Vanessa Hudgens Conquered an Intense Butt Workout After a Month Off from the Gym
Vanessa Hudgens loves a good workout. A quick swipe through her Instagram and you'll find countless videos of her crushing impressive exercises (see: these rotational wall slams) and dancing in between sets with a huge smile on her face. (Side note: Her gym outfits are always on-point, too.)
In an Instagram post of her latest sweat session, however, the singer admitted that she recently took "almost a month" off from the gym. Despite the hiatus, the videos in her post suggest Hudgens was thrilled to be back at it.
The videos show Hudgens wearing Terez's Lime Python DuoKnit Sports Bra (Buy It, $75, terez.com) and matching leggings (Buy It, $115, terez.com) while resuming her training at Dogpound, the fitness studio frequented by celebs like Ashley Graham, Shay Mitchell, and Hailey Bieber. While Hudgens looked like she was having a blast working out with her bestie Georgia Magree, she confessed in the caption of her post that she was "struggling" through the workout. "Buuuut only way to get back to it is to do it," she wrote.
In the first of three videos, Hudgens tackles some resistance band broad jumps with reverse hopscotch. The exercise is just as challenging as it sounds, and you can even see Hudgens shaking her head and jokingly flipping off her trainer, Julia Brown, between reps. "I was very upset with @thrivewithjulia for the jumping," Hudgens quipped in her caption. (If you're one of the few who loves jumping workouts, you need to try this burpee–broad jump–bear crawl combo.)
Broad jumps, if you didn't know, are a calisthenic, cardiovascular, and plyometric exercise that primarily targets your quads, says Beau Burgau, C.S.C.S., strength coach and founder of GRIT Training. The movement also works your calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors, but to a secondary degree, notes the trainer. By adding the resistance band and the reverse hopscotch, however, you additionally engage your gluteus medius (the pork chop-shaped muscle near the outside of your pelvis that abducts and rotates your leg inward), explains Burgau. So essentially, your entire lower body will feel the burn during this exercise. (Related: 8 Butt-Lifting Exercises That Actually Work)
If that sounds like your cup of tea and you want to try the movement at home, Burgau stresses the importance of maintaining form. "While doing broad jumps with a resistance band, you want to make sure your knees don't buckle together," he says. "To avoid injury, you want to really activate your gluteus medius to push your knees out so they remain over your toes." If you struggle to make that happen, Burgau recommends lowering the resistance on your band or ditching it altogether. (Related: Fix Your Exercise Form for Better Results)
It's also important to keep your landing in mind, adds the trainer. "You want to land low and soft, and not slam your feet into the ground," he says. "Think about squatting while landing so you're not unnecessarily taxing your joints on impact."
In her post, Hudgens also shared a video that showed her doing a set of resistance band belt squats. The exercise involves wearing a dip belt that includes a chain to which you can attach a barbell or, in Hudgens' case, a resistance band to amp up the intensity of weighted squats, dips, and more.
In Hudgens' version of the workout, pulling the band from underneath adds more resistance to the squat by activating the gluteus maximus (the biggest muscle in the glutes and, ICYDK, your whole body), explains Burgau. In addition to isolating those glute muscles, the movement requires you to brace your core and quads to maintain balance and stability, adds the trainer. (Here's why core strength is so important.)
For most people, both of the exercises Hudgens shared are by no means easy. But Burgau says she likely swapped weights for resistance bands to help her ease back into her routine. "Even at Hudgens' fitness level, you can't go all out after taking a month-long break from working out," he explains. "Resistance bands can be super helpful in easing back into things. They're a little more forgiving in terms of loading your body structurally and are a simple, yet effective way to work on regaining or building your strength." (More here: The Benefits of Resistance Bands Will Make You Reconsider Whether You Even Need Weights)
Falling off the fitness track is totally normal. If you're looking for ways to get back into the groove like Hudgens, here's a guide to help you ease back into working out without losing motivation or risking injury.