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Get a Wow Body Now: Heather Morris' Dance and Martial Arts Workout

Glee's Heather Morris' favorite dance and martial arts-inspired exercises to get a dancer's physique.

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Brian Bowen Smith
Brian Bowen Smith
Brian Bowen Smith
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Get a Wow Body Now Workout

Glee's Heather Morris came to FITNESS to fulfill her biggest workout wish: "I want to kick some ass!" She became an insta-fan of this fat-melting mash of martial arts and sculpting dance moves at first strike. "You will firm every inch of your body and fry calories like never before," says Ary Nunez, owner of Venia East studio in New York City, who created the signature dance-ninja mix that's getting major buzz among the fitterati, including A-list client and devotee Rihanna. "The body and energy boost you get are so incredible, you won't go back to plain old squats," Nunez adds. She cherry-picked the most flab-fighting firmers from her new Nike Training Club exercise app (free at iTunes) plus other favorites to design a total-body circuit that's as fun as it is transforming. Make it your go-to workout three times a week to slim down as you shape a sexy dancer's physique.

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Crescent Crescendo

Targets: Abs, butt, hips, and legs

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out. Bring right forearm in front of chest as you bend left elbow by side so that forearm points left, both palms facing forward.
  • Kick straight right leg toward left hand, striking left palm with right foot. MAKE IT EASIER: Swing bent right leg at hip height across body and strike left palm with right knee.
  • Return right foot to ground briefly as you bring bent right arm in front of you, elbow at shoulder height with palm facing left; put left hand by hip.

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Jenga Jump

Targets: Shoulders, arms, abs, and legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, elbows bent 90 degrees behind you, fists by hips.
  • Lunge backward with left leg, bending both knees about 45 degrees as you bring right forearm in front of forehead, palm facing forward (as if to block).

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Cat's Curtsy

Targets: Shoulders, arms, abs, butt, hips, and legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly and arms by sides.
  • Cross right leg behind left to step right foot on left side as you lift arms out to sides at shoulder height, palms facing forward.
  • Bend knees to lower into a curtsy, hinging slightly forward from hips; simultaneously bring right forearm in front of chest, palm in. MAKE IT EASIER: Bend knees only 45 degrees.

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Playing Mantis

Targets: Shoulders, abs, hips, butt, and legs

  • Stand with right foot slightly in front of left, right knee bent and heel lifted; bend elbows by ribs with forearms out to sides. MAKE IT HARDER: Hold a 3-pound dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lift bent right knee in front of you at hip height.

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Agent 99

Targets: Shoulders, lower back, abs, hips, butt, and inner and outer thighs

  • Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, arms by sides.
  • Bend right knee 90 degrees as you lean torso right, straightening left leg; simultaneously lift arms to shoulder height, bending right elbow to bring right hand by ear and extending left arm out to side, palms down.

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Karate Girl

Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, and inner and outer thighs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides.
  • Pivot on both feet to right and bend both knees slightly as you lift right heel off ground; simultaneously lift right arm to shoulder level in front of you, elbow slightly bent, and bend left elbow behind you with left hand by hip, palm up.

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Mantis Leap

Targets: Arms, abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with feet together, then bring slightly bent left arm in front of you so that forearm is parallel to ground, palm facing up, and extend right arm behind you, palm down.
  • Do 16 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets.

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Roman Rotator

Targets: Shoulders, arms, abs, and obliques

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and lift bent elbows in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing each other.
  • Rotate torso and arms together diagonally up toward left.

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Heather Morris' Workout Playlist

To get into the groove as you do these moves, download this dance-jam playlist.

"Rockstar 101" - Rihanna and Slash

"OMG" - Usher, featuring Will.i.am

"Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO, featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

"Give Me Everything" - Pitbull, featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer

"Raining Men" - Rihanna and Nicki Minaj

"Let's Get This Thing Started" - Alex Kenji

"Hi 'n' Bye" - Eddie Thoneick and Till West

"All the Right Moves" (Danger Remix) - OneRepublic

"Go Ape" - Far East Movement, Lil Jon, and Colette Carr

"Where Them Girls At" - David Guetta, featuring Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2011.

Download this playlist on iTunes

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