Hammer and Chisel
Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel workout program is hit or miss. The supplemental materials are informative, you’ll get a decent workout more often than not, and it’s a worthwhile program if you have basic fitness goals (lose weight, gain a little muscle, etc.). But it drops the ball time and time again. Almost every day is a full-body workout, legs get more attention than they need, the biceps fall by the wayside, and it’s far too random.
|Experience Level||Beginner, Intermediate|
|Home/Gym||Home (with equipment)|
- Guides are better than most Beachbody programs
- You’ll definitely feel like you worked hard
- The program is totally random
- Overtraining is a problem
- Very little direct arm work
With a badass name like “Hammer and Chisel” and Beachbody elites like Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese coming together for a collaboration, H & C seems like the most logical next step.
The before and after pictures are envy-inducing, and, from the outset, it looks like 60 days from now, you’ll hit the trifecta: shed weight, gain mass, and look beach-ready.
But we’ve been down that road before.
If you’re taking the first step in your journey or want to plan the next chapter after P90X or Body Beast, here’s everything you need to know about Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel Program.
Table of Contents
- About the Creator – Sagi Kalev & Autumn Calabrese
- What is Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel Workout?
- Hammer and Chisel Details & Features
- 5 Benefits of Hammer and Chisel
- 4 Negatives of Hammer and Chisel
- Hammer and Chisel Review Summary
About the Creator – Sagi Kalev & Autumn Calabrese
The masterminds behind the Hammer & Chisel workout are:
Kalev’s venture into the fitness industry began nearly 30 years ago when he finished first in the Mr. Israel competition twice.
Since then, he’s graced the covers of dozens of fitness magazines, holds a “Master Professional Personal Trainer” certificate, and has four programs on the BOD platform.
Autumn Calabrese, the brains behind almost two dozen Beachbody On Demand routines, tag teams Hammer and Chisel alongside Sagi Kalev.
Calabrese’s online fitness success continues to boom. Her programs have collected over 140 million views and her cookbook — FIXATE — sold nearly half a million copies to date.
Still touting her wildly popular 21 Day Fix program, the fitness mogul also has an impressive Instagram following (inching toward one million territories).
What is Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel Workout?
The Beachbody Hammer and Chisel workout is the brainchild of two Beachbody alums: Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese.
The somewhat wonky program lacks logical structure and leaves many users muttering, “why?” But if you’re chasing a complete body re-transformation, here’s what H & C is all about:
- Shedding fat and uncovering muscle definition
- Using basic at-home fitness equipment to build a more aesthetic physique
- SSP training (which stands for Stabilization, Strength, and Power)
- A workout routine and nutritional plan
- Resistance training, cardio, and everything in between
Beachbody dubs Hammer & Chisel as a surefire way to “sculpt your ultimate physique.” Yet, this six-day-a-week program seems more like a generic program than anything.
Hammer and Chisel Details & Features
Now that you know the foundations and philosophies of Hammer and Chisel, it’s time to discuss the meat and bones of the programs. Here’s a look at the finer details and features:
The Start Here tab is — quite literally — where the Hammer & Chisel program begins.
In this short section, you’ll find things like:
- A <3-minute trailer hyping up the program
- A safety video (featuring the basics, like how to put dumbbells down)
- A quick program overview
- A run-through of Beachbody’s nutrition programs (tip: don’t even bother)
- A bio for Sagi & Autumn (and their social handles, of course)
- A before and after snap of Hammer & Chisel results
After starting the program, you’ll probably never look at this page again!
Hammer and Chisel Workouts
The Workouts tab is self-explanatory in that it’s where you’ll find all 19 of the program’s workouts.
But if you don’t read the program guide (more on that in the Program Materials section), you’ll have no idea which workout is for today, next week, or 59 days from now.
This is what you’re here for, right?
Let’s take a closer look at the H & C workouts.
Hammer and Chisel vs. Hammer and Chisel Deluxe
You’ll notice that there are two “categories” of Hammer and Chisel workouts: regular-old Hammer and Chisel and Hammer and Chisel Deluxe (which sure sounds luxurious, huh).
Here’s a shocker: it sounds like a cash grab.
If you buy the physical version of Hammer and Chisel, which is already a red flag in the 2020s, you’ll have to pay extra for access to those “Deluxe” workouts.
On your calendar, you might have the option between “Total Body Hammer” or a Deluxe workout — “Hammer Build Up.” It’s not really clear what makes one “deluxe” and the other not.
Just pay attention to your calendar. If you see an optional workout, it’s in the Deluxe section!
The Hammer and Chisel workout schedule strikes a balance between consistency and having absolutely no pattern.
For whatever reason, Thursdays are your one-off day per week. Of course, you can work that around your schedule; if you’d rather recover on Saturday or Monday, then so be it.
