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Review of Jillian Michaels' Hard Body DVD

Updated on October 7, 2014

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 Hard Body video will get you buff, lean, and strong in no time.


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.

Buy Hard Body at

Jillian Michaels Hard Body
Jillian Michaels Hard Body

Get the exciting new workout Hard Body on DVD!


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.

Jumping jacks
Backbends alternating with stepping back into planks
Twisting front kicks
Skater steps from chair pose

Full circuit (performed twice)

Circuit 1
Speed squats
Speedrope (with 3 lb. weights for advanced)
Straight-legged situps alternating with supermans

Circuit 2
Rows alternating with bicep curls/lunges
Crunch with alternate leg lifts
Chest press/chest fly/tricep head banger in bridge position

Circuit 3
Calf raise and shoulder press in sumo squat position
Weighted burpees
Bicep curls in crescent pose, alternating with tricep kickbacks in warrior 3 pose

Circuit 4
Side lunges with rows, alternating with chair poses with front raises
Travelling pushups with lateral jumps

Circuit 5
Plank row pushups with mountain climbers
Crab kicks (double-time for advanced)
Alternating lunges with a punch

Circuit 6
Surrenders with dolphin
Squat Spinners
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 Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor, 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.

Level 2 Overview and Review

To be completed once I've moved up to Level 2.

Production Notes

Jillian points out that some of her trainers are wearing the armband for her 360 Weight Loss Navigator system, which tracks your calories burned.

Trailers for her other DVD programs Jillian Michaels Body Revolution, Ripped in 30, Killer Buns & Thighs, Extreme Shed & Shred, Kickbox Fastfix, and Killer Abs are also included.


I was provided with a free advance copy of this DVD to consider for review. All opinions in this review are my own.

Buy Hard Body at

Jillian Michaels Hard Body
Jillian Michaels Hard Body

Get this exciting new workout Hard Body on DVD!


Buy Jillian's Bestselling DVDs from!

Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack
Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack

One of the top 5 bestselling fitness DVDs at!


Buy Jillian's Bestselling DVDs from!

Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred
Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred

One of the top 5 bestsellers in Fitness DVDs at, with over 3200 happy reviews!



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    • profile image


      15 months ago

      thank you so much for this review, it helped me a lot, when I tried to do level 1 the 1st time I had to stop all the time to see what she is doing, after I discover your review I printed it and put it beside me, so I could read what will be happening in each circle and then i could just do the circle without pausing.this was a great help, i have just done level 1 twice will do it a lot more times, till i will move to level 2, have you done level 2 yet and written a review ? really glad to have found your page

    • VancouverGal profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Canada

      Congrats on the great progress! Sorry the DVD doesn't specify how long to stay with each level, but perhaps you could move up to Level 2 when you feel you've mastered Level 1. Perhaps you could tweet your query to Jillian!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Im really unsure how long to do this for...I just completed week one and feel great! I prepped myself for this by doing her 30 day shred. I am using 8lb weights and will be ready to advance to 10 soon. Im wondering if maybe 4 weeks of each is good or should I 15/15? I wish it stated in the dvd!

    • VancouverGal profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Canada

      You're welcome, and thanks for posting your feedback! I do recall that Ripped in 30 Level 3 is pretty brutal.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I did this workout first time yesterday and surprisingly I was able to finish till 45 minutes. I have been doing 30 day shred and ripped in 30.

      To me personally, I have tough time doing ripped in 30- level 4 and level 3 even though they are only 25 minutes of workout. This one I found easier then those two levels.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you for posting the review.


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