When Hammer & Chisel was first announced I was so excited! I loved Body Beast so when I saw Sagi was coming out with a new strength training program I planned to purchase it as soon as it was available. They initially announced it via a cryptic trailer several months before it was released and showed it was led/created by both Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese. I was familiar with Sagi, but I had not done any of Autumn’s workouts nor was I interested in them. So Sagi was the selling point for me.
I had to wait several months before it went on sale the beginning of December 2015 and I ordered it the day it was available. I did not get to it right away however since I had also just received Cathe‘s ICE series and that was my #1 priority. But once I had sampled ICE, I was ready for Hammer & Chisel. You get a lot with this program. In fact, when I received it and went through everything, I was a bit overwhelmed. For the base kit you get 14 workouts (16 actually–2 bonuses but they are not part of the program, they are from the trainers’ other programs), the usual Beachbody literature, 7 color coded food containers and a shaker cup. In addition, I ordered the deluxe workouts and got 5 more, for a total of 19 (or 21) workouts! Initially I had wanted to do the entire 60 day rotation, but I have so many other workouts to try I decided to sample each workout at least once.
One thing that attracted me to this program was the length of the workouts. The main workouts are anywhere from 23-44 minutes long and the little add ons (abs, a short cardio and short lower body bonuses) are 11-19 minutes long. It seemed like a great collection to piece workouts together to equal my hour in the morning.
The literature you receive with this program is actually pretty scant compared to many Beachbody fitness programs I have purchased in the past. It focuses primarily on the eating plan. It does give you 3 different rotation calendars. One 60 day Hammer & Chisel rotation, one 30 day Hammer rotation and one 30 day Chisel rotation. To make this a bit more understandable, the “hammer” workouts are led by Sagi and the “chisel” workouts are led by Autumn. I’m pretty irritated they didn’t go into the science behind the workouts. I really like that part of the literature Beachbody usually provides and after doing the workouts, I’d really love to know the reason they did primarily “total body” workouts that aren’t technically total body workouts. I have my theory (which I mention in the reviews and the summary below) but I’d love to read their reason. But we don’t get that. Which is weird because they usually give you all kinds of scientific data.
What they did spend a lot of time on was the nutrition. And that is as important as the workouts for achieving a chiseled physique. Tho I didn’t follow the food plan I actually think it is a nice set up that can teach people portion control. By using the containers, they are taking calorie and nutrient counting out of your hands. All of the containers are different colors and sizes. Each color represents a food group: veggies, fruits, proteins, carbs, healthy fats, seeds and dressings. And based on whatever category you fall into, you eat however many containers of each group that your category directs. For instance, if I wanted to lose weight, I would fall under Plan A which means that each day I could fill my green container (veggies) 3 times, my purple container (fruits) twice, my red container (proteins) 4 times, my yellow container (carbs) 2 times, my blue container (healthy fats) once and my orange container (seeds and dressings) once. Using their lists of foods that fall under each color/category I should automatically be eating the proper amount of calories and nutrients to lose weight. It also has plans to maintain weight and to gain weight as well based on the container plan. So over all, pretty cool! But with that said, using containers only can make for some pretty boring meals. So they have recipes and each recipe’s “nutritional” info is also broken down by container color; however, that is the only nutritional information you get. No calories, protein grams, carbs, etc. Just container colors.
Just like all Beachbody fitness programs, they have created workout cards that anyone can download for free to keep track of the weights you lifted. Here are the Hammer & Chisel workout cards.
Summary: The first, most obvious thing about this program is that it is not Body Beast #2. If you buy this program hoping for more Body Beast you will be disappointed. There are no isolation workouts that focus on specific muscle groups. The strength workouts are all total body workouts. Now, as I mentioned above, these are total body workouts that aren’t technically “total body” because the majority of the strength workouts focus on large muscle groups: back, chest and lower body. The shoulders sometimes get some focused work and sometimes they don’t. The biceps, triceps and calves rarely get focused work–only 4 of the workouts include exercises for one or more of these small muscle groups. This is an issue that I think Beachbody should have discussed in their workout guide to help customers/exercisers to understand their reasons for doing this. But alas, they didn’t. However, I am a fan of Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove’s New Rules of Lifting books. In New Rules of Lifting for Women they discuss this. They actually understood that the consumer coming to their books would have questions. They wrote “When you write a book about strength training that includes no specific exercises for small muscles like biceps, triceps and calves, you owe the readers an explanation beyond ‘because we said so.'” I agree! And the people who bought Hammer & Chisel deserve a reason! However, they do not get one, so I will share Lou and Alwyn’s reason from their NROL for Women program. When performing exercises that work the large muscle groups, you are using (and therefore working) the smaller muscle groups in the way they were designed to work–to assist those larger muscles in pushing or pulling movements. Your body is designed to use its big and small muscle groups together, therefore they should be worked and developed in a functional way. Rather than isolating biceps and triceps to make them dis-proportionally bigger than the back or chest, you work the back and the chest, and those smaller muscle groups assist and therefore grow in proportion to the chest and back. Because it truly is impossible to do a chest press or a barbell row and isolate and work only the chest or back. By design, your arm and shoulder muscles will be assisting and therefore working, too. So that is the reason why a “total body” workout that only uses exercises we’ve come to associate with isolating large muscle groups is actually working everything.
Please note that the actual workout reviews were written before I wrote this summary, so in many of them I am discovering the lack of small muscle group exercises for the first time and scratching my head at it (and therefore commenting on it). But now that I’ve done all the workouts and re-referenced NROL philosophy, I see the logic of the exercises chosen and do not find it a problem in the workouts that I enjoyed and will return to.
After that long-winded explanation, I do love this program. I didn’t come to it expecting a carbon copy of Body Beast, so I am not displeased. I like most of the workouts and I was impressed with Autumn. Some of her Chisel workouts were brutal and really hit the lower body hard. Due to the length of the workouts, there is a lot I can do with the ones I like and I especially like that they are total body workouts because they make plugging them into rotations easier. The workouts I will be returning return to are Total Body Hammer, Max Hammer Strength, Chisel Balance, Iso Strength Chisel, Chisel Cardio, Hammer Build Up, Total Body Chisel, Hammer Power, Hammer Conditioning, Chisel Power, Leg Hammer, Glute Chisel and both ab workouts. So 14 out of 19 workouts are winners. Not bad!
