Killer Buns & Thighs

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Lower Body Strength

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I've never done a lower body workout quite like this one. I'm used to doing squats and lunges etc. with weights. This one is part resistance training, part cardio, part functional moves, and part ďI donít know how to describe themĒ moves. Itís a little bit of everything. Itís primarily a lower body workout, but the arms and core get worked as well because of the large number of moves in plank position.

The DVD is set up with three different workouts. Each has its own chapter. The workouts are supposed to be progressively tougher, but within each workout thereís a modifier who does an easier version of the moves that Jillian describes. I found all three workouts to be equally challenging if I did the harder version. I donít think you need to master one level before moving onto the next one.

There are two background exercisers behind Jillian. She usually starts out a move with them (while describing it) but then stops and goes up to the background exercisers (particularly the advanced one) and really pushes them to work harder. She yells a bit. This bothered me when I previewed the workouts, but not at all when I actually did them. She does not count reps. Instead, each move goes on for a minute and then she calls time. She has no timer or stopwatch so someone off camera must be signaling her. Sometimes she directs you to do a rep or two extra and sometimes she counts down the last five seconds, but none of the moves goes on for very long. This is a blessing with some of the harder moves.

She groups three or four exercises together in a superset, and you do each group twice. She even structures the warm up this way. She mostly does functional fitness moves, but also throws in a bit of weight work, traditional floorwork, and cardio. She even borrows some moves from wrestling. Thereís so much variety, you wonít be bored, exhausted but not bored. I found it to be a very challenging workout, definitely made for high intermediate or advanced exercisers. Modifications are shown however, and some of the cardio moves could be made easier as well. Another way to make the workout easier, or simply speed things up, is to do each superset only once. This requires quite a bit of fast forwarding since there are no chapter markers within each workout. Also, on one sided moves, she tends to work one side on the first set and the other one on the second set. Youíll have to pause the DVD and work the other side if you donít do each group twice.

I liked all three workouts. Each workout had moves that were favorites, but itís impossible to put them together in a customized workout, since thereís no chaptering of the individual moves. Itís a nice change from weights or barre workouts. I loved the great variety of moves. I think this style is really a challenge to the status quo exercises Iíve been doing. I think this is a workout that will deliver results. My only complaint is the lack of chaptering within the individual workouts. Other than that, I like this DVD a lot and recommend it.

Instructor Comments:
Jillian is well known from her TV appearances. She can be a bit much. Her style is not for everybody. Thereís no question, however, that she develops effective workouts, and has a great deal of experience helping people lose body fat.

Jane P


ďKiller Buns & ThighsĒ consists of 3 lower body focused workouts led by Jillian Michaels. I am reviewing Workouts 1 & 2, both consist of 4 circuits that repeat once (the warm-up sequence also repeats once), w/ mostly bodyweight exercises (& a few weighted). There is a mix of standing & floor exercises, and itís nice that the workouts do not just consist of lunges & squats variations (sequences in kicks, hip raises, leg extensions, leg lifts, step ups), although there are squats & lunge variations mixed into the workouts. The warm-ups are good, I like that it is not just composed of the common cardio exercises that are generally sequenced in most of the mainstream produced workouts (jacks, step tap, marches & the like) but mostly dynamic stretches. I liked both workouts, both have solid exercises (core & balance element to them), donít need much equipment or room, and are about 40 mins long (one could just complete 1 round of each circuit to shorten the workout, if needed). Iím not generally a fan of Jillianís workouts (her personality can be over the top & she talks too much), but liked the exercises that I saw in the preview clip, so this DVD interested me (and the price is nice, too, most retailers at $14 or less on sale). She is chatty & a bit silly in these workouts (jokes around w/ non-stop chatter), but w/ the volume on low, itís not that noticeable. I've used both workouts as an add-on to others, but either would work well as a primary workout (even though they're billed as lower body focused, actually more of total body workouts).

Cast: two female background exercisers, one demoes low impact/intensive modifications, other demos some advanced options.

Set: simple, white walls, grey flooring

Music: canned instrumental, audio options for English or Spanish and subtitle options for either language.

Equipment: dumbbells, mat for all levels of workouts. A chair for levels 2 & 3 workouts.

Level 1 Workout (40:52 min.): uses dumbbells & mat

Jump rope
Deep lunge: start in plank position, alternate rear lunge (hands stay on floor).
Side lunge: alternating static lunge
Military march: leg lift to front w/ opposite arm extension to front, alternating sides.
Pivot & crescent pose: start in lunge position (back leg straight) w/ arms extended (one in front/opposite side as leg in front, one in back), facing the side> hop & pivot to face other side in lunge position, alternating sides.
Repeat once

Circuit 1
Lunge & Squat combo: step into forward lunge, same leg steps out to side for squat.
Static sumo squat: from lowered position of squat, elevate heels.
Sumo squat hops
Chair pose: in chair pose, lift one foot off floor, and hold.
Stiff Leg Deadlift: uses dumbbells
Repeat once (Lunge & squat and Chair pose, start w/ other leg).

