30 Day Shred

30shred30 Day Shred is old school Jillian Michaels. Not old, old school–I sold those DVDs on Amazon a long time ago–but this is when her workouts started getting really good and really effective. 30 Day Shred came out in 2008 and I bought it right when it came out. I found it very tough in 2008 so I was really looking forward to returning to it to see how it stood the test of time. These workouts are short. Probably the shortest of all of Jillian’s workouts that I own clocking on at 27 minutes each. But she packs a punch into 27 minutes. There are 3 workouts on this DVD–Level 1, 2, & 3. I remember back in 2008 I didn’t do doubles. Just one hour long workout every morning. So I wanted everything packed into that hour. Jillian delivered. I would do two of these little workouts back-to-back–then on Saturdays I would attempt to do all 3! It killed me! Now I am revisiting them as my doubles workout–one at a time. In fact, I did Jillian’s Hard Body workouts in the mornings the same week that I did 30 Day Shred as my doubles workouts. Big change in Jillian’s style of workouts but still great workouts. In fact, as I did them–Levels 2 & 3 especially–I wondered why I had not done them in so long. I really need to put these back into my doubles rotation. Levels 2 & 3 are super tough and had me seriously sucking wind! I listen to Jillian’s podcast and she is rather disparaging about 30 Day Shred. When people call and say they are doing 30 Day Shred, she sends them her more current workouts, saying they are old school and her new ones are better. I don’t agree. Don’t get me wrong. I adore Jillian’s new workouts. But these are awesome, tough and seriously effective, too! How effective, as I always say and will continue to say, depends on the weights you choose (though not entirely–there is a good bit of body weight exercises that are very tough, so dumbbells are not required for all the tough stuff). In 30 Day Shred, Jillian and crew had one set of dumbbells that looked like 5 pounds. If I had gone that route these workouts would not have been as challenging. Instead, for Level 1 I used 7, 8, 12 and 15 pound dumbbells, for Level 2 I used 5, 7, 8 and 15 pound dumbbells and for Level 3 I used 12 and 15 pound dumbbells and 5 pounders for the cardio. And after all of the workouts my arms and shoulders were burning by the end. And with Level 2 & 3 I was panting and seriously sweating. I really need to use all of Jillian’s tough 30 minute workouts as my doubles workouts far more frequently!

These workouts are set up in Jillian’s 3-2-1 circuits: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of ab work. But she doesn’t bore you and burn you out by making you do 3 solid minutes of the same move. She varies things. For most of the segments of each circuit you alternate between two different exercises. Each workout has 3 of these 3-2-1 circuits. There are two women with Jillian, one showing beginner modifications and one just doing the exercises.

Level 1 is 27:30 minutes; 3:30 minute warm up, 22 training time and 2 minute stretch. Circuit 1: strength is push ups and squats w/ overhead press; cardio is jumping jacks and jump rope; abs is basic crunch and reverse crunch. Circuit 2: strength is back rows and static lunge with bicep curls; cardio is butt kick runs and punches; abs is oblique crunches. Circuit 3: strength is chest flys and anterior raise with side lunges; cardio is jumping jacks, butt kicks, punches, jump rope; abs is bicycle crunches.

Level 2 is 27:30 minutes; 3 minute warm up, 22:30 minute training time and 2 minute stretch. Circuit 1: strength is walking pushups (from a standing position bend at the waist and walk hands out to plank, do a push up and walk back and stand) and squat with wide row; cardio is high knee run and squat thrusts; abs is crunch with single leg lift (each leg for 30 seconds). Circuit 2: strength is static lunge with row and pendulum lunges with bicep curls; cardio is oblique twist jumps (or moguls) and skaters; abs is weighted windshield wiper legs (lay on back holding dumbbells over head and raise and lower straight legs, alternating the angle toward each dumbbell) and double crunch. Circuit 3: strength is military press with one leg extension and chair squats with V-fly; cardio is plank jacks and double jump rope; for abs get in plank and bring knee under body toward elbow–alternate legs–you will do this move for the full minute.

Level 3 is 27:30 minutes long; 3 minute warm up, 22:30 minute training time and 2 minute stretch. Circuit 1: strength is walking plank (start in low plank on elbows and come to straight arm plank then back down to low plank) and supermans; cardio is mountain climbers and plie hops; abs is pike crunch and scissor legs with straight legs a few inches off floor and head/shoulders raised. Circuit 2: strength is dumbbell clean and press and slow, alternating jump lunges; cardio is punches with dumbbells and butt kicks with dumbbells; abs is full sit ups. Circuit 3: strength is traveling push ups (push ups moving side to side, using only your arms to move) and renegade rows with leg raise; cardio is jump squats and rock star jumps; abs is side plank raises.