Hammer Workouts: I had actually expected Sagi’s workouts to be a lot harder than they were. He had some very good workouts in this collection but overall, Autumn had two workouts that were the hardest in the program. However, I think my favorite workout in the entire program is Hammer Power–Sagi’s power lifting workout. I loved it!
All of Sagi’s warm ups are the same in every hammer workout. He uses a resistance band to do some dynamic stretching. He takes you through a lot of low key moves that primarily warm up the upper body/shoulders. You do some lunges, squats and supermans, but mostly upper body moves. His warm ups are better at warming you up for a strength workout than Autumn’s are, in my opinion.
Hammer Plyometrics is 25:30 minutes long; 4:30 minute warm up and 2:00 minute stretch. Equipment: a resistance band, a dumbbell, pull up bar and a bench. If you don’t have some of the equipment there is a modifier who uses no bench and a band attached to the doorway rather than a pull up bar. Also, the resistance band (that isn’t attached to the doorway) is only used for the warm up. And if you don’t have one for that, the modifier uses a towel. For the actual workout you do 9 exercise. Each exercise is done for 30 seconds. After you complete one round, you repeat all of the exercises a second time.
I didn’t like this workout. Sagi was irritating. His demeanor was odd–overly serious. He made a lot of comments about dreaming about this workout because it is so hard… except it’s not that hard. For a plyometric workout, this wasn’t terribly challenging. I do have to add the disclaimer that I was doing the non-pull up modifications, and pull ups are clearly harder, but otherwise I did everything as Sagi demonstrated it. And it wasn’t very intense. According to my Fitbit I only burned a whopping 123 calories in 25:30 minutes. I can burn 2-3 times that with any Cathe cardio workout (at least 3x that with her HIIT workouts) and 3-4 times that with any Insanity Max: 30 workout–all of which are approximately the same length as this.
Exercises (each exercises is done for 30 seconds):
- Vertical jump
- Burpee pull up
- Leg In & Outs (straddle the bench, hands gripping side of bench; jump feet on top of bench (while still holding bench w/ hands) then back to ground)
- Plyo Push Up Taps (get into plank in front of bench; do a plyo push up, then tap the top of bench w/ one hand)
- Crazy Horse (stand beside bench and grip side of bench w/ hands, feet are together; jump (donkey kick type jump) over the bench and back)
- Chin-up Crunch Squat Jump (do a chin up and while at the top of the chin up, crunch knees up, then lower back down to the floor and do a squat jump)
- Knee driver (hold DB in one hand; do a reverse lunge, touching DB to floor then stand and jump, raising knee of back leg and doing overhead press)
- Sumo Tuck Jump
- Lunge Lunge Squat (2 jump lunges then jump into squat)
Repeat all 9 exercises.
Iso Speed Hammer is 23 minutes long; 4:30 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. Equipment needed: dumbbells, a pull up bar, resistance band and a bench. There is an limited equipment modifier. If you don’t have some of the equipment you can substitute a stability ball for a bench, resistance band in a doorway for pull up bar, and during the warm up you can use a towel instead of a resistance band. You do use a resistance band during one exercise and you can substitute dumbbells for that. This workout consists of 11 exercises. Each exercise is done for 10 reps slow then immediately 10 reps fast.
I did not like this workout. The concept is good but IMHO it was a mess. For the limited amount of reps you are doing, you need to lift heavy to really benefit. And that is easy to do during the first 10 slow reps. But the fast reps are done so fast you need to lighten your weight–or not go at light speed as Sagi has you going. You can go faster but not super fast. But that’s not the way this plays out. And since the actual workout time is only 16 minutes (to do 11 exercises) you are moving quickly from one exercise to the next so you need to be finishing when the exercisers in the workout finish. There is really no time to change weights either between the fast and slow reps. So, if you do lift heavy then the fast reps are an injury waiting to happen. If you lift lighter you’re not getting much out of those first 10 reps. Overall a disappointment. Now, some of the exercises this rep count worked ok for: push ups, static lunge, deadlift (I used 30 pound DBs and felt it–but I normally lift heavier for deadlifts), pistol squat, and calf raises. And I suppose, for 16 minutes of work it is a decent total body workout but it has too many problems for me to ever return to it.
- Push Up
- Static Lunge (DB)
- Chin Ups
- Deadlift (DB)
- Side Lateral Raise (DB)
- Sumo Squat (DB)
- Rear Delt Cross Fly (Sagi uses a resistance band for this but you can also use DBs)
- Pistol Squat (DB)
- Curl Face Down (put bench on incline and face the incline, laying torso on it; do bicep curls in this position)
- Calf Raises (raise bench into straight back position and stand behind in, feet on bench stand, heels hanging off; raise and lower heels in this position while holding onto bench back for support)
- Tricep Kickback Twist (you are doing a tradition tricep kickback, but twist at the back so palms face the ceiling and twist again when bringing DBs in so palms again face the ceiling but this time in front of your body)
Total Body Hammer is 43 minutes long; 4 minute warm up and 3 minute stretch. Equipment needed: resistance band for warm up only, dumbbells, a bench and a pull up bar. There is a limited equipment modifier who uses bands in the doorway instead of a pull up bar and a stability ball (or nothing) instead of a bench. There are 4 rounds in this workout. Each round contains 3 exercises and you do 3 sets of each exercise. You repeat the round before moving on to the next round. The sets within each round are done w/ only a brief rest between each set. For the first set you do 10 reps, for the second set you do 8 reps and for the final set you do 6 reps. If an exercise is done on one side of the body it is not done on the other side of the body until the round is repeated.
