Killer Body

killerbodyKiller Body is Jillian Michael’s latest offering. As usual she has given us multiple challenging workouts on one DVD for a great price. This collection is a little different than her usual offerings and I really like it. Usually her workouts are total body, or core focused but this collection is giving you splits, which I love. There are 3 workouts on this DVD: Upper Body, Core and Lower Body and they are all approx. 30 minutes. In her one minute intro she recommends working out with these workouts 6 days a week; do all 3 then repeat them in the same order. The workouts are signature Jillian style–cardio combined with strength work. She has a modifier in each workout showing beginner modifications and low impact moves for people who do not want to do plyometrics. She also has someone showing advanced versions of the exercises so you can make the workouts pretty challenging. And then there is also the the option of using heavier weights to up intensity. Jillian and crew only use her personal dumbbell collection which has 3, 5 and 8 pound dumbbells. However, for some exercises you will need to go heavier than that to make it more advanced (and for me, to actually feel it and make it worthwhile). In addition, there are a lot of bodyweight exercises plus, many exercise are signature Jillian Michaels–challenging on their own and difficult to go heavy on. So the workouts are a nice mix. I will say I found the Lower Body the easiest of the 3, the Core the second hardest and the Upper Body the most challenging. I do think that had a lot to do with the weights I chose to use for each workout, so for Lower Body I will try to go heavier in the future.

Each workout is structured the same way: 4 circuits. You do each circuit 2 times then end it with a one minute cardio blast before moving on to the next circuit. So you get cardio + strength in each workout.

Lower Body is 36 minutes long with a 3 minute warm up and 2:30 stretch. This was an intense and challenging little workout. I will admit it didn’t work my lower body as hard and thoroughly as I am am accustomed to working it, but for a short doubles workout it did a good job.

Circuit 1: 1. 3 way pendulum lunge (light dumbbells: front lunge with front raises, side lunge with lateral raises and reverse lunge with bicep curls), 2. good mornings (light dumbbells held in goal post arms with legs wide: bend at waist with legs straight; when bent at 90 degrees with back straight press arms in front of you in a bent over shoulder press), 3. jump jack squats/star jumps (two jack squats touching floor with fingertips when in squat and one air jack), 4. statue of liberty (two light weights held in one hand: stand on one foot, weights help in opposite hand; squat down and touch foot with weights then stand and raise weights overhead). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: long jump run arounds with zig zag (long jump, run around to the right back to start, long jump, run around to left back to start, 4 zig zag jumps forward and 4 back).

Circuit 2: 1. static chair pose squat, 2. sumo scissor hops (get into sumo squat; squat and jump, scissoring feet while in the air), 3. curtsey lunge into cross over lunge (hold light weights at shoulders; do a reverse curtsy lunge while pressing dumbbells overhead, then do a front curtsey (crossover) lunge while pressing weights overhead), 4. straight leg lunge (hold two light dumbbells in one hand and get into lunge position but with feet in straight line; do static lunges while holding dumbbells overhead with one arm and other arm straight out to side). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: donkey kick/rock star jump.

Circuit 3: 1. standing donkey kicks (crouch down with hands on floor and raise and lower one leg, bending other knee at bottom and straightening it at top of kick), 2. supermans, 3. warrior 2 (in deep warrior 2 pose, touch ground beside front foot then flow into reverse warrior), 4. warrior 3. Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: split jumps (this is weird and hard; it’s like a jump lunge except you aren’t switching your legs and you bringing your front knee up and back foot up as you jump; hard to describe, but challenging!).

Circuit 4: 1. deep squats on toes, 2. surrender lunges (start standing with arms overhead and lower to knees one leg at a time, then stand, one leg at a time; Jillian kicks it up for advanced exercises–after you lower to your knees she does something called a “ninja” where she jumps from her knees to her feet), 3. plie squat jumps on toes, 4. deadlifts (grab heavy dumbbells). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: plyo squat, then alternate lunge jumps (one each leg).

Core is 32 minutes long with a 3:30 minute warm up and a 2:30 minute stretch. This workout was deceiving! When I did the first circuit I thought it–this is too easy. Is this Jillian’s recovery workout in the rotation she laid out? Then circuit two emerged and it started getting hard! Do the advanced modifications and this is a very challenging core workout!

Circuit 1: 1. triangle press (grab two dumbbells and stand in triangle pose with one arm over head and the other along the leg with the foot pointed to the side; raise and lower dumbbell to foot, keeping both arms straight), 2. oblique crunches (hold dumbbells with one behind head and the other held to side; raise and lower straight leg to side, lowering elbow of arm with hand/dumbbell behind head toward leg, crunching the oblique; the object is balance, so if possible, do not touch foot to ground when raising and lowering), 3. sumo touch downs (drop down into deep sumo squat, still holding dumbbells; dumbbells are behind legs and you alternating reaching arms side to side, trying to touch dumbbells to ankles/floor), 4. plank tuck jumps (no dumbbells; get into plank; jump feet up and in). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: alternating knee pulls (start in lunge with arms overhead and bring knee in to chest).