Week one looks like this:
- Monday: Chisel Balance
- Tuesday: Hammer Plyometrics
- Wednesday: Iso Strength Chisel
- Thursday: OFF
- Friday: Iso Speed Hammer
- Saturday: Chisel Endurance
- Sunday: Total Body Hammer and 10-Minute Ab Hammer
The original schedule is Chisel on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and Hammer on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.
After those 60 days end, you have three choices: ditch the program altogether, follow the Hammer schedule, or venture down the Chisel pathway.
The weekly schedule is similar (Thursdays off), but you’ll only do Hammer or Chisel workouts.
What Equipment Do You Need?
Like almost every Beachbody program on the planet, Hammer and Chisel are home-gym-friendly. If you have the following gear collecting dust in the basement, you’re ready to go:
- An adjustable bench (alternative: stability ball)
- Dumbbells or an adjustable dumbbell set
- Resistance bands (don’t buy into the shameless Beachbody advertising; you don’t need to buy their recommended bands!)
- Chin-up bar
- Optional: Resistance band door anchor (in place of the chin-up bar)
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Types of Exercises
Exercise-wise, Hammer and Chisel offers quite a deal of variety. Some exercises you’ll come toe-to-toe with in the next 60 days include:
- Hammer Curls
- Bench Press
- Decline Push-ups
Now, the exercise variety is also where we have to dock Hammer and Chisel.
Almost every day is leg day (and not a light leg day), and muscles like the biceps and triceps rarely get the attention they deserve.
Six straight days of full-body workouts is — without a doubt — overkill. And, there’s an ongoing risk of overtraining if you’re a true beginner.
What to Expect from Hammer and Chisel Workouts
The Hammer and Chisel workouts earn lots of praise on the internet, but it also lands plenty of disappointed reviews because of its lack of structure (it feels like every workout is the total body).
That brings us to our question: what should you expect from Hammer and Chisel workouts?
Here’s a play-by-play of what to expect after you hit ‘play’:
- A warm-up featuring resistance bands or a towel
- A constant reminder to “stay safe,” whatever that means
- Exercises separated into “rounds”
- Varying rep ranges and set types (pyramids, fast and slow reps, 60 seconds AMRAP, ISO)
- Tips for how to modify challenging exercises
- Light and heavy sets
Do yourself a favor and hit the mute button on your computer or TV. Talkative fitness instructors can be great, but Kalev’s non-stop chatter and random riffs can become exhausting quickly.
Warning: Hammer and Chisel seem more random than anything. Each workout is different and exciting, sure, but the random rep, set, and exercise selections don’t make much logical sense.
Like all Beachbody programs, there’s a Program Materials tab where you’ll discover the supplemental sheets needed to succeed.
Well, to an extent.
This section can feel overwhelming, especially because there’s just so much to sift through. And because most files are PDFs, finding what you need is like a wildly unsatisfying scavenger hunt.
Requires far too much thought to understand? Yup.
Anyway, here’s a crash course in what these files actually mean and do:
Program and Nutrition Guide
The 35-page Program and Nutrition Guide (PDF) is the only true overview of the program. If you skip the reading and jump into the first workout, you’re already doing it wrong.
The table of contents is essentially useless. Because the PDF is formatted as a book (two pages per “page”), page 30 of the PDF isn’t page 30 of the program guide.
In the guide, you’ll learn the basics:
- Assigning yourself a “score” based on your gender, weight, and physical activity level to match it with a nutrition plan (A through H — already more effort than other plans!)
- The 60-day calendar and the separate Hammer and Chisel calendars
- Which equipment you’ll need for each workout
- Before and after measurements
- Safety tips (unless you’ve never touched iron before, you can skip this section)
- A color-coded nutritional guide explaining how many of each “color” (ex: green = veggies) you need per day based on your diet
- Recipes and sample menus (not too many, but enough to get you up and running)
Well, well, well. If it isn’t yet another slew of Beachbody and Shakeology advertisements.
The calendars could be mildly confusing because you won’t know which one is the real schedule if you shunned the program guide. Luckily, it’s pretty simple.
The 60-day calendar details your first eight weeks on the Hammer & Chisel program.
After you finish those 60 days like a champ, you have two 30-day options ahead of you:
- Hammer: If you crave strength, muscle, and power
- Chisel: If you want to build endurance and definition
Instead of alternating between Chisel and Hammer during the week, you’ll settle on one!
The tally sheet is where you’ll record your diet.
If you thought the color-coding was silly, didn’t buy their portion control containers, and can’t remember whether carbs are orange or blue, these tables will probably confuse you even more.
The worksheet (pretty vague-sounding) is where you’ll record your performance during each workout. Here, you’ll record your weight and reps for each exercise to track your progress.
