Though I own just about everything else fitness-wise Jillian Michaels has put out there, I have resisted her core workouts. The main reason being I am not a fan of long ab workouts. I like to keep my ab work to 10 minutes or less at the end of a workout, or incorporated somehow throughout a workout. So Jillian’s 30 minute ab workouts were not something I ever even bothered looking at. But then, I recently happened to be at a Goodwill perusing the books and workout DVDs for sale and there was Jillian’s two ab workouts–6 Week Six Pack and Killer Abs for a dollar each. I remembered her core workout in her Killer Body collection and realized that, just like that core workout, Jillian’s other core workouts are probably not 30 straight minutes of mind-numbing (and painful) core work. In all of her other workouts (including the Killer Body core workout), she always varies everything and always inserts cardio bursts for fat burning. So I figured, for a dollar, why not give them a try? Well, I am very glad I did. These two workouts are amazing! I adore them! Definitely a calorie burner that is so varied I never got bored or tired of working my abs in 30 minutes! Another Jillian winner and actual long ab workouts I will return to!
Like most of Jillian’s workouts she gives you more than one level to workout at. She has two crew members, one doing beginner modifications and one who does the exercises at their most advanced level. Jillian shows the workouts at either the advanced level or an intermediate level. You need one dumbbell 3-8 pounds and a fitness mat. I used one 8 pound and one 5 pound dumbbell in both workouts.
Level 1 is 35 minutes long; 3 minute warm up and 3:30 minute stretch. For this workout I used one 8 pound dumbbell for every exercise except one and for that one I used one 5 pound dumbbell. I do not know how heavy Jillian and her advanced crew member’s dumbbell is, but it didn’t look any heavier than 5 pounds. The beginner did not use a dumbbell. I was a little surprised during this workout. Jillian generally functions as a trainer in her workouts, meaning she demonstrates an exercise then goes to her crew members to give form pointers and encouragement. They are the ones who actually do the entire workout, not Jillian. She did that in this workout, too, but she also did a lot more of the workout than she usually does. Much of the time, she is working hard right along with you. For this workout you will do 15 exercises. They are done at a controlled pace so you can focus on form. Then you repeat all of the exercises but at a faster, double time pace so your heart really starts racing in the second half. Excellent workout. I loved it. Below in the breakdown I will be describing the level that Jillian shows the exercises at, but keep in mind there is always a beginner modification and sometimes a more advanced level as well.
- Knee crunches (start holding one DB over head; do alternating knee raises while bringing DB down to knee and crunching abs) (8# DB)
- Reverse lunge w/ back extensions (holding one DB in both hands, do a reverse lunge while bringing DB down in front of front knee, remain in lunge while bringing DB overhead, bring DB back to front of knee then stand; alternate legs) (8#DB)
- Squat rotations (hold DB in both hands; squat and when you stand, raise one knee and twist torso/DB toward knee; alternate sides) (8# DB)
- Side lunges w/ a bend (start holding one DB in both hands overhead w/ straight arms; do a side lunge and bring arms/DB down to side so elbow is touching the inside of knee) (5# DB)
- Long lever crunches (lay on back w/ one leg bent and one leg straight; same side arm as straight leg is straight overhead and the other arm bent behind head; raise same side straight arm and straight leg at the same time)
- Superman w/ lat pull back
- Plank jacks
- Repeat #6 on other leg/arm
- Double leg stretch (lay on back w/ head/neck/shoulders raised, knees bent and raised; straighten legs while raising arms overhead, then bend knees and bring them back in, touching shins w/ hands)
- Side crunches (lay on side, knees bent in front of you, one arm extended on floor in front of you and the other arm behind head; bring elbow to top knee then extend leg out straight)
- Diagonal get ups (lay on back, one knee bent and one knee straight; raise straight leg and opposite arm, touching hand to foot)
- Caterpillars (start standing, forward bend and walk out to plank and keep walking hands out further into an extended plank, hold a beat then walk hands back to feet)
- Repeat 11 & 12 on other side of body
- Side plank knee raises (straight arm side plank w/ feet staggered, top foot in front of back foot and top arm extended to ceiling; bring bottom knee in and out)
- Spider plank (straight arm plank, bring knee to same side elbow on outside of body; alternate sides)
- Mountain climbers
- Repeat #15 on other side of body
- Bridge kicks (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor; lift hips into bridge while kicking one leg; alternate legs)
Repeat entire circuit at a quicker, double time pace.
Level 2 is 34 minutes long; 3 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch. Just like in Level 1 I used one 8 pound dumbbell for every exercise except one and for that one I used one 5 pound dumbbell. There is a beginner modifier and an advanced modifier; however, in this workout even the beginner uses a dumbbell. Holy $hit! I loved this workout! Even better than Level 1! I got an awesome core workout, an awesome cardio workout, and it even worked my lower body! I can feel my abs too–I predict am going to be so sore tomorrow. This workout is structured the same as Level 1; a circuit of 15 exercises that you repeat at a faster pace. Except, for a few of these exercises, going fast would compromise form and/or result in injury, so Jillian is smart and on a few of them she tells you not to go faster when you repeat the circuit but to try to go deeper in move.
- Chops in static lunge (8# DB)
- Knees w/ abduction (hold DB overhead in both hands and bring knee up to side of body, bringing arms down so knee taps elbow) (8# DB)
- Jumping jack knives (kick straight legs to the front, touching fingertips to toes and hopping while doing it; alternate legs)
- Repeat 1 & 2 on other side of body
- Low to high (holding DB in both hands, pivot to side and lunge, bringing DB to ankle, pivot to other side and reach DB overhead) (8# DB)
- Repeater knees (bringing DB from over head down to knee, while bringing knee up and back) (5# DB)
- Plank twists (in plank, bringing knee to opposite elbow under body, alternate sides)
- Repeat 6 & 7 on other side of body
- Rotation pass throughs (holding DB in both hands, do a front lunge and rotate DB toward front leg, take same leg into reverse lunge and pass DB underneath front leg) (8# DB)
- Light house (hold DB in front of you w/ straight arms and twist DB side to side) (8# DB)
- Bicycle maneuver
- Repeat #9 on other leg
- DB swing (like a kettlebell swing but w/ a DB) (8# DB)
- Plank moguls (in plank, jump feet up beside hand, jump feet back to plank, jump feet up to other hand)
- T stand kicks (start in plank, rotate into side plank reaching top hand overhead and kicking bottom leg out to side; alternate sides)
- Double crunches (on back, knees raised and bent; raise hips and head/shoulders at same time)
- Hollow man (on back, legs straight and raised off floor, head/shoulders raised, and arms straight at side; hold in this position)
- Mountain climbers
Repeat entire circuit at a quicker, double time pace.