Circuit 2: 1. sit up jump squat (start standing; lower down to your bottom and roll back into reverse crunch, roll back to feet and jump back to starting position), 2. boat sprawls (get into a sort of V sit, but with legs crossed and off the ground, arms around legs; lower body to floor, but only so bottom and lower back touch and spread legs and arms wide in an X, then return to start), 3. bicycle crunches in V sit, 4. side plank spinners (grab one dumbbell and get into side plank; raise dumbbell to ceiling, bring it under body, return to ceiling then raise and lower hips). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: twisting high knee runs.

Circuit 3: 1. running ab hold moguls (get into elbow plank; run your feet to the side and up to arms; alternate sides), 2. elevator plank (get into high plank; bring knee in under you, lower knee then raise knee, then raise leg behind you), 3. sit up into ab hold with a knee thrust (lay on back with legs straight and arms overhead; sit up, roll over into elbow plank and bring knee to elbow then roll back to start), 4. dolphin (get into elbow plank and raise and lower hips–high into pike). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: 3 way burpee (burpee to the back, to the side, to the back, to the other side).

Circuit 4: 1. corkscrew crunch (lay on back with feet straight up in air; twist hips to side and raise them into reverse crunch; alternate sides), 2. L sit (come up into table/crab; raise hips to ceiling then bring hips through hands w/out letting bottom touch ground, return to table/crab), 3. split crunch (lay on back with legs raised to ceiling but spread wide in V; clasp palms together and crunch arms through legs), 4. around the world crunches (still on back, legs together and raised to ceiling; rotate the legs in a big circle then reverse crunch; alternate sides). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: squats with a sledgehammer chop (holding one dumbbell in both hands bring over and behind head; jump out into squat, swinging dumbbell down like a kettlebell between legs and when you jump back bring dumbbell back behind head).

Upper Body is 33 minutes long with a 3:30 minute warm up and a 2:30 minute stretch. Wow! This one was the craziest of the 3 in my opinion. Of course, it all depends on the weights you choose and I went heavy–so I found this a very challenging and excellent workout. Jillian and crew never go any heavier than 8 pound dumbbells; 8 pounds was the lightest weight I used and I only used it for one exercise. My dumbbells ranged from 8 pounds to 25 pounds. I loved this workout! I was breathing hard! Definitely my favorite of the 3. You go light and do push ups on your knees and you may not find this that difficult. But push yourself and go heavy, and you will be challenged.

Circuit 1: 1. walk-out push ups (bend over and touch your toes; walk out to plank, do a push up, come back to touching your toes), 2. one leg plank ups (get into plank, raise one leg and go from elbow plank to high plank, keeping one leg elevated), 3. rocking cobra (lay on belly; come up into cobra then rock up raising feet/calves), 4. single arm row in split stance (grab a heavy dumbbell; get into deep lunge and do a one arm row while holding other arm out straight to side). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: back cross over jacks (jumping jacks; cross feet when jumping and have arms straight to side, open and close them, clapping hands in front of body and pressing shoulder together when they are open wide).

Circuit 2: 1. wide rows with a fly (dumbbells; double arm wide bent over row alternated with bent over rear delt fly), 2. renegade row w/ push up (dumbbells), 3. lat pull/chest press while in bridge (dumbbells), 4. chest fly/head banger (skull crushers) while in bridge (dumbbells). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: 4 jab/cross + 1 rock star jump.

Circuit 3: 1. wide push ups to cross over push ups (get in plank; walk hands to right and do a wide push up, bring one hand in, crossing it over the other and do a tricep push up, then walk hands over to other side for wide push up), 2. static good mornings with low row (dumbbells; hinge at waist and bring arms/dumbbells in front of you, palms facing forward and row), 3. sumo squat with tricep press (dumbbells; get into sumo squat and do overhead tricep extensions while sumo squatting), 4. squats with tricep press and curl press (dumbbells; squat while doing tricep kickback with palms facing back of room, stand while doing bicep curl going straight into overhead shoulder press with palms facing behind you). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: alternating single arm burpees.

Circuit 4: 1. pike press/pike push up (get into pike; lower forearms to ground and push back up, then do pike push up), 2. side lunge serving press (dumbbells; while standing, slide dumbbells up side of body in a narrow bicep curl, do a side lunge and while dumbbells are still at high point, press them out straight in front of you, bring them back in as you stand and lower dumbbells), 3. stationary lunges with tricep extension (dumbbells; get into lunge position and bring dumbbells overhead; overhead dumbbell presses as you static lunge), 4. squat with curl to lateral punch (dumbbells; squat and do bicep curl; at top of bicep curl, rotate hands/arms and punch dumbbells out to sides of body, straightening arms). Repeat circuit. Cardio blast: arm circles/kick outs (kick out runs (or mummy kicks in Shaun T lingo) while circling straight arms to sides of body).