This was actually a really good workout and I liked it a lot because I was able to lift pretty heavy and really fatigued my muscles. However, it suffers from the same problem that almost all of the Hammer & Chisel workouts I’ve done so far suffer from–it focuses on the large muscle groups: lower body, chest and back, with some shoulder work thrown in. Now, because of the actual exercises, ancillary muscles (biceps and triceps) are being worked, but they are not getting any direct focus. And I personally like to give my triceps more love. Nevertheless, it is a good total body workout, it just gives the large muscle groups much more attention then the smaller ones.
Round 1 (3 sets; 1st set 10 reps, 2nd set 8 reps, 3rd set 6 reps):
- Flat Bench Chest Press
- Reverse Grip Row
Repeat Round 1
Round 2 (3 sets; 1st set 10 reps, 2nd set 8 reps, 3rd set 6 reps):
- Incline Chest Fly
- Reverse Lunge
- Wide Grip Pull Up
Repeat Round 2
Round 3 (3 sets; 1st set 10 reps, 2nd set 8 reps, 3rd set 6 reps):
- Military Press
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- One Arm Rear Delt Fly
Repeat Round 3
Max Hammer Strength is 36 minutes long; 4 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. For this workout you need dumbbells, a bench, a pull up bar and a resistance band. The resistance band is used both for the warm up and an exercise in the workout. There is a limited equipment modifier who uses a towel instead of a resistance band during the warm up, a stability ball (or sometimes nothing) instead of the bench, bands secured in the doorway instead of a pull up bar and, for the one exercise that uses the band, the modifier does a no equipment version.
This is a great workout. Different and in order to get the most out of it you have to lift heavy–as heavy as you can manage. For the weighted exercises you will always do 8 reps, so lift as close to failure as you can by the 8th rep. The set up for this workout is you do an unweighted exercise for one minute to fatigue the muscle group then hit it right away with 8 reps using a heavy weight. Again–you will not get a lot out of this workout unless you lift heavy! Like almost all of the strength workouts I’ve done so far in Hammer & Chisel this workout focuses on the large muscle groups–lower body, chest and back. You also get some shoulder work. Biceps and triceps are only worked as ancillary muscles. Triceps and shoulders get some work in pull overs, biceps get a good bit of work in chin ups and push ups, and pull ups, tho they do focus on chest and back, also hit all upper body muscles.
Reverse lunge on right for 60 seconds
Reverse lunge on right (DB), 8 reps
Reverse lunge on left for 60 seconds
Reverse lunge on left (DB), 8 reps
Push ups for 60 seconds
Flat bench chest press (DB), 8 reps
Squats for 60 seconds
Squats w/ DBs on shoulders, 8 reps
Pull ups for 60 seconds
Pullovers (DB), 8 reps
Good mornings for 60 seconds
Stiff Leg Deadlift (DB), 8 reps
Chin Ups for 60 seconds
One Arm Row (DB), 8 reps each arm
Sumo squats for 60 seconds (you will actually be staying low and pulsing deep in the squat)
Sumo Squat (DB), 8 reps
Military Press w/ resistance band for 60 seconds
Military press (DB), 8 reps
Split Squat on right for 60 seconds (left foot on bench behind you)
Step ups onto bench–right side (DB), 8 reps
Split Squat on left for 60 seconds (right foot on bench behind you)
Step ups onto bench–left side (DB), 8 reps
Ledge Calf Raises for 60 seconds (stand behind bench w/ back raised, standing on the bench legs to raise front of feet, hold onto back of bench for support)
Calf Raises (DB), 8 reps
Hammer Power is 38 minutes long; 4:30 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. The only equipment needed is dumbbells and a resistance band for the warm up. Other than using a towel during the warm up, there are no modifications. This is a very cool workout. It is inspired by power lifting and I loved it. Until now I have only come across two power lifting DVDs/programs. The first is Kelly Coffey-Meyer’s LIFT and the second I got for Christmas from my husband–Weider P.I.N.K. fitness program. I haven’t done P.I.N.K. yet (I plan to start it this week) tho I have done LIFT and I love it. There aren’t a lot of these types of workouts out there so I am always excited when I come across one. Hammer Power is a very good one, too. It is different from the others in that you use dumbbells rather than a barbell, but it still does a great job. Just like in LIFT, Sagi builds each move in pieces. Power lifting moves are compound moves, so you still get a great workout doing the individual components before you put them together into the complete power lift. You start out learning the move with light dumbbells then you repeat it with heavier dumbbells. In Round 1 you use light and medium weights, but in Round 2 you use light and heavy weights. This is definitely a workout to grow into. I was conservative since it was my first time through; I used 10 pounds for my lights, 15 pounds for my mediums and 20 pounds for my heavies. I am positive I can increase them all the next time through and get an even better workout.
- Overhead Press, 10 reps w/ light DBs and 10 reps w/ medium DBs
- Squats (front loaded), 10 reps w/ light DBs and 10 reps w/ medium DBs
- Thrusters (squat to overhead press), 10 reps w/ light DBs and 10 reps w/ medium DBs
- Jerk Press (start w/ DBs at shoulders and do a powerful overhead press while simultaneous jumping out into a split squat/lunge), 5 reps each leg w/ light DBs and 5 reps each leg w/ medium DBs
- Deadlift, 10 reps w/ light DBs and 10 reps w/ medium DBs
- Shrug, 10 reps w/ light DB
- Shrug w/ Ext (as you shrug you raise up on your toes while pressing glutes in), 10 reps w/ medium DB
- Upright Row, 10 reps w/ light DB
- Full Upright Row (you start in deadlift position and do an upright row while raising onto toes and pressing glutes in–similar to #7), 10 reps w/ medium DB
- Clean (start holding DBs at thighs, palms facing thighs; do wide upright row and turn DBs at top so palms/DBs face your at shoulder level–you end in start position for an overhead press, but you do not do an overhead press). 10 reps w/ light DBs
- Full Range Clean (same as #10 but you start in deadlift position), 10 reps w/ medium DB
- Clean & Press (same as Full Range Clean but add overhead press at top), 10 reps w/ light DBs and 5 reps w/ heavy DBs
- Clean & Squat (same as Full Range Clean but at top you squat when DBs are at shoulders instead of doing an overhead press), 10 reps w/ light DBs and 5 reps w/ heavy DBs
- Clean Squat Press (you combine the Clean & Press w/ the Clean & Squat; squat at the end of the Clean, when DBs are at your shoulders, then do overhead press), 10 reps w/ light DBs and 5 reps w/ heavy DBs
- Clean Squat Jerk (do a Clean Squat Press except when you are doing the overhead press you simultaneous jump out into split squat/lunge), 5 reps each leg w/ light DBs and 5 reps on dominate leg w/ heavy DBs
- One Arm Clean Squat Jerk (same as #4 except you are doing it w/ one DB), 5 reps each leg w/ light DBs and 5 reps each leg w/ heavy DBs
Hammer Conditioning is 30 minutes long; 5 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. The only equipment needed is a variety of dumbbells and a resistance band for the warm up. The workout is set up in 4 rounds. Each round contains 2 exercises. You do each exercise for 12 reps then you repeat the round. If the exercise was done on one side of the body, when you repeat the round you do it on the other side of the body.
