Difficulty level: Rating: Very challenging
Sweat-O-Meter: Rating: Dripping
Overall rating: Rating: Highly recommend
Length of workout: Approx. 1 hour
Equipment needed: Pair of 3-5 lb. hand weights (I use both in this workout)
Anyone familiar with The Biggest Loser reality show on NBC knows Jillian Michaels. And if you know Jillian, you know you are not going to skate through this workout. In fact, this workout is not for beginners.
The workout starts with a 5-minute warm-up, consisting of jump-ropes, arm circles, high steps, jumping jacks, and other cardio moves to get your blood circulating.
The rest of the workout consists of seven circuits, each repeating once.
Circuit #1: You start out with shoulder presses; then move into backward lunges w/shoulder raises. Doing this one leg at a time is definitely a killer.
Next are chair squats with anterior raises – squat like you’re sitting in a chair while lifting your weights. Another killer. Press-outs are the last in this circuit. Hold your weights parallel to the ground in front of you facing up; then move them outward; then inward.
Circuit #2 (abs): Jillian brings one of her workout girls to the front, using her as a model while she explains the moves. We’re working abs here, starting with a crunch, with the added bonus of a chest press. Next we move on to leg & arm lifts with weights. Ouch!
Bicycle crunches are next, followed by something called squirms – a crunch while attempting to grab your ankles. The last exercise in this circuit is a set of push-ups, which is one of the best workouts for the chest area.
Circuit #3: This one starts out easy: Dead lifts with hammer curls. Then we go into a static squat with a bicep curl, one arm at a time; followed by alternating lunges with a wide grip curl. Side lunges with bicep curls are last. This circuit is fairly easy to get through.
Circuit #4: This circuit begins with tricep kickbacks. Sumo squats are next – a squat while lifting your weights above your head. On to the Surrender. Warning: If you have weak knees, either put a towel down or skip it altogether; it’s tough! The final workout in this circuit is the Crescent: Pressing the weights behind you while in a lunge position.
Circuit #5: Jillian brings her other workout girl to the front to demonstrate more floor work. The double crunch– a great workout for the abs – is the first exercise. Then we flip over for a twisting plank (on your hands, not your elbows). While in a plank position, bring your knee to your armpit. Then do the same thing on the other side. Easier said than done.
Remaining in that position, the plank toe-tap is next. Windshield wipers finish out this set; which are similar to the leg/arm lifts in circuit #2, but without the weights.
Circuit #6: Jillian starts with plank rows – get in a plank position and perform alternating rows with dumbbells. She shows a modified version using your knees, but it’s still a bear of an exercise. The Superman and Hollowman with scissor kicks are next.
The circuit ends with the pelvic thrust, and I don’t mean the Rocky Horror dance. You’re on your back for these.
Circuit #7: With the exception of the first move, this final circuit is reminiscent of those exercises you were forced to do in gym class. Jillian offers a warning about the side plank: “These are vicious.” Really. Getting the hardest move out of the way, she follows this with front leg raises and inner thigh raises. Donkey kicks and fire hydrants are last, and although they are somewhat cheesy, they really are good for your legs.
Cooldown: Jillian winds down the workout with some stretching and cool-down exercises. At this point you are sweating profusely, which is the point. And you’ll be sore tomorrow, but hey, that’s a small price to pay for trying to keep the only body you have in shape.
All in all, this is a GREAT workout. You can see a preview of it here. If you get a chance to do this workout, let me know what you think in the comments below.