The trainer who gets Victoria’s Secret models into shape reveals 3 mistakes you’re making with your ab exercises

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Trainer Justin Gelband works with Victoria’s Secret models like Karlie Kloss, Miranda Kerr, Candice Swanepoel, and more.
  • Gelband told INSIDER what people always get wrong about building ab muscles.
  • Conventional crunches are ineffective and aren’t good for your back, he said.
  • He also believes nutrition is an underrated factor
  • Finally, many people don’t realize their abs and core are different, he said.
  • He encourages people to strengthen their core by swimming, cycling, and adding rotational movements to their workouts.

Although Victoria’s Secret might not be the most accurate place to get fitted for a bra, the models who represent the brand know a thing or two about staying in shape.

That’s in large part thanks to personal trainer Justin Gelband, who is known for working with various Victoria’s Secret supermodels including Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss, Martha Hunt, Irina Shaik, Candice Swanepoel, and Erin Heatherton. Here he is with Swanepoel and Heatherton.

Blast from the past! Train Like an Angel always top on the list of funfilled days with @angelcandices @erinheathertonlegit whom btw had a birthday! Happy Birthday Erin! #TLA #get ripped #toned #lean #body #angels

A post shared by Justin Gelband (@justingelband4u) on Mar 5, 2015 at 9:10pm PSTMar 5, 2015 at 9:10pm PST

INSIDER spoke with Gelband to dismantle some of the common misconceptions people have about building ab muscles, and what you can do to train and maintain a healthy core.

These are the biggest mistakes that can prevent you from building ab muscles, according to Gelband.

1. You’re hung up on crunches.

Contrary to what many people think, Gelband believes crunches are ineffective.

” like when we were little kids and went to gym class the teacher would say ‘you have to go all the way up and all the way down,’ that doesn’t do anything for you,” the trainer told INSIDER. “That’s because all you’re doing is putting pressure on your spine because you’re using your neck instead of your stomach to actually do the exercise.”

Putting so much pressure on your lower back is not a good idea. Harvard Medical School even says that sit-ups and crunches are not only hazardous for your back, but only work a few muscle groups.

One variation of the crunch that has been especially popular on social media are partner leg throwdowns, which are shown below.

#partnerworkout #legthrows #core

A post shared by Amber Evans (@amber_evans121914) on Aug 29, 2017 at 4:46am PDTAug 29, 2017 at 4:46am PDT

Gelband does not approve of this exercise.

“Someone lays on their back and lifts their legs up in the air, and the person stands behind them and throws their legs up and down,” the trainer said, describing the movement. “Oh my god that’s called the back breaker. That’s probably the worst exercise you can do in your life.”

According to Gelband, the move doesn’t let your other muscles engage in the movement thus limiting your range of motion and its overall effectiveness of this partner exercise.

2. You don’t think about nutrition.

At the first mention of “abs,” Gelband kept repeating one word: nutrition.

“Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, nutrition,” he said. Doing exercise is one thing, but making sure you’re eating right is also crucial.

“So if you’re eating properly you can actually have a flat stomach,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that if you eat like a crazy person and then go and do all these crazy boxing exercises and rotational exercises, where you’re actually using your lower back, that .”

In terms of what to eat, Gelband is a big fan of dieting according to your blood type and said it’s hard for him to tell people exactly what to eat. There are some foods that you should never eat if you want a flat stomach, though.

3. You think your core just means your abs, and you’re only working them.

Miranda Kerr. AP Images

Your core and your abs are not the same thing. According to Gelband, your core is actually made up of a few different parts.

“No, it’s not just your stomach. It’s your hips, your lower back, your stomach and your butt all combined into a box,” he said. “That is what I usually work and I’m really able to define and establish a relationship between a person’s brain and body and how they connect.”

To work your “box,” Gelband suggests doing rotational movements and activities like swimming, biking, and running on the beach that don’t put as much pressure on your lower back as other exercises. “If you’re going to do certain ab exercises you need to do rotationary exercises and different movements and motions through something that’s not so abrasive as getting on the ground and doing 5,000 crunches,” he said.

To sum up, Gelband’s biggest tips are to learn how to engage all of your core muscles, skip the partner crunches, and pay more attention to what you eat. While following his advice will help strengthen your core, unfortunately there isn’t a quick answer to getting supermodel abs.