This was another short but effective total body workout. It is made up of compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups, so on some of the exercises it is hard to lift as heavy as you would if you were isolating a muscle group. For example, in round 4 I can lift heavier on a lunge than I can on a bicep curl and heavier on a bicep curl than on a tricep kickback, but combine all 3 of those together into one compound exercise and the tricep kickback weight is the one that gets used. Still, it’s a great workout that gets the heart rate up.
Round 1: 1. Clock Push Up Crunch (do a push up, then bring knee into elbow then walk hands and feet to side (or next position on a clock), continue in a circle, doing push ups and knee to elbow); 2. Side Lunge Row (DBs)
Round 2: 1. Fly Lunge Twist (hold one light DB on one hand and both arms are held out straight to sides (in a T); bring DB to front of body, clasp DB with other hand, do a reverse lunge and twist DB (keeping arms straight) to same side of body as front leg); 2. Sumo Squat Press (sumo squats w/ overhead DB press)
Round 3: 1. Burpee Renegade Upright Row (DB) (do burpee and while in plank do renegade rows on both arms, jump feet back in and when you stand, do an upright row); 2. Stiff Leg Deadlift Crunch (one leg deadlift with knee crunch at top of move) (DB)
Round 4: 1. Plank Raise Tap Crunch (get in plank; raise one arm to front, raise same arm to side then tap opposite hand to same side leg (same side as arm that was raising)); 2. Reverse Lunge Curl Kickback (reverse lunge and while in lunge do a bicep curl then lean forward straightening back leg and do a tricep kickback) (DB)
10 Minute Ab Hammer is 12 minutes long. Only equipment needed is a mat. This workout consists of 7 exercises each done for one minute. This is a great ab workout. Not the hardest ab workout I’ve ever done but it is challenging.
- C-Sit Tap (sit on mat, knees bent and arms straight out in front of you w/ spine in C curve; lean back, turning torso to right side and bringing right arm back and tapping the ground behind you; alternate sides)
- Forearm Run (get into forearm plank and run/legs–like a forearm mountain climber)
- Up Down Reach (lay on back, legs straight up in the air; lower straight legs to floor, return to top of move and reach arms towards feet)
- Oblique Crunch Twist (lay on back, knees bent and turned to side, hands behind head; straighten top leg then bend and bring in while also crunching upper body to knee)
- Side Plank Wing (get into side plank, top hand behind head; lower hips to floor, raise hips and bring top knee and top elbow together)
- Windshield Wider (lay on back, knees raised and slightly bent; lower legs to right, bring back to center and tap heels to ground, lower legs to left, bring center and tap heels to ground; keep alternating sides)
- Hammer Run (lay on back and run legs like doing a bicycle maneuver but you don’t twist your torso, however your head/shoulders are raised)
Chisel Workouts: I was very impressed with Autumn’s workouts. I don’t know what I expected but I did not expect her workouts to be so brutal. In my opinion some (not all) of her workouts were the most brutal and effective of the entire collection. In fact, Chisel Balance and Iso Strength Chisel are the hardest workouts in the program. They are also my favorite (tied with Hammer Power). But just like the Hammer workouts they are hit or miss. Some were awesome, some were very good and others I didn’t care for. But there are definitely some gems in the bunch that I will return to.
Like Sagi, Autumn has a standard warm up she uses in all of her workouts. It’s pretty low key and is more like dynamic stretching than anything else.
Chisel Balance is 40:20 minutes long; warm up is 3:30 minutes long and stretch is 2 minutes long. This is a tough workout! It is the first workout on the rotation calendar and the first workout I attempted. I was very impressed. I am writing this about an hour after finishing it and my hips are aching. Autumn calls this a total body workout, but it’s really not… exactly. It is close, but many muscle groups are getting a lot more attention than others. And tho some of the exercises also hit ancillary muscles (pullovers), there is no focused exercises for the shoulders, biceps or triceps. However, you do work those muscle groups when hitting the larger muscles groups (chest and back). Also, the pullovers are done straight arm, so that does hit both your triceps and your back pretty well. However, your lower body is the star of this workout and Autumn fries it. Also, since every exercise has a balance challenge, your core is worked throughout as well. Overall it is an excellent and challenging workout.
Equipment needed for this workout is a bench or a stability ball and dumbbells. If you don’t have a bench you could also substitute a step if you have a lot of risers, but it needs to be bench height. Because balance is incorporated into every move, it is difficult to go very heavy. I used 15 and 20 pound dumbbells and that was about as heavy as I could go. There is a limited equipment modifier who uses the stability ball instead of a bench.
