Evolution 20 is an 8 week fitness program created by Christine Bullock. It consists of 10 twenty minute workouts and one 10 minute core workout. These are broken down into two phases. Phase 1 is 4 weeks long and you do 5 of the 20 minute workouts. In Phase 2 you do the other five 20 minute workouts, which are more challenging than the ones in Phase 1. You can add the Bonus Ab workout on whenever you want. It also comes with a menu plan and 43 recipes. No nutritional break down for anything tho, so I have no idea how many calories a day you would eat. I don’t care enough to figure it up either. Everything comes in a regular DVD case that contains two DVDs and a small booklet that has your 8 week rotation calendar. The rest of the booklet is devoted to the food/diet aspect of the plan.
I discovered Christine as a guest trainer on Popsugar Fitness. I do their little YouTube workouts as add ons and Christine was a guest trainer for two of them. I loved her little workouts so decided I needed to try her Evolution 20 workouts. Come to find out, I already had one of her workouts on my shelf–10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift. And I loved that one, too!
The program is called “Evolution” for a reason. In the majority of the workouts she shows various levels of every exercise. There are two exercisers with her, one doing the easiest/beginner level of an exercise, Christine does an intermediate version and the 3rd person is usually doing the advanced level (sometimes the same level as Christine). She also frequently shows you other ways to make certain exercises more challenging. This is the “evolution” concept: the workouts evolve w/ your fitness level. So you can start the program as a beginner and continue to do the same workouts all the way up to advanced level. Pretty neat!
The 20 minute workouts all have the same names: Endurance, Power, Agility, Foundation and Balance workouts; for Phase 2 the titles are the same, just add a “2” onto the end of the names. There is only one core workout (Bonus Abs). It is on both disks, but it is the same workout (so there is no Abs 1 and Abs 2–just Bonus Abs). The idea is you do one workout a day (so 20 minutes a day) and on your rest day you can do the core workout, or tack the core workout onto the end of one of the other workouts. I don’t workout that way so I used Evolution 20 for my doubles workouts (second workout of the day, done after I get home from work).
Summary: As I just mentioned, I didn’t do this workout as a program. I did each workout once (bonus abs twice by accident–thought there were 2 ab workouts) to sample them. In the future I will continue to use them as either an add on workout or a doubles workout. However, if you are doing this as a program, it is a good one for only 20 minutes a day. You are relying on body weight strength only, but Christine does a very good job of covering everything–not in each workout, but in the phase as a whole. So if you are doing it as a program, you should do all of the workouts as laid out. For my purposes, I will not return to all of the workouts. I didn’t like them all. That doesn’t make the ones I didn’t like bad or ineffective workouts, I just have no interest in doing something I don’t enjoy. But I did enjoy the majority of them. The ones I didn’t like? I didn’t care for Agility 1 or Balance 2. And I wasn’t in love with either of the Foundation workouts–but that is because I am not a huge pilates fan. I am not saying pilates is ineffective, but it is not enjoyable and I really dislike doing core-only work for long periods of time. Since these are 20 minute workouts, that is a lot of core work. That is something else about this program. It is core intensive. Not only do you have the Foundation workouts (which are pilates and so core focused) and the bonus ab workout, but in almost every other workout you will also work your core at some point. Again, that’s not a bad thing. You’ll definitely finish this 8 week program with a strong core. I loved Balance 1, which is a great little yoga workout. Agility 2 is a great and intense little cardio workout. And finally, my favorites were both Endurance and both Power workouts. These workouts are body weight strength + plyo/cardio workouts.
If you are short on equipment or interested in giving body weight only training a try, I definitely recommend this program. You could also combine it with Mark Lauren’s workouts. They are also body weight only training but come at it differently. His YAYOG workouts are short (though not as short as Evolution workouts) and excellent, but (in my opinion) his very best is EFX. Those are longer but excellent body weight training workouts. There are others out there as well but I would say that Evolution, Mark Lauren and PiYo are some of the best out there. So if you wanted to focus on body weight training with no equipment except a mat and DVDs, those are the workouts that would give you solid workouts and really sculpt your body: Evolution 20, Mark Lauren workouts and PiYo.
