Beginner Shred

Yet another workout DVD I never thought I would purchase–Jillian Michael‘s Beginner Shred. I love Jillian Michaels’ workouts but they are too much for me right now, so I decided it was time to give this a try. This DVD consists of three approx. 25 minute workouts that become progressively harder, so Workout #1 is the easiest and Workout #3 is the hardest. You can use these workouts as a 30 day program. You workout every day. The first 10 days you do Workout #1, the second 10 days you do Workout #2 and the final 10 days you do Workout #3. Because these are beginner workouts, there is no beginner modifier. Jillian has two crew members. One is doing the exercise as presented (easiest level) and the other is showing a more advanced version of the exercise. Jillian and crew are using very light dumbbells.

Workout #1 was exactly what I needed. In the first 4-5 days after chemo I have no endurance and I am weak (along with various other fun side effects). But I really feel it is important for me to do something. Workout #1 was perfect. It is a total body strength workout that made me sweat but didn’t run me down (which even moderate workouts will do in the week after chemo). I did use heavier dumbbells than what Jillian and crew used in all of the workouts, but I still didn’t use heavy dumbbells. These worked as conditioning workouts that worked my entire body but not in an intense way. Perfect for my needs.

When I did Workouts #2 and #3 I did them back to back. It was still in the week after chemo, so still not 100% (I’m never 100% anymore it seems) and I found them both more challenging than Workout #1. Jillian and crew were using 3 or 5 pound dumbbells and I used heavier than that. They both gave me good workouts for my current level. Workouts #1 and #2 are also total body conditioning workouts but Workout #3 incorporates cardio bursts just like in Jillian’s regular (non-beginner) workouts–but obviously not as intense. But for my situation, I found it plenty intense.

Overall, I found all 3 of these workouts perfect for what I am currently going through. So thank you Jillian! There may not be a lot of these types of workouts out there, but I am glad there are enough between Jillian, Cathe, Jessica Smith and Kelly Coffey-Meyer to help me get in some good exercise while going through treatment.

Workout #1 is 25 minutes long; 3 minute warm up and 2:30 minute stretch. As mentioned above, this is a perfect workout for me in the days after chemo. I used 4-15 pound dumbbells, so no heavy weight lifting but it did work my muscles nicely. This workout is also obviously great for beginners. Increase the weight of your dumbbells once the exercises become too easy for you. Listed below are the weights I used for each exercise. As mentioned above, Jillian and crew were using 3 or 5 pound dumbbells.

  1. Squat w/ shoulder press (9# DBs)
  2. Single arm row while in a deep lunge, holding both DBs in one hand (8# DBs)
  3. Stationary lunges w/ side lateral straight arm raises (5# DBs)
  4. Chair squat w/ straight arm front raise (4# DBs)
  5. Low impact step out jacks (or full jacks)
  6. Repeat 1-6
  7. Push ups on knees
  8. Supermans using upper body only
  9. Supermans using the lower body only
  10. Bicycle crunch toes tapping floor
  11. Hold bridge isometrically while doing chest press (15# DBs)
  12. Repeat 7-11
  13. Modified elbow plank (on knees)
  14. Donkey kicks on hands and knees
  15. Tricep dips
  16. Straight arm lat pullovers with single straight leg raise (8# DBs)
  17. Squirms (lay on back, knees bent, feet on floor, head/shoulders raises, alternate reaching hands toward heels)
  18. Repeat 13-17

Workout #2 is 26 minutes long; 3 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. Listed below are the dumbbells I used; Jillian and crew were using 3 or 5 pound dumbbells. I used 5-15 pound dumbbells. This one was more advanced than Workout #1 but nothing crazy.

