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Workout Review: Hammer & Chisel

If you are looking for a workout that will keep your body guessing... look no further! I've tried a lot of workout programs and until Hammer & Chisel, none has worked my muscles in so many different ways as this one!

It's crazy... One day you'll be doing pull-ups, the next day chin-ups. One day plank stepping up and down with your hands on a bench, the next day plank on a ball as you see here. One day you'll be doing lots of squats with a light weight (medicine ball), the next day 8 reps total of squats with heavy weights. One day standing tricep kickbacks, the next day working your triceps lying back on the stability ball with arms behind the head.

You get the picture... There's lots of variety in this program. Almost every day you're doing some type of stepping up/stepping down move from your bench, some type of lunges, some squats, some push-up and plank variations... but it's never the same from day to day. With this level of variety, my body and brain were never bored!

This program was the best I've tried in terms of strength building. I was able to add resistance (increase my weights) in multiple exercises where I'd been stuck at the same weight for literally years. I estimate I added about 10 pounds of muscle to my body... which is a lot for someone my size! And I was able to do exercises I never thought I'd be able to do, like plyo push-ups (pushing up with explosive strength to lift your hands off the ground and then catch yourself on the way down). Overall, the program made me feel like a superhero!

Program length: 60 days

Workout length: 25-45 minutes

How is it structured? This isn't a program where you're doing the same workout session every Monday, the same one every Tuesday, etc. I can't find a lot of rhyme or reason to the calendar—it skips around a lot—but I find that more interesting than doing the same sessions in the same order. They are generally arranged to alternate strength and cardio somewhat, but most of the sessions have a significant strength/resistance component even if the focus is cardio (i.e., there's never an easy day!) You work out six days a week with one rest day, and you do each session an average of four times within the 60 days. Check my YouTube channel to see samples of the workouts and moves.

Low-impact? Definitely not.

Are modifications shown? Only for a few moves. This program may be appropriate for someone with an injury or physical limitation IF you know your body well and are experienced with exercise enough that you can figure out your own modifications. As a coach, I'm always here to help my clients and can help you figure out some modifications, but they aren't shown in the video so if you need to modify heavily, it will be time-consuming for us to go through the moves one by one for each of more than a dozen sessions.

What equipment is needed? Weights, most definitely! I have everything from 5 lb up to 35 lb and I used them all for this program! If you're just starting out, I'd say to have a variety... 5 lb, 8 lb, 10 lb, and 15 lb. (Yes, you need a pair of each!) There are adjustable weight sets where you can add and remove weight for different exercises... and load them up as you get stronger! Check out SelectTechs for one option. These are a bigger investment up front but save you money in the long run over buying pair after pair of dumbbells!

In addition, you need either a bench or a stability ball. I did this entire program with a stability ball, although I also have a cedar chest in my workout space that I stepped up and down from for some of the moves. I also used the bottom two steps of a flight of stairs in my house for some moves.

Lastly, you will need either a pull-up bar or a resistance band with door attachment. The deluxe workouts use a medicine ball that comes with the deluxe kit.

Interested in trying this program? Learn more in my video review or email me at to find out when my next challenge group starts! I can also guide you to my recommended sources for the equipment mentioned above, or get you set up with a different workout program if this one isn't up your alley. I'm only an email away... Let's chat!

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