No equipment is needed for any of these workouts except a fitness mat.
Balance 1 is 20 minutes long. It is a short yoga workout. In spite of it being only 20 minutes long, I feel like she had you hold the poses a good amount of time–she didn’t rush you through the poses. I really liked this workout. It isn’t difficult but it is enjoyable. Maybe intermediate level? It starts w/ child’s pose followed by cat and cow then bird dog, bringing elbow to opposite knee. Down dog. Forward fold. Swam dive into chair pose; you will do chair w/ various arm positions. Side bends. Repeat chair series. Down dog into 3 legged dog w/ knee bent to stretch hip. Bring knee to nose, return to 3 leg dog. Bring knee to same side shoulder, return to 3 leg dog. Bring knee to opposite elbow, then step into crescent pose. Clasp hands behind you and stretch chest while in crescent. Turn to temple (plie squat); raise one heel and pulse 10 times; raise other heel and pulse 10 times; raise both heels and pulse 10 times. Return to crescent, then lower into runners lunge and twist toward front leg and raising arm to sky. Straight arm plank, lower to belly and do cobra. Return to down dog. Repeat series from 3 leg dog to cobra on other leg. Down dog to plank to side plank. While in side plank raise top leg, bring top elbow to top knee. Repeat side plank on other side. Up dog to down dog. 3 legged dog to warrior 2. Reverse warrior to side angle pose. Crescent to tree pose. Repeat the warrior and tree pose series on other side of body. Supermans. While on belly, reach arms back and grab ankles, lifting chest and thighs. Child’s pose. Get into close leg bridge pose and raise and lower hips. Sit on bottom w/ legs straight in front of you; bend one leg and stretch forward then do a spinal twist.
Foundation 1 is 21 minutes long. It is a pilates workout so it is core focused; you work your entire core, from front to back. There is also some lower body work but not a lot. It was not easy but not super advanced either–however, I felt it! There is a modifier doing beginner versions of the exercises. It starts with short 1:30 minute warm up that consists of jogging, jump ropes and mountain climbers. The actual pilates workout portion starts w/ pilates roll backs. The final roll back, you will remain leaning back (so knees bent, feet flat on ground, torso leaned halfway to the ground) and raise and lower straight arms from knees to overhead; this changes to opening and closing straight arms from sides to in front of body; this changes to twisting arms from one side of the body to the other (oblique work). Slowly roll down to back. Raise legs, feet off floor and knees bent; place hands behind head; do crunches. In this position, bring straight arms to sides, lift head/shoulders and do the 100. Lower legs to ground, legs straight and feet flexed; roll torso up and reach hands over feet, then roll back down to back. Single straight leg stretch (with head/shoulders raised, alternate bringing one knee into chest and clasping shin with both hands when you draw it in, the other leg is straight and a few inches off the ground). Bring body out into a banana (torso on floor, but straight legs a few inches off floor and arms straight overhead a few inches off the floor); circle arms around while bending knees and bringing them into chest, clasp shins with hands then return to banana. Double straight leg stretch (hands behind head; raise and lower straight legs). Criss-cross (bicycle maneuver). Roll like a ball (sit up, knees bent and feet close to bottom, grab ankles and raise feet off ground so you are resting on your bottom; roll back to shoulder blades then back up to bottom). Lay on stomach for a spinal erector series; you will do a series of exercises while laying on your stomach to strengthen your spine. Lay on your hip and elbow; raise into side elbow plank and lower back to hip. Side kicks (raise and lower straight top leg). Keeping top leg straight, swing it in front of you, then behind you. Hot potato (top leg straight and foot flexed; bring leg up and tap heel on floor behind you, lift leg up and tap toe on floor in front of you). Bend top leg and place foot on floor in front you; lift and lower straight bottom leg (inner thigh work). Still laying on hip, straighten both legs and raise both off ground; scissor legs. Repeat all of the exercises starting w/ the side planks on other side of body. Lay on back in bridge pose. While in bridge pose, raise and lower one straight leg w/ toe pointed. Repeat but w/ flexed foot. Next is teasers; this is rolling up and down w/ arms straight in front of you; do this w/ both feet on the ground, then w/ one leg raised. Full straight leg boat pose. It ends w/ the roll up in a ball move, but you roll up into a squat.