Exercises (one set is 15 reps):
- One Leg Squat Sit: 2 sets on each leg (stand beside bench, back facing bench and holding one DB in both hands; lift one foot off ground and it will remain raised through all 15 reps; slowly sit on bench and stand)
- One Leg Bridge Pullover: one set each leg (lay on back holding a DB in each hand, knees bent and feet on ground; raise one leg straight to ceiling and raise DBs overhead, push up into one leg bridge; do 15 straight arm pullovers on each leg)
- One Leg Squat Deadlift: 2 sets each side (stand on one leg and hold one DB in opposite hand; do a one leg deadlift)
- Up-Down: one set each side (get into a plank with hands on bench; walk hands to floor then back up to bench)
- Split Squat Jump: 2 sets each side (no DB needed; stand to side of bench, back facing bench and place one foot/toe on bench behind you; squat down, reaching opposite hand toward foot, then jump/explode up, pulling knee up into chest)
- Renegade Row Leg Lift: 2 sets each side (get into plank but with one hand on step and one hand holding a DB; do a one arm row in this position while simultaneously lifting opposite leg)
- One Arm Press Bridge: 2 sets each side (get into a bridge position but with shoulders on bench and hold one DB in position for a one arm chest press; do one arm chest press while raising opposite leg, keeping knee bent)
- Balance Row Pistol Squat: 2 sets each leg (2 DBs needed; balance on one foot, bend forward and do a double arm back row, straighten bringing raised leg in front of you (foot never touches ground, entire move is done while balancing on one leg) and do one leg squat)
Iso Strength Chisel is 35 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up and 30 second stretch. You don’t get much of a stretch at the end but that is because you stretch after you do each exercise. You need a bench and dumbbells. There is a modifier who doesn’t use a bench. You do 8 exercises; each exercise is done for a total of 30 reps, but you break it up into isometric holds making it exponentially harder. You do 10 reps, hold in the working position for 10 seconds, 10 more reps, hold in working position for 10 seconds and last 10 reps then hold in working position for 10 seconds. You get no breaks during these 30 reps and iso holds! But you do get to stretch the muscle you worked as soon as the set is complete. It is brutal! The exercisers were really struggling w/ some of these (pull ups especially!).
Like Chisel Balance this is a total body workout–kind of. It only hits biceps and triceps as ancillary muscles that are assisting, but the pulls ups, push ups and rows are also working biceps and triceps. Shoulders get their own exercise. Nevertheless Autumn works everything in this workout, particularly frying the lower body. The Split Squats are brutal.
- Sumo Squat (hold 2 DBs, either in front of you between thighs or you can rest them at top of thighs)
- Push Up
- Split Squat (one leg is on the bench behind you and you hold one DB in opposite hand)
- Pull Up
- Step Up Side Hold (stand beside bench holding one DB in both hands; step up onto bench; for the iso hold you step onto bench and squat, resting your other heel lightly on the bench in front of you)
- One Arm Row
- Sit Up Curve (sit on ground, knees bent and heels on ground holding one DB in front of you; lean back for the sit up; for the iso hold, just lean back and hold)
- Lateral Raise
Chisel Endurance is 36 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up and 2:15 minute stretch. For this workout you need a pull up bar, a bench and dumbbells. There is a modifier doing the exercises w/out a bench (using a stability ball or nothing) and using resistance bands in the doorway instead of a pull up bar. Also, due to the nature of the exercises, using a step w/ several risers (4-5 on each side) would also work fine for this workout–except for when it has to be on an incline. But I have incline risers for my step, so that wasn’t a problem for me either.
Another tough workout from Autumn. It isn’t as tough as her other workouts in this system that I’ve done (so far), but tough nonetheless. Like the others I’ve done it isn’t a total body workout. However, I do feel that tho the other workouts give “total body” by also working ancillary muscles, this one, not so much. This is primarily lower body, chest and back with a bit of core. I feel the shoulders, biceps and triceps are neglected. They are always working with things like push ups and pull ups, but I just feel like they get even less attention than they get in the other workouts. This is my least favorite of the Chisel workouts so far, but still a decent workout.
In this workout you do a round of 7 exercises. Each exercise is done for one minute. You get a short break, then you repeat all 7 exercises.
- Bench Run Ups (quick step ups onto the bench–like you are running)
- Negative Pull Ups (pull up quick, then lower to the count of 3)
- Step Up Cross Over (one foot is on the bench; push up onto it and step other foot behind you (into a shallow curtsy lunge), then step up and step foot out a little wider than start; keep alternating these steps)
- Delcine Push Up (feet on bench)
- One Arm Row w/ Leg Extension (one hand on bench, same side leg raised and extended straight behind you; do a one arm row in this position)
- Incline Press (chest press w/ bench in incline position)
- Plank Hold Knee Taps (get into elbow plank and alternate tapping knees to floor)
Chisel Cardio is 38 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. Equipment: a bench, a heavy dumbbell, a lighter dumbbell and a pull up bar. Autumn uses a 25 and 10 pound dumbbell. There is a modifier who uses no bench and bands in the doorway instead of the pull up bar. The heavy dumbbell is used for a kettlebell swing and nothing else, so you could use a kettlebell instead (which I did). Also, the bench is used only as a step, so if you have a step with lots of riser you could use that instead. I also did that–I used my step with 5 risers on each side (14 inches). This workout consists of 8 exercises that you do for 60 seconds then you repeat them all. And it is tough! I definitely got cardio, but it is also an endurance/metabolic workout, so there’s some strength work going on, too. My legs were burning. It was a great workout.
Exercises (each exercise is done for 60 seconds):
- Over the Top (holding the lighter DB in both hands and stand beside the bench; step onto and over then bench then back, coming down in a squat, also, one leg is always on the bench)
- Pull Ups
- Dumbbell Swing (kettlebell swing w/ a heavy DB)
- Figure 8 (sit on mat holding lighter DB in both hands, lean torso back into C curve; while holding the leaning C curve isometrically, do a figure 8 w/ the DB, bringing it side to side)
- Sword Pull (hold lighter DB in one hand and do a side lunge, bringing DB to opposite foot (the one bending) and when you come back to standing, raise arm to the side overhead, keeping arm straight; you will do this 60 seconds on each leg)
- Forearm Plank Kick (get into forearm plank and alternate swinging straight legs side to side)
- Side Step-up Kick (stand beside bench holding lighter DB in both hands and place one foot on the bench (this foot will always be on the bench throughout the move); push up and kick opposite leg (the one on the ground); you will do this for 60 seconds each leg)
Repeat all 8 exercises
Chisel Agility is 38 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up and 1:30 minute stretch. No equipment needed for this workout. Chisel Agility is a cardio workout made up of athletic drills. There are plyometrics and some foot work (the agility aspect). For several of the exercises you rely on Autumn’s cueing–as in you do a move when she calls out to you to do it and you don’t know exactly what you will be doing until she makes the call. This workout was ok. Not the most intense cardio I’ve ever done. Chisel Cardio was much better than this; however this is much better than Hammer Plyometrics. But I have a lot better athletic/plyo cardio workouts than this one, so I will not be returning to it.
