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Best Jillian Michaels Workouts: Kicking You into Extreme Shape for Summer

Updated on May 2, 2013

Jillian Michaels Workouts Reviewed

If you’re a fan of the Biggest Loser, you will have heard of Jillian Michaels.

Sure Jillian may be a household name now, but back in the day she was just another larger than average teenager who experienced bullying due to her weight.

Jillian’s lived your pain, she feels your pain and now she’s making it her mission to turn your pain into personal gain. And that my friends, is what sets Jillian’s workout programs apart from most of the celebrity personal trainers out there.

Today Jillian Michaels workout DVDs are sweeping the market. But with so many options available all geared to getting you fighting fit how do you know which one is going to be best suited to tackling your specific problem area(s).

In no particular order, let’s take a look at 10 of the best Jillian Michaels workouts.

jillian michaels ripped in 30
jillian michaels ripped in 30

1) Ripped in 30

Based on the 3,2,1 principle (that’s three minutes of strength work, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs work), this workout sets out to get your body physically and nutritionally fit within in a month.

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 takes things a step further than other fitness DVDs by presenting you with a free 30 day diet plan to accompany your exercise program.

In total there are four 24 minute workouts spread over four levels which become progressively more difficult. You benefit from an excellent blend of cardio, abs work and strength training to help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals within the 30 days.

Expect to participate lots of plyometrics (high intensity jumping around), compound exercises and yoga moves with this one. You’ll also need a set of weights and mat or towel for ground work.

If you’re serious about sorting out your diet and fitness regime quickly, then this is the workout for you.

Summary

Great for: High intensity workout program with focus on nutrition

Level: Intermediate but modifications for advanced and beginner level

Length: 135 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you’re looking for a low impact moderate workout


jillian michaels 30 day shred
jillian michaels 30 day shred

2) 30 Day Shred

Once again Jillian bases this workout on 3,2,1 methodology.

The workout combines’ plyometrics with compound exercise (where you move your upper and lower body at the same time).

Expect to see a lot of jumping jacks, squat thrusts, butt kicks and simultaneous bicep curls with lunges/squats.

You'll need a mat, some dumbells and lots of water for this one.

Find that you don’t have much time in the day to cram in any exercise? Well each workout in 30 Day Shred can be completed in well under half an hour.

The DVD comprises of three 20 minute workouts which you can do on a stand alone basis, with each workout progressing you through three different levels of fitness.

30 day Shred is one of Jillian’s most popular DVDs. You only have to look at the reviews on Amazon.com to see it has received over 2,500 five star ratings. Now that is saying something!

Summary

Great for: People who are time limited but still want to get fit

Level: Intermediate but modifications for advanced and beginner level

Length: 60 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you have weak knees, the exercises are high impact

jillian michaels extreme shed & shred
jillian michaels extreme shed & shred

3) Extreme Shed & Shred

Fresh on the scene (released 6 Dec 2011) Extreme Shed & Shred is already picking up quite a following.

It’s a crazy mix of yoga, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, calisthenics, weight training and kickboxing which is guaranteed to get your heart pounding and your muscles burning like never before.

The workout is geared towards intermediate to advanced users although it does offer adaptations for people who are new to exercise.

There are two levels which last approximately 45 minutes in length; level one consists of four circuit training sequences incorporating burpees, side plank crunches, various squats, speed bag and an assortment of punching and kicking exercises. Level two consists of five circuits and although the types of exercises are similar, this is without doubt a more difficult workout.

The ideal goal is do the two 45 minute exercises back to back to intensify your workout. In reality, it’s probably not achievable for people who are very unfit. However, there is the option to do each 45 minute set as a stand alone workout.

Summary

Great for: All over body toning and cardio workout

Level: Intermediate but modifications for advanced and beginner level

Length: 100 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you don’t like yoga


jillian michaels no more trouble zones
jillian michaels no more trouble zones

4) No More Trouble Zones

The main focus of this DVD is to get rid of those problem areas we all love to hate; namely flabby arms, muffin tops and saddlebags.

You get to work through seven grueling six minute circuits (five different exercises in each circuit) consisting of various exercises including; shoulder, chest and leg presses, squats, lunges, crunches, planks, kicks and leg raises.

The cool thing about No More Trouble Zones is that not only will you get to tone up all those impossible bits, due to the rapid pace of the workout, you will also get a good sweat on -- meaning you’ll benefit from some cardio at the same time.

The workout is predominantly weight based, so you will need some light dumbbell weights approx 2 to 5lbs (Jillian uses 3lb weights in the DVD). You could of course find something around the house that is weighty enough for you to feel the benefit of the workout.

Jillian also uses a mat but you can supplement that with a towel or blanket.

Summary

Great for: Problem area toning with minimal cardio

Level: Intermediate but modifications for advanced and beginner level

Length: 58 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you have bad knees be warned as there are lots of lunges in this DVD

jillian michaels banish fat boost metabolism
jillian michaels banish fat boost metabolism

5) Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

This 57 minute cardio workout is designed to get your metabolism burning up those calories like there is no tomorrow.

