Hard 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.
Row then lunge w/bicep curl
Chest press/chest fly/tricep head banger combo in bridge position
In plie squat, calf raise with shoulder press
Leg raise in downward dog
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
Lunges w/ punches (weights in hand)
Surrenders and camel
Side plank crunches
Lat pulls with one legged bridge
Repeat all exercises