You do a 10 exercises, each is done for one minute. Then you get short break and repeat all of the exercises one more time.
- High knee runs forward, high wide knee run back;
- Plank X Tap (get into plank, on Autumn’s call you will tap one of of your extremities out while in plank–if she says right front, you tap your right hand/arm out in front of you, if she says left back you tap your left leg/foot out to the side, and so on)
- Grapevine Shuffle (grapevine fast one direction and shuffle back to start)
- Lateral Squat Hop (you are squat jumping to the side on Autumn’s call–so right or left depending on what she calls; you also always remain in squat so sometimes she just makes you hold the squat isometrically)
- Multi-directional Lunge (front lunge, side lunge, reverse lunge)
- Rotating Squat Jumps (180 degree jump squat)
- Skater Triangle (skaters in a triangle formation)
- Diagonal Jump Lunge (get into a lunge position w/ body on a diagonal; do a jump lunge, switching feet and turning body so you land facing the diagonal but on the other side)
- Circle In & Out (fast feet in a circle, leading w/ one foot)
- Directional Jump Squat (the same as #4, except you do front and back in addition to right and left)
Repeat all 10 exercises
Total Body Chisel is 35 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. The only equipment needed for this workout is dumbbells and a bench. If you don’t have a bench there is a modifier who uses a stability ball or nothing. Also, for several of the exercises a step w/ 4-5 risers on each side would also work just as well. This workout is set up in 3 circuits. Each circuit contains 3 exercises and each exercise is done for 10 reps. Each circuit is repeated 3 times. This workout moves at a fast clip. You’re only lifting for 10 reps so you can go pretty heavy, however there is very little rest between exercises, in fact you don’t get a break until you move on to the next circuit–so fatigue does set in if you are challenging yourself w/ heavy weights. Another very good total body workout crammed into only 35 minutes. Another winner!
Circuit 1 (repeat 3x total): 1. Squat; 2. Flat Bench Press; 3. Reverse Grip Row.
Circuit 2 (repeat 3x total): 1. Reverse lunge; 2. Incline Chest Fly; 3. Double Arm Lat Pullover.
Circuit 3 (repeat 3x total): 1. Step Down Cross Back (curtsy lunge off step); 2. Incline Bicep Curl; 3. Tricep Dips off bench.
10 Minute Ab Chisel is 10 minutes long. You need a bench for this workout. If you don’t have a bench you can just do the workout on the floor. I really liked this core workout. I have done all of the exercises in it, but always on the floor. Using the bench added a new dimension to the exercises, giving you greater range of motion and I really liked that. This workout consists of 7 exercises that alternate a plank based move with a seated move. Each exercise is done for 60 seconds. Every exercise is done on the bench.
- Forearm Plank Hold
- Seated Rainbows (sit on the bench, holding the back of bench and crunch back into C curve; lift bent legs and draw a rainbow with your legs, arcing them from side to side, tapping the ground at the end of arc)
- Forearm Plank Cross (in forearm plank, bring knee to opposite elbow and alternate sides)
- Unicorn (sit on bench, holding back of bench and crunch back into C curve; raise and lower straight legs)
- Bird Dog Crunch (in forearm plank, raise one arm and opposite leg, bring knee to elbow beneath body then raise them out straight again; alternate sides)
- C Sit Scissors (sit on bench, holding back of bench and crunch back into C curve; scissor straight legs)
- Side Arm Twists (forearm side plank on bench; raise arm overhead then reach it beneath body; 30 seconds each side)
Hammer Build Up is 32 minutes long w/ a 3 minute warm up and a 1:30 minute stretch. For this workout you need a bench, dumbbells, a medicine ball and a pull up bar or resistance bands attached in a doorway. You also need a separate resistance band or towel for the warm up. The warm up is an abbreviated version of the usual Sagi warm up. There is no crew in this workout–just Sagi and Autumn. One of them will always show the limited equipment option.
I really liked this workout but it takes doing it a few times to get your weights right. You are getting a total body workout in only 30 minutes and they do a good job of hitting each muscle group, but the key is weight selection. This workout is set up in 7 rounds. Each round works one muscle group and contains 3-4 exercises. Each exercise is usually done for 30 seconds but occasionally (when done on one side of the body) for 15 seconds a side. I will note when it is 15 seconds. If no time is mentioned, then it is 30 seconds. With this in mind, it is important to chose the proper weight because even tho you hit each muscle group w/ 3-4 exercises you do not return to an exercise after doing it once, so lifting the appropriate weight is important. For some of the exercises you use a medicine ball. Autumn and Sagi are using 8 pound medicine balls and I started out doing the same, but for the majority of the exercises that used it as a weight, 8 pounds was much too light. I ended up swapping it out for my 14 pound medicine ball which was more appropriate. And in the future, for shoulder work, I will just use dumbbells instead of a medicine ball. For any move where you are using the medicine ball for instability (push ups) the 8 pound ball works perfect for that. So, this workout has a lot of potential but it needs a run through to get an idea of what weight to use to get the best workout.
