Body Revolution: Phase 1 Workout 1

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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I am a BIG Jillian fan and have most of her workouts, so was naturally very excited to get her Body Revolution system! This is a progressive system and she does a great job of upping the intensity not just with each phase but with every two weeks (for instance, Phase 1 workouts 1 and 2 are easier than Phase 1 workouts 3 and 4). She leads with a big group of men and women in a clean, uncluttered studio setting and they seem to have a lot of comraderie between them. She uses 3, 5, and 8# dumbbells (I think you can go heavier at times) and the band that comes with the set. The band is made out of a bungee-cord (rather than rubber tubing) but is nothing special, you can use your own band.

Each workout is about 35 minutes long with a 3-4 minute warm up and maybe 2 minute stretch (I tend to spend more time on the stretch) and the circuits generally have 3-4 strength moves, a cardio move, repeat strength moves, then move on to next circuit. The strength moves have a good cardio impact, but I would say the workouts are more strength-oriented (hence the additional cardio workouts). The odd-numbered workouts focus on the “front side” – abs, quads, shoulders, chest, triceps, and the even-numbered workouts focus on the “back side” – back, hamstrings, glutes, biceps. So they all sort of feel like total body workouts, but would still be considered split routines, and you would need to pair both even/odd days to hit all the body parts. For that reason, they are somewhat difficult to use as standalone workouts, unless you did two at once. But they are well balanced within the system.

The P1W1 workout has unweighted squats (optional jump), pushups on knees (optional on toes), chest flies, circle runs, (repeat strength), unweighted plié squats (optional jump and/or weights), tricep kickbacks, standing leg raises (balance challenge) with upper oblique crunch, speed bag arms (cardio), (repeat strength), chair squat with front shoulder raise, French press, warrior 2 pose (static hold, optional light dumbbells held in hands), march in place (optional hold weights), (repeat strength), standing front kicks (slow and controlled to work quads), bicycle crunches, side shoulder raise, fast side to side squats (cardio), (repeat strength). Cool down.

I would rate the Phase 1 workouts (especially W1 and W2) as intermediate routines. I skipped over them after doing them once as they were too easy for me, but she gives a lot of form pointers and instruction and they would be a great foundation for someone following the system as designed. I would compare them to Ripped in 30 or 30 Day Shred, level 1, in terms of intensity.

I think Jillian does a great job at mixing a lot of tried and true exercises (pushups, planks, traditional weight work) but also tweaking them to make them more difficult as the system progresses, so they do not feel repetitive. She also mixes in some yoga-inspired exercises (like she has in Yoga Meltdown) with the traditional strength and a lot of balance challenges, especially towards the end of the system.

Instructor Comments:
I think Jillian is more personable in this system (more encouraging, less yell-y) and jokes a lot with her backgrounders. For those that think Jillian was abhorrently mean/rude/loud in her earlier workouts, they may like her better in this series (but she’s not a completely different person!). Jillian fans will love this series. I do have to say that having this series has greatly reduced my need to run out and get every new workout she puts out…there is a lot of creativity in her exercises, but there’s still a lot of repeat from her other workouts. And once I completed the system (I accelerated Phase 1 but did Phase 2 and 3 as directed, one month on each phase), I got tired of Jillian and haven’t been able to revisit her since finishing the system. It is a great system though and I would highly recommend it.

Emily B.


Jillian works out in a gym set with a group of toned background exercisers. Each dvd is in one folder as pictured above. You will need dumbbells and tubing for some of the exercises. Each workout is in Jillians favored circuit format with each exercise being performed for about 1 minute and then repeating the circuits. Each workout contains a built in warmup and cooldown.

Workout 1 Front Body: (32 min) Exercises include unweighted squats, knee pushups, plank, pec fly, circle run, unweighted plies, standing abductions, speed bag, tri kickbacks, chair squats & front raise, overhead tri press, warrior hold, marching, standing quad extensions, bicycle, lat raise, and side step squats.

Phase I are low intermediate workouts, 1 & 2 being less intense than the 3 & 4 . Jillian wastes little time and gets right to work. You can easily modify these up or down by adding weights or using no weights. Jillian offers modifications up & down for some exercises. The strength workouts also include some cardio exercises to keep the heart rate up. These are athletic style workouts that easy to follow. I received these dvds to review.



This is one of the starter workouts (Phase 1 of 3) for Jillian's three-month Body Revolution program. Jillian and a large cast of backgrounders do a 30-ish minute circuit workout focusing on chest, triceps, shoulders, quads and core. After a short dynamic warmup, there are four circuits of strength moves. The pattern is strength/one minute of cardio/repeat strength, then move on to the next circuit. Jillian and crew use lighter dumbbells (3-8 pounds) plus a mat but you can go way heavier on the dumbbells to increase intensity. The moves with weights are anywhere from 12-20 reps per set, so gauge your weights accordingly: there is no rep count because I think Jillian is going by the clock, so you can slow things down and go heavy if you choose. Music is good upbeat background stuff.

This workout is intermediate level but don't let that fool you; you will be well worked and sweaty by the end especially if you go heavy and push yourself on the cardio segments.

Best parts of this workout: time goes by fast. Jillian is encouraging. Moves are very easy to pick up; nothing dancy or fancy.

Downsides: warmup and stretch are short. You will definitely want a longer stretch or you will be sore the next day. There is a LOT of getting up and down from the floor in this workout, which I don't mind but someone with tetchy knees or ankles might get a bit tired of it.

Instructor Comments:
Jillian is very encouraging in this one. Her "push it!" motivational comments seem to come at the exact right time. She has fun teasing her backgrounders and the whole crew seems to enjoy both doing the workout and motivating you to keep up.