Power 1 is 21 minutes long w/ a 2 minute warm up and a 1:30 minute stretch. This is a body weight strength and plyometric workout. This was an intense little workout. I really enjoyed it. If done as Christine demonstrates, it is intermediate level. There is a beginner modifier as well as some more advanced modifications. The workout is structured as 3 circuits; each circuit is made up of 4 exercises. Each exercise is done approx. 30 seconds. Each circuit is repeated once. The only equipment needed is a fitness mat.
Circuit 1: 1. Lunge, squat, lunge (reverse lunge, stay low and go into a wide squat, reverse lunge on the other leg and return to squat, staying low the entire time); 2. Sprint tuck jumps (fast feet and do a tuck jump when Christine tells you to); 3. two forearm presses + 2 push ups (forearm presses: start in straight arm plank, lower to forearm plank, raise back to straight arm plank); 4. Runner sit up (lay on back with legs straight on ground; sit up partially while raising one knee while also doing runner arms). Repeat circuit.
Circuit 2: 1. Runners lunge jump (start in lunge, bring back leg in and jump w/ knee raise–when you repeat the circuit you do it on the other leg); 2. Punch jump (jump and punch to side; alternate sides); 3. Crab touch (get into crab; touch hand to opposite toe, raising and lowering hips and alternating sides); 4. Pouncing tiger (get into a sort of child’s pose but on your toes rather than your knees and your palms on the floor; lower hips back, touching bottom to heels, then push forward, bringing knee to same side elbow; alternate sides). Repeat circuit.
Circuit 3: 1. 180 squat jump; 2. Low burpee squat (squat w/ arms overhead, jump back to plank, jump feet back in and stand in squat w/ arms overhead–you never come out of squat when standing); 3. Genie side plank (get into forearm plank but w/ arms crossed under you like a genie; turn into side plank, raising arm overhead; alternate sides–when you repeat the circuit you kick top leg forward and touch toe w/ top hand); 4. Donkey kick (get into quadruped (on all 4s but with toes on ground rather than knees) with feet together and to one side of mat; jump feet from one side of the mat to the other). Repeat circuit.
Agility 1 is 21:30 minutes long with a 3:30 minute warm up consisting of dynamic stretching and 30 second cool down. This was an interesting and intense little cardio workout. I’ll be honest. I didn’t like it. It did the job but IMHO it was not fun. Christine describes it as consisting of boxing and sports drills. What I didn’t like about it is the fast footwork–you need to be coordinated and I just am not very coordinated. There are no easier (or harder) modifications in this workout. The structure of the workout is one long combo that is taught in layers by Christine only. Once she teaches all of the moves in the combo and you go through the complete combo with her once, then she brings in two crew members and you run through the entire thing several more times. Here are the moves; remember, they are taught in layers, this is just the complete combo, but it takes a while for Christine to build it. 1. hopping while tapping feet in a 1, 2, double tap pattern, 2. grapevine w/ a punch, 3. low squat jumps, 4. jump w/ side punch, alternate sides, 5. fast feet, 6. jacks, 7. a single leg hop press (like a one leg hamstring curl w/ a hop) and a punch, 8. alternating hopping hamstring curls w/ pivots while moving forward, 9. three hop taps to the side w/ speed bag arms + 2 jacks.
After she spends time teaching you these moves (and you definitely get a workout during the teaching/layering portion of the workout), you go through the entire thing once with just Christina. She brings in her crew members and you run through the entire combo 3 more times. It is a fairly intense little cardio workout and you only get a very brief 30 second cool down at the end so you might want to spend some time cooling yourself down and stretching some more afterward.
