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Shay Mitchell's Circuit Workout Proves She's a Total Badass In the Gym

Shay Mitchell, the actress behind one of the Pretty Little Liars, isn't shy about how she gets (and stays) in shape. She also isn't shy about her love of burgers and pizza.

But the latest sneak peek into her workout will color you impressed. Celeb trainer Kira Stokes, creator of the Stoked Method and our 30-Day Plank Challenge, posted videos of the star breaking a serious sweat on her Instagram while visiting the New York Sports Club's NYSC Lab in New York City.

The five moves that Shay crushes are no child's play: From heavy rope burpees to Stokes' signature reach lunge, they're total-body, functional moves that require athleticism, strength, and coordination. The craziest part? This is just one bite of her whole workout that day, says Stokes.

"Shay is honestly and truly such a badass," says Stokes. "She's quite an athlete. She loves really dynamic moves, things that make her feel powerful, strong, and sweaty."

When she works with Shay, Stokes says she always makes sure there's some "sneaky cardio" included. Translation: "I find ways to make sure that her heart is challenged just as much as every other muscle in her body." It makes it a lot more fun and keeps her energy up, without involving a treadmill. 

How it works: The first four moves are a strength circuit. Do each move for the number of reps or time indicated and then immediately move on to the next. Repeat the strength circuit three times, then move on to the cardio blitz. Alternate the two cardio exercises for the amount of time indicated, without rest. Repeat three times.

You'll need: A set of heavy ropes, a sandbag, a pair of dumbbells, and medicine balls

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1. Sandbag Pull-Through with Kickback

A. Start in tabletop position with a mini resistance band looped around the middle of both feet and a sandbag resting on the floor to the right, perpendicular to torso. Grab the end handle of the sandbag with the left hand.
B. Keeping hips square and core engaged, kick flexed right foot straight back, as if pressing foot on the back wall. Holding this position, drag the sandbag under torso to the left side of the body.
C. Return to starting position, then switch sides and repeat, kicking the left foot back and dragging the sandbag across with the right hand. Keep the movements slow and controlled.

Do 8 reps per side.

Why it's killer: This first move is all about turning on your glutes, core, and lats, says Stokes. It's a great way to wake up your body and prepare your body for what's coming next in the workout.

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2. Dumbbell Reach Lunge

A. Stand with feet together holding dumbbells in hands by sides.
B. Take a big step forward with the right leg and lower into a lunge until left knee hovers just off the floor. Hinge at the hips and keep core engaged to reach dumbbells forward in front of foot to tap the floor. Hold this position for 2 seconds.
C. Press into the right foot to stand, lifting left knee up to hip-height with foot flexed. Curl dumbbells up to shoulders, then press directly overhead with palms facing in.
D. Reverse movement to lower dumbbells back to sides and step forward into a lunge with the left leg to begin the next rep.

Do 12 reps per side.

Why it's killer: This secret Stoked Method move is my signature, says Stokes. "It gets deeper into the glutes, inner thighs, and hamstrings," she says. "It requires a lot of body awareness and serious core activation. The reach lunge causes half of NYC not to be able to sit on the toilet the next day." Try this move without weights first to get the form down, and stick to regular walking lunges if you have a lower-back or hamstring issue.

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3. Pop Squat Twist

A. Stand with feet wide and toes pointed out. Lower into a sumo squat until thighs are parallel to the ground.
B. Immediately stand and jump feet together, then jump to pivot feet and hips to the right, keeping chest forward.
C. Jump feet to face forward, then immediately jump feet out wide and lower into a sumo squat to begin the next rep.

Repeat for 30-45 seconds, alternating sides.

Why it's killer: This move continues to work all those muscles from the first two moves, but adds a power element, says Stokes. Form tip: make sure your knees don't collapse in toward the center.

4. Crouching Tiger Push-Ups

A. Start in plank position with hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
B. Lower chest to the floor in a regular wide-grip push-up. Once chest is as low as possible, bend knees and shift hips back so knees are 2 inches off floor and arms are extended.
C. Lift hips up into downward dog position. Then, tucking tailbone and rounding spine, roll back into plank position to return to starting position.

Do 8 to 10 reps.

Why it's killer: This all-in-one strength move will carve your core, upper body, and back all at the same time. For a visual, check out the move in our 30-Day Arm Challenge (also created by Stokes, obv).

Cardio Blitz

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Heavy Rope Burpees

A. Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, holding one end of a heavy rope in each hand, palms facing in.
B. Reach arms overhead and slam the ropes onto the floor. Repeat 5 times.
C. Immediately place rope ends on the floor and jump feet back into plank position. Hop feet up to hands and stand.

Repeat for 30 seconds.

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Medicine Ball Blitz

A. Set up 2 medicine balls about 10 feet diagonally away from each other on the floor. Have Partner 1 stand at the first ball, and Partner 2 stand 10 feet directly in front of the ball.
B. Partner 1 will pick up and throw the medicine ball to Partner 2, who then places the ball on the ground. Partner 1 runs to the second medicine ball, while Partner 2 runs 10 feet in front of it.
C. Repeat, moving the medicine balls diagonally across the room.

Continue for 30 seconds.

Repeat the cardio blitz 3 to 4 times.

 

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