Again based on pylometric exercises, this DVD is made up of seven six minute circuits which are to be performed twice before progressing on to the next circuit.

Exercises include squats, jumps, burpees, kickboxing moves and as well as some abs work.

This is a brilliant high impact workout for anyone looking to achieve all round fitness.

Summary

Great for: Toning and cardio workout without weights

Level: Intermediate but modifications for advanced and beginner level

Length: 57 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you have problems with your knees as the exercises are very high impact


jillian michaels 6 week 6-pack
jillian michaels 6 week 6-pack

6) Six Week 6-pack

Don’t be fooled, although the aim of the DVD is to get the abs into shape, this is not your run of the mill ‘abs only’ workout. It’s a highly fulfilling fast paced mix of weight training and cardio which is certain to get you burning fat all over.

You get two vigorous workouts which last 30 minutes each, so you can either do them as stand alone exercises or do them jointly. The theory being with this workout is that in six weeks from commencement, you will have abs as hard as rock.

You start off with level one for a minimum of three weeks which is designed to define your waistline and abs, before moving onto level two.

Summary

Great for: Strengthening core muscles and toning abs with a good measure of cardio

Level: Intermediate but modifications for advanced and beginner level

Length: 71 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you’re expecting to only lie on your back the whole time


jillian michaels shred it with weights
jillian michaels shred it with weights

7) Shred It With Weights

Based on the same principals as 30 day Shred, this workout uses a mixture of strength training and cardio but this time incorporating the kettlebell.

For those of you who are not familiar with kettlebells, they are basically cast iron or plastic weights which look a lot like a cannonball with a handle.

Now before you rush out to buy a kettlebell (they are GREAT if you’ve got the spare cash) you can do this workout with your regular dumbbells.

Thankfully the DVD shows you how to modify the exercises if you’re are using hand weights.

Shred It With Weights is designed to promote maximum fat burning and body sculpting. The DVD consists of two levels which each last 30 minutes.

Both levels feature three circuits of differing exercises that are repeated twice. It’s probably best to start off with light weights, say 3-5lbs but if you want a more rigorous workout increase the weight.

One criticism of this DVD is that it doesn’t show you true kettlebell techniques and some of the more advanced moves can be potentially dangerous.

Jillian does provide some instruction on how to use the kettlebell however she is no expert, so take care and do your research into how they should be used properly.

Summary

Great for: High intensity body sculpting with weights

Level: Intermediate to advanced ideally but room for the beginner

Length: 60 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you’re after a technical kettlebell workout

jillian michaels yoga meltdown
jillian michaels yoga meltdown

8) Yoga Meltdown

Do not expect to hear classic yoga chants or mantras with this one.

Yoga Meltdown is presented as a fast paced strength training DVD; a semi aerobic exercise version of yoga if you like.

Yoga Meltdown consists of two 30 minute workouts focusing on yoga type poses, balances and twists in an attempt to burn fat.

You’ll see typical yoga poses such as the plank, high crescent and warrior III although Jillian adds her own high powered style to them.

Admittedly Jillian is not a certified yoga instructor and therefore does not have the level of flexibility to perform the moves with the precision and pace demanded of yoga traditionalists; many of whom have questioned her ability to teach the exercise.

That said if you’re someone who has always found yoga too slow and boring, Jillian’s ‘pepped up’ version could be just the fresh approach you’ve been looking for. Try it for yourself.

Summary

Great for: Strengthening core muscles and toning abs with a good measure of cardio

Level: All levels should be OK with this

Length: 66 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you’re only interested in technical yoga


jillian michaels killer buns & thighs
jillian michaels killer buns & thighs

9) Killer Buns & Thighs

With Killer Buns & Thighs you get three fat busting booty toning workouts which are designed to get results and fast. Each workout lasts approximately 40 to 45 minutes including warm up and cool down with three levels providing offering varying degrees of difficulty.

As with her other DVDs, the exercises combine a good range of pylometrics, compound movements with floor work, so you will be doing lots of tough squats (with and without weights) and exhaustive jumping. Be warned!

Some people have commented that Jillian seems to be prone to incessant chatter in this DVD. But if you’re looking for a challenging workout specifically focussing on your lower body and don’t mind the banter, then this workout could be for you.

Summary

Great for: Leg and butt sculpting with cardio

Level: All levels should be OK with this

Length: 135 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you’re looking for a total body workout


jillian michaels the biggest winner how to win by losing - cardio kickbox
jillian michaels the biggest winner how to win by losing - cardio kickbox

the biggest winner how to win by losing

10) The Biggest Winner: How to Win By Losing – Cardio Kickbox

This is a short high energy fat burning cardio workout based on basic kickboxing and aerobic movements. Not only do you get some pretty powerful cardio training, you also pick up nutritional tips and healthy recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In addition to that you’ll receive a six week bikini workout plan in the form of an article from FitnessRx magazine.

Jillian suggests using this DVD just once a week, mid week ideally. The rationale being it will give your muscles a much needed ‘day off’ from your regular workout schedule as well as provide an extra injection of cardio into your plan.

Whilst the majority of reviewers gave this DVD five out of five, there are many people who did not feel this workout lived up to the standards of some of Jillian’s other DVDs.

One thing I will say is that $35 for one 25 minute DVD doesn't seem to offer the best value for money, especially in comparison to Jillian's other DVD workouts. Not convinced it's worth it.

Summary

Great for: Low impact endurance training with short blasts of cardio

Level: All levels should be OK with this, although very fast paced

Length: 25 minutes (inc. warm ups & cool downs)

Steer clear: If you’re looking for a longer workout/value for money


It's Poll Time! What Do You Think of These Jillian Michaels Workouts?

Which is the BEST Jillian Michaels workout in your opinion?

See results

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    • profile image

      Tara 5 years ago

      Hey, this is great stuff thanks. I've been looking for a workout that combines all of the above. I don't have time for outdoor runs or the gym and would rather do it in the comfort of my own home but also something that doesn't take up too much time. This seems worth trying! Thanks for the recommendation!

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 5 years ago from London, UK

      Good, I'm glad you found the recommendations of use. Wishing you seasons greetings and a fit & fun New Year 2012.

    • profile image

      AphroditeisAlone 5 years ago

      I Love the Yoga Meltdown DVD so much- It's actually on my hub http://aphroditeisalone.hubpages.com/hub/Working-O...

      The plank works wonders. And seriously the Chaturanga pose is crazy hard but SO satisfying.

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for the comment.

      Ahh the plank.... works wonders but oh my goodness it's a killer. It's the pose which causes me to clock watch the most but having said that my core has never been stronger.

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Wow, this is a thorough review. I keep hearing about Jillian but have yet to try one of her DVDs. You gave great info so that I can chose which works best for me. Thanks!

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 5 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Jennifer

      Thanks for your kind comment. I'm so glad you found my hub useful. Hope you enjoy your choice. Do let me know which one you went for in the end, if you have a spare moment.

      All the best!

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I was leaning towards the classic 30 Day Shred but once I read your summary of the Extreme Shed & Shred I am considering that. I like the Brazilian and mix of things and that it is 100 minutes. On the other hand, I am not a huge yoga person- I prefer Zumba type workouts...so still debating :)

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 5 years ago from London, UK

      OK, I was going to suggest the Yoga one (it's different from 'normal' yoga) but if you're not into Yoga or Pilates type workouts it's probably not the choice for you.

      Before you commit to anything why not check your local library. They usually have a range of workout DVDs (my library has all the latest ones). That way you can try before you buy :)

    • profile image

      AphroditeisAlone 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading! The library is actually my number one resource for dvds- I should have added that this hub.

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for commenting :) Yes a lot of people forget that there is much more to the library than books.

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thanks guys. Guess I will be visiting the library this weekend...maybe I will even get a few books, while I'm there ;)

    • waytoloseweight profile image

      waytoloseweight 5 years ago

      Great review! Thanks a lot!

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you very much! I'm glad you found it of use.

    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Very informative!

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 4 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks. I'm glad you found it of use.

    • Night Magic profile image

      Night Magic 4 years ago from Canada

      I like Jillian's Yoga DVD. Thanks for the info on her other DVD's

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 4 years ago from London, UK

      Pleasure. Glad you found it of use.

    • profile image

      totallytexan 4 years ago

      Help! I love Jillian's DVD's and was using the Extreme Workout for almost a year until I hurt my hand (tendonitus) and have been out of commission with a hand brace on 24-7. I have tried to do her exercises but the "plank" position Jillian seems to love so much...I can't do. Anyone have any suggestions as to a modification that could be done when she does the plank position? I even bought her Yoga DVD thinking it would be easier and I'll be darn..she does the "plank" position in that one too! Is there a DVD that she does NOT incorporate this position in the workout?

    • profile image

      Previouslyconfused 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for this review. It was so overwhelming trying to pick from the huge range of her DVD's and trying to find a good comparison such as the one you have here was hard to come by until now. Fantastic work!

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 4 years ago from London, UK

      Hey, sorry it's taken me so long to reply. I've been out of commission also. :)

      I think old Jilly loves that plank move a little too much - I'm not a fan of the plank either. If I come across a DVD where she doesn't include that pain in the butt (or in your case hand) move, I'll be sure to write about it. I'm pretty sure there are other people who aren't really digging the plank either.

      In the meanwhile, have you tried Billy Blanks? I just dusted off an old copy of Energise and I'd forgotten what a good workout that is!

    • weightlossnstuff profile image
      Author

      weightlossnstuff 4 years ago from London, UK

      Oh bless and thank you for your kind words. I know how hard it is trying to decide so that's why I wrote the guide to help others. It's good to know it is of use too :)

    • profile image

      lisebeth 4 years ago

      Heey everybody,

      I search a workout for my lovehandles what do you guys suggest ?

    • Dania Razzak profile image

      Foyjur Razzak 4 years ago from Dhaka

      Running within an outside far surpasses the workout you get on the treadmill. Running on the floor or road is much better than a treadmill.

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