Endurance 1 is 21 minutes long; warm up is 2:30 minutes long and stretch is 1:30 minutes long. Another great little cardio + bodyweight strength workout. It is similar to Power but set up differently. In this workout she pairs two exercises together. You do each exercise for approx. 30 seconds then repeat them before moving on to the next pair of exercises. This was an intense and excellent little workout. There is someone doing a beginner version of every exercise and sometimes Christine shows you more advanced versions of some of the exercises. All you need for this workout is a mat. If an exercise is done on one side of the body, when you repeat it you do it on the other side of the body.
Pair 1: sumo side reach (get into sumo squat and while holding torso straight, slide same side hand down towards ankle; alternate sides) + squat jump heel clap (squat jumps with heel tap when jumping); repeat
Pair 2: high plank to low plank + mountain climbers; repeat
Pair 3: squat push kick (start in squat, reverse lunge, front kick, reverse lunge, back to squat) + jump lunges (alternate 3 then pulse lunge once); repeat
Pair 4: push up into side plank + burpees; repeat
Pair 5: single leg bridge (in bridge w/ one leg raised, raise and lower hips) + lift into tabletop and do tricep dips while also kicking one leg in and out; repeat
Pair 6: Runner’s sit up (lay on back with legs straight on ground; sit up partially while raising one knee while also doing runner arms) + get into bent knee boat pose and twist punch side to side; repeat.
Bonus Abs is 11 minutes long. The Bonus Abs is on both disks but it is the same abdominal workout–so there is not a different Bonus Ab workout for Phase 2. This was a tough little core workout with a few unique core exercises. It moves non-stop and really burned my abs out. It starts w/ a series of crunches. This changes to: w/ knees bent and head/shoulders raised, you will open and close legs (knees bent), tapping toes to ground. Next tap toes forward and back, like a bicycle maneuver but head/shoulders are raised but stationary. Cross ankle over opposite knee into figure 4. Do a full crunch in this position. Next do hip lifts, still in figure 4. This changes to reaching hands through hole in legs made by figure 4 and pulsing. Bring legs together, do a crunch, then press legs out straight. Do a sort of bicycle, but you are actually doing the same move you just did, but twisting your elbow to opposite thigh. Bring soles of feet together and open knees in a butterfly, feet raised off ground; do a full crunch in this position w/ feet never touching the ground. Still in butterfly, bring knees together while simultaneously bringing elbows together, then open knees and elbow. Keep shoulder on ground but twist hips/bent legs to side; raise head/shoulders while also raising top leg. This changes to bringing top knee in to opposite elbow then pressing leg out. Side V ups w/legs straight. Roll onto bottom and prop torso up on elbows, knees bent, toes pointed; in this position press legs out straight then bring knees in to chest. Get into elbow plank and do hip twists. Still in elbow plank bring knee into same side elbow on outside of body. Workout ends holding elbow plank.
Balance 2 is 20 minutes long. Like Balance 1, this is a yoga workout but I did not like nearly as much as Balance 1. Balance 2 is much more advanced. It is very core and balance focused. Overall, I didn’t really care for it and won’t return to it. However, I also have to add, that if you are doing Evolution 20 as a program, then you do not want to skip this workout because you are getting some great strength and core work. But I get plenty of strength and core work from other, more enjoyable workouts. And yoga (for me at least) has a different purpose than a lot of core and balance work. But as a component of this program, it is important.
The workout starts sitting cross-legged; rotate torso in large circles, warming up the spine. Roll down onto back, lift legs w/ knees bent; lift and lower legs, feet almost touching the ground; put hands behind head and add lifting and lowering shoulders/head. Hold head/neck up and straighten legs out so they are a few inches off the floor, then pull knees back in to chest. This changes to bicycle maneuver. Get into plank and do 3 tricep push ups. Cobras. Down dog. 3 legged dog then bring knee in under you; raise and lower knee to floor while it is under you, bringing knee toward nose as you do this. Step through to crescent. Warrior 3. Back to crescent, plank to cobra to down dog and repeat on other side of body starting w/ 3 leg dog. Sit on bottom in boat pose; lower to banana back up to boat pose. Lay on back, legs straight, toes pointed to ceiling, head/neck raised, arms raised and hands clasped toward ceiling; in this position, lower both arms to outside of one thigh and lower the opposite leg a few inches off the ground and pulse 5x; switch sides and pulse 5x; then do singles, switching side to side. Get into down dog and lift one arm and opposite hand. Next is yogi push ups: start in 3 legged dog and bring knee to outside of same side elbow and do a push up, return to 3 leg dog, bring knee underneath you to opposite elbow and do a push up, return to 3 leg dog, bring knee beneath you to nose and do a push up, step foot through to crescent. Standing big toe extension (balance move). Warrior 3. Half moon. Standing splits. Repeat entire series on other side of body starting at yogi push ups. Dolphin pose. Sphinx stretch. Child’s pose. It ends w/ sitting cross legged w/ ankles stacked on/under knees, and reach torso/fingertips in front of you.