10 thoughts on “Killer Body

  1. This looks like it would be a real good challenge for me. I still love NMTZ but it’s not kicking my butt as much as it used to and I know that sadly, eventually, I’ll need to move on.

    I’m so used to doing total body workouts though that it makes me wonder if I’ll even like the structure of killer body since it’s done in splits. Like, will I feel weird after working out since I only would have worked out part of my body? But on the other hand, it’s a much longer time to be dedicating to one part of the body vs. total body so maybe I’ll get different kinds of results……

    I hope the moves aren’t too weird, I felt that some of the exercises in Ripped in 30 were awkward and strange……

    Any opinions?


    1. Any trainer that keeps trying to make her workouts radically different and yet still follow the same formula is going to run into the problem of creating workouts with awkward moves. This happens more frequently with trainers that favor compound moves. There are only so many variations you can make to basic strength exercises without them becoming a recipe for injury. On fitness forums I read people complaining about how Cathe does the same old strength training exercises in her workouts. I actually love that about her workouts–they are not only extremely effective but they are also safe! She is doing tried and true strength training that has worked for a very long time. Anyway, I got off topic. I do think that Jillian’s workouts sometimes contain awkward moves created in her attempts to make every single one of her workouts different and unique. And though I appreciate that, I don’t think it is very helpful for the home exerciser. But I don’t remember thinking anything negative about this particular workout.


      1. Yes, I remember being a bit shocked when I saw in a video preview clip for Jillian’s Yoga Meltdown level 2 that there was this crazy tripod headstand yoga pose — it seemed so risky and dangerous, I don’t even think she offered any modifications or anything. I would never attempt to do that and honestly I doubt anything from level 1 would prepare someone to do a tripod headstand in level 2. I was considering getting that DVD until I saw that, I love Jillian but she is no yogi. Maybe she was able to learn more about yoga and things and maybe Yoga Inferno is a safer program.

        I think, I’m leaning more toward Killer Arms & Back — I’ll have to re-read your review for that, only because if I’m doing “target toning” I’m more interested in doing my arms than say having the Killer Body DVD with the core and lower body sections……. (Although the Killer Body DVD is a complete program……..)

        I was disappointed in Ripped in 30 for many reasons but one of them was the awkward moves, even some of the warm-up moves were odd. I love Jillian but I have seen some critical reviews where people say that sometimes she gets creative for creative’s sake and I do have to agree with that.

        I’ll have to re-visit your Killer Body and Killer Arms & Back reviews and look at the reviews more closely. I think the Arms & Back one has three levels if I’m remembering correctly and I like that aspect of it……

        That’s great that Cathe keeps things old school, safe, and effective. I know she’s one of your faves. I remember reading one of your reviews when you were doing all that live streaming and it might have been a cardio workout and it just featured Cathe and you said you really liked it because it felt like a more intimate workout experience. Hhmmm, intimate probably is not the best word to use……

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do actually really love Cathe’s current live workouts in which it is just her and no one else. I like that set up much better than her live classes with a room full of people. There are several reasons for this but the biggest is camera angles. I hate it when the camera leaves Cathe during a live workout because the background exercisers frequently have poor form or stop doing the exercise before Cathe does–or start it late. But in these recent ones it is all Cathe–so we get perfect form 100% of the workout. I have been purchasing her downloads in anticipation for when I can actually do them. They look awesome.

        Jillian has several questionable workouts. The yoga HIIT was an interesting concept but didn’t end up being very useful for me. I do like her other yoga workout better and have returned to that one. Then her kettlebell workout. I actually really like the first one on the DVD but the second workout just seems like a recipe for injury. I avoid that one.


      3. Well I think I’ve decided to go with Killer Arms & Back — love the new set and the moves look great. Surprisingly, at from what I saw in the preview clip, Jillian seems to have a bit more gentle and chill personality in this workout……

        Killer Body looks good too but I noticed in the preview clip that some of the moves are overly compound (one move I saw that three different things you do with weights in one exercise, you’ve said it before and I’m saying it now too, you really can’t change weights to go higher or lower during that movement so you aren’t working/challenging the different muscles as effectively or as hard as you’d like.)

        No surprise that you are still buying workouts during rehab 😉 I recently scooped up four or five different Deal-of-the-Days on the TFDVD site from $1.99 – $4.99.


  2. I finished Ripped in 30 and beginner shred. What would you suggest next? Killer body or 30 day shred? I am looking for under 30 mins.


    1. If you want under 20 minutes then 30 Day Shred. Those are all 28 minutes long. And they are excellent, too. They are actually some of my favorite of Jillian’s short workouts.


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