13 thoughts on “30 Day Shred

  1. “I listen to Jillian’s podcast and she is rather disparaging about 30 Day Shred. When people call and say they are doing 30 Day Shred, she sends them her more current workouts, saying they are old school and her new ones are better. I don’t agree.

    Likewise. I’m in the midst of Ripped in 30 and I feel that 30 Day Shred is the superior program — I especially loved workout 3 in 30DS. I’m sadly not feeling the love for RI30.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was odd she felt those workouts were so lacking. IMHO they are some of her best. My favorites of Jillian’s though are 6 Week 6 Pack, Extreme Shed & Shred and Lift & Shred.


      1. It is odd she made those remarks. 30 Day Shred is awesome. I’ve done workout 3 the past couple of days and I *really* want to try to do workout 2 and 3 together one morning. I actually used my 8 pound weight for the dumbbell clean and press, I was surprised at how mostly easily I was lifting it up and down. I felt like I could have lifted more. I can do 8s for the renegade rows too but then I’m burned out when it comes back to push-up time — so that’s where I need to macgyver my weights so I could try lifting 6s instead of 5s.

        I don’t have ES&S (I have a ‘maybe’ next to that program for acquisition purposes) and I don’t have L&S. I do have 6 Week 6 Pack. I did level/workout 1 a little while ago and liked it (and will definitely do it again at some point) but I need to figure out how to use it because when I used it the first time I did it as my morning workout and I wanted more intensity (probably because I’m used to Jillian’s 3-2-1.) Perhaps I can just do the first run through of the circuit after a 30 Day Shred workout. That would help build up the length of my time spent working out. I love workout 3 in 30 Day Shred but I wish it was longer. That’s why I’d like to try to combine two of them and see if I have the endurance to handle it.

        I have Hot Body Healthy Mommy but I haven’t done it yet — it was a bargain buy at Wal-mart and I probably picked it up for $6 or $7. It has three 20-minute workouts that focus on upper body, lower body, and core. I’m not a mom but I many reviews of other not-moms who said it was a good workout.


  2. I am so excited to start this program later today. (I just finished Beginner Shred which I loved, I loved Jillain’s tough love personality, it really helped to keep me going and motivate me, and I liked all the moves that we did.) I took a quick skim through the exercises you outlined for workouts 1, 2, and 3 and I see rockstar jumps listed as a cardio element for workout 3. I don’t think I can do this exercise, technically I am capable of rockstar jumps but I’m afraid a move like that would really aggravate my ankle that sometimes gives me trouble. I’ve read before on your blog that due to metal plates and screws in your ankles/feet that you sometimes modify cardio moves so as not to hurt yourself. Do you just try to do any kind of move that will keep your heart rate up (like jog in place) or do you try to choose a move that works the same muscles?


    1. First, yes–always modify rather than injuring yourself. Jillian is not doing contrast training so I wouldn’t worry about the type of cardio move you do. She does cardio intervals to make her workouts more metabolic, i.e. increasing the calorie burn so you are getting cardio with your strength training. So do whatever cardio move works best for you, just find a way to elevate your heart rate during the interval. (Contrast training is a different story, but not relevant to any of Jillian’s workouts.) Second, I do modify things for my bum feet but they are balance moves. My pain is dependent on how long I have been on my feet. I work a sedentary job so I tend to only have heel pain on the weekends when I am on my feet a lot, which is why I generally do yoga/mobility/low impact workouts on Sundays. But if my feet are fine, I can do any plyometric thrown at me. But because all those muscles in your feet fire to maintain stability when you are standing on one leg, I have to modify any move that has you balancing on one leg–too much metal in my heels that has decreased my foot/ankle mobility. So my feet cannot make those little corrections a normal foot does to stabilize you when you are balancing. If you have a bum ankle, it is likely that you have the same issue with that leg so you will have to modify balance moves on that leg at least. Most beginner/intermediate workouts don’t have a lot of balance moves but when you move into the advanced workouts, some trainers love to challenge your balance.


      1. Thanks for the info — good to know with Jillian I can just sub in any other cardio move to keep my heart rate up and my ankle safe.

