing your arms big.
This time you do 2 sets of 12 on each side.
There are two sets of 16 jacks straddling the step with a bicep curl.
Squat Thrust/2 Plank Jacks
You’ll want to watch the team do the first rep then you’ll be good to go.
When you shoot your legs out your feet are together (I always get that wrong on the first rep). This time you go with the beat (Yay!).
There are 2 sets of 8.
These are easy but there are a lot of them. Do four sets of 8 in the first set and 2 sets of 8 in the second.
Swim Lunges with 3 lb. DB’s
You finish with easy tapping lunges straddling the step. The tempo is pretty slow so you can easily control those weights. You change the way you angle your arms after every 4 reps.
Don’t skip the cool down/stretch. Your legs and back really need this.
Cardio Slam isn’t the hardest workout you’ll ever do but it may become one of your favorites. The exercises are new and fun and when it’s over you’ll have burned off quite a few calories.
You can find Strong and Sweaty Cardio Slam on:
- Cathe Friedrich’s site
- Collage Video
- And don’t forget you can access this routine (plus every other Cathe Friedrich workout) with a membership to Cathe on Demand.
💥 If you love Cardio Slam then try something a little harder with like this workout.
Thanks for reading! Happy exercising!