That’s right, STS stands for Shock Training System. The first time I was exposed to the concept was at the first Cathe Road Trip that my sister Jolene and I embarked on two years ago (trust me, you’ll definitely hear more about this in the future, it’s like our “mecca”). We saw some previews at the RT and were TOTALLY hooked. Who cared that it was a 37-disc 3-month intensive weight training program, we HAD to have it. As soon as we got home from the Road Trip, we immediately pre-ordered the entire series and waited patiently (well mostly patiently, for those of you who know me, “Patience” is not my middle name) for it to arrive about six months later.
So what exactly is STS all about? As the name implies, it’s all about shocking the system, doing something new everyday to keep your body guessing. And guess what? It TOTALLY works. Without going into too much nitty gritty, STS is a 3-month weight training program and is based on four of the most important training principles in strength training: periodization, muscle confusion, one rep max and progressive overload. Basically, this is how my weekly workout schedule broke down:
Sunday: cardio/abs (usually running)
Monday: STS (biceps/back, typically)
Tuesday: cardio/abs (usually running or another cardio-based Cathe DVD)
Wednesday: STS (legs)
Thursday: cardio/abs (spinning)
Friday: STS (shoulders/chest/triceps, typically)
Saturday: cardio (spinning)
Each cycle (called a “mesocyle”) focused on something different. The first one is about endurance – each 50-60 min weight training routine included lots of exercises with minimal rest periods (30 secs between reps). In this phase, you lift lighter weights but do more reps (15-16 reps per set). The second phase is about hypertrophy – or building muscle definition. So the rest periods are more like 60 seconds between reps and focus on heavier weights than meso 1. The third cycle is all about strength and power – so you lift your heaviest weight possible for 6-8 reps but with much longer rest periods to let muscle fibers recover (75 sec rests between reps).
Intense, right? Well it’s been well worth it, after 3-months I felt so much stronger and could actually see the changes in my physique, something I didn’t really see with other weight training/cardio routines in the past. No matter how hard I worked, it never seemed to show up other than the fact that I wasn’t packing on the pounds and such.
Since doing the 3-month rotation earlier this year, I have since just completed a 6-month rotation (basically you do each week of mesocycle 1 twice, and the same for mesocycle 2 and 3). I am amazed at how far I’ve come, both in terms of endurance but also in terms of strength. I feel powerful and alive and I definitely owe a lot of that to STS (plus sticking to a “cleaner” diet than I had before with a bigger emphasis on protein).
So next time you hear the word “shock” in relation to a workout routine, don’t run screaming from the room. Embrace the shock, embrace, embrace! And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a ticket to the “gun” show as proof of all that hard work. 😉 Check out the picture below from the second Road Trip that we went on this year. In the picture with us (I’m on the left) is one of Cathe’s crew members (appearing in all of her videos, pretty much), Cedie.
Next up from Cathe that I’m dying for? STS Cardio – now how scary does that sound?!?