If you have an hour to spare and a little tech-savvy know-how, you’re probably better off organizing your stats in an Excel document or Google Sheet.
But the bonus here is that you can catch a glimpse of what exercises you’ll face in your workout.
The FAQ section sends you to another page where you’ll learn next-to-nothing about H & C.
We’re not entirely sure how frequently Beachbody enthusiasts interested in Sagi & Autumn’s program ask, “Where can I chat with Beachbody experts?”
Results (Before & After)
The Hammer and Chisel results depend on who you ask and whose word you take as truth. If you look at Beachbody’s official results page for the program, there’s no shortage of snapshots.
A police officer lost 30+ pounds and won $500 (unrelated). One fella went from “dad bod” to “rad bod” in two months. Quite a few loyal Beachbody fans lost 20+ pounds in just 60 days!
Comparing the pictures, the results look startling.
Both men and women are shedding the flab and the gut. There’s a noticeable difference in slimmed-down waist sizes and newly uncovered core muscles.
But the fine print is quite telling.
A lot of these success stories also happen to be Beachbody Coaches (coincidence?). Others tout that these results were possible because they used Shakeology too (of course).
You’ll almost certainly lose weight. But sculpting mass like you might in Kalev’s Body Beast? That’s a little more far-fetched; this program is more a generic fitness program to get “in shape.”
Hammer and Chisel vs. Body Beast
The Hammer and Chisel vs. Body Beast battle forces two Sagi Kalev programs to duke it out for that top spot. Both have their pros and cons but are two starkly different workout routines.
Choose Hammer and Chisel if you just want to get in better shape and have less time to work with (workouts hover between 10-45 minutes, six days per week).
You’ll build muscle, see a little extra definition, improve your cardio, enhance your strength and power, and drop some weight.
Select Body Beast if you have your sights set on building mass, have more time to kill, and enjoy the classic bro split.
In both routines, the volume and lack of recovery time could become problematic.
Hammer and Chisel vs. LIIFT4
Hammer and Chisel and LIIFT4 are two of Beachbody On Demand’s hottest programs, pitting Sagi Kalev’s full-body program against Joel Freeman’s weightlifting/HIIT routine.
If you’re short on time, hope to slash stubborn body fat, and want to add some visible definition with a structured routine, LIIFT4 is a more realistic program worth following.
Hammer and Chisel is a better alternative if you simply want to improve your physique with a six-day-a-week routine. Fair warning: every day is practically a full-body workout.
5 Benefits of Hammer and Chisel
- The supplemental guides and materials are far easier to understand than some other Beachbody programs. Just don’t forget to start with the program and nutrition guide and try to follow the program as closely as possible to see results.
- If you’re chasing the pain and soreness from a particularly intense workout, then you’ll be in your glory after H & C workouts. However, the link between DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and muscle damage is weak or non-existent (2002).
- Sagi Kalev isn’t the best in front of the camera. Having Autumn tag-team the workouts makes the workouts a little more exciting. Though you might want to still mute it.
- The results seem to be there. Although plenty of the before and after shots are from Independent Beachbody Coaches, people elsewhere on the internet seem happy with their results (muscle gain, definition, and fat loss).
- It’s certainly an intense program. More often than not, you’ll experience shaky muscles and dripping sweat. However, some of the workouts fall flat intensity-wise (and, if we’re being honest here, logic-wise).
4 Negatives of Hammer and Chisel
- The program is random and offers little explanation for the rep and set guidelines. While it’ll keep you guessing and avoid the blandness of doing the same thing every day, a controlled trial from 2017 makes it clear: drop sets, pyramids, and other non-traditional sets are no better or worse than conventional lifting.
- Almost every day is a full-body workout (including legs), giving your muscles little time to recover between workouts. Studies suggest that 48-72 hours between workouts maximize lifting performance. Your gains potential may take a serious hit on H & C.
- There’s no shortage of leg exercises, yet biceps get very little attention. For a Sagi Kalev program, whose other popular program is a “bro split,” the lack of arm exercises is bizarre.
- It’s 2021, and Beachbody is still using print-out tally sheets and progress trackers. It’s not a deal-breaker for most, but it’s such an easy thing to do in the digital age.
Hammer and Chisel Review Summary
Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel workout program is hit or miss and, by that, we mean some of the workouts are killers while others are a random mish-mash of fitness principles.
The supplemental materials are informative, you’ll get a decent workout more often than not, and it’s a worthwhile program if you have basic fitness goals (lose weight, gain a little muscle, etc.).
But it drops the ball time and time again.
Almost every day is a full-body workout, legs get more attention than they need, the biceps fall by the wayside, and it’s far too random.
If you’re looking for a workout program that’s something new every day, it’s a good start. Otherwise, you’d be better off with something else.
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