The 5 Lower-Body Moves Ariana Grande Swears By, According to Her Trainer
Ariana Grande totally ~made it rain~ on the stage with Lady Gaga during their 2020 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance last weekend.
Ahead of the performance, Grande teased fans with Instagram photos of her rehearsing and getting ready for the big night. In one photo, she showed off her booty gains while wearing a sequin face mask and Alo Yoga's Wild Thing Bra (Buy It, $62, aloyoga.com) paired with the brand's High-Waist Alosoft Flow Leggings (Buy It, $88, aloyoga.com).
Following Grande's performance, Shape caught up with the pop star's trainer, Harley Pasternak, to find out how she prepared.
Turns out, the singer is all about keeping things simple and consistent, says Pasternak. In fact, Grande "didn't really need to step anything up for the VMAs," explains the trainer. "I've had clients who would go all-out to prep for a performance or a role," he says. "But once they're done, they just let it all go because they feel like they don't need to stay in shape until another project comes up."
Grande, on the other hand, consistently sticks to a healthy lifestyle, regardless of what her schedule looks like, says Pasternak. "She's not about going to any extremes," he notes. "She isn't worried about doing anything that's not sustainable. As long as she moves every day, eats well, and does some strength training, she's of the mindset that the rest will take care of itself."
In terms of her diet, Pasternak says Grande is keen on sticking with healthy, balanced meals on the reg. "No matter what your workout routine is, if you're eating poorly, it's all for naught," he explains. "Ariana loves, soups, smoothies, and salads, which are all great foods for anyone who is short on time." She gets a lot of her recipes from Pasternak's The Body Reset Diet cookbook, which has over 150 healthy recipes, adds the trainer. (Related: 4 Things I Learned from Trying Harley Pasternak's Body Reset Diet)
"Most people's excuse for not eating healthy is that they don't have the time or they don't know how to cook an elaborate meal," explains Pasternak. "Soups, smoothies, and salads don't really require a lot of effort. They're a great way to take the guesswork out of cooking and make eating healthy simple."
As for exercise, depending on Pasternak's and Grande's schedules, the duo trains together three times a week for 30- to 45-minute sessions, shares Pasternak. "Other times I'll give her exercises to do at home on her own," he adds. "She also hits her steps every day and has done a really great job of finding balance and moderation when it comes to staying in shape." (Related: Why Finding ~Balance~ Is the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health and Fitness Routine)
When it comes to maintaining a strong lower body, Grande swears by five simple moves — or, as Pasternak calls them, the "Fantastic Five."
"Together, these are the five moves that really help round out the lower body," says Pasternak.
Below, Pasternak breaks down each exercise, including the muscles they target, and how you can replicate Grande's workouts at home. He recommends doing these exercises in a circuit once or twice a week, aiming for three sets of 15-20 reps for each exercise, depending on your fitness level. (Related: 8 Lower-Body Exercises for One of the Best Leg Workouts for Women)
Pasternak says he loves curtsy lunges because they help you hit multiple muscle groups in one exercise. Unlike a regular reverse lunge, which primarily targets your glutes and quads, a curtsy lunge brings hip muscles into play as well, thanks to the backward cross-over motion of lowering into the curtsy lunge. (Remember when Alison Brie crushed landmine curtsy lunges like a total BAMF?)
Staggered Stance Deadlift
A staggered stance deadlift (or, as Pasternak calls them, kickstand deadlifts) will really torch your hamstrings and glutes, says the trainer. Similar to a Romanian (or straight-leg) deadlift, in which both your feet are planted on the ground, a staggered stance deadlift requires you to press your hips back as you hinge at the waist. The only difference in a staggered stance deadlift is that one of your legs is slightly bent, balancing on the toes of that foot so most of the work is happening in the opposite leg. You can perform this move with or without weights, and it's a great way to modify a single-leg deadlift, says Pasternak.
This side plank variation targets not only your core but also your adductor muscles, which run from the pubic bone to the femur along the inside of your legs. FYI: To perform his move, you'll need a chair, bench, or any solid, stable surface that's about 16 inches off the ground, suggests Pasternak. "This move is intense, and you should really feel it in your inner thigh muscles," explains the trainer. (Not ready for adductor planks yet? Try side-lying hip adduction instead for a modified version of the workout.)
Unlike a regular clamshell, in which you're lying on your side for the entire exercise, an active clamshell requires you to lift your hips off the ground as you raise the top leg. In addition to targeting your glutes, this move helps strengthen your hips and improves muscle definition in the lower body, says Pasternak. (You can also add a mini resistance band to really test your hip strength in this workout.)
"The Harley" is Pasternak's signature move, says the trainer. For the uninitiated, "The Harley" is essentially a combo of glute bridges and lying triceps extensions. The two-in-one exercise targets the arms, butt, and core all at the same time. To break it down further, the glute bridge hits the glutes and lower back, while the triceps extension works — you guessed it — the triceps, which is especially great for improving posture, says Pasternak. (Up next: The Strength Training Workout for Perfect Posture)