Exclusive: Do-Anywhere Exercises From Madonna's Trainer
When we think of women who epitomize what it means to be “fit”—well into their fifth decade, no less—Madonna immediately comes to mind. And if you’ve ever been to a Madonna concert, you’ve witnessed firsthand just how fabulously in shape the 56-year-old is. With boundless energy and gravity-defying athleticism, she runs, jumps, climbs, flies through air, scales walls, and more—all in multiple-inch heels—for hours at a time and has the muscular physique to prove it. Indeed, Madonna is like pro athlete meets Olympic gymnast meets dancer all rolled into one toned package: the consummate entertainer. To experience a Madonna concert is to experience pretty much the best show on earth. So when we got the chance to exclusively speak to personal trainer Craig Smith, the man who has been getting the icon in stage-ready shape for her upcoming Rebel Heart world tour, and learn five of the moves he has Madonna do on the regular for a performance-ready body, you better believe we jumped—Madonna style—at the chance.
Keep scrolling to learn five of the pop icon’s easily accessible go-to exercises in preparation for her Rebel Heart tour. The best part? You can do these exercises no matter where you are! No machines or facilities required—just your own bodyweight and a set of dumbbells if you have them.
You might wonder what kind of extraordinary human would be behind Madonna’s tour training program, and that’s where Craig Smith comes in. A certified choreographer, trainer, nutritionist, and all-around superman, Smith is the master trainer and creative director of Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness clubs and has served as her head personal trainer, getting her in shape for her upcoming 10th world tour—Rebel Heart—(no big deal or anything!), which kicks off September 9 in Montreal. Smith has recently been working closely with the legend, getting her through her grueling rehearsal schedule by working her out daily with a combination of cardio, strength, stability, flexibility, mobility, and meditation. We wouldn’t expect anything less for such a stage presence!
Naturally, we were pretty thrilled to exclusively speak to Smith about a Madonna-worthy workout you can do anywhere, if and when you’re unable to get into an actual workout facility. These are the same moves Smith gives the Material Girl herself to do when she is on the road! Smith explained that his objective when training Madonna is to provide well-balanced workouts that support strength and endurance at the same time, while preventing injury at all costs. Smith recommends doing the below exercises two to three times per week, either after a cardio session or alternating cardio days with the days on which you do the below. Keep scrolling for the exercises!
Starting in plank position, draw elbows in at sides, place hands directly under shoulders, and lower into hover push-up above the floor, elbows bending at 90 degrees. On the out breath, push up back to start position, drawing one knee across torso toward the opposite elbow, contracting abdominals, and return to start plank position. Repeat and alternate opposite knee across torso on diagonal crunch.
This exercise tones your arms, shoulders, chest, back, and core using your own bodyweight as resistance. Complete this exercise in two to three sets for 10 repetitions.
Start in an upright standing position, with feet hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips, holding onto set of dumbbells (three to seven pounds), and draw elbows up toward the ceiling, contracting back muscles, then drive into your heels and return to upright standing position, squeezing glutes and extending arms down at sides. Repeat exercise.
This exercise strengthens and tones back, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as improving posture. Complete this exercise in two to three sets for 10 to 15 repetitions.
From an upright, neutral standing position, slightly bend your knees, keeping weight on the balls of your feet; engage the abdominals; and perform three basic jumping jacks—then explosively jump, leaving the ground on the fourth jack and landing back in start position, absorbing your landing lightly. Repeat.
This cardio burst exercise will elevate your heart rate while increasing your caloric expenditure, helping you burn fat. Complete this exercise in two to three sets for 10 to 20 repetitions.
From all fours on elbows and knees, extend one leg back, driving heel toward the ceiling. Keeping hips square, foot flexed, and the extended leg parallel to the floor, contract the glute of the lifting leg and return to start position. Repeat for required repetitions on both sides.
This exercise achieves a nice posterior lift, toning your glutes. Complete this exercise in two to three sets for 20 to 30 reps.
Start lying on your back with legs fully extended; contract abdominals as you come into a sitting, upright position, and twist to bring opposite elbow to knee. Repeat on opposite side. Complete this exercise in two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
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