I completed The Master’s Hammer & Chisel program several weeks ago…and I’ve finally taken the time to sit down and type up my review!
This ALSO happens to be my first blog post since before…CHRISTMAS!! Oh my! Clearly, blogging has taken a backseat to holidays, my kids’ birthday parties three weekends in a row…and then getting sick for two straight weeks (and then dealing with another sick kid). Ugh!
But…I’m finally feeling ready to get back into the groove again…with my workouts, my nutrition, AND with my blogging and coaching!
So, what did I think of Hammer & Chisel? After I got over the initial shock of switching my mindset for this program, I really liked it! (Remember, I had been doing the 21 Day Fix Extreme program from July of last year all the way until the first of January!! I loved 21 DFX. I mean, seriously…it was totally my preferred style of workout with all the squats and lunges, even on upper body days!!)
Anyway, when Hammer & Chisel came out in December, I knew it was time to switch things up and do something new. My body was ready for a change.
Hammer & Chisel workouts are very different from 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts, but there was still an element of familiarity. For me, it was hardest to get used to incorporating so much equipment into my workouts again. Going from one piece of equipment to another was overwhelming to me at first…but, honestly, that’s how I feel every time I start a new workout program. A new routine (with totally new moves) is intimidating at first and it usually takes a couple of rounds to figure out where the heck each body part is supposed to be going (or not going)!
So, I’ll admit… week one was kind of rough for me. I didn’t feel like I was getting the same challenge as I was from 21 DFX and I was annoyed because it wasn’t familiar. Fast forward two weeks?? Of course, I was enjoying it so much more! The workouts helped me remember that I am strong! I can lift heavy weights!
I also liked having a new trainer thrown into the mix (Sagi Kalev) and I really enjoyed the Olympic style power lifting that was totally new to me. Overall, it was fun and my husband and I both felt like we were pushing ourselves in new ways. However, we did feel like we were missing the cardio aspect that we had grown to love during 21 DFX.
This is how my husband summed it up: “After doing 21 Day Fix Extreme for so long, I felt like I could run a couple miles or jump over a fence and felt really good overall and on the inside. With Hammer & Chisel, I feel STRONGER, but I feel like I lost some of my cardio. I get out of breath quicker now.”
And I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about it, too. Don’t get me wrong…we were still huffing and puffing and sweating with these workouts, but it wasn’t quite the same intensity with the cardio side of things as we were used to. This program is more focused on building muscle (getting built up AND chiseled), whereas 21 Day Fix is more geared towards toning up and slimming down.
What equipment is needed for Hammer & Chisel??
- Free weights of varying size (I mostly used a range of 8 lbs to 20 lbs)
- A weight bench OR stability ball (My husband used our bench for the program, while I rotated between a stability ball and a folding chair…or just doing the “modifier” move on the floor. After going through the entire program, I don’t think a bench is critical if you don’t already own one.)
- A pull up bar OR a resistance band with door attachment. (Quite honestly, I was glad to use the band and stick my husband on the bar. I still felt the burn…but doing pull-ups without assistance for a full minute wouldn’t have worked for me, anyway.)
Here are my thoughts on some of the workouts in the program:
- Chisel Balance – I really felt these moves in the sides of my glutes. Balance is always hard for me (I’m just not good at it)…but every move was on one leg. Split jumps with one foot on the bench, a bridge move with one leg up and both arms going behind the head (to work the lats in the back), one arm chest press on bench with opposite leg coming off the ground, etc. Overall thoughts? We ended the workout feeling like our butts got quite the burn and our arms were weak, but we weren’t dripping in sweat or felt like we got much of a cardio burn. The next day? I had SUPER sore hamstrings, the sides and backs of my calves hurt, my triceps were sore, and I noticed sore muscles in my back that I didn’t even know I had! So…clearly, the workout challenged my body in a completely NEW way!
- Hammer Plyometrics – A lot more technical with more moving around…from bench to pull-ups to burpees to the bench again…and lots of jumping in this one. Definitely out of breath and on the verge of sweating. (Remember, it was January when we started this, so our house was colder than usual in the mornings.) Sumo squat jump, lunge/lunge/squat, pull-ups with a burpee, jumping side to side with hands on the bench, giving a high five to Shaq. (You know, the famous basketball player that we pretended was in our basement with us while we worked out.) 🙂 There was only one move with weights in this routine and the more I did it, the better I became with it.
- ISO Strength Chisel – 10 reps, 10 second hold, repeat two times, without any rest in between. Loved it!! Push-ups with hold, sumo squats with hold, pull-ups with hold (I used the band), lunge squats with one leg on bench, shoulder raises, step-ups on bench. Very intense muscle burn on all moves. Definitely my kind of workout.
- Rest day– Rest day technically falls every Thursday in this program, which is why I began on a Thursday. I prefer Sunday to be my rest day. Sometimes I did nothing and sometimes I went for an easy walk on the treadmill. (When the weather gets nicer, we usually do a family bike ride on Sundays.)
- ISO Speed Hammer – 10 reps at a 1-2-3 count, followed by 10 reps fast. While I liked it, it was only 24 minutes long and I was left feeling like, “that’s it?” Second time through I knew I needed to bump up my weights if I was going to get the correct intensity. It was a total body workout, though, with moves including sumo squat, lateral arm raises, chin-ups, curl ups over bench/ball, weighted lunges, back flies with band, etc.