Round 1 (Legs):
- Squats w/ Medicine Ball
- Pendulum Lunges (lunge forward then go directly into reverse lunge, foot not touching the ground in between; 30 seconds each leg) w/ medicine ball
- Step ups onto bench w/ DBs (15 seconds each leg)
Round 2 (Back):
- Pull ups
- Reverse grip rows (DB)
- Pullovers (DB & bench)
- Reverse fly (DB)
Round 3 (Chest):
- One hand push up (one hand is on the floor, the other on the medicine ball), 15 seconds each side
- Flat bench chest fly (DB)
- Push up w/ feet on ball
- Incline chest press (DB)
Round 4 (Shoulders):
- Ball Military Press (overhead press w/ medicine ball)
- Lateral raise (DB)
- Upright row (DB)
- Anterior Raise w/ medicine ball
Round 5 (Biceps):
- Standard curl (DB)
- Hammer Curl (DB)
- Concentration Curl (DB), 15 seconds each side
- Rotation Curl (bench will be on an incline so you will be leaning back and arms will be out to side–a W curl)
Round 6 (Triceps):
- Tricep Dips off bench
- Tricep Kickbacks (30 seconds each arm) (DB)
- Skull Crushers (DB & bench)
Round 7 (Core):
- Ball Plank Hold (Hold plank for 30 seconds w/ hands on ball)
- Ball Mountain Climber (hands still on ball, bringing knees to same side elbow)
- Windshield Wipers (lay on back, knees raised and slightly bent w/ medicine ball between feet; lower legs to right, bring back to center and tap heels to ground) 30 seconds each side
Power Chisel is 29 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up and 1:30 minute stretch. Workout is led by Autumn. No crew members, just Autumn and Sagi again. Equipment needed: medicine ball, dumbbells, bench, pull up bar. Autumn shows limited equipment variations of the exercises, such as bands connected to doorway if you don’t have a pull up bar.
This was another awesome total body workout and like Hammer Build Up you will need to run through it at least once to get an idea of the proper weights to use to get the best workout. I love the way Autumn fatigues a muscle through plyometrics then hits it with a heavy dumbbell exercise. Very effective and packed into such a short workout! Autumn and Sagi used an 8 pound medicine ball but if you have one, I would recommend a heavier medicine ball to get the most out of this workout. I used a 14 pound ball.
- Ball Squat Jumps: 4 squat jumps holding medicine ball, hold in squat for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 squats w/ heavy DBs
- Bent Over Wide Arm Row: 4 reps, hold at top of row for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 pull ups
- 16 Hanging Knee Curls (hanging from pull up bar, curls knees up and down; Autumn shows a floor variation)
- Ball Plyo Lunge: get into lunge position holding medicine ball; jump in static lunge 4 reps, hold in deep lunge for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 static lunges w/ heavy DBs
- Repeat 5 & 6 on other leg
- Plyo Push Up: 4 plyo push ups, hold at bottom of push up for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- Flat Bench Chest Press w/ heavy DBs, 10 reps
- 16 Half Spidermans (get into plank and step one hand forward while bringing opposite knee to same side elbow; alternate sides)
- Ball Sumo Plyo: holding medicine ball get into sumo squat and hop 4 times then hold in deep sumo squat for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 Sumo Squats w/ heavy DB(s)
- Ball Push Press: push medicine ball overhead 4 times while coming up on toes w/ each push then hold overhead for 4 seconds (repeat 4x) (I actually jumped when pushing the ball overhead)
- 10 Military Presses w/ heavy DBs
- 16 Ball Seated Toe Taps (sit on bench and lean torso back, hands on back of bench; raise and lower bent legs, toes tapping floor (you can do this move with or w/out a medicine ball between your feet)
- Ball Knee Drivers: place one foot on bench while holding medicine ball; push up onto step 4 times then hold in one leg squat for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 Side Step Ups onto Bench w/ heavy DBs
- Repeat 17 & 18 on other leg
- Bicep Curls: 4 curls then hold isometrically at halfway point for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 Bicep Curls w/ heavy DBs
- Tricep Kickbacks: 4 tricep kickbacks then hold at top of move for 4 seconds (repeat 4x)
- 10 Tricep Kickbacks w/ heavy DBs
15 Minute Leg Hammer is 18 minutes long; 3 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. All you need is a medicine ball or one dumbbell. I used my 8 pound medicine ball but I will probably use my 14 pound medicine ball the next time I do this workout. There are 6 exercises and you do each exercise for 60 seconds. During that 60 seconds the tempo changes; the first 20 seconds you do the exercise slow, the next 20 seconds you speed it up a little and the final 20 seconds you do it fast. I liked this workout more than I thought I would but I still like Autumn’s 15 Minute Glute Chisel better. Still, this was a great little workout that hit my lower body nicely and got my heart pumping. It would actually work very well combined with Autumn’s Glute Chisel for 36 minutes of metabolic lower body work.
- Squat Press (squat and tap ball to ground, press ball overhead when you stand)
- Side Lunge (side lunge and tap ball to floor on outside of foot)
- Reverse Lunge (holding ball at shoulder)
- Sumo Twist (lower into sumo squat and you will remain there isometrically through the entire 60 seconds while bringing ball to outside of each knee, alternating sides)
- Deadlift Crunch (one leg deadlift and at top of move raise knee)
- Step Up Presses (do a reverse lunge coming down so low you tap the ball to ground, stand and raise knee while raising ball overhead)
15 Minute Glute Chisel is 17:30 minutes long; 1 minute warm up and 1 minute stretch. Only equipment needed is a medicine ball or one dumbbell. I used my 8 pound medicine ball. You do 6 exercises and 25 reps of each exercises. This is an awesome little bonus. I tacked it on after Iso Strength Chisel which had already fried my lower body, so this demolished it. My glutes, quads and calves were aching after that workout session!
