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Review of Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 DVD

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Ripped in 30 Review

Want to get ripped? Jillian Michaels's latest workout DVD, Ripped in 30, promises to rip you up in 30 days!

With the same tough-as-nails motivational style that she brings to the hit TV show The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels's newest workout video is a worthy successor to her best-selling videos 30 Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones, Banish Fat Boost Metabolism, and 6 Week Six-Pack.


The Ripped in 30 DVD contains 4 workouts, from Weeks 1 to 4.

Jillian recommends that you start with the Week 1 workout, progressing to the next level when you're ready. It is recommended that you work out 5-6 days a week, ensuring to rest at least one day a week.

She also highly recommends that you follow the included diet plan, available as a PDF file downloadable from her website. The exact URL is provided during the DVD's introductory segment, and no website signup is required to download the diet plan PDF.

Her introduction recommends 2 sets of hand weights - one lighter set, and one heavier set. However, the trainers in this video only use a single set of hand weights, a 3-pound set.

A Great Followup to 30 Day Shred and 6 Week Six-Pack

Last year, I completed the full 30 Day Shred program to get rid of that last 10 pounds of fat and build 5 pounds of muscle.

This year, I followed that up with a terrific 6 Week Six-Pack session to get a rock-solid core. But I had to try Ripped in 30, after hearing that it takes the beloved 30 Day Shred-style 3-2-1 interval workouts to a whole new level!

Week 1 Overview

As in previous Jillian Michaels DVDs, two trainers are in the background. Shelley demonstrates the beginner modifications of the exercises, while Basheerah shows off the advanced versions. You'll recognize Basheerah from Jillian's 6 Week Six-Pack, Yoga Meltdown, and Shred-It with Weights workout DVDs.

Week 1 runs for almost 35 minutes, including warmup and cooldown. The main workout (excluding warmup and cooldown) runs for about 27 minutes.

The Warmup

The warmup starts out with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio moves, including fast overhead work with a single hand weight.

The Circuits

After the warmup, the main workout consists of three 6-minute circuits. Each circuit contains 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs, just like in 30 Day Shred. However, each move is performed for no more than 30 seconds, giving you the opportunity to power through and tough it out. Strength intervals consist of a set of 3 exercises performed twice, while cardio intervals consist of a set of 2 exercises performed twice. All levels of exercisers will be using the same set of lighter hand weights.

Strength Moves

The strength moves included are weight work, such as stiff-leg deadlift upright rows, chair pose with the reverse fly, and kettlebell-style swings with a single weight, plus many moves you'll recognize from 30 Day Shred, such as push-ups, squats with overhead press, side lunges with anterior raises, and bicep curls with lunges.

Cardio Moves

The cardio moves included are fast feet (tiny hops, football-player style!), running man, butt kicks, punches, single-leg hops, and skaters.

Abdominal Moves

The abdominal moves included are hollow man, plank pose, dynamic side plank moves, and both regular and reverse crunches.

For variety, Jillian promises that no moves will be repeated between the 4 workouts.

A gentle cool down, while standing, wraps up this workout.

My Review of Ripped in 30: Week 1

This is one tough workout.

Sure, the interval style and some of the moves feel familiar from the 30 Day Shred. But at 35 minutes (as opposed to no more than 27 minutes for the 30 Day Shred), it feels more like a test of your ability to endure discomfort and the smell of your own sweat!

Thank goodness no single exercise lasts longer than 30 seconds! Once you've performed one 30-second set of a brutal exercise, knowing that the next and final set for that exercise will be over within the next 2 to 3 minutes will help to keep you going. In contrast, 30 Day Shred's 3-minute strength intervals contain two 60-second sets of a single compound move, which can seem like a super-long time when it feels like it's killing you.

As I'm familiar with some of the moves from 30 Day Shred, I've been able to try the advanced versions of some of the exercises. However, I'm still shaking and falling down during the final side plank exercise. I can't imagine being able to hold the hollow man position for 15 seconds, let alone 30 seconds! Basheera is amazing as usual, and Shelley also has muscle definition to aspire to.

The tiny hops that football players do (as part of the fast feet exercise) are surprisingly brutal and my quads will pay for this for the rest of the week! The running man exercise is also pretty rough - up until now, we just thought it was an '80s dance move, not a real fat-burning exercise! (Thanks for the leg warmers joke, Jillian!)

Right after I tried this workout for the first time, I could tell that my shoulders, arms, thighs, glutes, and abs would be paying for this all week. 18 hours after I first tried Week 1, the muscle soreness really kicked in, and it hurt to move ANYTHING - but it's a good kind of pain!

The music is energetic to keep you moving, but Jillian's classic tough-love motivational style is what will see you through, and you'll need it! As Jillian describes it during Week 1, this workout is preparing us for more difficult workouts over the next few weeks.

I can't even begin to imagine the next 3 levels!

