The 5 Lower-Body Moves Ariana Grande Swears By, According to Her Trainer

Grande's trainer, Harley Pasternak, says the pop star is all about balance when it comes to her fitness routine.

Close up of ariana grande overlaid with a full body portrait of her
Photo: Getty Images

Ariana Grande is all about consistency. Each of her albums is filled with indisputable bops, and you'll rarely catch her without her signature long, shiny ponytail. And her workout routine is just as stable.

Seriously, Grande doesn't waver from her healthy lifestyle, regardless of what her schedule looks like, says the pop star's trainer, Harley 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."

Grande's unique and simple approach to fitness is a complete 180 from some other celebrities. "I've had clients who would go all-out to prep for a performance or a role," says Pasternak. "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."

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. (

"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."

When it comes to maintaining a strong lower body, Grande and Pasternak swear by five simple moves — the "Fantastic Five," as Pasternak calls them. "Together, these are the five moves that really help round out the lower body," he says.

5 Ariana Grande-Approved Lower-Body Exercises

Below, Pasternak breaks down each "Fantastic Five" exercise, including the muscles they target, so you can replicate Grande's workouts at home. (

How it works: One or two times a week, do the following exercises for the suggested number of reps or time period. Take a short break, then repeat the entire circuit twice more for a total of three rounds.

What you'll need: A pair of medium-weight dumbbells and a bench or chair

Curtsy Lunge

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 while you lower down.

A. Stand with feet hips-width apart. Keeping weight in left foot, take a big step back with right leg, crossing it behind left leg and keeping hips square.

B. Slowly bend left knee to lower body down until front thigh is parallel to the floor and both knees are bent at roughly 90 degrees.

C. Push through left heel to return to the starting position. That's one rep.

Do 15 to 20 reps, alternating sides.

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.

A. Stand with feet hips-width apart, one dumbbell in each hand, palms facing thighs. Take one small step back with right foot, keeping heel lifted off the floor and maintaining a slight bend in right knee.

B. With core engaged and arms hanging straight down, hinge at the waist and press hips back to lower the dumbbells toward the floor, keeping the weights close to body. Continue lowering until you feel a light stretch and the left hamstring is engaged.

C. Keeping core engaged and back flat, press into left foot to return to standing, squeezing glutes at the top. That's one rep.

Do 15 to 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Adductor Plank

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.

A. Lie on right side of body, right forearm resting on the floor, elbow in line with shoulder. Extend both legs out to left side. Bend right knee to a 90-degree angle, then lift and place left foot on top of a chair or bench.

B. Engage core, ground through right forearm and feet, and lift hips and knees off the floor, keeping right knee bent.

Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Active Clamshell

Unlike a regular clamshell exercise, 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.)

A. Lie on right side of body, right forearm resting on the floor, elbow in line with shoulder. Bend knees at a 45-degree angle and stack feet, ankles, knees, and hips on top of each other.

B. Engage core and, while keeping feet together, lift upper knee up as high as possible while simultaneously raising bottom hip off of the floor.

C. Lower top knee and bottom hip to return to the starting position. That's one rep.

Do 15 to 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

The Harley

"The Harley" is Pasternak's signature move, he says. 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)

A. Lie faceup with back flat on the floor while holding a dumbbell in each hand next to ears. Keep elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Bend knees and place feet hips-width apart on the floor.

B. Slowly push through both heels to lift hips off the floor as high as possible without allowing lower back to arch. Simultaneously, extend both arms above chest with palms facing each other.

C. Gently lower hips back to the floor and bend elbows back to the starting position. That's one rep.

Do 15 to 20 reps.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles