Fitness

Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea Creates a Full-Body Strength and Cardio Workout

Celebrity trainer Erin Oprea, who worked with Carrie Underwood for 11 years, likes to design workouts that are (a) fun and (b) suitable for a wide range of people, from beginner exercisers to hard-core regulars and everyone in between.

Such versatility is “my style of training,” the Nashville-based trainer, who currently trains Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, and Kacey Musgraves, among others, tells SELF. And it’s also a core component of Oprea’s new app, Pretty Muscles, which launched in January and features a different workout every day for 52 weeks with loads of modifications for various fitness levels.

The following 30-minute routine, which combines total-body strengthening with cardio, is akin to what you’ll find on her app. And in Oprea’s signature style, this workout incorporates fun (in the form of circuits that vary in format and flow) with challenge, including moves that aren’t complicated but are easily adjusted to different levels.

“It can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be,” Oprea says.

Whatever your level, this nine-move workout can provide big benefits. The first? Total-body strengthening. As you move through the circuit, you’ll target multiple muscle groups throughout your body, including your shoulders, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and chest. And because of two challenging plank variations, you’ll also seriously work several muscles in the core, including the obliques (muscles on the sides of your stomach), rectus abdominis (what you think when you think “abs”), and transverse abdominis (the deepest internal core muscle that wraps around your spine and sides).

But you’ll also get a good hit of cardio too, since the no-rest-style circuit will keep your heart rate up as you go through the moves. (Of course, you should always take breaks when you need them). And the Tabata finisher—a style of HIIT training that uses 20 seconds of maximum-effort work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times—will give you an even bigger cardio boost while seriously working your shoulders from multiple angles.

“My clients always say Tabatas are their favorite,” she says. Oprea shares the love, describing Tabata as “almost a game,” since the format is not mentally intimidating (you have to work hard for only 20 seconds at a time, she points out), but it is physically difficult, thanks to the small amount of rest in between each round. This means the maximum-work, minimum-rest Tabatas can be a very effective way to challenge yourself in a short amount of time.

Ready to bang out an entire, total-body strength workout that will challenge your muscles and give you a cardio challenge in just 30 minutes? Read on for an awesome workout from celebrity trainer Erin Oprea.

The Workout

What you’ll need: Three sets of dumbbells: one heavy, one medium, and one light—the exact weight will depend on your current strength, so do a few reps of each move to test it out first.

Instructions

Complete the first three rounds straight through with no rest, finishing each of the prescribed reps of each exercise before moving on to the next (though be sure to take breaks if you need to). Once you get to round 4 (the Tabata finisher), you’ll rest as indicated after each move.

Round 1: Do three sets of the following moves.

  • 15 deadlifts
  • 30- to 60-second plank with shoulder tap

Round 2: Do the prescribed number of reps in a descending pattern, alternating exercises. Start with 10 of each, then 9 of each, then 8 of each, and so on.

  • 10 shoulder presses
  • 10 push-ups

Round 3: Do three sets of the following moves.

  • 15 to 20 jump squats
  • 15 chest presses with glute bridge
  • 30-second plank with hip dip

Round 4: Tabata finisher! Do four sets, alternating between the two exercises for four minutes.

  • Lateral raises for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds
  • Front raises for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds

Here’s how to do each move.

Demoing the moves are Cookie Janee, a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve; Crystal Williams, a group fitness instructor and trainer who teaches at residential and commercial gyms across New York City; Rachel Denis, a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York State powerlifting records; Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and its allies; and triathlete Mirinda Carfrae.

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