Week 2 Overview

For Week 2's workout, Shelley (from Week 1) demonstrates the advanced versions of the moves, while Natalie demonstrates the beginner modifications.

Week 2 runs 34 minutes including warmup and cooldown, while the main workout (excluding warmup and cooldown) runs 27 minutes.

The Warmup

This workout starts with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio moves, with more intricate moves than the Week 1 workout.

The Circuits

The main workout follows the same 3-2-1 interval training format as Week 1, with each exercise performed for no more than 30 seconds at a time.

The 3-minute strength intervals include exercises such as wide rows in crescent pose, pendulum lunges with serving biceps, chest press with pelvic thrusts, side lunges with leg raises, ab holds to tables, crow pushups, sumo squats with tricep extensions, stork stand with low rows, and renegade rows. One of the strength circuits does not include hand weights. All exercisers will be using the same set of lighter weights for this workout.

The 2-minute cardio intervals include jump rope with kickouts and jab-cross high-lows plus some exercises you'll recognize from the 30 Day Shred, such as plank jacks, mountain climbers, squat thrusts, and high knees.

The 1-minute abs intervals contain exercises such as diagonal situps, crawling up an extended leg, V-sit crunches, full situps with leg extensions, and crunches with leg raises.

Week 2 follows the same cooldown as Week 1.

My Review of Ripped in 30: Week 2

The Week 2 workout makes me miss the Week 1 workout. Halfway through the Week 2 workout, I was already drenched in sweat!

Sure, it's about the same length and format as Week 1. But don't let the fact that one strength circuit doesn't use hand weights make you think this is an easier workout - without weights, the body-weight training exercises Jillian will have you doing are even more brutal!

Most of the exercises require more coordination and balance than those in Week 1 - even Shelley stumbles a few times during the stork stand rows exercise! There's a lot of tumbling and stumbling going on, especially while trying to do pendulum lunges without tapping the foot in the middle position!

Some of the abs exercises are more difficult than those in 6 Week Six-Pack., and had me begging for mercy. As for the ab hold and V-sit crunch exercises, I thought those were only reserved for Olympic gymnasts or Pilates pros, but of course, Jillian and Shelley perform them effortlessly - the rest of us will just have to follow along with the beginner modifications and work up to the intermediate level.

For those of you with knee problems, the plank jacks, squat thrusts, and mountain climbers may be too ballistic for your knees, so follow the beginner modifications for these exercises if you need to. But even beginners still spend a lot of time in plank pose, so get used to it.

I know my shoulders, back, abs, and knees will be paying for this all week, and feel completely wiped out. Both Natalie and Shelley display insanely aspirational abs, so it's worth it.

This workout truly embodies the notion that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. But it has also become clear that Weeks 3 and 4 will be brutal.

Week 3 Overview

For Week 3, Shelley demonstrates the beginner modifications, while Basheera returns to show us the advanced workout.

Week 3 runs for 31 minutes including warmup and cooldown. The main workout (excluding warmup and cooldown) runs for 23 minutes.

The Warmup

This workout starts with dynamic stretching, balance, and low-impact cardio moves, with more intricate moves, including a single hand weight.

The Circuits

The main workout follows the same 3-2-1 interval training format as Week 1, with each exercise performed for no more than 30 seconds at a time.

The 3-minute strength intervals include the following exercises: the bear crawl, the duck walk, staggered row in a squat position, stork stand reverse fly, single-legged squats with corkscrew curls, rock and roll squats with the reverse crunch, pike pushups (in downward dog position), one-arm side pushups, and tricep dips from the tabletop position. The last strength circuit does not include hand weights. All exercisers will be using the same set of lighter weights for this workout.

The 2-minute cardio intervals include squat jacks, skiers, squat jumps, static lunge with upper-body running, jumping lunges, and single-legged cross-hops.

The 1-minute abs intervals contain exercises such as plank twists, straight-leg squat thrusts, toe-tappers (with weights), diagonal crunches with weights and leg raises, ab holds, and pike crunches.

Week 3 follows the same cooldown as Weeks 1 and 2.

My Review of Ripped in 30: Week 3

Week 3 really gives it to you. After the first time I tried Week 3, I felt queasy and woozy. I've seen Biggest Loser contestants lose their lunch before, but this is the closest I've come to it myself. I couldn't write this review until my first day off from this workout.

Focus and coordination are key, as this workout will really test your endurance and your sense of balance. It's like the cardio is there just to wipe you out. All of the trainers stumble or bobble at least once during a balance exercise.

During the first circuit, Jillian really gives it to your quads, and they will be praying for mercy. The duck walk looks so easy, but is so awful - who knew? Both the strength and cardio segments in the first circuit are brutal - though the staggered row in squat position exercise is performed only once (the 2nd try is missed), it took me a few run-throughs to notice, as I was so wiped out just trying to follow along.

Jillian promises to hammer your upper body during the third strength circuit, and she delivers, in an effort to get us all to have Michelle Obama's arms.

