Try Jessica Alba's Gym Workout, Straight from Her Trainer

It includes bursts of cardio in between upper- and lower-body moves and core exercises.

Jessica Alba
Getty Images.

Jessica Alba first started training with celebrity trainer and former NFL Raiders cheerleader Ramona Braganza when she was 17 years old. She had just landed her breakthrough role of Max Guevara in the TV series Dark Angel. "I worked with a young, ambitious, hardworking actress for 12 years whose career went from barely being recognized to being constantly followed by paparazzi," Braganza tells Shape.

The pair has stayed in touch as friends for more than 20 years and have recently started working out together again. "[Now], I see a confident, hard-working wife, mother, and successful business woman [who's] still acting!" says the trainer. (In addition to being the founder and chief creative officer of The Honest Company, Alba is starring in a new Netflix thriller called Trigger Warning out December 1, 2022.)

The way Alba approaches wellness has also shifted since she first began working with Braganza. In addition to the physical aspects of training, Alba now prioritizes mental health practices such as meditation and breath work. "She often carves time in her day for short, guided meditations," says Braganza. Alba also does Iyengar yoga, a type of yoga practice that requires holding poses for long periods of time. She "finds it very beneficial for stretching her body out," says Braganza.

This summer, the actress even went to an Ayurveda spa for three weeks to participate in Panchakarma, a treatment designed to balance and reset the body holistically based on Ayurvedic principles, according to Braganza. (If that sounds familiar, you might have heard Kourtney Kardashian talking about this "cleanse" on a recent episode of The Kardashians.)

For more traditional workouts, Alba and Braganza typically hit the gym early in the morning, often listening to "contemporary and old school music." Her favorite cardio exercises are dancing, indoor cycling, and hiking nearby her home. (See: Your Complete Guide to Cardio Dance)

Alba incorporates strength training with "moderate weight" into her routine, says Braganza. "She prefers upper body more than legs," adds the trainer, noting that the actress enjoys using a weighted slam ball in her gym sessions. The fact that Alba is prone to osteoporosis also impacts her workouts, according to her longtime trainer. "We focus on overhead exercises using resistance, which helps increase bone density," she says.

Ahead, check out a series of exercises from Braganza for a taste of what it's like to work out with the celebrity trainer.

Jessica Alba's Gym Workout

How it works: This workout follows Braganza's signature 321 Training Method. It includes three cardio segments, two strength circuits, and one core segment. You'll start with a cardio segment, then do the first circuit of three strength exercises one after the other, followed by a brief break. Do one to three sets of this strength circuit. Then, return to cardio, followed by the second circuit of three exercises and a brief break. Do one to three sets. Return to cardio one more time, then finish with two core exercises. To make the workout more advanced, add more time to each exercise.

What you'll need: a set of dumbbells, a weight bench, an exercise ball, a mat, gliders, and a jump rope (modify with bodyweight, a stool, and paper plates if you don't have equipment)

Cardio

A. Jump rope, jog, or dance in place.

Warm up for 1 minute.

Circuit 1

Chest Press-Fly Combination

A. Sit on a stability ball with the dumbbells resting on thighs.

B. Walk feet forward, keeping the dumbbells close to body until shoulders, upper back, and head rest on the ball. Keep hips lifted.

C. Press arms up until heads of the dumbbells touch, then lower to chest height with elbows out wide and raise arms back up until fully extended. That's one rep. Do three reps.

D. Extend arms with palms facing up. Lift arms, turning the dumbbells in to face each other. Lower to sides until parallel to the ground, and raise back up as if hugging a large ball. That's one rep. Do three reps, then alternate to presses.

Do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) for 1 minute.

Dumbbell Plank Rotation

A. Begin in a plank position on a mat with feet hip-width apart and hands under shoulders. Option to hold a dumbbell in each hand.

B. Rotate to face the left side of the room, raising left arm until it's above body in line with shoulder, then return to starting position.

C. Repeat on right side.

Do AMRAP for 1 minute.

Bench Step-Over

A. Stand next to a bench or a step stool and place right foot on surface.

B. Press into right foot and lift left leg up and over the bench or the stool to briefly touch the ground behind right leg, then return to starting position.

C. Begin the move one rep at a time until gaining strength to keep momentum going for 30 seconds. 

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Circuit 2

Single-Leg Pop-Up

A. Stand in front of a bench or a step stool and place toe of right foot behind body on the elevated surface in a lunge position.

B. Bend supporting left knee and touch the ground with hands, then pop up into air, landing softly on left foot and repeat to touch the ground.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Back Row-Fly Combination On Single Leg

A. Step forward on right leg, holding the dumbbells in both hands as hips hinge forward at waist to form a letter T-shape. (To modify: Stand on two legs with a slight forward hinge and knees slightly bent.)

B. Begin with arms hanging down and slightly forward. Bend elbows and pull the dumbbells up to perform a row. Keep elbows close to sides, then lower with control. That's one rep. Do three reps.

C. Raise arms out to sides until parallel to floor with a slight bend in elbows, then lower with control. That's one rep. Do three reps, then alternate to rows.

D. Contract glutes to remain stable on right leg and keep abs contracted to support lower back during both moves.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Single-Leg Hamstring Curl

A. Lie on ground with hands on a mat and feet on an exercise ball. Raise hips, then raise right leg up to the sky. (To modify: Keep both legs on ball.)

B. Use left hamstring to roll the ball in toward hips with control.

Do AMRAP for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Core

Russian Twist

A. Sit on a mat holding one dumbbell in both hands with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. For more of a challenge, raise feet a few inches off the ground with knees bent (as demonstrated) or raise feet high off the ground and completely extend legs straight in a V-sit.

B. Use core to rotate to the right, touching dumbbell to the ground. Then, return to the center, pressing dumbbell up in front of chest slightly before rotating to the left and touching the dumbbell to the ground.

Do AMRAP for 1 minute.

Plank Circle Sliders

A. Begin in a plank position with feet hip-width apart on gliders or paper plates and hands under shoulders on a mat.

B. Pull knees into chest, then fully extend legs to sides, and circle legs behind hips to finish in plank position.

Do AMRAP for 1 minute.

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