Foundation 2 is 20 minutes long. Like Foundation 1, Foundation 2 is a pilates workout. It is more advanced than Foundation 1, too. I found it pretty tough. I’m not a pilates fan, but it is a great and effective workout. She works your core hard, from front to back, and like Foundation 1, you get some lower body work. You even get a little tricep work. There is a modifier showing easier versions of the exercises. It starts with a 2 minute warm up consisting of jogging, high knee runs and push ups. Lay on your back w/ legs straight and do partial roll ups (legs straight and hands on thighs) to warm up your core for The Hundred. There is a very short 30 second stretch at the end of the workout. Workout starts with straight leg Hundred. Roll ups with straight legs. Lay on back, head on ground, straight legs raised w/ feet to ceiling and do hip lifts. Roll like ball (like you did in Foundation 1) but this time roll to your feet and jump. Start in boat pose and circle arms around while bending knees and bringing them into chest. Single straight leg stretch (scissor straight legs while grasping leg when it comes close to face). Double straight legs stretch (raise and lower straight legs w/ hands behind head). Bicycle maneuver. Corkscrew (laying on back, arms out to side and knees bent and raised; roll knees/hips side to side). Add straightening legs while hips are at side and bringing straight legs to ceiling (hips on floor again). Tick-tock (same as corkscrew but w/ straight legs). Circle straight legs 3 times in each direction. Lay on belly and do supermans (she calls them a swan variation, but it’s superman leaving legs on ground). Keeping torso on ground, lift and lower legs. Keeping hips pushed into ground, raise one leg and bend knee w/ foot flexed then point foot and lower; raise and lower same leg 5x. Straight leg teaser (start in boat pose and roll torso down to shoulders then roll back up to boat). While in boat alternate bringing straight legs in toward face. Pike push ups. Get on knees, drop to side so one palm is on ground and straighten other leg while the other is still bent. Lift and lower straight leg. Bring straight leg forward then behind you. Rainbow kicks (legs still straight, tap heel on floor in front of you, arch it behind you tapping heel on floor behind you). Take the leg that has been working and place the sole of that foot on floor, and straighten the bottom (kneeling) leg out in front of you; raise and lower that leg working the inner thigh (still holding torso up with arm). Repeat the leg work on other side of body. Leg pull: get into reverse plank and alternate lifting and lowering straight legs; this changes to tricep dips in reverse plank. High plank to forearm plank. 3 tricep push ups.
Power 2 is 20 minutes long. Warm up is 2:30 minutes long and stretch is 1 minute. I really liked this workout a lot. Just like Power 1, this is an intense bodyweight strength and plyometric workout. It was definitely more intense than Power 1, too. Christine shows multiple levels you can do this workout at so the workout can “evolve” with your fitness level. It is structured the same as Power 1, too: 3 circuits; each circuit is made up of 4 exercises. Each exercise is done approx. 30 seconds. Each circuit is repeated once.
Circuit 1: 1. 3 jacks + 1 air jack, 2. squat heel clap (plie jumps), 3. corkscrew push ups (start in quadruped, twist knees to side and do a push up, alternate sides). 4. sit up + crab crunch (while in crab, push up with one arm and one leg and touch opposite toe and hand; alternate sides w/ a sit between each one). Repeat circuit.