As for the ab hold exercise, I can't imagine how any non-professional athlete can hold that position for 30 seconds. We'll just have to follow the beginner modifications and let the chips (or the butt) fall where they may.

For those of you with knee problems, the squat jacks, straight-leg squat thrusts, and jumping lunges may be quite hard on your knees, so follow the beginner modifications for these exercises if you need to. In fact, I found the jumping lunges quite jarring to my entire body, not just my knees - my head was spinning afterward!

After completing this workout 6 times, I can see that my abs look fabulous, so I know it's time to move on to Week 4.

But I'm terrified of Week 4.

Week 4 Overview

For Week 4, Basheera and Shelli return to demonstrate the advanced and beginner modifications, respectively.

Including warmup and cooldown, Week 4 runs 33 minutes, with the main workout lasting 24 minutes.

The Warmup

Dynamic stretching moves requiring good balance (but no hand weights) serve as a gentle warmup to start this workout.

The Circuits

The main workout follows the same 3-2-1 intervals as the previous weeks.

The 3-minute strength intervals consist of an alternating crescent pose, squat and press, rows in a squat position, supermans with a shoulder press, renegade rows with a pushup, crossover lunges, chest fly with a bridge, chaturanga pushups, and forearm pushups.

The 2-minute cardio intervals include plie hops, jumping jacks with a front kick, burpees, scissor hops, plank moguls, and double jump rope.

The 1-minute abs intervals contain downward dog with a knee to nose, plank walk, side-to-side in the pike position, v-sit into hollow man, and straight-leg situps with toe-tappers.

Week 4 wraps with a two-minute rest while Jillian gives you an empowering motivational chat, followed by an express version of the same cooldown from Weeks 1 to 3.

My Review of Ripped in 30: Week 4

Week 4 is yet another sweat-inducing workout. I have to grunt my way through the renegade rows with pushups, while the series of chaturanga pushups and forearm pushups always grind me into a pulp - sweat drips onto my yoga mat every time. Jillian starts to mix it up a bit, giving you ab-style work during the strength intervals, knowing you're begging for mercy.

She even gives you a 5-count break within the cardio interval consisting of burpees and scissor hops, but it doesn't help much...

The v-sit into hollow man is completely beyond me still, even after 1 week.

For those of you with knee problems, take it easy with the plie hops and the scissor hops. I still think those are for dancers only!

Despite all the whimpering that Week 4 induced, I still found Week 3 to be more challenging as a whole.

Her motivational pep talk during the 2-minute cooldown rest is empowering and warm, conveying some of the same messages as her latest book, Unlimited.

After completing Week 4, my abs looked fabulous (though more a 2- or 4-pack than a 6-pack), and I felt stronger than ever.

I HIGHLY recommend this program to anyone who is looking to change their body fast, with limited daily workout time.

Production Notes

This is the first Jillian Michaels workout DVD presented in 16:9 widescreen. Unfortunately, some of the items on the DVD (such as the menu) are not presented in the widescreen aspect ratio, so I found myself switching between standard and widescreen modes on my TV.

All the workouts, however, are presented in widescreen.

During all four workouts, all the trainers use the Jillian Michaels Ultimate line of fitness equipment and wear matching workout gear from the new Jillian Michaels Collection By K-Swiss.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Jasmine on May 09, 2017:

Whats the diet plan

VancouverGal (author) from Canada on March 12, 2014:

Generally Jillian's meal plan suggestions include unlimited non-starchy vegetables - hope you find them tasty!

erika on February 21, 2014:

Has anyone done jillian's ripped in 30 day meal plan? If so what r u supposed to eat with your dinners that r on the meal plans it only says the main stable ( turkey kabob or chicken satay)? Any help would be great. Thanks

VancouverGal (author) from Canada on November 20, 2013:

Hi KH - sorry for the late reply! Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to follow the meal plan. In the meal plan, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are each approximately 400 calories, while snacks are around 200 calories. The recipes look pretty simple too!

KH on November 12, 2013:

Did you follow the diet plan?

Amv on March 01, 2013:

She says in one of her vids that they use light weight because they are shooting all day to get the best fotage for the video.

Faith A Mullen on January 08, 2013:

One of my favorites (along with her 6 Week 6-Pack). I've recently tried Jillian's Yoga Meltdown and now love mixing that one in as well. It's seriously good on the arms.

mommyloves2write on May 16, 2012:

I bought this a month ago and love it! It is brutal, but in a good way!

Sally on April 29, 2012:

I'm on week 2 and my knee is really bothering me. I used to run, but never had knee problems before. I'm just getting back into shape after having a baby 3 months ago, maybe that is what why the exercises affect my knees so much? I'm afraid of progressing to week 3 now! :D

VancouverGal (author) from Canada on December 05, 2011:

Good luck with the program, Eva! Looking forward to keeping up with your progress!

toshilo66 on March 20, 2011:

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