Circuit 2
Butt Kickers: fast pace
Judo Bridge: hip raise w/ single arm reach to other side (on diagonal), alternating sides (for arms).
Mountain climbers
Opposite Arm & Leg lift: start in prone position (face down) & alternate sides.
Alternate plank position & jump into squat.
Repeat once

Circuit 3
Fire hydrant (bent knee lift to side)
Donkey kick: bent or straight leg (advanced version) lift to back.
Side Plank: static hold w/ body & top leg, bottom leg lifts w/ flexed foot.
Leg lifts: start in side-lying position (bottom arm bent, bottom leg straight), the top leg is extended to front w/ flexed foot> leg lifts.
Hamstring curls: in plank position, lift bent leg to cross over other, reverse motion.
Repeat once (start exercises w/ other leg leading).

Circuit 4
Front kick (knee lift), back kick: same leg kicks in both directions.
Deep lunge into Warrior 3: start in lowered position of lunge, lift body up into Warrior 3 pose (rear leg extended, arms extended to front).
Squat w/ kicks (in 3 directions): squat, front kick, squat, side kick, squat, rear kick.
High Knees: fast pace
Pendulum Curtsey (lunges): start w/ wide stance of legs, one leg crosses in front of other for curtsey lunge, then reverse motion.
Repeat once (start exercises w/ other leg leading).

Standing Single leg, quadricep stretch
Shoulder stretch: cross single arm over chest w/ other arm holding it (above elbow).
Chest Stretch: clasp hands, lift straight arms behind back & hold.
Standing hamstring stretch: torso is lowered over each leg, and centered (between legs) for static hold.

Level 2 Workout (42:26 min.): uses dumbbells, chair & mat
Jumping jacks
Lunge into standing splits: front lunge, lower torso & place hands on floor (flat back), lift rear leg off floor & hold, reverse motion, then knee lift (front leg).
Karaokes (4 steps to each side): start in lowered position of squat> leg crosses in front of other, other leg steps side, repeat w/ lead leg crossing back (traveling in same direction), alternating sides.
Flying Pigeon (standing Figure Four stretch): static hold w/ one leg bent, turned out & itís crossed over other (ankle rests on other leg), standing leg is bent & palms together at chest level.
Skaters: alternating sides.
Repeat once (start exercises w/ other leg leading).

Circuit 1
Fast Squats
Surrenders (uses dumbbells): hold dumbbells overhead (entire time)> lower leg into rear lunge, place on floor, other leg follow into kneeling position, then leg moves into forward lunge position, lift into standing position (other leg follows).
Sumo Squat (uses dumbbells): weight held in front of body.
Single leg runners: Single leg squat into knee lift.
Squat hops: 3 forward, 3 backwards.
Repeat once (start the single leg exercises w/ other leg leading).

Circuit 2
Burpees to Supermans: from crouched position, kick legs out into plank position & lower body to floor (chaturanga push-up), then extend arms to front & perform Superman, then reverse motion & jump at top.
Reverse squats: lower into deep squat (hamstrings close to calves) w/ palms together at chest level (goddess pose)> alternate lifting from lowered position of squat into higher squat.
Jump rope, double unders: jump rope w/ higher jump & arms simulate the jump rope moving under rope twice.
Statue of Liberty (uses single dumbbell): single leg squat, tap floor w/ dumbbell (same side arm), then lift up into power knee w/ overhead arm.
Single leg thrusts: hip raise w/ single leg extended (vertically) w/ flexed foot.
Repeat once (start exercises w/ other leg leading).

Circuit 3
Jumping lunges
Single leg burpees
Step ups w/ rear lunge (uses chair): step up onto chair, then knee lift, lower leg to floor, other leg performs rear lunge.
Hip Raise w/ elevated leg (uses chair): Start lying on floor w/ one foot/ankle on chair (straight leg), other leg extended in air w/ flexed foot> perform hip raise w/ single leg extended in air.
Kneeling pop up: lower rear leg to floor (top of foot rests on floor), sit butt on leg, then stand up.
Repeat once (start exercises w/ other leg leading).

Circuit 4
Leg extension front: start from knee lift, then extend leg to front.
Side lunge hop: side lunge, then hop into power knee (lift).
Dancing crab: start w/ in reverse plank pose w/ bent knees> alternate extending opposite arm & leg to front.
Lateral hops: alternate squat hop to the side.
Star jumps: start in lowered squat position> jump out to X/air jack.
Repeat once (start exercises w/ other leg leading).

Standing Single leg, quadricep stretch
Side bend w/ arm reach overhead
Standing hamstring stretch: torso is lowered over each leg, and centered (between legs) for static hold> static hold in center w/ hands on elbows.
Lying Glute stretch: both legs bent, one is turned out & has ankle resting on other.