Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD Review

The celebrity trainer really pushes you in workouts

Get Physical With Jillian Michaels
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The "Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred" fitness DVD makes every second of your half-hour workout count. The brief, but intense exercise session is great if you're counting minutes—and calories. Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels works you hard in three circuits of increasingly difficult strength, cardio, and ab moves. It's not for the faint of heart (or knee), but you'll see results if you commit.

Michaels designed the circuits based on her own fitness training. In each video, she demonstrates the moves with two helpers, with one performing modified versions of lower impact and intensity.

Calories Burned

How many calories you can burn with "30-Day Shred" will depend on your weight and fitness level. Using a heart rate monitor to track your activity level and how many calories you burn in a day can help you set realistic expectations and goals.

In general, a person of average fitness, weighing 150 pounds, can expect to expend around 200 calories during one of these 28-minute workouts.

The secret to the workout's intensity is plyometric exercises. This type of exercise really challenges your body, requiring your muscles to move quickly from stretched to shortened and back—like when you're jumping or throwing a ball. Your body needs more energy to do these taxing movements, so it burns more calories.

"Plyo" moves work, but they can be unsafe if you don't do them correctly. To prevent injury, start with lower-impact and lower-intensity exercise until you build up some muscle strength. Always make sure to warm up before you do any plyometric work, and start by using both legs or arms at the same time.

The "30-Day Shred" workouts are presented in order of progressive intensity, so be sure to follow along carefully and resist the urge to skip ahead.

  • Short and easy to fit into a busy schedule

  • Requires little equipment (mat and hand weights)

  • Good variety of movements and muscles worked

  • Movements are easy to follow and understand

  • Included post-workout cool-down may be insufficient

  • Demonstrator of advanced moves doesn't always have great form

  • A promise of "20 pounds in 30 days" may be unrealistic for some

  • Moves can be hard on knees and shins unless you modify some of them

DVD Review

Workout videos aren't for everyone, and neither is brash, no-excuses trainer Jillian Michaels. But if you want a workout that works, and doesn't take hours of your day, the "30-Day Shred" DVD may be for you.

In less than 30 minutes, including a brief warm-up and cool-down, Michaels takes you through a butt-kicking series of strength, cardio, and ab moves.

You'll complete three circuits in each of the three workouts. Each circuit consists of three minutes of strength moves, two minutes of cardio, one minute of crunches, and other moves targeting the abdominal muscles.

The idea is to do 10 days of Level 1, then move up to Level 2, and so on. The levels build upon each other.

Here's an example:

  • In Level 1, you do ordinary push-ups.
  • In Level 2, things get a little tougher with walking push-ups, in which you stand up, then walk out to a push-up position on your hands, do the push-up, and walk back up to a standing position.
  • By Level 3, you're doing traveling push-ups, in which you stay down on the ground in a push-up position, but move your hands to a different position in between each rep.

Overall, the workout is efficient. Every minute counts and, as Michaels argues, the sessions can replace "hours of phoning it in at the gym." If you have the self-discipline to follow the moves without cheating, you will see some good results.

Many of the movements are intense and high-impact (especially the plyometrics in level 3). You'll need to pay close attention to your form and do the lower-impact modifications if you are less physically fit or prone to injury.

A Word From Verywell

An important note here: The assistant (Natalie) does not always use correct form when demonstrating the more advanced movements, so be sure to listen to Michaels' instructions carefully.

Finally, the cooldown stretches are perfunctory. Consider holding them for a longer time or adding additional stretches to better care for your muscles and joints.

Michaels puts a heavy emphasis on weight loss as a motivator. While that may be the primary motivation for some to buy the video, emphasizing health and strength would make a great workout more accessible to a wider audience.

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Article Sources
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  1. Westcott WL. Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012;11(4):209-216. doi:10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8

  2. Khodaei K, Mohammadi A, Badri N. A comparison of assisted, resisted, and common plyometric training modes to enhance sprint and agility performance. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017;57(10):1237-1244. doi:10.23736/S0022-4707.17.06901-8