- Sumo Jumping Jacks (start with legs wide; squat down, bringing ball down between thighs, then jump, bringing feet together and curling ball up)
- Split Squat (put one toe on the ball behind you; squat while reaching finger tips toward ground)
- Jumping Curtsy Lunge (start in curtsy lunge, holding the ball at chest; jump and open legs (basically jacking) pressing ball overhead, then jump into curtsy lunge on other leg; alternate sides)
- Weighted Warrior 3 (25 warrior 3s (on each leg) while holding the ball and reaching it in front of you as you lower into warrior 3)
- Side Lunge Ball Pull (put ball on ground beside you and place one foot on ball; as you lower into side lunge, roll ball out further to side and as you stand, roll it in)
- Bridge on Ball (one heel will be on ball while you raise and lower hips in bridge)
Masters Cardio is 16:40 minutes long; 1:20 minute warm up and 1:45 minute cool down. No equipment needed for this workout. This workout comes in a cardboard sleeve that says “Worth $19.95; Free Bonus; Courtesy of Your Coach.” I don’t even know who my “coach” is. I ordered through the Team Beachbody website and I was a member of Beachbody On Demand (streaming) at the time. Maybe that’s why this was included. I don’t know. But I do know, after having done it, it is not worth $19.95. It’s not even worth $5. In fact, I would have been pi$$ed if I had paid extra $ for it. This little cardio workout is led by Autumn and Sagi only. Throughout Sagi appears to be attempting to be cute/funny and can’t stop touching Autumn. Autumn appears to be humoring him, but primarily wants to keep the workout moving along. Irritating overall. As for the actual workout, not what you’d expect from a “masters” short cardio workout. I was expecting HIIT/plyo–something to really get the heart pumping. This was not very intense at all. There were a few innovative moves. A few intense moves, but for the most part it was too easy for my purposes. Disappointing.
Exercises (30 reps of each exercise unless otherwise noted):
Reverse Lunge Twist (get into a low lunge with one hand on ground (opposite hand from front foot) and other hand raised to sky (same side hand as front foot); never raise from low lunge position while quickly alternating hand/lunge positions)
Shuffle (shuffle 2x to the side, squat and touch the ground, shuffle 2x back to start, squat and touch the ground)
Sumo Squat Hop (also called frog hops by other trainers; while in sumo squat, jump forward then jump back, fingertips touching the ground at bottom of jump)
3 Way Lunge (front lunge, side lunge, reverse lunge–15 reps each leg)
One Leg Squat
Clock Lunge Pulse (squat to clock #s–12 o’clock is a front lunge, then lunge to one o’clock, then to 2 o’clock and so on to 6 o’clock, then lunge all the way back to 12 o’clock; each time you lunge you also pulse while in lunge position; repeat on other leg)
Lateral Squat Hops (squat jump side to side while touching fingertips to floor)
Narrow-Wide Burpee (legs are wide at start of burpee and when you jump back to plank, feet are close together)
Other Bonuses: Beachbody usually includes special bonus workouts when you purchase a program. Generally one workout from one of the trainer’s other programs to entice you to purchase more from them. In this series there are two trainers who have at least one other program with Beachbody so you get two bonuses! One from Autumn and one from Sagi.
21 Day Extreme/Dirty 30 Extreme is 31:30 minutes long; 1:30 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. You need a set of light dumbbells and a set of heavier dumbbells. You do 3 rounds of exercises. Each round contains two exercises. You do each exercise for one minute. You repeat each round once. There is also one bonus core exercise at the very end. This workout was very challenging and the very first exercise in Round 1 burnt my shoulders out big time. By the end of the second time through Round 1 even the 5 pound dumbbells I was using were feeling too heavy! One thing to keep in mind is that many of the exercises listed favor one side of the lower body even tho they work both sides of the upper body. So, to make things even, you work each side of the lower body for one minute–which means your upper body gets two solid minutes of torture. I don’t know what weights Autumn was using but I used 5, 10, 12 and 15 pound dumbbells. This workout was very challenging but it was not fun. It did not make me want to run out and order 21 Day Extreme. I like challenging workouts and I really like Autumn in Hammer & Chisel, but I need some fun factor in my workouts and there is zero in this workout.
Round 1: 1. curtsy lunge w/ half moon (half moon is arcing dumbbells to side and overhead); and 2. squat w/ overhead press; repeat Round 1.
Round 2: 1. push up w/ alternating renegade row; and 2. side lunge w/ sword pull (hold one DB in one hand and do a side lunge, bringing DB to opposite foot (the one bending) and when you come back to standing, raise arm to the side overhead, keeping arm straight); repeat Round 2.
Round 3: 1. one leg squat and upright row (this is what she calls it but it is actually a one leg deadlift and upright row); and 2. lunge row curl (lunge forward, do a back row, push back and stand on one leg while doing bicep curl); repeat Round 3.
Bonus core: plank crunch (get into straight arm plank, holding a light DB in one hand; raise hand w/ DB off ground and raise opposite leg; bring elbow to knee under body; 30 seconds each side)
Body Beast/Total Body is 38:30 minutes long; 1 minute warm up and 1:30 minute stretch. Unlike 21 Day Extreme, I have done Body Beast, so click on the hyperlink and check out that review if you’re interested. However, I will also review this particular workout here. I did not do it again for the purpose of this review (unlike Dirty 30 Extreme) but it’s a very good workout and I did it lots of times when doing my Body Beast Hybrid Rotation. I do want to note that Total Body isn’t exactly representative of the Body Beast program. It is and it isn’t. It is because the exercises are all exercises that appear in other workouts in Body Beast. But it isn’t because Body Beast is made up of split series workouts, meaning you focus on individual muscle groups for each workout. Total Body is the only total body workout in Body Beast.
In 39 minutes Sagi hits every muscle group. Obviously, you are not getting the same kind of workout that you get from the split series workouts in Body Beast, but he manages to compact a great total body workout into a short amount of time. Total Body consists of 4 circuits. Each circuit consists of 4 exercises: 2 upper body, one lower body and one core. Every exercise is done for 15 reps. You do each circuit twice. It is fast paced and so doubles as a metabolic weight training workout, too–getting your heart pumping.
For this workout you need dumbbells, a bench or stability ball and a pull up bar or resistance tubes. If using resistance tubes, they are secured at the bottom of the doorway in this workout and you lay on the floor.
- Pull ups
- Push ups
- Incline chest press
- Bent over row
- Alternating reverse lunge
- Plank twist-twist
- Military press
- Posterior delt raise
- Stiff leg deadlift
- Russian Twist
- Biceps: traditional curl up, hammer curl down
- Tricep kickbacks
- Calf raises
- Side plank hips lifts on forearm