30 Day Shred
with trainer Jillian Michaels
You will love it if:
Jillian’s quirky personality doesn’t come out as much in this video as it does in other videos where she is constantly cracking jokes. She is a bit more to the point in these videos. The workouts start with a 3 minute warm-up, followed by 3 circuits, and a 2 minute cool-down. Each of the 3 circuits uses the 3-2-1 interval training system that Jillian is well known for; each circuit starts with 3 minutes of strength moves, followed by 2 minutes of cardio, and finished off with 1 minute of core work. You then move on to the next circuit. Each portion includes two moves that are done for 30 seconds each (except that there is one 1 minute long strength move in each circuit). The moves are Throughout the circuit, moves are broken into 30 seconds increments and repeated twice. So, for example, during the cardio portion, you do 1 move for 30 seconds, switch to a different move for 30 seconds, and then repeat both moves for 30 seconds each. During the strength section, you do the first move for 30 seconds, switch to a different move for 1 minute, then repeat both moves. Only the core moves are not repeated through twice and you simply do 2 moves for 30 seconds each.
The workouts are also similar to other Jillian videos in other respects. Just like the rest of her videos, she has two actresses doing the workout with her—one doing the advanced version and one doing the modified version. Natalie and Anita are the actresses working out with Jillian in this video, and you will see them in many of her other videos if you are a Jillian fan. (Natalie is a riot, and definitely a Jillian fan favorite.) As in many of her other videos, these workouts require handweights and include tons of high impact moves—which can be an issue if you have joint problems.
The strength moves typically focus on the arms, but there are also many combination arm/leg moves worked in. However, since your legs tend to be much stronger than our arms, you usually get a much better arm workout than leg workout when doing an arm/leg combination move. While your arms are begging for mercy when you’re curling 10 pounders, your legs are thinking, “Seriously?! You call this a workout? I can squat 50s....” My point is that, though the workouts are intended to be full-body workouts, the strength moves are much harder for your arms than your legs. The cardio portions of the workout usually focus on plyometric moves (which strengthen your legs) that help to balance out the arm work from the strength sections. But if you are in good shape or have a small frame (ie. you don’t weigh a whole lot), even the plyometrics will not be that challenging for your legs, and you will find the workouts to be much more challenging for your upper body than your lower body or core (except for the level 3 workout which is a bit more balanced).
The one beef I have with this video is that you can’t fast forward through the opening copyright laws, disclaimers, or Jillian’s introduction speech—at least not on the copy I have. So you have to start the video a few minutes before you actually plan on doing it. It’s a real pain if you forget to start it early because you might not have time to finish the workout by the time you wait through all the gibber gabber. Another weird thing about this video is that for a couple of the ab moves, the camera focuses only on the modified actress before showing you the advanced version. So if you want to do the advanced version of the move, you’ll just have to guess what the heck it is until Jillian gets around to showing you. Of course, after you’ve done the video a few times, hopefully you’ll remember what the advanced move was so you won’t be guessing anymore. A bonus feature is that you can play the workouts with music and Jillian’s instructions or with music only.
All of these workouts require small handweights. Try 3 to 5 pound weights if your arms are not already strong; 5 to 10 pound weights if you have stronger arms. You will also want a pair of heavier weights for the swinging lifts and dead lifts in level 3—something between 10 and 20 pounds depending on your fitness level. It is also best to perform these workouts on a soft surface or yoga mat to protect your joints when doing the floor moves.
If you can stretch your arms out into a T and above your head while lying down, you’ll have enough space. Some of the moves also require you to jump with your arms stretched out overhead, so be careful if you have a low ceiling!
If you use smaller, 3 pound handweights, the level 1 workout is accessible for anyone who can do about 15 minutes of cardio work (jogging, stair stepper, elliptical…). The levels 2 and 3 workouts are a bit harder, and require a bit more leg and core strength.
What NOT to Expect
Though these workouts do provide a full-body workout, the leg and core work is not as intense as the arm work. These videos are a great addition for days when you want to work your arms without neglecting the rest of your body, but (with the exception of level 3) they do not provide a very good leg or core workout.
How does 30 Day Shred compare to other similar programs?
If you want to get in great all-around shape, you should either opt for Jillian’s Ripped in 30—the workouts on that video are the same length and were done in the same 3-2-1 interval training method, but they include a greater variety of moves and do a better job of working all of your body parts equally. If you are like me and prefer to focus on different parts of your body on different days, you might like pairing the 30 Day Shred (which focuses on the arms) with my all-time favorite Jillian videos Killer Buns & Thighs and 6-Week Six Pack (you can guess which parts of the body they focus on…).
If you are a runner or athlete looking to boost your speed, improve your vertical leap, or build up your cardiovascular endurance, you should probably try a more plyometric heavy video like Killer Buns & Thighs, ZCUT Power Cardio, Focus T25, or Insanity. ZCUT Power Strength is another great alternative if you want workouts that are super short and include a lot of strength training components. The workouts are a bit shorter and simpler but just as challenging (and often even more challenging). However, they do not include the 3-2-1 interval training method that many people love about Jillian’s 30 Day Shred.
HARDER WITH MORE AB & LEG WORK
Ripped in 30
No More Trouble Zones
HARDER WITH FOCUS ON BUTT & THIGHS
Killer Buns & Thighs
HARDER WITH FOCUS ON ABS
6 Week Six-Pack