I don't really like the use of the phrase "trouble zones". A dimpled arse or a wobbly arm is not on par with Basra or the Gaza Strip.
But you can't blame Jillian Michaels – these products need magical all-promising titles to suck in the crowds. If she gave her DVD a more honest and accurate label, such as I Am Going To Kill You In Forty Minutes Flat, she would never make a living.
No More Trouble Zones, henceforth known as NMTZ like a failed boy band, is a full body resistance workout in a circuit format. There are seven six-minute circuits, each consisting of two sets of five 30-second exercises.
It's less complicated than that sounds. All you need to know is – no matter what torturous exercise Jillian throws at you, you only have to endure it for 30 seconds at a time! Just when you are swearing at the telly and spluttering up your lungs, POW! She moves on to something else. This is the beauty of circuit training – it is brief in its brutality. Unlike say a Body Pump class, where you must perform bicep curls for the duration of an unfortunate Bryan Adams techno remix.
The best part of NMTZ is its simplicity:
- Easy to follow structure
- Straightforward moves like squats, lunges and old school floor exercises
- Minimal space – since it's weight training, not cardio, you don't move around too much. If you can step back and forward into lunges you've got enough room.
- Minimal equipment – just some light dumbbells, a mat if your floor is hard, and your own body weight.
It's also efficient. Jillian bangs on about maximum calorie burn in minimal time, so she does compound moves like squat with shoulder press and lunges with bicep curls. Your whole body gets involved so your heart rate goes through the roof.
I was skeptical – she uses only three pound dumbbells in NMTZ. How was that going to achieve anything? But the relentless pace and big moves ensure a tough workout. I used 3, 5, and 8 pound dumbbells depending on the muscle group and was pleasantly crippled the next day.
Verdict: NMTZ is a tough and straightforward workout, perfect for those days when you can't be bothered fussing around with lots of dumbbells and barbells.
Jillian explains the moves well but it is worth watching the DVD on the couch first so you know what's coming, as they really fly through the circuits.
NTMZ is aimed at the more experienced exerciser but you can easily modify the moves. For example, I could not for the life of me safely perform a chest fly with a double leg raise, so just raised one leg at a time. Another modification is to just do each circuit once then skipping forward to the next, instead of repeating them. You'll still get a good sweat going and you can gradually build up to the whole thing. This is also an option if you're pressed for time or a nice compromise for Cannae Be Arsed days.
My heart rate definitely climbed higher than with non-circuit weight training. That said, I've been missing lifting heavier weights like in Cathe Friedrich's DVDs so I'm planning to alternate the two for the next wee while.
Aside to the lads out there: I managed to persuade poor Dr G to give it a go. He can confirm this is not a wussy girl workout! Direct quote: "Hard, but good. I loiked it."
Here's a detailed breakdown of each circuit.
Note: This is just notes I scrawled between circuits so the exercise names may not be entirely accurate.
March in place, jump rope, arm circles, skaters, jack jumps.
Circuit 1 – Shoulders and Legs
– squat and shoulder press
– chair squat with anterior raise
– back lunge with shoulder raise – left leg
– back lunge with shoulder raise – left leg
– press out
Circuit 2 – Chest and Core
– chest press with crunch
– chest fly with double leg raise
– bicycle crunch
– push ups
Circuit 3 – Biceps and Bum
– deadlift with hammer curl
– static squat with concentration curl
– alternate lunge with wide grip bicep curl
– side lunge with bicep curl
Circuit 4 – Thighs and Triceps
– chair squat with kickback
– sumo squat with French press
– crescent (?)
– lunge & press
Circuit 5 – Core
– double crunches
– twisting plank
– plank with toe tap – left
– plank with toe tap – right
– windshield wipers
Circuit 6 – Upper Body and Core
– evil plank rows with dumbbell
– hip raise thingy left
– hip raise thingy right
Circuit 7 – Lower Body and Core
– side plank
– side raise
– inner thigh lift
– repeat above on other side
– donkey kicks – left and right
The usual cool down sort of thing.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review; I just liked the DVD and want to convert you to my working-out-at-home-in-your-jammies religion. Cheers to Diana from Soap & Chocolate for first writing about Jillian's new DVDs – I was off to the shops in a flash.