  1. Deadlift to upright row (10# DBs)
  2. Sumo squat w/ overhead tricep extension (8# DBs)
  3. In deep lunge (Jillian calls it crescent pose) do tricep kickbacks (8# DBs)
  4. Still in deep lunge, do rear delt flys (8# DBs)
  5. Standing oblique crunch (hands behind head, raise one straight leg to side while leaning elbow toward leg as it raises)
  6. Repeat 1-5
  7. Alternating bird dogs (Jillian calls it “table reach”)
  8. Modified windshield wipers (lay on back, knees bent and feet raised off floor, arms extended out straight to sides on floor, rotate knees side to side)
  9. Chest fly w/ one leg hip thrust (lay on back, knees bent and one leg on ground, other leg raised to ceiling, raise and lower hips as you do chest fly) (15# DBs)
  10. Swimmers (lay on belly and raise one arm and opposite leg, and alternate)
  11. Modified renegade rows (on knees) (15# DBs)
  12. Repeat 7-11
  13. Alternating stationary side lunges w/ front raises (5# DBs)
  14. Alternating reverse lunges w/ overhead press (9# DBs)
  15. Wide squats w/ bicep curls (9# DBs)
  16. Curl ups (lay on back, knees bent, feet on floor, palms on thighs, roll head/neck/shoulders up while sliding hands up to knees)
  17. Still on back, place hands under tailbone and raise straight legs to ceiling, raise and lower straight legs
  18. Repeat 13-17

Workout #3 is 23:30 minutes long; 3 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. Cardio is added to this workout but one of the exercisers shows low impact modifications. Again, the dumbbells listed below are the ones I used; Jillian and crew used 3 or 5 pound dumbbells. This workout was definitely more intense than Workouts #1 & 2. But I also do not have the cardio endurance that I used to, so it wore me out a lot quicker than it would have pre-treatment.

  1. Deadrows (15# DBs)
  2. Alternating reverse lunges w/ front raises (6# DBs)
  3. Tricep push ups on knees
  4. Modified burpees (more like modified squat thrusts)
  5. Towel runs (running in a large circle while always facing forward)
  6. Repeat 1-5
  7. Squats w/ figure 8 (when you wide squat, pass one DB from overhead, under and around one leg in figure 8, alternate sides) (one 6# DB)
  8. Alternating front push kicks
  9. Wide straight leg deadlift w/ hammer curl + rear delt fly (both while hinged forward) (8# DBs)
  10. Front lunge w/ woodchop (one 6# DB)
  11. Wide half squat w/ fast upper cuts (1# boxing grips)
  12. Repeat 7-11
  13. Scissor crunches (crunch upper body while doing straight scissor legs)
  14. Crab kicks
  15. On all 4s, do a round kick + donkey kick
  16. Mountain climbers
  17. Modified side plank hold
  18. Repeat 13-17

9 thoughts on “Beginner Shred

  1. I was just wondering if you really need to exercise everyday this program? , since I do other workouts except Jillian, and also I would like to have a rest day sometime… 🤔 I googled this info everywhere, but found just your article about it. Thanks for all your info, I like your website👍, have a great day and take care🍀


    1. No, you don’t have to exercise every day and rest days are good. I always question Jillian’s recommendation to do some of her workouts every day, especially when they are not muscle splits (her costlier programs tend to incorporate muscle splits). She frequently uses very light weights so if you’re also using such light weights then it doesn’t hurt anything to do them every day if that’s what you want (but again, not necessary and rest days are good) but if you are challenging yourself with heavier weights than what Jillian and crew use then you need to take rest days.


    1. The first two workouts are not much like her regular workouts other than being circuit workouts. They are easier and geared toward beginners. The final workout is still easier than her other workouts but it also includes a cardio exercise in each circuit, which other 30 minute workouts always include. But it is easier cardio than what appears in her other workouts.

      So overall–what really makes them different is they are easier.


  2. May I just say that you are INCREDIBLE? Not many people even manage to go for a walk while doing chemo. But you challenge yourself, wherever you are. I have no doubt that you will beat cancer, and then some. Some doctor ought to do a research paper on you and the effects fitness and exercise has on getting through chemo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Shannon! I really do think exercising is helping me get through chemo. A woman I work with who went through chemo last year is amazed I can even make it into work. Now, I can’t make in every day, but I am at work more than I am absent and I really believe that exercising has something to do with it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s