Meet the first model with vitiligo to walk in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show

Thank you very much. It is not only thankful Thursday but thriver Thursday and these are thrivers from our audience. Both from breast cancer and pancreatic cancer and it’s exactly world pancreatic cancer awareness day. I am so delighted my production company is launching a new digital series called thriver Thursday. It features the stories of remarkable thrivers like here that we have here and also Winnie Harlow who overcame immense challenges and they are tackling life head-on. It’s actually insane to me. By just being yourself the things you can achieve. It’s so crazy. I’m going to be the first model with vitiligo walking for Victoria’s secret. Hey, Winnie. Hi. I have so been looking forward to spending some time with you and just — I’m so grateful. Thank you for having me. I’m really honored. Thank you for your grace. Thank you. Thank you for your style. Thank you for your strength. It takes a village, for sure. You didn’t wake up like that? What? Come on. Nobody wakes up like this. Nobody. No one. Tell me about your childhood. What was it like growing up. A many from a little town right outside of the city of Toronto called malten. I was raised real close to my grandparents. My dad is from Jamaica. My mom was born in London so I was able to have like accession to a lot of places in the world. When did you realize that, huh, I don’t quite look like everybody else? I think I switched schools in about grade 2. I remember I ended up making friends with these two girls. One day they like — they were running away from me during recess and I caught up with them. Why are you running away? They’re like our parents say not to play with you because we’re going to get your skin. That was the first time I actually heard it and I was like, whoa. How did that impact you as a young child to have to deal with that? Growing up I was always so into what somebody thought of me, my clothes, my hair, everything about me. How do you describe vitiligo? Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease where your skin thinks your melanin is a common cold, the same way your body would fight it off it fights off the melanin in your body because it thinks you’re sick. Is it frustrating to you sometimes because sometimes people want to talk about the vitiligo? So, so frustrating. Especially there’s certain things like I remember going to Europe when I first started doing interviews and this woman, one of her questions was how do you feel beautiful? Like why do you feel beautiful? I just have to look at her and I was like, you’re so ignorant. Girl, you’re walking in the Victoria’s secret fashion show. Blows my mind. I can’t been believe it. To know that you are in many ways changing what some people might think of being in that type of show. I’m a trail blazer. Own it, girl. It’s insane. It’s actually insane to me. By just being yourself the things you can achieve, it’s so crazy. I’m going to be the first model with vitiligo walking for Victoria’s secret. It’s a door opening for like everyone. We are all the same because we’re all different. People always ask me what would you like to say to little girls with vitiligo? It’s bigger than that. It’s so much bigger than that. It’s those little girls with vitiligo, it’s that little girl who didn’t like her hair. It’s that little girl who had freckles. It’s that little boy who got ceased because his lips were too big. It’s everything. And that is just a portion of Winnie’s story. For more be sure to check out my Facebook page after the show and I’ll be doing a Facebook live and you can watch two new thriver Thursday episodes and the thriver Thursday digital series will be sponsored by bristol-myers Squibb. So appreciative to them. If you know someone that you would like to submit and it’s somebody 3w40 has overcome great odds, it can be a health issue, it could be unemployment, divorce, it doesn’t matter, check it out at Please submit somebody so we can profile them and let them know. Back now to our dynamic

While the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show may be six months away, Angels and wannabe models are in full preparation mode ahead of castings.

Watched annually by over 800 million people globally and costing around £9.2 million to put on, there’s no denying that – regardless of your personal view – it’s the biggest and most talked-about fashion show in the world.

But almost regardless of the ‘fashion’, let’s face it, the ultimate joy of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is watching these strong, Amazonian-like women storm the catwalk.

This backstage video of the Victoria’s Secret models lip-syncing to Ariana Grande is so great


This backstage video of the Victoria’s Secret models lip-syncing to Ariana Grande is so great

Josh Smith

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So while we wait to be called upon to walk the shows ourselves, we interviewed some of the angels to discover the secrets behind being a Victoria’s Secret model.

The lovely Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio and Elsa Hosk all took GLAMOUR under their wing and gave us lessons in how to fly…

Rule #1: Be confident in your undies

Duh! But don’t worry, even Candice admits that she found it hard at first. “In the beginning you’re not used to being in front of so many people in your lingerie, and being so exposed, but even if you’re not 100% confident, just try your best to be. It really works. You see it in the final product so it’s very very important to be confident.”

