30 Day Shred

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels consists of three separate workouts intended to be progressive. All of the workouts are athletic combining cardio and toning. Jillian relies upon the tried and true such as jumping jacks, squats, pushups etc. There are two demonstrators, one showing a lighter version or modification of some moves. Jillian walks around the two demonstrators giving encouragement, form tips, and cueing for the transitions. KathAl79 did an excellent job of breaking down each of the workouts so I won’t go over that again.

This program is advertised as progressive, workout 1 is for beginners, workout 2 is intermediate and workout 3 is advanced. Do not be fooled however, workout 1 is way too strenuous for a true beginner. I could easily see someone beginning a workout program for the first time ending up with an injury. The workouts move quickly and Jillian keeps repeating that to get a good workout in twenty minutes you have to keep moving. She must not be checking her watch because I timed these workouts at about thirty minutes each.

Instructor Comments:
I bought this program because I had read so many good reviews of it and I liked the concept of short progressive workouts. Unfortunately, this program didn’t work for me. There were too many jumping jacks and squats for one thing which were hard on my knees. Jillian didn’t provide a modification or alternative for the jumping jacks. In fact at one point she makes a comment about how she makes people weighing 300 pounds do this many jumping jacks and you can do them too. Really? Another factor was Jillian’s often late cueing and failure to give timely form tips. Because the workouts move quickly it’s important to give the form tips before the movement begins, not in the middle. In my opinion, Jillian just does not take the potential for injury seriously enough to do what she can to ensure smooth transitions and good form. Instead she seems to be pushing people to work harder and faster potentially at the expense of safety. In the end these workouts reminded me of high school gym class: all work, no fun, and someone barking at you constantly. I gave this one away.



I’m reviewing this workout after doing level 1 twice and levels 2 and 3 once each.

General workout breakdown: Roz has done a great job describing these workouts, so I’ll just break down the moves.

Level 1 (27 min.)
- Warm-up: arm crosses, windmills, jumping jacks, hip circles, knee circles, repeat jumping jacks
- Circuit 1: strength = push-ups, squat & press, repeat circuit; cardio = jumping jacks, jump rope, repeat circuit; abs = basic crunch, reverse crunch
- Circuit 2: strength = dumbbell row, static lunge w/ biceps curl, repeat dumbbell row, static lunge (other side) w/ biceps curl; cardio = butt kicks, alternating punches, repeat circuit; abs = crunch across the body, crunch across the body (other side)
- Circuit 3: strength = chest flyes, anterior raise w/ alternating side lunge, repeat circuit; cardio = jumping jacks, butt kicks, alternating punches, jump rope; abs = bicycle crunches
- Cooldown = Sitting in splits you’ll reach to your toes, reach to the center, reach to your other leg, grasp hands behind back, and hold arm across chest and look over shoulder. You’ll come up for a standing quadriceps stretch.

Level 2 (27.5 min.)
- Warm-up: arm crosses, backward windmills, jumping jacks, high kicks, neck rolls, repeat jumping jacks
- Circuit 1: strength = walking push-ups, squat w/ wide row, repeat circuit; cardio = high knees, squat thrusts, repeat circuit; abs = crunch w/ leg lift, crunch w/ leg lift (other side)
- Circuit 2: strength = static lunge w/ medium-grip row, pendulum lunges (i.e. alternate front & back on same leg) w/ biceps curls, static lunge w/ medium-grip row (other side), pendulum lunges w/ biceps curls (other side); cardio = oblique twist jumps (Jillian calls these moguls in BFBM), skaters, repeat circuit; abs = hands held over chest while legs lift & lower (this looks similar to the move Jillian calls “windshield wipers” in NMTZ), double crunch (basic crunch + reverse crunch together)
- Circuit 3: strength = military press w/ 1-leg extension, chair squats w/ v-flye, military press w/ leg extension (other side), repeat chair squats w/ v-flye; cardio = plank jacks, double jump rope, repeat circuit; abs =
- Cooldown = Sitting in splits you’ll reach to your toes, reach to the center, reach to your other leg, and hold arm across chest and look over shoulder. You’ll come up for a standing quadriceps stretch.

