Review: Jillian Michaels' 'Ripped in 30'

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Me and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 have a tenuous relationship. Back in November, I committed to doing my bootcamp class Mondays, rest day Tuesdays, and then moving to the next Ripped in 30 level on Wednesday-Sunday. Weeks 1 and 2 went fine, but after doing Week 3, I had terrible tendinitis in my left shoulder. For 1.5 months afterwards, I was forced to go on quick-paced walks and do the 30 Day Abs Challenge rather than the ever-cranky Jillian Michaels. It was a major, serious bummer. And I blame Week 3 of Ripped in 30.

In February I finally got back into these circuit training DVDs for a second go-round with heavier (8lb) dumbbells as an added challenge, while also paying special mind to my shoulder that Jillian destroyed.

For those that aren't familiar with Jillian Michaels' approach (which I wrote about extensively, here), she uses a 3-2-1 method in Ripped in 30 just as she did in 30 Day Shred. {3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs} done 3 times, each time with a different set of exercises. You do each level 5-6 days before moving onto the next one. Her program is more consistent this time around, and you see a sprinkling of moves from 30 Day Shred, but mostly new ones especially after the first level.

JM Ripped in 30 - Week 1 Review
The first week's program focuses mainly on building a foundation of basic moves that will be expanded upon in later levels. This includes moves like basic crunches, military push ups, squat and press, etc. Most of the exercises should be familiar to those who've done 30 Day Shred. The level of difficulty is somewhere between 30 Day Shred's Level 1 and 2. Not too many plank moves, but still challenging cardio (running man, ugh) and moderately difficult strength moves (two types of shoulder flies, no). Much like level one of 30DS, most of the moves are also dynamic, so you pop in and out of them as that's easier than static and plyometric moves. Hollowman started out a bit off for me, and it took until the end of the week for me to be able to handle all the shoulder raises with 8lb weights, but I got there eventually.


JM Ripped in 30 - Week 2 Review
Holy plank workout, Batman! Much like 30 Day Shred week 2 is filled with an ungodly amount of plank-based exercises with a special focus on cardio, like mountain climbers, plank jacks, and squat thrusts. I started out having to take several breaks in the middle of the plank-cardio, and by the end of the week I still didn't have it under control. And I thought my biceps were strong until I attempted the serving biceps with pendulum lunges. Just not doable with 8lb dumbbells. Someday! If I wasn't doing this as by-the-book, I would probably be spending another week or two on this level to work on the form of my squat thrusts, increase the weight of my sumo squats & serving biceps, improve plank cardio endurance, and just focus on form overall. Next time, perhaps I'll skip Level 1 and just do Level 2 twice.


JM Ripped in 30 - Week 3 Review
I largely blame the weird warm-up of this level for my shoulder injury the first time through. Who starts with sledgehammers as a warm-up? No arm wheels or cross body arm swings. Just sledgehammers, lunge and twists, and standing splits. Circuit 3's strength portion also focuses on shoulders: downward dog push ups, single arm push ups, and elevated leg dips. For my second go-through of this level, I added a warm-up from a previous week to the front of this one and I also swapped out Circuit 3's strength for something easier on my shoulder (modified push ups, serving biceps w. pendulum lunges, and cautious tricep dips). I got through it all without any further injury.

One small note: despite being more consistent in this DVD, the last exercise of Level 3 - Circuit 1 - Strength (overhand-underhand rows with chair sit) is only done once. I guess her teleprompters failed to catch it.


JM Ripped in 30 - Week 4 Review
Um. What is with the motivational speech before the cool-down? JM goes on a 3 minute pat-yourself-on-the-back speech before launching into her usual cool down phase, that I always replace with the 30 Day Shred cool down.

Also, this level was the first time I had experienced any sort of muscle soreness since the beginning, entirely due to the appearance of floor flies and superman press outs. Who needs to use their pectoral muscles, anyways?! Otherwise, I thought this was a good standard workout. Almost enjoyable.

JM Ripped in 30 - Results
I'm not posting photos here, because I just don't need the whole world publicly searching for photos of me in athletic spandex. But I will post my measurements. I hit goal weight after the first week (Ri30 was just the last step in a looooong process), and so my numbers wobble up and down as I experimented with adding cookies back into my diet ;) It's also amusing, because I'm at a point where adding inches can be interpreted as a good thing: added muscle.

Weight: (week 0) 142.6 (1) 139.6 (2) 140.4 (3) 140.8 (week 4) 138.2
Waist: (week 0) 29" (1) 29.5" (2) 29" (3) 30" (week 4) 29"
Hips: (week 0) 36" (1) 37" (2) 37.5" (3) 37.5" (week 4) 37"
Thigh: (week 0) 18.5" (1) 17.75" (2) 17" (3) 19.5" (week 4) 19.75"
Upper Arm: (week 0) 9.5" (1) 10.5" (2) 10" (3) 10.25" (week 4) 10.75"

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