        Oh my word. 30 Day Shred workout 1 is tough. I starting out using 8 pound weights (I had been using 8s for some exercises in Beginner Shred workout 2 and workout 3) but I ended up having to go back down to 5s for the whole 30 Day Shred workout 1. I guess I was able to use 8s in BS2 and BS3 because the rep count is lower. I’ll keep going with 30 Day Shred, eventually I will build up my strength/endurance and it won’t seem so hard and then I’ll know it’s time to go on to workout 2. (You must have a lot of strength/endurance because I am blown away by the length and intensity of some of your workouts.)


      2. If 8s are challenging you then they are the perfect weight for you. You will know when you are ready for more. I have been working out for a long time (20+ years). It takes time to build strength and endurance. Sometimes when you’ve been working out a long time and you are strong you forget that. That was me in 2017–very strong with loads of endurance. Then 2018 comes along and I found out I had cancer–surgery, chemo, radiation and more surgery. I was not the same person at the beginning of 2019. My strength and endurance had declined drastically and it took me all of 2019 to rebuild it. And I am still not as strong as I was pre-cancer treatment. So don’t ever compare yourself to others. Do what works for you. I can no longer lift as heavy as I did in some of the reviews I wrote years ago. And that’s okay–different seasons of life, right? I had to modify everything in 2018 and because of that I discovered Jessica Smith’s walking workouts which I would not have even looked at prior to 2018. (I did do her Walk Strong workouts but those aren’t walking workouts.) And that’s a good thing because even tho I can now do Cathe level cardio again, I still return to Jessica’s walking workouts sometimes because they are fun and give me a good workout.


      3. Well the 8s IMHO were too challenging. I’m embarrassed to say that I couldn’t get through the first set of squats with overhead presses using 8s. I started to really really struggle to get my arms up, sometimes the hurt/burn can feel good but this did not. I wanted to be able to finish the set in the time allotted (and have proper form) so I switched back to my 5s. I will do the workout again tomorrow and will likely use my 5s again the whole time, but I will most definitely try using my 8s again. It’s likely the higher rep count in BS that is making it a challenge for me to use my 8s for the whole set and whole workout program.

        Truth be told, I’m not comparing myself to you or others. (Although what you and your body can handle and accomplish through exercise is still mighty impressive though. I’m blown away at how you pushed yourself physically during your treatments.) I am a bit proud of myself from progressing from 3s to 5s and then to 8s with Beginner Shred.

        And I’m still trying to figure out what from a workout program. Now that I started day 1 of 30 Day Shred I will see it through because it’s there. I want to finish it. I want to eventually get to workout 3. But when my 30 days are up (or it might take longer) I have a feeling that I might not want to move on to Ripped in 30. I might want something not as intense. Or maybe when I’m done I won’t feel like the 3, 2, 1 segments are such a challenge like I do now.


      4. I love Jillian but I fear this 30 Day Shred is being a bit too rough on my knees and my sometimes troublesome ankle. (I don’t recall having this worry at all during Beginner Shred.)

        I finished the 10 days of Workout 1 for 30 Day Shred. The first three or four days I was a bit sore (in various places like the inside of my thighs) but my body must have gotten used to things and adapted. I was mostly sore around my knees (not painful, but sore, maybe burny or jelly-like, hard to describe) and maybe that sensation too a bit in my quad muscles right above my knees. I did work up to using 8 pound weights for some of the exercises. Sometimes I could use the 8 pound weights for both of the same exercise, other times for just the first set.

        I’m in day 2 of of Workout 2 (I’m back using my 5 pound weights to just get a feel of things) and it’s a lot of jumping. I didn’t like how the pendulum lunges felt (not a jumping exercise) but the back of one of my knees didn’t feel great while I was doing it — don’t know what they are called but they are long and skinny and are on both sides of the back of my knee, some kind of tendon? — and the plank jacks were a bit jarring to my ankles and knees. (Can I sub burpees for plank jacks??) I try to be conscious of my form but it’s entirely possible I’m moving ever so slightly wrong and could be causing my own pain. But part of me wonders if maybe I’m just not meant for “high intensity.”

        I was *really* hoping to go on to Ripped in 30 after I finish 30 Day Shred but I just don’t know. I wonder if Ripped in 30 is a more “balanced” workout even though it’s still the same 3-2-1 method. 30 Day Shred is very heavy on the squats, lunges, and shoulder work (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but maybe that’s why Jillian pushes RI30 over 30DS, maybe she feels RI30 is a better, more balanced, more total body workout.

        Thoughts? Advice?


