What are the differences between Cathe's weights workouts?

I'm a big Cathe fan but am really only now getting serious about weights. I have the XTRAIN DVDs and some singles (e.g. High Reps, Lower Body Blast, etc.) but am now wondering about her other series. So I have two questions:

1. How different are heavy weights/strength videos? Overall, does one really need multiple versions of a program (e.g. is it worth collecting multiple workouts for the same muscle groups or are the exercises going to be pretty similar across the board)?

2. How do the weights workouts in her various series (e.g., XTRAIN, Gym Style/Hardore, Pure Strength, STS) compare? I am very tempted by both the Gym Style and Pure Strength but really don't know if there is a huge difference among the series.

Okay, I have a third question! I don't have a barbell--only dumbells. Is it always okay to substitute or do barbells really offer something special?

Advice please!!! Thanks!!


I am sure others on here will chime in as well as there are certainly more experienced lifters out there than me. Anyway ...

I think the biggest difference between the different heavy weight sets might be the body part combinations, the exercises themselves, the reps, and the rest. Here is some what more of a breakdown on the differences:

Gym Styles - split is different, reps vary from 8-12, no core included unless you buy Core Max, the band is used as a finisher, there are way more pushups (72), longer rest than Pure Strength, leg section includes the use of the stability ball and really burns you

Pur Strength - split is different, reps usually around 10 with a warm up or finisher of 16 occasionally, includes core in two of the workouts, only 24 pushups, shorter rest time (I often pause to make it longer)

As far as whether you need a barbell, probably not. There are many people who only ever use dumbbells. That being said, I feel that if you ever progress to heavier weights, you will want a barbell. For example, I can squat around 100 pounds using a barbell but there is no way I can hold 2-50 pound dumbbells. Also, there are just some exercises that feel more comfortable using a barbell. For example, Pure Strength has T-bar rows which I imagine could be performed using dumbbells but I have never tried it that way as I am not sure how it would work. Also, Pure Strength uses dumbbells for close grip bench press but I have never found dumbbells to be as effective as a barbell for that particular move.

Each series has different moves that are not in the others. T-bar rows are only in Pure Strength (that I know of) and Pullovers are not in PS but are in Gym Styles. There is also a different feel for each of the series as well.

In the end, I like having the variety to work with. I tend to get bored if I were to do the same weight work every week for months on end. That is not to say that I don't stick with say Gym Styles for 3-4 weeks and then move on but I couldn't imagine doing Gym Styles every week for months/years. If that rambling made sense.

If you do not get bored doing the same workouts every week for a long time, just invest in one series until you start to get tired of it and then try another one out.

Hope that long winded response helped some.


I have all of Cathe's strength workouts and they are all different. They do sometimes contain some of the same exercises, but even on those you are sometimes going heavier, varying the tempo and the reps--somtimes adding burn sets. But each also contain something different.

For myself, I feel it is a necessity to have a large variety of strength workouts. That is the whole idea of muscle confusion. If you were to use the same workouts day after day, you would stop seeing any gains. But Cathe has so many and they are all different from each other in some manner, that if you use different ones all of the time youwill constantly be confusing your muscles.

I love all the ones you mentioned btw--and I do thinking Pure Strength, Gym Styles and Xtrain are all very different from each other.


Oh, I totally agree with the other responders.

I used to be the type who did the same weight lifting workouts at the gym week in and week out. I also did the same videos at home week in and week out. I mean, working your biceps is working your biceps, right? Wrong.

A couple of years ago I came across Cathe and bought her Gym Styles upper & lower and Imax 3. I was going to do those workouts as my never ending routine. But I liked her style so much and there was a sale going on, that I bought more of her workouts. Well, it was then that I really starting seeing results. Once I changed up my routine and rarely repeated a workout in a month, I saw some nice sculpting.

Doing the same workouts over and over never really bored me, until I started changing routines up - then I saw that it is much more "exciting" (for lack of a better word) to change it up.

Now I have all of her videos available on DVD (some VHS-only workouts I do not have). And I am doing a homemade 3 month rotation where I do not repeat a video once in that time. I have enough videos to do a 6 month (probably more with her premixes) rotation without repeating and as I finish my current 3 month rotation, I may extend it since I am having so much fun.

As for a barbell - you can probably use dumbbells in place of a barbell 99% of the time. I did that in the beginning. However as time went on, I also got a barbell. I now have 2 barbells (one straight and one curved), plenty of plates, a weight vest and weighted gloves. I really started feeling the difference and seeing slightly different results and feeling DOMS when I started with the barbell. But if you just don't have the means to get one right now, dumbbells will work with modifications.

Also, I just bought a 100 lb straight barbell set couple of weeks ago and it was only $47. You can't beat that, right??? Comes with a 4lb bar, 20 lb plates, 10 lb plates, 8 lb plates and plate holders for the bar. Not sure if I can post the store name, so PM me. As a hint, I believe it is the biggest box store out there.


I think they're all different for variety's sake. They differ on some exercises, some rest times, number of reps, but I also vary that on my own, for example if I want to lift heavier, I'll go slower than Cathe, or when lifting heavier I may not be able to finish all the reps.

As far as dumbell vs barbell, I used dumbells for a long time. As I got stronger, I purchased a barbell and by far it was one of my favorite fitness purchases! I think certain exercises are more comfortable with a barbell. If you are just starting out and not lifting too heavy you definitely can do all of Cathe's weight workouts with only dumbells.

If you dont feel like you have to have an entire set, I think purchasing just STS Mesocycle 2 is a great investment. Meso 1 I feel is too pushup heavy for me and also includes some chin ups and I dont own a chin up bar. I've tried Meso 3 but I really need a weight bench to go heavier and I dont have the room for it yet. I LOVE Meso 2 and you'd really be getting 4 sets of workouts that way (a different set of workouts for each week in the set). My 2nd favorite set would be Gym Styles which also includes shorter premixes if you cant do the entire workout as is or if you're short on time.
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