- Chisel Endurance – Bench run ups, decline push-ups, incline chest press, reverse pull-ups, etc. The moves were challenging, but I didn’t get quite as exhausted as I was hoping for a workout that had “endurance” in the name.
- Total Body Hammer & 10 Min Ab Hammer– Pyramid style sets of weight lifting: 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. So proud of myself because I used two 25 lb free weights when I did bench press on the stability ball! For me, that’s a lot. (Granted, I had a 90 lb max bench press in high school, but whatever…) 😉 And then the “11:34″ minute ab workout was incredible! I loved how intense it was while I was doing it and then the next day I was super sore. Always a good sign that I was really working my muscles!
- Chisel Cardio – This was the first workout in the lineup in which I broke a sweat. Yay for that! Every move contains weights and lasts one full minute…and we keep moving throughout the entire workout. Moves like: step-ups on the bench, pull-ups (I used the band), burpees, planks with legs going out to the side, figure 8 for core, and more.
- Max Hammer Strength – I liked this one a lot. You “pre fatigue” the muscle with one min of reps without weight and then do 8-10 reps with heavy weight. Definitely had our muscles beat afterwards. Lunges, chest press/push-ups, pull-ups/shoulder press, etc.
- Chisel Agility – My kind of workout! Very sweaty after this one. Squat jumps with turns, lunge jumps, burpees, quick feet, lots of non stop moving.
- 10 Min Ab Chisel – Not my favorite ab workout. Definitely felt it in my abs, but there were too many planks and side planks (in my opinion)…so after so many moves on my hands/wrists, I just can’t do anymore. (I have weak wrists.) I ended up modifying and just doing crunches on the floor for the side planks and bird dog crunch moves.
- Max Hammer Strength – This one incorporated power lifting: cleans and jerks. Basically the whole workout is building up to a combo move of clean, squat, split press above head. Something totally different and I really liked it! An injury could probably happen easily with this workout if someone were to get sloppy with their form, but, thankfully, Sagi breaks it down really well and walks us through the proper technique with each and every move.
- Total Body Chisel – Made me sweat again! It’s a quick paced workout with weights. 10 reps of each move, three rounds. Curtsy lunges, triceps dips, back lunges, curls, open arm, etc. Total body…just like the name implies!
So…overall thoughts…. Would I recommend this program to someone else? Absolutely! It’s not for the beginner or someone who hasn’t worked out regularly in a while, but if you’re looking for a new challenge and want to change things up and push your body with heavier weights, then yes, this program is for you! If you want to see muscle growth, this is what I would recommend. (If you want to start with something more basic, but still highly effective, I would recommend the original 21 Day Fix.)
What were our results? I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
I’ll admit, this was a rough one for me. I had all intentions of “hitting it hard” while going through this program, but with the birthday parties three weekends in a row, the Superbowl, and a 4 day long weekend with everyone home…well, all those things threw me a bit. I wasn’t able to focus on my nutrition like I had planned to. And I know I shouldn’t use this as an ‘excuse,’ but winter in Indiana is HARD for me. Being stuck inside so much, not being able to get outside to play with the kids, go for a walk, bike ride, or run is really hard on me…not to mention constantly being freezing and covering myself with layers upon layers of clothing. It’s hard for me to focus on healthy eating when I’m craving comfort foods…and shorts, tank top, and bikini weather seems SO far off. It was definitely NOT the program’s fault that I didn’t see the results that I was hoping for. It was my fault because I didn’t put the effort into the nutrition portion. So I pretty much stayed exactly where I was when I started. And that’s okay. I’ll just keep going. For me, this is a lifestyle and not so much of a ‘before/after’ type of thing anymore.
However, my husband saw some serious results with it!! (Also a bit annoying because he pays absolutely no attention to what he eats throughout the course of the day…)
Check out how much more muscle he has NOW versus after he completed the 21 Day Fix Extreme!
He was very pleased with the muscle he put on during this program…even if he didn’t feel like he could jump over a fence and run a mile quite as easily anymore. 😉 (But, just to be clear…he does NOT go out running or jumping over fences…though, he does like to practice his standing long jump just for fun…and to show off.) 🙂
Will we keep doing these workouts? Absolutely! I’m already looking forward to going back and mixing them in with all of our other favorite workouts soon!
So, that pretty much sums it all up! If you’re interested in ordering Hammer & Chisel WITH a month’s supply of Shakeology (a nutrient dense superfood/vitamin/protein shake), you can order that here.
Or…if you want the workouts ONLY, you can order those here.
I run a new challenge/accountability group on Facebook every month for anyone that orders a new program through me. Next one starts Monday, April 11th! If you’re interested in joining, send me a message on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you choose what program is right for YOU.
21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, P90X3, PiYo, Hammer & Chisel, or Cize? Or maybe it’s the brand new 22 Minutes Hard Corps with Tony Horton! It’s what I started doing this week and it’s intense (in a good way)! It has to be if the workouts are only 22 minutes long, right?! It’s a military-inspired program designed to burn fat, build lean muscle, and get you “boot camp fit” in 22 minutes a day. (It also has special pricing going on through the end of March, so if you’re interested, now is the time to buy! Let me know!)
If you’re ready to improve your fitness level, lose weight, or just FEEL HEALTHY again, I would love to coach you through a program! Let me know how I can help!