Rule #2: Blow kisses in a really sexy way

So we don’t do this all that much in real life, but on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk show, it’s a major move. Candice, Alessandra and Elsa all told us they don’t over-think it, but Alessandra did confess that she has one particular idol. She told us: “I get inspiration from icons like Marilyn Monroe, like when she got out the car or an aeroplane or something, and she’d just blow a kiss. So that’s what goes on in my mind when I do it.”

Rule #3: Work with friends

The Victoria’s Secret catwalk show is definitely a team sport and the VS models are all the best of friends. Candice agrees, telling us: “My Victoria’s Secret friends are like my family! I see them more than my family. So that’s everything. The only people that know what it’s truly like is the other girls so we really find comfort in each other and help one another.”

Rule #4: Strut baby, strut!

If you’ve watched the VS Fashion Show, you’ll notice that each and every model storms down the catwalk like they own it. So do they spend hours practicing? Elsa gives us the honest answer. “It’s our job to walk down the runway, so we practice it a lot. You just feel the energy and walk with the music and show your personality and have fun out there.” Alessandra reckons: “It’s about personality, attitude, and confidence! You’ve just got to do your best.”

Rule #5: Earn your stripes

Becoming a Victoria’s Secret model isn’t easy, and Elsa confirms that. “It’s such a journey getting here, some of us have been working 10-15 years as models and deal with a lot of rejection. It’s a long process so finally we’ve arrived here and we’re angels.” The lesson? Don’t give up on your dreams.

Rule #6: Be a little bit goofy

Act like no one’s watching…

Rule #7: Be excellent at Instagram

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😴💖G’morning Angels … The day has arrived #vsfashionshow #vsfslondon @victoriassecret

A post shared by Alessandra Ambrosio (@alessandraambrosio) on Dec 2, 2014 at 1:48am PST

All the Victoria’s Secret models are great at Instagram – it must be part of the job description. Do they have a favourite filter? Well, when we asked this, Candice looked quite confused, but Alessandra totally knew where we were coming from, revealing that “lo-fi” is her favourite because “it’s very poppy”.

Rule #8: Be a total winker

Especially when you look like this when you do it… Candice’s secret? Her Max Factor Full Lash Effect mascara.

Rule #9: Don’t overthink it

Candice has some wise words: “The best thing is to do what comes naturally. I always try and prepare, like ‘oh, I should do this at the end’, because there’s that moment you need to catch the camera at the end of the runway. But it never works if I prepare, so I kind of just shake it off and do whatever I feel comes naturally.”

Rule #10: Believe in yourself

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A post shared by Doutzen Kroes (@doutzen) on Nov 27, 2014 at 8:18am PST

Talking of blessings, the Victoria’s Secret models love going all Oprah on social media. Candice told us: “I’m a big fan of the quote – I love to save them on my Instagram. With what we do it’s so important to believe in yourself because there are so many people who enjoy putting us down. You just have to learn to ignore that and be in your own zone and that’s really helped me. There are so many beautiful girls in the room, you really have to find your own special thing and do that.”

Rule #11: Pamper yourself

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Time for a beauty mask #vsfashionshow preparations

A post shared by Doutzen Kroes (@doutzen) on Nov 30, 2014 at 5:00pm PST

The girls all like to get pampered pre-show. Last year, Doutzen spent her night doing a face-mask and Candice had a facial before her flight to London.

Rule #12: Eat clean and exercise. Do a lot of exercise

Oh, and it was all going so well… this being a Victoria’s Secret model thing sounded quite easy. But apparently not – exercise is key, apparently. But don’t worry, they don’t all love it. Alessandra said: “I don’t love exercise, I’m normal, I hate going to the gym, but I do it because I have to. For Victoria’s Secret we have to do it. I usually like doing yoga and being outside playing sports. When it comes to the show I try to work out every day and really do lots of cardio and Pilates. I’ve been doing Barre classes. I try everything that I can.”

Rule #13: Try and be a role model to young girls

“It’s amazing to be able to have that voice,” Candice said. “I hope I’m a good enough role model. I try to just live my life as a good person; I don’t like to preach and say I do this and do that. I just do what feels good.”

