Hard Body

hardbodyHard Body is one of Jillian Michael‘s newer workouts (she just released another one, One Week Shred, which I had on pre-order and just received this weekend. I’ll be reviewing it soon!). Hard Body consists of two cardio + strength workouts that are 45 and 50 minutes. Neither of them are beginner workouts. I would say Level 1, if you use heavy enough dumbbells, is high intermediate… possibly low advanced? I was pretty worn out just after doing Level 1. But she does have beginner modifications that might make it doable for a beginner. It is push up heavy tho–just FYI. Level 2 is pretty advanced–again, heavier dumbbells make it a more challenging workout.

She also structures these workouts differently than any of her other workouts and I love it. In the past, she did a circuit of 4-6 exercises, then repeated the circuit before moving on to the next new circuit. A workout usually consisted of 4-5 of these circuits. In Hard Body she tells you when you start a circuit, but the circuits are not neatly packaged like they are in all her other workouts. To me it just seems like a lot of exercises that are then repeated. But that is ok–I am not complaining. It actually makes the workout more interesting, in my opinion. The only problem with that is that there are 6 “circuits,” which means there are a lot of exercises and by the time you repeat them all, I couldn’t always remember what weights I needed to use. Jillian and crew are using her signature dumbbells that range from 3-8 pounds. I used dumbbells ranging from 3-25 pounds. Also, the first time through all of the exercises I often decided to increase my weight the next time through–but it had been so long since I’d done the exercises that it took me a moment to recall what weight I had planned to use the second time through. But that’s ok. This was my first time doing the workouts and this review is a reminder for me. I actually use the list of exercises at the bottom for my own purposes. I create “workout cards” and I write what weight I used and use an up or down arrow to indicate if I need to increase my weight the next time I do the workout. But I have to do and review a workout once before I have all that information!

Anyway, back to the review! Jillian’s crew consists of 4 women and one of them is doing beginner modifications. There is a lot of plyometrics and body weight training in these workouts. They are tough and they are fun. I really love most of Jillian’s workouts and it’s hard for me to put them in order of favorite since they are all different–but my favorite is still Extreme Shed & Shred, but I would have to say Hard Body is a close second. There is one drawback to this workout and it is minor, but still a bit irritating. For the music, she has a DJ. Now, this in itself is fine. He plays good music. But he gets way too much camera time, which makes no sense. This is a workout; the camera should be on Jillian and crew. We need to see the exercises for form and also to stay on track with the rep tempo. So when I would look up to see what someone was doing and all I see is the DJ nodding his head to the beat… well, that just irritated me. Other than that, these workouts are gold. Love them.

Level 1 is 45 minutes long; 3 minute warm up, 40 minute training time and 2 minute stretch.

Speed squats


Jump rope


Row then lunge w/bicep curl

Suicide runs

Scissor crunches

Chest press/chest fly/tricep head banger combo in bridge position

In plie squat, calf raise with shoulder press

Leg raise in downward dog

Weighted burpees

Bicep curls in crescent pose, alternating with tricep kickbacks in warrior 3

Side lunges with rows alternated with chair poses with front raises

Skiers (actually moguls but she calls them skiers)

3 traveling push-ups with lateral jumps

Push-up w/ renegade rows into mountain climbers

Crab kicks

Lunges w/ punches (weights in hand)

Surrenders and camel

Squat spinners

Side plank crunches

Lat pulls with one legged bridge

Repeat all exercises

Level 2 is 50 minutes; warm up 3:30, training time 42:30, and cool down is 4 minutes
Spring Lunge (start in a deep narrow lunge with the feet close together and hands touching floor on either side of feet; “pop” back into a lunge, always staying low)
Falling push-ups on knees (starting on knees, fall forward into push up then push yourself back up to your knees, keeping body straight)
Squat jump with upright row
Dead lift with bicep curl
Cheerleader jumps (air jacks)
Chaturanga into goddess
Warrior 3 with wide row
180 jumps holding dumbbell
Angel-fly with a pass (superman while passing a light weight behind back)
Crow push-ups and grasshopper push-ups
Chair squat with a jump
High knee sprint
Halo into curtsey
Static lunge with a row
Single legged squat into a one leg pike push up
Pigeon squat with a front raise
Dumbbell swing with a jump
Reverse squat
Bicep curl and jump
One arm mountain climber
Jumping lunge with straight arm fly
Pike crunch (with weights) and a bicep curl
Traveling side plank
Single leg squat skaters
Jumping donkey kicks
One leg traveling planks
Tornadoes (laying on back, circle straight legs–well, like a tornado!_
Reverse planks (raise and lower hips)
Repeat all exercises

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