Circuit 2: 1. basketball grab and toss (pivot to side and lunge down, lowering hands to front foot like you are picking up a ball, stand and jump, pretending to shoot ball; alternate sides), 2. runner’s lunge switch start (start in lunge, jump knee forward and switch legs), 3. side plank crunch (get into side plank, raise top leg and bring top elbow to top knee), 4. sweaty angels (lay on back, arms and legs wide; sit up and lift one arm and opposite leg, keeping both limbs straight, touch fingers to toes and alternate sides). Repeat circuit.
Circuit 3: 1. 180 broad jump (try to jump the distance of your mat, jump to turn around), 2. single leg burpee, 3. break dance push up (start in plank and bring foot to outside of same side hand and bring other leg through, underneath body while raising arm and keeping leg straight, return to plank and do the same thing on the other side, then do a push up), 4. flutter kicks (lay on back, lift head, neck and shoulders and scissor straight legs). Repeat circuit.
Endurance 2 is 21:30 minutes long. Warm up is 2 minutes long and there is a 1 minute cool down/stretch. This workout is set up in supersets just like Endurance 1. Christine pairs two exercises together, you do each for 30 seconds, then you repeat. There is a total of 6 superset pairings. If an exercise works one side of the body, when you repeat the superset you do the exercise on the other side of the body. This is another excellent and intense little bodyweight strength + plyometric cardio workout. Another winner! Just like the majority of the other workouts, there are beginner modifications and the more advanced version. Christine shows you on a few exercises how to make it even more challenging so the workout can “evolve” with your fitness level. The warm up consists of shoulder rolls into side reaches, squat into reverse lunges, mountain climbers and alternating side kicks.
Pair 1: knee pulls + tuck jumps; repeat.
Pair 2: bear walk forward 4 steps, flip over into crab and crab walk back 4 steps + leg pulls (in reverse plank, alternate raising straight legs); repeat.
Pair 3: side lunge into side kick + skaters; repeat
Pair 4: start in elbow plank w/ genie arms, rotate into side elbow plank and when you return to elbow plank you float top arm under you, not replacing it on the ground + start again in elbow plank w/ genie arms, rotate into side plank and alternate sides; repeat
Pair 5: track stars (start crouched w/ one foot slightly back and hands framing front foot; come up into warrior 3 then return to crouching start position) + one leg burpees; repeat
Pair 6: yogi bicycle (lay on back, legs straight and raised to ceiling, arms raised straight overhead w/ hands clasped; scissor straight legs while bringing clasped hands to outside of thigh; alternate sides) + roll like ball, come up to squat and jump; repeat.
Agility 2 is 21 minutes; warm up is about 2:30 minutes and the same dynamic stretching as the warm up in Agility 1; cool down is a little longer, 2 minutes. I liked Agility 2 a lot better than Agility 1. For me at least, the fast footwork was more doable. It was a lot more fun. An intense little cardio workout. This is apparently the last workout you do and Christina says you are putting everything you’ve learned in the other 9 workouts together in this one. This one is also done in exactly the same manner as Agility 1. The workout starts with just Christine and she teaches you each move, building the 10 move circuit. Once she teaches you all 10 moves, you so the entire circuit once with just Christine. Then she brings in two crew members and you run through the entire 10 move circuit 3 more times. Like Agility 1 this workout doesn’t have any beginner modifications. But it does have an option for a more advanced move during one of the circuits.
Exercises: 1. lunge, lunge, lunge w/ a double pulse (but shallow, more like scissors), 2. “five step”–jump step forward then back and do 3 fast steps, repeat on other foot, 3. plie jacks, 4. w/ hands clasped together overhead and legs in a wide but high plie stance, pull arms/clasped fists down as you turn one knee inward, alternating legs as you come down lower into a deeper plie with each pull down/knee turn-in, 5. 8 knee pulls each leg, 6. step forward, turn in a circle, squat down and step out into plank, 7. while in plank, do “plank walks”–crossing one foot over the other 3x then bring knee to elbow, 8. still in plank, bring one foot up to hand, rest hip on floor then come up into a modified side plank and bring arm overhead into a stretch; return to plank and do it on the other side of your body, 9. 16 mountain climbers, 10. jump feet in, roll to standing, do one jack and one kick.