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Grande's trainer, Harley Pasternak, shares why these exercises deserve a place in your weekly workout routine.

April 02, 2021
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Four Moves Ariana Grande Swears By for Toned Arms, According to Her Trainer , LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Singer Ariana Grande attends the 2016 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/AMA2016/WireImage)
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Ariana Grande might be petite, but the 27-year-old pop powerhouse isn't afraid to go hard in the gym — the singer spends at least three days per week working out with celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak.

Pasternak, who recently published a revised version of his New York Times best-selling cookbook Body Reset Diet, tells Shape he leads Grande through 30- to 45-minute training sessions that focus on strength and toning. Their routine includes four primary movements to keep Grande's upper body strong and balanced: glute bridge skull crushers (Pasternak's signature exercise he dubs "The Harley"), standing rope triceps extensions, dumbbell T-raises, and standing cable reverse flys.

And trust us: While simple, these moves aren't easy. (Check out her challenging lower-body workout routine for proof.)

Although these exercises can be used to create a circuit, Pasternak says he usually scatters the four movements into Grande's workout routine throughout the week. "We focus on the upper body once per week, but all of Ariana's workouts focus on dynamic movements that hit multiple body parts, so we're never really isolating a single muscle group for a whole session," he explains. (Related: 9 of the Hardest and Best Exercises from Real Trainers)

These four exercises target the shoulders, pecs, lats, rhomboids, triceps, and deltoids, notes the trainer. However, Pasternak says he minimizes biceps work with Grande. "By avoiding the biceps, the triceps become dominant, which is good for posture," he explains. "Strengthening her triceps pulls her shoulder blades back, helping her retain a very regal posture." (Related: The Strength Training Workout for Perfect Posture)

Below, Pasternak breaks down each of the four movements in Grande's upper-body workout routine so you can follow along at home. For each exercise, he recommends completing three sets of 15 reps if you're relatively new to lifting weights. If you strength train fairly regularly, try four sets of 20 reps, he says. And if you're a pro in the weight room, the trainer suggests aiming for five to six sets of 20 reps. Regardless of the rep range, Pasternak says you should be struggling to finish each set. This should also help you gauge what weight to use, he adds. (See: How to Pick the Right Size Dumbbells for Your Workout)

Keep in mind that you'll need dumbbells, plus a rope and stirrup handles to attach to cable pulleys. Also: A warm-up and cool-down aren't listed here, but don't forget to include them!

Glute Bridge Skull Crusher (aka "The Harley")

A. Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend arms, keeping wrists aligned above shoulders. Bend elbows so that dumbbells are next to either side of the head. This is your starting position.

B. Extend elbows upward to perform a triceps extension while simultaneously bracing core and bringing hips up into a glute bridge.

C. Pause and squeeze at the top and return to starting position. That's one rep.

Standing Rope Triceps Extension

A. Attach a rope to a cable pulley. Stand facing the rope and grab it with both hands, maintaining a neutral grip.

B. Hinge at the hips to lean forward slightly. Begin extending elbows downward.

C. Engage core and continue extending elbows until arms are straight down. Pause and slowly return to starting position. That's one rep.

Dumbbell T-Raise

A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, palms facing down. This is your starting position.

B. Keeping arms straight, palms down, and core engaged, raise dumbbells directly in front until they reach shoulder height.

C. Keeping arms straight, bring them out to the sides with palms still facing down. Return to starting position, arms by sides. That's one rep.

Standing Reverse Cable Fly

A. Set up two cable pulleys facing each other with stirrup handles at chest height. Stand between the pulleys with feet hip-width apart.

B. Grab the right handle with the left hand and the left handle with the right hand so that arms are crossed over each other.

C. Start uncrossing arms until they are parallel to the ground. Keep extending until shoulder blades are pinned back together.

D. Pause and slowly return to starting position. That's one rep.

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