Rule #14: Don’t fall over

“It’s tricky when you’re wearing heavy wings, and being able to carry them elegantly, but it’s still a lot of fun! We get to wear huge crazy things that you would never get to wear in real life, so it’s almost like theatre,” Candice tells us.

Rule #15: Have fun!

How do the Victoria’s Secret models look like they’re having a great time, ALL of the time? Well, they check their bank balance, for one! Alessandra tells us: “When I work for Victoria’s Secret, I’m doing something that I love so it’s hard not to have a good time. Even if I wake up cranky, it’s all I ever dreamed of, so I just crank up the music and start dancing. I’m having a great time and getting paid for it, it’s a blessing.”

Hmm, so there we have it, being a Victoria’s Secret model looks like hard work. We might leave it to the professionals.

Candice Swanepoel Workout

The Candice Swanepoel Workout will show you how to train like an Angel. Candice Swanepoel boxes and uses circuit training to stay in shape. The Victoria’s Secret model combines all sorts of fitness activities to create the ultimate Victoria’s Secret model workout. Candice Swanepoel works out with trainer Justin Gelband.

The Candice Swanepoel workout mixes boxing, running, spinning, resistance bands, Bosu balls, weight lifting, circuit training, Pilates, and yoga together. Most of her workouts last for 75 minutes, and she goes twice daily when getting ready for a shoot. About her trainer, Justin Gelband, she says:

With Justin it’s not only about getting you into shape by training, it’s everything in between. He has taught me so much about nutrition, health, and generally understanding how my body functions, inside and out. For me, it’s become a total addiction.

Candice Swanepoel Workout Routine = Train Like An Angel Body Circuits

Candice Swanepoel’s trainer, Justin Gelband, says:

Most of the girls are concerned about their butt, hips and thighs. I devise a circuit class based on all the different body parts. I mix it up and do different things in every workout, which is why the girls like my training so much, they never know what they’ll be getting.

So, he has created workout routines that are broken down into various body parts, that he has all the Victoria’s Secret Models do 3-4 times per week: Cardio/Butt/Arms/Core. Candice Swanepoel says that she goes 2 days on, followed by one day off.

Candice Swanepoel Boxing Routine

Candice Swanepoel loves her boxing workout routine. This is good for her arms, legs, cardio, and core. About her boxing routine, she says:

I love waking up; I box; I do a lot of resistance…three or four times a week. I like that, as well as keeping fit, I can protect myself. When I’m too tired to box, . It’s good to stay flexible and learn to keep your mind quiet.

Swanepoel did so much boxing that her hands turned purple! She tweeted this pic, saying that her hands were sore, but it was worth it. She credits her boxing workouts as the reason she has the abs on the right.

A Victoria’s Secret Angel reveals what she eats and does to stay in incredible shape

She listens to — and works with — her body.

Find your peace not by rearranging the circumstances in your life, But by realizing who you are at the deepest level.🌱 #amandari #bali @jeromeduran @aman

A post shared by Candice Swanepoel (@angelcandices) on Sep 24, 2015 at 8:18am PDTSep 24, 2015 at 8:18am PDT

There’s no one right way to be healthy, and Swanepoel knows that she has to listen to her body.

“I’ve always been in tune with my body,” she said. “I started dancing when I was really young, and it just gives you a different sense of your body.”

She compares bodies to machines, with each one being different and needing its own personal care.

She embraces motherhood and all the changes that come with it.

Little lion man 🦁 straight up chilling. He’s definitely my son ✌🏼️

A post shared by Candice Swanepoel (@angelcandices) on Oct 14, 2016 at 1:59pm PDTOct 14, 2016 at 1:59pm PDT

“The amount of time I have has changed,” she said. “Now I have a lot less time to focus on myself.”

Even though she has less time to herself, the model is amazed at the entire process of pregnancy and motherhood — especially when it comes to the female body.

“It definitely changes after you have a baby,” she said. “Having a baby is, like, extraterrestrial stuff. I’m amazed by how it bounced back and repaired. Creating a life in your tummy — it’s amazing.”

What’s also amazing is how balanced and level headed the model is when it comes to changes that go with motherhood. She is the perfect example of making it work, and her 11 million Instagram followers and countless fans should be impressed — we certainly are.

You can read Candice Swanepoel’s full beauty routine with The Cut here.

