Tuesday 13 February 2018

Killer Body DVD Review

Price: £10
Length: 3x 30 minute workouts
Workouts: Upper Body, Core, Lower Body
Suitable for: Everyone
Overall Rating:   ★★★★★
Enjoyment:  ★★★☆☆   Difficulty:  ★★★★☆   Results:  ★★★★★
Based on 8 weeks of use.

   So I've used this DVD three times now and as far back as 2015, and it's taken me until now to write a review. That's not because it's bad - it's actually because it's such an incredibly brilliant DVD that I use it at those severe times of the year, like Christmas, and don't have the time to write a review. But I finally got around to it, and that's a very good thing, because this is one of my absolute favourite Jillian Michaels DVDs. There's so much room for growth, so many unique moves, and with a workout for the upper body, another for the lower body, and another just for the core, it's easy to use it every single day.
   Well, not for me, perhaps, because I suffer migraines and frequent high-impact workouts both aggravate them and bring them on, but for normal people who aren't plagued by such things! But when I assign it as a month's workout, I will always use it on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and rest on the others. It works best for me and seems to be my migraine boundary.
   If you're looking for information about the workout as well as my honest opinion, read on!

   'Killer Body' is a big promise, but, as usual, Jillian Michaels is in a position to make them, and this DVD is the means to achieve it. With three workouts combining weights with compound moves while focusing in on upper body, lower body and core, it's not for the faint-hearted - but if you want a 'killer body', you have to be ready to push.
   Compound moves are more effective at burning fat that isolated weights or cardio alone, and take less time to do, which means that you can get an amazing workout into just 30 minutes and visible results after a few weeks of use. And while weights are involved in the core and lower body workouts, if the focus isn't on the upper body, you have permission to go lighter.
   With the DVD being broken into different areas of the body, it can be used every day as long as you don't use the same workout on consecutive days - but, as always, the workout starts the change, and the rest and recovery makes it. Aim for at least one rest day a week, or one total rest day and one active recovery day with an activity such as yoga to help stretch and repair the muscles.

   The workout requires simple kit: hand weights and a mat. Definitely make sure you have a variety of different weights, however. Every movement is different and smaller muscle groups are not necessarily as strong as larger, and muscle groups you rarely use or target will of course be weaker. Personally, I used everything from 1.5kg (3lbs) to 4kg (9lbs), and at one point doubled up to hold a 4kg and 1kg in each hand because my heaviest wasn't quite enough. I do love a good deadlift.

Difficulty & Structure
   Each workout consists of four circuits, each run through twice and then followed by a 1-minute cardio interval before moving on to the next, and each move is provided with beginner and advanced modifications. The best way to approach it, as with any workout, is to try the original movement rather than going straight for the beginner mod, and, if you can, try a few reps of the advanced. It doesn't matter if you can't finish the set with advanced moves, or the intermediate if you're still personally at the beginner level, but trying is how you will grow.
   As for which weights to use, it's best to have a variety on hand because for some moves you'll want to go lighter, and others heavier. Having just one set of weights will mean some moves are too challenging to complete, while others you may breeze through too easily. If you're unsure what to use for each one, use your judgement, and consider how you feel. Generally the correct weight is one that is light enough for you to complete the set with good form, but just heavy enough that you struggle for the final 2-3 reps. As soon as you stop struggling, it's time to up the weight - and congratulate yourself!

Upper Body
   The upper body workout isn't too deadly, and while the focus is on the arms, back and chest, your legs do, of course, get involved in order to burn more calories and fat. But te whole workout is still pretty well-balanced and no particular circuit is any harder or easier than the last. Instead, every other move is a challenge which gives you plenty of room to grow. A variety of weights are good to have on hand - heavier is better, as your focus is upper body, but for some moves you will simply need to drop down to something lighter. Standing chest flyes are always murder, so I typically use lighter weights than I would for lying chest flyes.

   The core workout is, to my mind, the most manageable of the three, but it is by no means easy. Weights aren't used as often in this workout - about 4 times, I think - instead it's mostly body weight, which means pushing yourself is more about depth and height than it is about the number on the dumbbell.
   Crunches are involved, of course, but Jillian Michaels knows the body well, and knows that there are a myriad of ways to hit the core, oblique, internal and external, back and so on, so don't expect to spend much time lying down.
   I often follow this workout with some kickboxing, so that does suggest that it is the kindest when it comes to cardiovascular activity.

Lower Body
   Lower body is easily the hardest workout on the disc, but with your lower body muscles being so much bigger than your core or upper body, there's a lot more room to burn calories and fat in this section than the others, and while core and arms do get a look-in, the focus is definitely on the legs.
   The first two circuits are the worst, but you should have more energy at the start, so you can get through them, especially knowing that the majority of movements in circuit three and four are slower and more controlled, making it easier on your heart rate. But that's also not to say that this is easy, either. It's all a challenge, but if, like me, you hate cardio, the second half is almost enjoyable. That said, I love a good lower body workout!
   The weights used in this one are the most varied. It's not upper body day, so you don't really need heavy weights, but at the same time, even my heaviest weights aren't enough for deadlifts anymore, to the point that I resorted to holding two weights in each hand for it. But that's also my own experience; everyone's strength is different, and, as I said, I love leg day!

   This has been my go-to workout for the Christmas season for both 2015 and 2017, while in 2016 I followed the same structure with Jillian Michaels' Killer Buns & Thighs and Killer Arms & Back DVDs, and it has never failed me. It's hard work, but it's varied enough to be enjoyable - in fact, while I usually use it for 6 weeks over Christmas, this year I used it for 9 weeks, from December 4th (I always start new workouts on a Monday) to February 3rd (and end them on a Saturday), and I didn't get bored at all!


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