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Sports Illustrated supermodels may be blessed with great genes, but that doesn’t mean they can kick back and let nature do all of the work. Maintaining a camera-ready body takes lots of dedication and more than a little sweat. Want to steal their fitness secrets to get your own best body? We thought so.
We tapped three top trainers—Michael Olajide Jr., Mary Helen Bowers and Justin Gelband—who sculpt supermodels for a living, including current Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Lily Aldridge, and issue regulars like Kate Upton, Adriana Lima and Miranda Kerr, to reveal how they get those gorgeous bikini-clad women in swimsuit-ready shape.
Mary Helen Bowers
With her signature ballet-inspired technique, Ballet Beautiful’s Bowers polishes and sculpts a bevy of models including one of the 2014 Sports Illustrated cover models, Lily Aldridge, as well as SI alum Miranda Kerr and Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellington.
Lower Abs With Port de Bras
Sit on your mat with legs out straight but slightly bent at the knees and toes pointed. Pull abs in tight and open arms to second position (wide but slightly rounded). Curl lower back to slowly lower to the floor. At the bottom of the movement, close arms together in front of chest and pull abs in to lift back up to seated position. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
Ballet Beautiful Bridge
Lie on your back on your mat with legs together, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, pulled in towards your butt. Pull abs in and you push your hips high in the air, keeping the knees together to engage the inner thighs. Lift the heels up onto the demi pointe (balls of feet), taking care not to arch the back. Lower hips and lift again. Do 4 sets of 8 reps.
Arabesque Lifts With Swan Arms
Begin standing up with abs tight and neck long. Extend the left leg back and lift it slightly off the floor, being careful not to arch the back. Lift your arms up past shoulder height, keeping knees and elbows straight. Lift and lower leg and arms together. Do 2 sets of 8.
Michael Olajide Jr.
Sports Illustrated supermodel Adriana Lima gets her amazing body in top shape with the help of Olajide Jr., a former middleweight boxing champ and owner of the hot New York City gym Aerospace.
Basic Jump Rope
Hold the rope and stand in front of it with your feet a few inches apart. Spin the rope with your wrists rather than shoulders as you hop up just high enough to let the rope sweep under feet. Jump at a steady, even cadence as fast as you can. Do 2 sets of 50-100 jumps or 2 to 4 minutes.
Slow Aero Jacks
Begin in a boxer’s stance with feet a little wider than hip-width apart, hands in fists up in front of your face. Maintaining that arm position, squat low, and then pop up in the air while bringing your legs together. Land back in a wide stance squat and immediately pop up into the next rep. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
Stand with your right leg back about a stride’s length, right heel off floor. Bend forward at the hips and touch your fingertips to the floor on either side of your left foot. In a powerful controlled movement, raise the right leg up and back as you straighten your torso and extend your arms out to the side like wings. Complete reps and repeat with left leg back. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
Known as the “model whisperer,” Gelband has trained legions of Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret models—most notably, “it girl” Kate Upton.
Stand tall with arms at your sides, your right leg in front, toe pointed, heel lifted off the floor. Engage the thighs by doing 8 to 15 small lifts from the hip with the right leg. Next, bend the knee at 90-degree angle up to waist height and do 8 to 15 small lifts. Repeat with left leg. Do 3 sets.
Get into a plank position with legs spread wide and palms placed directly under shoulders. Lift the right arm up to shoulder height, lengthening out from the shoulder as you lift. Repeat 8 to 15 times. Then repeat with the left arm 8 to 15 times. Next, lift the right arm with your bent elbow at a 90-degree angle as you twist up and to the side, with your elbow pointing behind you. Return to start and repeat 8 to 15 times. Then repeat with the left arm. Do 3 sets.
Kneel down on hands and knees, abs pulled in tight. Straighten right leg up and out. Bend to return to start and then immediately move into next rep. Do 8 to 15 reps, and then switch to the left leg. Do 3 sets.
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