Victoria Secret Ab Workout

It’s no secret that the Victoria’s Secret models have AMAZING abs. And they work hard for them!

Having a flat stomach and abs will come from a combination of eating really well, and also doing a combination of cardio, full body workouts and targeted ab workouts.

As nutrition is super important, I have discussed the Victoria’s Secret diet plan in my blog post here. You cannot get abs if you are on a crappy diet.

Here are some of the workouts they use to get a flat stomach and toned abs (watch the video below!).


  • Choose 6 abs exercises (either from my list below, or the video of the models above)
  • Do them for 12-15 reps or 45-60 seconds with minimal rest.
  • Or you can incorporate some of these ab exercises into a cardio or full body circuit 🙂

I have created a workout video of me doing the exercises listed below (which you can watch at the bottom of this blog post).




1. PLANK (on elbows or hands)

2. SIDE PLANK (on elbows or hands)





VS models, Josephine Skriver and Jasmine Tookes have their own special planking choreography (too cute!) 🙂

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Let’s call this the plank dance! Works core but pretty much the whole body! Do it for 1 min x3 #jojalife

A post shared by JoJa (@joja) on May 2, 2018 at 12:42pm PDT








1. HIGH PLANK ON HANDS WITH ONE FOOT ON A SLIDER (bring it up and move foot around in a circle then back to other leg)


3. HIGH PLANK ON HANDS WITH BOTH HANDS ON SLIDERS (bring both feet in and together, then back out)

If you like these types of workouts, check out my other workout videos here.


Want to look like a model? Now you can! Thanks to my FREE Train like a model video course! 🙂

It is a 5-day full-length video course that includes my combined knowledge on how the most gorgeous woman in the world train their body to get lean and toned!

I decided to put together this free program to help you get started on the right track. You can download it below 🙂


I have written separate blog posts on lower body, upper body and ab workout routines that the Victoria’s Secret models use (with lots of cool workout videos!). Also, I have done a post on their diet. And for this year’s show, I’ve done blog posts for a couple of VS gorgeous models. You can read these blog posts below!

  • Leg workout
  • Upper body workout
  • Victoria’s Secret Workout Program
  • Victoria’s Secret Diet Plan
  • Kelly Gale’s Workout Program
  • Gigi Hadi’s Workout and Diet Tips
  • Bella Hadid Workout and Diet Tips
  • Romee Strijd Workout and Diet Tips

And if you like these type of workouts, I have some workouts for you here and in my 3 Steps to Lean Legs program.

My program is designed to help you get lean and toned without adding bulkiness 🙂

I’ve created three different versions of the program, one for each body type.

If you like this style of training, lower intensity resistance training, I think you’ll really enjoy my program.

I also included a complete 8-week meal plan so you can be sure your diet is on point while you’re training. Both training and diet are tailored for each body type specifically because I want you to get the best possible results 🙂

I hope you found this blog post healpful!

Love Rachael xx

Written by Rachael Attard

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.
After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.
Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

I just interviewed Victoria’s Secret Angel Josephine Skriver and she told me her TOP move for flat abs — something we’ll all want after watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on Nov. 28!

VS Angel Josephine Skriver told EXCLUSIVELY on November 28, just before the airing of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, that her number one ab move is a plank! She said she tries to hold it as long as possible — “2 to 3 minutes is amazing, but even 20 seconds is good.” Obviously planks can be done anywhere, and don’t require any equipment! You can hold a push up position at the top, or drop to your forearms. To make it harder, you can actually go back and forth from your forearms to your hands — super challenging! Try to keep your body level and don’t let your butt come up or down too much.

If you need more proof that planks are EVERYTHING, remember when Cher revealed she can do a 5 MINUTE PLANK at the Billboard music awards?! That’s why she is showing off her sexy body in sheer outfits! Celeb trainer Reggie Chambers revealed how a plank can be a total body toner: “It’s predominately a core workout — it works all of the abdominal region but can also tone the shoulders, arms, and glutes. It improves posture and balance.” For more a challenge, Reggie says, “You can make the planks harder by taking one foot off the floor, elevate your feet on a bench or suspend feet .”

Watch more fitness tips from the models here:

HollywoodLifers, are you going to try this Victoria’s Secret Ab workout?

ABS workout victoria secret

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