Level 3 (27.25 min.)
- Warm-up: arm crosses, backward windmills, double jump rope, high kicks, butt kicks, knee circles
- Circuit 1: strength = walking plank, superman, repeat circuit; cardio = mountain climbers, plie / sumo squat hops, repeat circuit; abs = pike crunch, scissor crunches w/ legs lowered
- Circuit 2: strength = dumbbell clean & press, alternating jumping lunges, dumbbell clean & press (other side), repeat jumping lunges; cardio = alternating punches holding dumbbells in squat, butt kicks holding dumbbells in front, repeat circuit; abs = sit-ups
- Circuit 3: strength = traveling push-ups, plank w/ row & leg raise, repeat circuit; cardio = jump squats, “rock star jumps” (aka tuck jumps), repeat circuit; abs = side plank raises, side plank raises (other side)
- Cooldown = Sitting in splits you’ll reach to your toes, reach to the center, reach to your other leg, grasp hands behind back, and hold arm across chest and look over shoulder. You’ll come up for a standing quadriceps stretch.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediates comfortable with basic strength training and cardio moves through low adv. exercisers. Brave int./adv. through maybe even mid-adv. exercisers should fine two levels back to back to get a sufficient challenge. Like Roz I do not believe this is appropriate for true beginners to exercise, because of not just the impact but also Jillian’s somewhat inconsistent level of instruction, giving good form instruction and tips for one exercise and nothing really for another. (And I too would have given up if I had tried this when first starting out; I’m a bit of a wimp as it is, but when I was new to working out at home I could barely handle 20 min. of Kathy Smith’s basic aerobics.) This may even be too much for experienced exercisers restarting after a significant time away, although people who left off at an advanced level or so but who remained active may be fine. That said, experienced beg./int. exercisers who feel comfortable modifying and are creative with substitutions may be able to tackle one level at a time, working at their own pace.
I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, and these packed a real punch for me. Like Roz I could see regular use increasing my cardiovascular fitness level.

Class: 2 women do the exercises, with one designated the “beginner” and one the “advanced,” with the understanding that Jillian is “intermediate”; Jillian sometimes starts or finishes the exercises but seems to prefer coaching, either pointing out proper form or motivating the viewer. I have to scratch my head and wonder at the exercises for which Jillian did – or did not – choose to provide modifications or substitutions: as always, Jillian refuses to modify jumping jacks, and yet she has Anita do mini squats and lunges. Oh, and Natalie - and every once in a while Anita - sometimes slack off when they think they’re off camera.

Music: upbeat instrumental with a driving beat. It’s nice but generic exercise video stuff; in fact, some of it sounds familiar.

Set: bright interior space with neatly stacked exercise equipment around. Again, it’s nice but generic exercise video stuff.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles.

Equipment: sneakers, at least one pair of dumbbells and maybe a mat, depending upon your floor.
Yes, Jillian says just to grab 3 lbs., but I used 5 lbs., as I was more interested in keeping my heart rate up. Because there are short pauses between exercises it’d be easy enough to use a variety of weights.

Space Requirements: This is decently compact. You should have enough room to lie down with your arms and legs extended plus swing your legs side to side; you should also be able to lunge side to side while standing and do a plank on the floor. If you have a small space you may have to change which way you’re facing to fit it in, but that’s easy enough to do with this format.

DVD Notes: After the unskippable Lionsgate intro and warnings comes skippable promos, but then comes Jillian’s relatively long intro that cannot be skipped. You have to watch this every. single. time you put in the DVD. Add in the fact that you can’t skip Jillian’s quick intro to each workout – and that not all DVD players recognize the chapters, making it hard to skip the warm-ups, like if you want to do two workouts back to back – and this DVD is annoying to use, plus it inspires feelings of Jillian overdose in those who are not the biggest Jillian fans to begin with.
Your main menu options are Recommendations, Workouts, Audio Options (Begin Workout with Jillian’s instruction, Begin workout with music only), Trailer (why would you want to see the trailer of a workout video you already bought, especially since you have to sit through Jillian’s intros and much of the same footage every time you start the darn thing?), and Credits.

Comments: Those with wrist, elbow, or shoulder issues may want to approach this one with caution; ditto for those with knee issues that are aggravated by lots of lunges and squats and for those whose bodies don’t care for lots of impact. Even those without this issues who have the extra time may appreciate a longer warm-up and cool-down / stretch, which you’ll have to supply on your own. I found myself adding on a stretch to the stretch, making sure to include work for muscles like the calves, which need some attention after all of that jumping.

