You are here

The 11 Best Exercises for an A-List Body

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak is the man when it comes to sculpting countless A-listers, including Jessica Simpson, Jordana Brewster, and Megan Fox. Here he shares his top exercises for your arms, abs, and legs so you can tone a red-carpet body from head to toe.

How it works: Warm up with 5 minutes of cardio. Pick one part of the body to focus on, and do 15 minutes of strength training, completing 20 reps of each exercise without rest and repeating the circuit four times. Cool down with 5 more minutes of cardio.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights, Mat, Swiss ball

1. Alternating Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

A.

Lying back on a bench with dumbbells in each hand, your arms fully extended overhead. Keeping one dumbbell stationary, lower the other one by bending at the elbow until it's just above your shoulder.

B.

Pause, then extend the arm back to the start position by contracting the triceps.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Keep your upper arm and elbow still.

Keep your back flat during the exercise to avoid injury.

2. Kneeling Pushup

A.

Get on your knees and place your hands on the floor in line with your shoulders, your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Contracting your core, straighten your legs to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

B.

Keeping your elbows close to the sides of your torso, bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.

C.

Pause, then push yourself to the starting position.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Keep your back flat and your spine long throughout the movement.

Maintain a tight core throughout the movement.

Fully extend the elbows at the top of the push-up.

3. Dumbbell Hammer Curl

A.

Grab a set of dumbbells with a neutral grip so your palms are facing each other and stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

B.

While bracing your core, curl the dumbbells all the way up to shoulder height while keeping your palms facing each other. Pause at the top and squeeze your biceps, then lower the weights back down to the starting position.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Perform the movement with a controlled pace, not allowing momentum to contribute.

Do not allow the elbows to flare. Keep your elbows tight to your sides the entire time.

Do not hyperextend through the lower back. Brace you core and keep your spine flat throughout the entire movement.

4. Superman from Floor

A.

Lie on the floor, facedown, with arms extended overhead and legs straight out behind you. Palms should be down on the floor.

B.

Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your upper body and straight legs off the floor. Hold the top position for two seconds, then return back to the starting position.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Don't forget your glutes. Make sure to fully engage the at the top of the movement.

Don't move your head. Instead, keep it in line with the rest of your body.

5. Russian Twist

A.

Sit on the floor with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor, holding a weight plate with your arms fully extended in front of your chest.

B.

Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle and use your abs to twist your torso as far as you can in one direction before reversing the motion and returning to the starting position to prepare to twist in the opposite direction.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Do not allow your body to sway back and forth as you twist.

Squeeze your abs as hard as possible for maximum effectiveness.

Do not sit up too high, which will place stress on your lower back.

6. Swiss Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl

A.

Lie on your back with your calves resting on a Swiss Ball. Lift your hips off the ground, form a straight line from your feet to your shoulders.

B.

Roll the ball towards you, bending your legs while simultaneously lifting your hips higher. Finish with your feet flat on the ball and a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Roll the ball back to the starting position and complete all reps.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

To effectively perform the exercise, keep your hips up the entire time and avoid letting them sag during the movement.

Be sure to move through a full range of motion when performing the exercise.

7. Dumbbell Deadlift

A.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet hip width, knees slightly bent, and palms facing thighs.

B.

Keeping spine naturally straight, brace abs in tight and hinge forward from hips, reaching dumbbells towards feet until chest is about parallel to the floor (avoid going below shin level to prevent back from rounding). Engage glutes to raise torso back to the starting position and repeat. 

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

8. Dumbbell Side Lunge

A.

Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip so that your palms are facing each other. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be fully extended with dumbbells resting in front of your thighs.

B.

Take a wide step to one side. When your outside foot contacts the ground, lower your body by pushing your hip back and bending the knee. Keep your inside leg straight and foot firmly planted. Pause when your outside thigh is parallel with the ground, and then push back to the starting position.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Make sure you descend deep enough into the lunge that you feel a stretch in your groin.

Do not lean the torso forward as you rise out of the bottom of the lunge. Instead, keep your chest up throughout.

Make sure you drive through the entire foot of the outside stepping leg, not just with the toes.

9. Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells by sides.

B.

Take a wide step back with left foot, lowering into a lunge by bending both knees about 90 degrees, keeping shoulders in line with hips and abs engaged. Return to starting position. Repeat, alternating sides each rep.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

10. Reverse Dumbbell Diagonal Lunge

A.

Stand tall and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing inward. Chin should remain parallel to ground.

B.

Take a large step backward at a 45-degree angle, while simultaneously lowering the rear knee toward the ground. Bend the front knee at a 90-degree angle, brining the thigh parallel to the ground. Press your rear foot into the ground and drive your knee back under hips to return to the starting position.

Sets:

4

Reps:

20

Mistakes and Tips:

Make sure to lower yourself until your back knee lightly grazes the ground.

Make sure to drive through the heels instead of the toes.