      5. I think you’re talking about hamstring tendons. Never be afraid to substitute exercises. If something is hurting you then do another exercise that works you well but doesn’t hurt you. Jillian uses a lot of compound exercises in her workouts. That, in addition to her 3-2-1 method, are what make her workouts so metabolic. She rarely works your muscles in isolation. So when you are doing her workouts, if you feel the shoulders are getting too much attention, substitute an upper body move for a muscle group that you feel isn’t getting enough attention. For instance, my beef with some workouts is the back isn’t worked enough. So maybe the trainer is heavy on another muscle group. I will substitute one of the exercises for that muscle group with a back row. I can even give a few examples. Cathe has a few workouts like that. So she did tripod tricep kickbacks and I felt she had already hit the triceps plenty hard yet was neglecting the back so I substituted renegade rows for the tripod kickbacks. I did something similar in another workout. I can’t remember which one but I substituted a shoulder exercise with bent over back rows. Jillian’s moves are mostly compound 4 limb moves, so if she is doing lunges with straight arms side raises or squats with overhead presses, substitute bicep curls (or whatever you’d prefer), or say she is doing deadlifts into upright rows, substitute deadrows instead (deadlift straight into a back row while still hinged forward).

        And you may not be made for high intensity and there is nothing wrong with that. But if it the impact that bothers you, there are lots of low impact versions of exercises that are still intense. You should give Heather Robertson and Cathe‘s low impact workouts a look. They both create intense low impact workouts. And Jessica Smith always has a low impact modifier in her workouts.

        As far as comparing Ripped in 30 with 30 Day Shred, it has been years since I have done them both so I all I can really do is read my reviews and compare and see if my memory is refreshed. In one of Ripped in 30’s workouts I mentioned I felt like it hit my shoulders pretty hard, so… I don’t know? It looks like they both use a lot of Jillian’s compound 4 limb exercises and plenty of plyometric jumping. It also looks like (as usual) the workouts get harder and more advanced with each one–so Workout 1 is the easiest and Workout 4 is the most advanced.

        My advice is to not be afraid to modify and substitute to get the perfect workout for you. Working out should make you feel good not injured you. And also, maybe branch out and try other trainers that might be more suited to you.


      6. Thanks for such a long thoughtful and informative reply. You rock 🙂 I can only imagine all the random comments that pop up all over your blog since you’ve been blogging forever.

        I really don’t know what’s going on with my knees. To the best of my recollection, my knees don’t “burn” or feel “jelly-like” or feel sore while I’m working out, it happens afterwards and last for hours. Usually I wake up the next morning mostly fine. Jillian’s cool-down/post work-out stretches aren’t enough for me (that would be my only criticism, her warm-ups and cool-downs are too short and don’t hit all the muscle groups) so I skip the cool-down and pop in a different DVD that has a nice 5 minute cool-down and then I add a few stretches of my own. (I do the warm-up from the other DVD too but also do Jillian’s warm-up as well.)

        I’ve also been doing BS and 30DS six days a week with Sundays off. Even though the workouts are 20 minutes long, maybe my body (specifically my knees) needs more time to recover? I took today off because it seemed like a good idea, I certainly don’t want to injure myself and then not be able to workout for days or weeks 😦 It already feels weird that I didn’t start the day with a workout.

        I’ll have to go back and read your review for RI30 and see what all the moves are. Sigh. It just might not be for me 😦 I like knowing well ahead of time what workouts I’ll be doing so it’s a possible disappointment that I might not be moving on to RI30. I’m already questioning finishing 30DS (only because of the issues it’s giving me with my knees) but I will try modifying and see how it goes. I really like Jillian’s tough love and personality and I really want to finish what I started and continue to tone my body.

        As a side note, I do have Jillian’s ‘No more trouble zones’ and her ‘Hot Body Healthy Mommy’ workout DVDs. I know that NMTZ may be a bit “intense” (it’s categorized as advanced (between easy and hard) on her DVD infographic) but hopefully there’s not too much jumping.I’m confident that HBHM doesn’t have a lot of jumping or cardio.

        It makes me feel dumb that I might not be made for high intensity exercises. Granted I’m not an advanced exerciser but I very much enjoyed Beginner Shred. And I’m not overweight (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but it’s not like my weight is causing the knees issues I’m experiencing.

        And yes, I do definitely need to branch out with some other trainers. I’ve (finally) decided that I want to get KCM’s ‘Body Shop’ (rather than ‘Your Best Body’) and I plan to borrow some pilates workout DVDs from the library and I’ll purchase the one(s) that I love. (I also want to love Jessica Smith but I can’t get past that her videos are exclusive to Amazon, I just don’t shop there. Sadly, my library system has none of her videos.) I will have to look into Cathe……. so many trainers, so little time 😉


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