The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show serves up a major dose of fitness inspiration each year, raising the question: how do the brand's models train for the runway?
There are actually a lot of answers to that question, and, thanks to Instagram, we can report back on some of the best Angel workouts.
Portugese model Sara Sampaio turned to Pilates reformer exercises to strengthen her abs in the weeks leading up to the big show. There's science behind that plan, too. According to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study, women who completed 36 weeks of Pilates training, strengthened their rectus abdominis (a.k.a., the six-pack muscles) by an average of 21 percent, and eliminated muscle imbalances between the right and left sides of their cores. While Pilates reformer work is effective, it's not the most affordable plan if you work out at home: reformers can easily cost thousands of dollars.
Fashion show veteran Georgia Fowler hit the Prowler sled to get ready for her turn on the catwalk. The Prowler is a weighted sled that you can push to improve strength, power, and speed. It's easy to use—just push and run—as long as you have a large enough space. This is one piece of equipment that most of us can't keep in a home gym. (Unless, of course, you're a celebrity with an airplane-hangar size gym.) But if you have access to an exercise sled at your gym or personal trainer's studio, you, too, can try Fowler's Angel workout.
Angolan model Maria Borges didn't just use the treadmill to run; she also used it for jump squats. In a video posted to her Instagram, Borges showed that her exercise regimen included sumo jump squats in which she alternated between jumping onto the moving belt and the static sides of the machine. Hopping on and off a moving treadmill can be dangerous, so this challenge isn't for everyone.
These days, it seems like every Victoria's Secret model dabbles in boxing, but Brazilian bombshell Adriana Lima is the brand's best-known boxing fan. Why is it so popular? Because boxing burns fat, enhances cardiovascular fitness, improves strength and coordination, relieves stress... and it makes you look cool. The only downside: you'll either need a boxing bag or a partner to really see the benefits.
Everyone loves a good plank, including Victoria's Secret models. Chinese model Ming Xi included variations on side planks to work her obliques before strutting down the runway. Planks are a fantastic strength exercise because you can modify them to your fitness level—simply change your anchor point from palms to forearms, and or toes to knees—and you can plank anywhere. If you want to make your planks slightly more comfortable, follow Xi's lead and invest in an exercise mat.
Kirk Meyers, owner and founder of the Dogpound gym in New York, trained, oh, maybe all of the Angels this year? Meyers regularly featured Angel workout sessions on his Instagram account, including a number of resistance bands exercises. Want to take simple squats and side lunges to the next level? Follow the models' lead and add a resistance band.
While she didn't walk in this year's show, 11-time Victoria's Secret model Izabel Goulart is a TRX Suspension Trainer all-star. Goulart regularly posts her TRX workouts on her Instagram account, flawlessly executing some of the toughest moves possible. (Considering that both professional athletes and Navy SEALs use TRX to stay fit, that's saying a lot.) Both models who constantly criss-cross the globe and regular folks who just need flexibility to stay fit rely on TRX because the exercises are challenging, but can be modified to any fitness level. Plus, it's easy to pack a Suspension Trainer and take it anywhere. Need further proof that TRX offers a world-class workout? Angel trainer Kirk Meyers regularly uses the tool with his model clients.
Ultimately, an "Angel" body is built through a combination of genetics, food choices, and training. (And probably some not-so-subtle makeup contouring for the most famous runway show on the planet.) If you're looking for ways to add a few supermodel twists to your regular workouts, these proven Angel workouts are an excellent start.