High Knee

  • Similar to jogging in place but with a greater range of motion, tilt your pelvis up and forward and bring your knees as high up toward your chest as you possibly can.
  • Keep alternating knees for 25 seconds.

Standing Alternating Toe Tap Crunch

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, arms extended up overhead.
  • Kick your right leg all the way up with power and intensity to touch your toe with your hand at belly-button level.
  • Keep alternating legs for 25 seconds.

Standing Oblique Crunch (Left Leg)

  • From a standing position, place your right hand on your waist, left hand behind your head.
  • Keeping both legs straight, lift the left leg out to the left side, crunching your elbow toward your lifted leg.
  • Keep going for 25 seconds.

Standing Oblique Crunch (Right Leg)

  • From a standing position, place your left hand on your waist, right hand behind your head.
  • Keeping both legs straight, lift the right leg out to the right side, crunching your elbow toward your lifted leg.
  • Keep going for 25 seconds.

Alternating Cyclone Squat

  • Stand in a five-pointed star position, with your feet wide, arms in T-position parallel to the floor.
  • Pivot to one side and drop the back knee down, coming into a lunge, keeping the arms out wide.
  • Come back up to the start position and rotate to the opposite side.
  • Keep going for 25 seconds.

When you hear the name Jillian Michaels, your body automatically starts to sweat. The fitness expert is known for her tough AF workouts and zero-excuses persona, but trainer Kenta Seki gets to see another side of her. To him, she’s a business partner, a friend, and a mentor in the fitness industry (and in life, too).

Seki met Michaels after being cast in her Body Revolution DVD fitness program in 2011, and he’s been involved with her many ventures ever since, including working out on stage with her at events, helping with choreography, appearing on her reality show, Just Jillian, becoming a senior master trainer for her group fitness program, BODYSHRED, and working with her on a new workout video series for her online fitness streaming platform, FitFusion. “She affectionately began calling me one of her protégés,” he tells SELF.

After years working (and working out) alongside Michaels, he’s learned a few of her secrets to success with clients—and you can use them to see results in your fitness routine. Here are four of his biggest takeaways.

1. Always be on the lookout for new ways to train, from classes to equipment.

“Jillian gets bored very quickly. She likes to change things up and is always interested in learning about what’s new and different,” says Seki. “Whenever she hears about a new class, product, or piece of equipment, she asks about it. When she sees something new she likes, I always see this fiery, crazed look in her eyes,” he adds.

“This is a great quality that I’ve learned from Jillian that I think is a good lesson for anyone: Always be curious and learn about new things to stay on top of your industry,” says Seki. “It can also be a great way to stay fit. It’s really common for people to get stuck in the same fitness routine, which can lead to boredom,” says Seki.

Constantly doing the same workout over and over can potentially lead to muscle imbalances and plateaus, he adds, so mixing things up is vital to seeing continued progress. “If you stay open to trying new things, you ensure your body always stays challenged,” he says.

2. Words matter, so use them to motivate yourself.

“There was a moment when Jillian really inspired me: I was being considered to be cast in a major TV show, and I didn’t know if I should continue with the audition process. She sent me this email that just said, ‘I think you should go for it. Head up. You’re the best.’ It was such a short, simple message, but it really stuck with me. I had been working with Jillian for years and always saw her motivate her fans, but this was the first moment where I felt personally inspired by her words,” says Seki. “It made me realize that words really are powerful…sometimes the simplest message can affect people in a big way.”

This is an important message to remember when it comes to self talk. “Our thoughts are conversations we have with ourselves—keeping them positive can have a direct influence on our actions and our results,” says Seki. “Consider this: If you were to write down the thoughts you have about yourself every day, would you say they are being productive and helpful, or negative and doubtful?”

Do your best to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, says Seki. Maybe that means being proud that you woke up and got to the gym even if it wasn’t your best workout, or feeling confident that you can crush a new fitness class instead of dreading it. “I promise you’ll start to feel better about yourself, and your body and health will improve as well,” says Seki.

One of the top questions I get asked on a regular basis is about abs. In fact, MOST of the top questions are about abs: How do I get them? What workouts are best for them? What should I eat to get abs? What should I not eat? And on and on.

So, let’s clear up any confusion once and for all. To get definition in your core and see your abdominal muscles you have to burn the subcutaneous fat on top of the muscle and under your skin. So while yes, you need to condition the muscles as well, burning off the fat is the most important part.

For this reason, the best way to get a “6 pack” is not moves like crunches, it’s fitness techniques that burn the most calories in conjunction with clean eating in order to burn off the stored fat. Remember, fat loss is about creating a calorie deficit. If we are overeating it defeats some of the progress we make in the gym.

The techniques that are going to be the absolute most effective…Bet you already guessed: HIIT, resistance training (both body weight and free weights), and metabolic circuits – which means you are incorporating both of the above techniques in the same workout without rest in between exercises. Admittedly, dynamic or explosive movements like plyometrics are also very effective, but very advanced. So, if you don’t feel comfortable with things like jump squats, Kettlebell swings, squat thrusters, or jumping lunges etc. that’s ok as long as you train with HIIT and resistance and minimal rest time during your workout.

