Imagine walking around in your skivvies—in front of 11.3 million pairs of eyes.
This is the reality of a Victoria’s Secret Angel when she walks in the “sexiest show on Earth,” taping November 13, 2013, and airing December 10 at 10/9c on CBS. To prepare for such a moment, you’d think that supermodels like former Leo DiCaprio gal pal Erin Heatherton and Lily Aldridge (queen to Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill and mom of 15-month-old Dixie) would be in the gym 12 hours a day. Not so!
Enter Mary Helen Bowers, a long, lean, uncannily beautiful ballerina with 10 years experience with the New York City Ballet. Like a leg warmer-clad fairy godmother for the fabulously bodied, Bowers trains the girls with the super-targeted moves of her Ballet Beautiful method to tone every millimeter of their physiques. Apparently, even those who have hit the genetic jackpot need a little support when it comes to looking sleek from all angles on high definition TV. (And you may remember how she helped our very own editor-in-chief bounce back post-pregnancy.)
In 2008, Bowers developed Ballet Beautiful, a workout that combines floor exercises that sculpt small muscle groups with cardio that torches calories to create a ballerina’s physique—think long, lithe legs, graceful arms, a perky, boosted butt and beautiful posture. (If this conjures images of an elegant Natalie Portman in her Oscar-winning role in "Black Swan," it’s no wonder: Bowers trained her for the role.)
Bowers tells us it's the ideal workout for the Victoria's Secret Angels, and all women, "because it creates a feminine physique. Victoria's Secret sells the ultimate female fantasy—it's a perfect fit!" In addition to sculpting muscle without added bulk, "the workout also builds beautiful posture (a dancer's calling card) and a tight, strong center. The final look is ultra-toned but also very feminine, just like what you see on the runway."
Two years ago, Miranda Kerr was the first Angel to begin training with Bowers (she still trains Kerr privately at home), and since VS is like a beautiful club, "before last year's show, I began working with Lindsay Ellingson, Lily Aldridge, Erin Heatherton and Doutzen Kroes. All of the girls are friends." They train all year long with Bowers three to four days a week, and according to Bowers, in the month leading up to the show, the girls train like professional athletes and up their game to 1.5 hours 5-6 days a week. That’s right—even a Victoria’s Secret Angel needs a rest day once a week. “The body needs time to recover,” Bowers urges.
Want the grace and power of a VS supermodel? Follow the simple moves (demonstrated by MHB herself) that three Angels do with Bowers to tone their trouble zones. Repeat 3+ days a week to see results in one month.
Get involved! Check out the new Ballet Beautiful DVD (launching December) with a mat and cardio workout or visit the Ballet Beautiful website to customize your own supermodel-body workout.
Sculpt Killer Abs Like New Mom Lily Aldridge
“When you look at Lily's abs, it's hard to believe that her baby is only a little over one year old” says Mary Helen Bowers, creator of Ballet Beautiful—a workout that combines floor exercises that sculpt small muscle groups with calorie-burning cardio to create a ballerina’s physique—which she uses to train some of the Angels themselves. “To get that sexy definition through the sides without over developing the stomach, target the lower abs as well as the upper and lower obliques.”
Abs With a Twist:
Stretch both legs out long on the mat and pull the stomach in tight. Lift the right leg and left arm and twist the upper body to the right. Lower and lift the upper body keeping the right leg lifted with the stomach pulled in. Repeat 2 sets of 8.
Get a Perky Butt Like Doutzen
Doutzen is known to be a lifelong athlete. To keep that foundation and continue to lift the rear, “it’s key to strengthen the back of the legs and even the lower back,” says Bowers, which are oft-forgotten areas in everyday life. “For the Angels this is ideal because their bodies are really on display up on that stage!”
Slightly extending your legs in a classic bridge really targets the hamstrings and backs of the legs. Lay down and walk your feet out a bit. Lift up onto your toes. Keeping your legs tight together, pull in your stomach and lift your hips off the floor. Try 4 sets of 8.
Reverse Bridge on One Leg:
Begin lying down on your stomach on a mat with the legs stretched long. Pull in through the stomach and bend one knee. Lift the knee off the floor as you squeeze through the butt. Lower and lift for 4 sets of 8. Change sides.
Tighten and Tone Long, Gorgeous Legs Like Lindsay
Bowers says Lindsay often works at the barre because she has a strong background in dance and wants to keep her legs powerful without looking bulky.
Do her favorite leg lifts with your hands placed on the back of a chair or simply in the middle of the room to boost your balance and strengthen your core. "Standing moves are great for getting the heart rate up without a lot of impact," says Bowers. "I love the way they torch calories as they tone!"
Begin standing on the right leg with the left leg back. Pull in through the stomach and open long through the chest. Bend the standing (right) knee and extend the left leg straight back into arabesque. Lower the arms and lift the left leg into the air as you stretch the right knee and lift the arms. Keep the abs engaged and be careful not to arch the back. Lower and repeat for 1 to 2 sets of 8. Change sides.
Classic Inner Thigh Lifts:
Lie on your right side with your right leg extended. Bend your left knee and place your foot behind your right knee. Keeping your right leg straight, raise and lower your right leg up and down. Try 4 sets of 8; change sides.
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