Fitness DVD review: Jillian Michaels Extreme Shed & Shred

Jillian Michaels takes exercisers through circuits alternating cardio and strength moves in her new DVD.
By Liz Plosser |

There are few things that squash one’s workout motivation more than icy, frigid Chicago weather. In an effort to find effective indoor exercise alternatives, we’re launching a new column where we test drive a slew of the newest, most popular fitness DVDs.

First up, Jillian Michaels Extreme Shed & Shred ($8.99 at, which requires a yoga mat and, if you’re feeling ambitious, dumbbells. Two 45-minute workouts—one really hard, one really, really hard—take exercisers through circuits alternating cardio and strength moves. Michaels hits a variety of disciplines, from yoga to kickboxing, but every single exercise will have your muscles quivering and your lungs burning, especially if you use hand weights as she encourages. (Instead of running in place during a cardio circuit, you’ll do butt kicks while holding a dumbbell; instead of a downward dog, you’ll do the move supported on one arm and grabbing your ankle. Can you say oof?)

If you’ve watched past seasons of The Biggest Loser, then you know Michaels can be abrasively drill sergeant-ish, but I found her to be an aggressive yet compassionate cheerleader in this video. The moves are creative and quickly change up—just as you’re ready to throw in the towel, it’s on to the next. Done twice a week, these workouts should give you plenty of variety and challenge this winter.

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