This workout is about getting results and about getting them fast. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this workout isn’t the most well-rounded, with Jillian favoring now large muscle groups for maximum calorie burn, now minor muscle groups for maximum aesthetic gains. You’ll spend lots of time focusing on the chest, shoulders (especially the front part), back (especially the mid- to upper back), quads & glutes, biceps, and abs, while the hamstrings, triceps, and back of the shoulders get at most indirect work when they assist in moves. This isn’t a big deal if you throw 30DS in occasionally, but if this is your primary workout it may be worth considering a few substitutions the second time through the circuit, like doing a reverse flye instead of a v-flye with the chair squats or a triceps overhead extension instead of biceps curl with the static lunge. Also, the intensity drops in a few of the strength exercises, like the chest flyes; one way to kill two birds with one stone is to add in bridgework with the chest flyes, for example, to work the hamstrings and glutes plus boost the challenge a little.

As you’ve probably guessed, I don’t particularly care for this workout exactly as it’s presented, but I kind of like the format and think it’d be easy enough to find ways to tweak this to suit my needs and preferences. Some smart VFers have suggested instead of doing 1 min. of crunches (never my favorite exercises, but they don’t get any better when I have to drop to the floor with an elevated heart rate) to pick up a kettlebell for swings and snatches (but don’t do Jillian’s infamous “swing through” move – that’s guaranteed to kill your back more than any amount of crunches…), which I’ll have to try the next time a masochistic mood strikes me. :-p

Instructor Comments:
Ah, yes, Jillian. I think she’s fine for what she’s trying to accomplish, and I don’t mind that she alternates between doing exercises and coaching people, but her type of (public) personality’s not my cup of tea, so it’s hard for me to say I like her. I can easily find things I don’t care for in her persona here, like continually tooting her own horn, and things I find amusing (at least now – we’ll see what I think with repeat viewings), like how she repeatedly has you pause between exercises to tell you her workouts are non-stop. Still, I can see how she can be motivating, and I’ll admit she inspired me to stick out the full versions of a few exercises. Her goal here is to be your personal trainer, your lifestyle coach, your workout cheerleader, who’ll push you to do more than you ever thought you could and tell you to keep going when you want to stop. Look elsewhere if you need a mild-mannered, sweet-tempered instructor who’s doing every rep and sweating right there with you. (Also look elsewhere if you need an instructor who counts exactly evenly and keeps to the beat of the music perfectly. Or an instructor who comes up for air at some point during the workout. Girlfriend can talk.)
Jillian cues and instructs decently enough. She does not mirror cue, however; when she says “right,” which admittedly isn’t that often, she’s referring to the right of her background exercisers, not the viewer’s.



Well, I'm no fan of Jillian. There, I got that out of the way.
30 Day Shred is a Boot camp style workout. Jillian works out with two other women, one providing modifications. Each are about say, three or four feet taller than her. It contains three levels, each clocking in at just under 30 minutes.
Collage rates this Int/Adv. The first level could be called intermediate-- if you follow the modifier. The second two are definitely advanced with moves such as mountain climbers, push-up plank type moves (Jari calls them "spider push ups" in RTTC), and lots of high impact cardio (jumping jacks, squat jumps, high knees, etc.) If she works a small muscle group such as biceps, she always adds a lower body move with it. This really ups the intensity. The format is 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and a minute of abs. One thing I like about the ab work is a good amount of exercises focusing on the lower part of the abs. Each level has three 3-2-1 circuits.
The cardio is tough, but short. She'll really get you out of breath with some of those moves.
I don't think this workout is appropriate at all for beginners. There is little in the way of form pointers. There seem to be too many ways that you could injure yourself with this workout if you don't have experience with working out with weights. I think if I had tried this when I was an absolute beginner, I would have given up. Also, I think it would just be too hard-- even if you did only one level. I guess the reason I make this point is that the workout is touted as having "three levels". This may lead some people to believe that it is beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
For me, this workout has been in regular rotation. Lately, the only exercise I've really wanted to do is walk outside (or go for a run on the rare day it is warm enough). I needed something that covered strength and cardio and does not require me pulling out a lot of equipment. This filled the bill nicely. I do feel like this workout is going to give me good results-- meaning increase my fitness. I don't think it is going to do anything magical for my body, however, no matter what Jillian says.
The workout does not require much equipment, space, or thought for that matter. That's fine.

Instructor Comments:
Where should I begin. I just find her
annoying. She is so into her persona. She does not seem to ever have one moment when she is not mugging for the camera or is not totally aware of how she is coming across. I mean, she just seems like she cannot exist without an audience. There's bada** Jillian. That is the one that dominates in this workout. There's "let me be your "life coach" Jillian. She has a little of that in her intro. And then there's "I've been smoking something funny" Jillian. That is not on display in this DVD. Thankfully.