Review of Jillian Michaels' Hard Body DVD
Want to get a hard body? Jillian Michaels's latest workout DVD promises to deliver a total-body workout to torch those calories and transform your physique, to turn your body into a "lean and sexy high-performance machine"!
With the same tough-love, no-nonsense style that Jillian made famous on the hit TV show The Biggest Loser, and as a follow-up to her recent videos Extreme Shed & Shred, Kickbox Fastfix, and Killer Abs, her video will get you buff, lean, and strong in no time. Hard Body
The Hard Body DVD contains 2 workouts, Level 1 and Level 2. Including warmup and cooldown, Level 1 is 45 minutes, while Level 2 is 50 minutes.
Jillian recommends that you start with Level 1, progressing to the more difficult Level 2 when you're ready, working out 5-6 times a week.
You'll need pairs of hand weights at 3, 5, and 8 pounds each, and a mat.
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Level 1 Overview
Level 1 runs 45 minutes including warmup and cooldown, with the main portion running 40 minutes. After the warmup, the main workout consists of one 20-minute circuit, performed twice. Jillian breaks this circuit down into 6 mini-circuits, each performed once - however, not every mini-circuit is appropriately announced.
Four super-buff trainers are in the background - Sarah occasionally demonstrates the beginner modifications, while Natalie, Shannon and Raven sometimes demonstrate the advanced versions of the exercises. Jillian's business partner Giancarlo serves as DJ.
Full List of Exercises
Each exercise is performed for an interval between 30 seconds to 1 minute long.
Backbends alternating with stepping back into planks
Twisting front kicks
Skater steps from chair pose
Full circuit (performed twice)
Speedrope (with 3 lb. weights for advanced)
Straight-legged situps alternating with supermans
Rows alternating with bicep curls/lunges
Crunch with alternate leg lifts
Chest press/chest fly/tricep head banger in bridge position
Calf raise and shoulder press in sumo squat position
Bicep curls in crescent pose, alternating with tricep kickbacks in warrior 3 pose
Side lunges with rows, alternating with chair poses with front raises
Travelling pushups with lateral jumps
Plank row pushups with mountain climbers
Crab kicks (double-time for advanced)
Alternating lunges with a punch
Surrenders with dolphin
Elbow side plank with elbow-to-elbow crunch (Shannon demonstrates the advanced version by placing her hand instead of her elbow on the mat)
Lat pull with pelvic thrust
Standing hamstring stretches
Chest and shoulder stretches
My Review of Hard Body, Level 1
That's probably one of the toughest workouts I've ever done. It's really right up there with Killer Buns & Thighs, Level 2 just for sheer exhaustion level.
I'm writing this soon after having completed Hard Body, Level 1 for the first time. I'm doing this now because the next time I see a flat surface I'm probably going to just nap for several hours. The intensity level got so insane that I ended up working in a few breaks just to survive it for the first time. Sometimes it was to sit and watch the exercise for the first time to try to figure out how I was going to coordinate my arms, legs, and weights into those crazy positions for all those calorie-burning compound moves. Sometimes it was to gulp down some water and to wipe the sweat and makeup off my face and out of my eyes. Ladies, remove your makeup before starting this workout. It'll hurt like hell when it runs into your eyes, and I sweated so much doing this workout that Kleenex was not sufficient to wipe off all that sweat - I had to break out the paper towels...
As is typical for Jillian's videos, no onscreen timer or rep counter is provided - you'll need to look at the clock or your DVD player's timer to determine when your suffering will end...
Beware - during the straight-legged situps alternating with supermans, you'll need to roll off your mat onto your flooring. You WILL be sweating by then and will need to clean the floor off afterwards.
Travelling pushups with lateral jumps? Followed immediately by plank row pushups with mountain climbers? That was insane and nearly impossible, and Jillian knows it and talks about it. Who'd ever have thought that I'd now consider mountain climbers a break? This is the highest number of pushups I've ever done during one of Jillian's workouts - from watching Natalie, I counted almost 100 pushups in this workout!
The majority of the time, most of the trainers were using 5-lb. weights, while Sarah would either use 3-lb weights or no weights to demonstrate the beginner modifications. Jillian and Shannon would sometimes break out the big guns and both use the 8-lb weights - when they did, so would I. At that point, even Jillian admitted to being wobbly on one of the one-legged moves. In terms of delayed onset muscle soreness, I am SO going to pay for this tomorrow.
I'm not looking forward to tomorrow - I'll be super-sore and am going to have to do this all over again. I can't even imagine Level 2, or feeling ready to progress to it.
On the plus side, I'm sure I'm going to look damn good in a bikini.
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After One Week
After having done this workout 5 times now, I can report that as for delayed onset muscle soreness, all those pushups and presses DID do me in. My arms, shoulders, and back have been killing me all week. My abs, knees, ankles, and even the balls of my feet are all feelin' it too! If you have knee or ankle issues, you may need to go with the lower-impact beginner modifications.
However, it seems totally worth it - my abs definitely look tighter and firmer!
According to my , I burned over 380 calories my 5th time trying this workout, with an average heart rate of 153. As a relatively petite gal, this is the highest number of calories I've ever burned off during a workout video of this duration. Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor
Level 2 Overview and Review
To be completed once I've moved up to Level 2.
Jillian points out that some of her trainers are wearing the armband for her 360 Weight Loss Navigator system, which tracks your calories burned.
I was provided with a free advance copy of this DVD to consider for review. All opinions in this review are my own.
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