How does she keep them so shapely and toned?
“We focus on body weight training,” says Craig Smith, Madonna’s personal trainer, who “utilizes dance to tone the entire body, plus a mix of asana yoga, Bar Method and a lot of hybrid Pilates programs to give that nice, sleek look to her arms.”
As for her workouts in general, “switching it up gives her variety and keeps it interesting,” says Smith, creative director of the pop star’s fitness brand Hard Candy Fitness. “Her body doesn’t plateau. It’s always in a guesswork state. Her body is always changing in a positive way.”
Madonna, who “in a perfect week, works out six days” also uses weights on the lighter side to ensure perfectly toned arms. “We never go over 5 lbs.,” says Smith. “The range is from 2 to 5 lbs.”
And while the pop icon has an intense workout schedule, Smith says it’s all about balance. “The main thing we focus on is keeping her energy levels up,” he says, while also stressing the importance of getting adequate rest. “The recovery time is just as important as the workout time.” He also describes how she engages in workouts of different intensity levels. “Even though we work out six days a week, notice that we are doing yoga. Yoga isn’t going to be taxing on the body. It’s focused on a completely different dynamic, like breathing and like rebuilding wear and tear from more rigorous, high-intensity workouts.”
Want to try Madonna’s lean muscle-building workouts? Of course you do! Smith shows off two of the star’s go-to exercises.
Technique Tip: From your base move, come into Parallel Squat, arms in extension at sides holding 3 to 5 lb. dumbbells in hands. Send hips back grounding through feet, and bring thighs parallel to floor, knees stacked over ankles behind toes, feet facing forward. Drive into heels, come to an upright standing position, squeezing glutes. Move back into squat position, and as you come back into upright stand again, draw elbows tight into sides, and hammer curl weights up to shoulders, toning biceps. For the end of this series, transition back into squat position, layer in the hammer curl once more, and add shoulder press. Complete series for 60 seconds seamlessly, focusing on quality of movement. Repeat for 3 sets.
Yoga Asana Series
Technique Tip: Using your body weight as resistance, from a Child’s Pose start position with neutral breathing. Send sit bones towards heels, elongating spine and extending arms out in front of body keeping elbows lifted. Inhale, flow to Upward-Facing Dog, opening chest, and depress shoulders down the back, actively pushing through hands. Exhale, into Downward-Facing Dog lifting sit bones to ceiling, stretching the back of your thighs and bringing chest to front of thighs. Inhale to Plank keeping abdominals engaged, working the shoulders, chest, triceps, and actively lifting through the thighs. Exhale, lower to hover position over mat, working triceps, and return to top of series starting pose. Repeat series for 5 sets moving with the flow of your own breath.
–Michelle Ward Trainor