Body Revolution: Phase 1 Workout 4

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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The fourth circuit workout of 12 in the Body Revolution series, this is the end of Phase 1 and the more advanced of that Phases’s two “back of body” workouts, numbers 2 and 4. Jillian instructs a cast of diverse (age, gender, body type, ethnicity/race) backgrounders in a fast-moving series of weighted moves interspersed with cardio blasts, to target back, biceps, glutes and hamstrings, plus some core. You will need dumbbells (they use 3-8# but you can go heavier), a mat and a band for this workout, though you could make up your own substitution for the band exercise. The fast-paced dynamic warmup plus circuits clocks in at 31 minutes, followed by a brief stretch. Music is upbeat electronic dance music, never obtrusive.

The format is: weighted circuit, one-minute cardio interval, repeat circuit, then move on to the next. There are a total of four circuits in the workout. Three of the four cardio intervals have impact - skaters, side to side jumps, fast feet - but you could substitute a low-impact move if desired.

This workout is a step up from Workout 2, with more heavy weights, balance moves, compound exercises and more challenging moves altogether, like weighted surrenders, dumbbell row while holding a low chair squat, and one-legged squats with an upright row. The pacing is good: just when you feel tired out from a circuit, the next circuit - or at least the first move or two - is a little easier, allowing you to catch your breath. I’d call this workout a higher intermediate one, maybe low advanced if you went heavier with the weights and harder with the cardio intervals.

Two moves are a little questionable: one is a “terry pull” where Jillian tries to imitate a one-arm lat pulldown, a gym-machine move, with a single arm dumbbell move. It’s awkward and not that effective; I substitute one-arm rows. She also does good mornings with dumbbells on the shoulders. These feel unsteady, as I find myself concentrating on keeping the weights from sliding when I bow down. Because of that, you end up feeling the weight in your hands and the top of your collarbone/shoulder area, so it’s hard to get the muscle contraction in the lower back and hamstrings. I much prefer putting a barbell across the back of my shoulders, which moves the weight down and back from the dumbbell position and thus targets the correct muscle in a safer way.

I am always pleasantly sweaty and out of breath when I finish this one. Time goes by fast and the workout is thorough.

Instructor Comments:
Jillian instructs, demonstrates a little bit but spends most of the workout walking around and using her backgrounders for form pointers and encouragement.



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 4 Back Body: unweighted lunges, static squat & row, single leg deadlift & row, skaters, side lunge & bi curl, high & wide row, weighted knee hops, moguls, side lunge & bi curl, weighted surrenders, plank leg lifts, lying weighted side leg raises, hollow man, fast feet, upper back cable pulls, good mornings, penguin heel taps, and punch combos.

These 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.



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 P1W4 workout definitely steps up in intensity from workouts 1 and 2. She adds high impact exercises to the warm up (jumping jacks, high knees) which I don’t especially care for, but you can always modify. The workout has alternate unweighted front lunges (optional weights), chair squat with back row (works mid-back), one legged squat with upper row (optional keep both feet on floor), plyo skaters, (repeat strength), side lunge with bicep curls, chair pose with upper back row, back lunge into kneel, back to standing, with weights raised overhead, alternate knee hops with weight, side to side jumps, (repeat strength), laying side leg raise with dumbbell on leg, leg raises in plank pose, repeat leg raise on other side, hollow man hold, fast feet, (repeat strength), standing side crunch with weight “terry pulls” (intended to work that muscle in the back/underarm area), good mornings with heavy weights, side to side crunch swivel, punches (cardio), repeat strength. Cool down.

I would rate the Phase 1 workouts W3 and W4 as intermediate-high intermediate workouts. She still gives a lot of form pointers but often repeats that you’re ready for more and she expects more of you. I would compare them to Ripped in 30 or 30 Day Shred, level 1-2, in terms of intensity.

Instructor Comments:
I think Jillian is more personable in this system (more encouraging, less yell-y) and jokes a lot with her backgrounders, but is still sort of loud and pushy classic Jillian. I notice that as the system progresses, she talks more and more about how bad-ass the system is and how great your physique must be looking from workout out with her, which I find tiring. I think that’s one of the reasons I haven’t really revisited the system since completing it.

Emily B.