Kiernan Shipka Literally Defies Gravity While Doing This Intense Lower-Body Move
Oh and her ab muscles? They’re straight-up twitching.
If your go-to workout moves are typically fast and furious, Kiernan Shipka is making the case for switching it up and trying something slow and controlled. And while she is known for playing the modern-day Sabrina Spellman, Shipka's mastery of intense strength training exercises is the product of putting in some serious work at the gym — not of any magic or witchcraft.
Over the weekend, the actress' trainer, Harley Pasternak, shared two videos of his recent sweat session with Shipka. In the first clip, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star can be seen slaying a Nordic hamstring curl, which Pasternak's previously described as one of "the most challenging and intense isolated hamstring exercises you'll ever do." The move involves kneeling and placing both legs between static leg-curl cushions, then lowering your body forward with control until your palms touch the floor — or, in Shipka's case, touch two cushiony platforms likely to reduce the impact on her wrists, forearms, palms, and fingers. (FYI: This Is The Best Workout Bench to Add to Your Home Gym)
As Pasternak (who's also worked with stars such as Ariana Grande, Jessica Simpson, and Halle Berry) counts back from 10, Shipka — who, btw, is wearing a lime green Alo Yoga sports bra (Buy It, $56, aloyoga.com) — gradually leans forward while keeping her knees still and arms around her back. While watching someone crush a Nordic hamstring curl is jaw-dropping in and of itself, it's difficult not to stare directly at Shipka's rock-hard core. You guys, her ab muscles are straight-up twitching as she gets closer to the ground. I repeat: twitching!
ICYMI, Shipka crushed this move on her first try (yes, first try!) back in February. But based on Pasternak's recent clip, it's safe to assume she's spent the past few months practicing this exercise even more. And clearly, her hard work has paid off, as Pasternak cheers at the end of the clip, "You broke your own record!"
Shipka (who Pasternak deems "the queen of lean and mean hamstrings" in his caption) then moves onto a classic: stiff-leg deadlifts (aka Romanian deadlifts) with heavy dumbbells. Similar to Nordic curls, this move requires an immense amount of focus. The goal here, however, is to power through the hips while keeping a neutral spine and neck and slightly bent knees. Easier said than done — that is, however, unless you're Shipka, who rocked this routine with 45-pound dumbbells in each hand like it's NBD. (Related: Strengthen Your Posterior Chain with This Workout from Anna Victoria)
While the gravity-defying Nordic curl focuses on eccentric knee flexion, which essentially involves lengthening rather than shortening or contracting the muscle fibers, the deadlift is "all about hip extension," according to Pasternak's caption. "Both of these important movements strengthen the back of the lower body."
And guess what? You can try both of these trainer-approved moves at home — no fancy machines required. To slay a Nordic curl like Shipka, "You can have a partner sit on your heels, you can slip your heels underneath a barbell that is solidly lodged, and sometimes I even use the seat on a cable lat pulldown machine to do this exercise," Pasternak previously told Shape. As for deadlifts? This complete guide's got you covered.