The best thing about this type of resistance training is that it automatically conditions your core without having to artificially isolate a muscle group and train it. That kind of training isn’t functional, meaning your body doesn’t work like this during your every day life. And, it burns very little calories. So exercises like push ups will actually do more for your core than crunches because they still work core, but they also work chest, quads, shoulders, triceps which burns more calories overall while you are conditioning your core. So, multiple muscle group exercises with free weights are best. Here are just a few to give you an idea: Burpees, Renegade Rows, Push Ups of any kind, Mountain Climbers, Lunge with Dumbbell Chop, Crescent Pose with Reverse Fly… the list is actually pretty extensive.

If you still feel confused about what to do in the gym you can always try my Sexy Abs program in the JM My Fitness App! As you can see on my website, the transformations speak for themselves.

When it comes to your food, be sure not to overeat. Drink water until your pee looks like lemonade to flush out any excess water weight bloat – the more you drink the less you hold on to. Keep your sodium under 1500 on days you don’t train and under 1800 on days you do. Avoid processed grains and sugars. Keep the alcohol down to no more than 4 drinks a week. And you will start seeing that sexy 6 pack poppin’ in no time!

Jillian Michaels Shares 5 Tips for Getting Strong, Toned Abs

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Jillian Michaels is a household name in the fitness world.

A renowned life coach and world-recognized fitness expert, Jillian Michaels is a female fitness powerhouse.

Widely known for her TV shows and fitness DVDs, she has also published eight New York Times bestselling books (YogiApproved editor pick: The 6 Keys: Unlocking Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health and Beauty), and recently launched her My Fitness App.

Her presence in the health and wellness industry has been inspiring and revolutionary.

If you Google “Jillian Michaels,” you will find endless results of workout videos and fitness articles. She has countless ab workouts online and there’s no shortage of photos featuring those chiseled core muscles.

We asked Jillian Michaels five questions everyone wants to know when it comes to getting strong, toned abs.

Jillian once told Women’s Health that she did a Facebook poll asking which part of the body people struggle with most. The answer? Abs.

That’s why we were so excited for the opportunity to learn all about abs from the fitness icon herself! We asked Jillian Michaels five questions everyone wants to know when it comes to getting strong, toned abs.

Photo Credit: Don Flood

Straight From the Source: Jillian Michaels Shares 5 Tips for Getting Strong, Toned Abs

1. What is the number one no-no when it comes to getting stronger abs?

Jillian Michaels: Well, there really isn’t one. There are more powerful choices when it comes to training techniques that will burn off more fat like HIIT and there are better strength training options like body-weight-based functional resistance training to better condition the core.

That said, if there really is one thing to sabotage your abs it’s going to be food-related. No matter how hard you train, if you don’t watch what you are eating, you simply won’t be able to burn off excess fat.
The number one offender is overeating. Then consuming alcohol. And the third poor choice is consuming processed sugars and grains.

2. What’s your go-to move for strengthening your abs?

Jillian Michaels: I love planks and all variations of them. I find them to be super effective at working the core and they can be done by anyone, any place, anytime, anywhere.

Not sure or need a refresher? Here’s How to Properly Practice Plank Pose

3. Name and explain your three favorite at-home ab exercises?

Jillian Michaels:
1. Side Plank Pop-Ups: This is a side plank with a hip dip.

2. Push-Ups: Crazy as this sounds, if you’re strong enough to perform these on your hands and feet, they’re incredible for core strength. It’s essentially a plank that adds in additional, chest, shoulder and triceps work.

3. Hollow Man Hold: Simply place hands under your lower back for added support. This move is incredibly effective for conditioning your lower abdomen.

4. Best foods to eat for lean, toned abs? Worst foods to avoid?

Jillian Michaels: I kinda jumped ahead on this one as you can see. The key is really to avoid over-eating. Period. Then alcohol and processed sugars and grains because these foods affect the how and where your body burns and stores fat.

The number one offender is overeating. Then consuming alcohol. And the third poor choice is consuming processed sugars and grains.

The best foods would be things high in vitamin C because it helps to inhibit cortisol production (which is a hormone that promotes belly fat storage). So kiwi, berries, citrus are good.

Plus, ultimately, caffeine has been shown to help us burn fat. The key is to get it from an organic only source and take it 45 minutes before training to help improve workout performance (thereby burning more calories).
Plus it helps to curb appetite. I always pop an Organic Lucky Jack Cold Brew about an hour before I train as a solid pre-workout option.

5. If you could only give one piece of advice for chiseled abs, what would it be?

Jillian Michaels: It really is a combo of calorie management, clean foods that are chemical-free and not overly processed, high intensity training to burn body fat, and functional body weight resistance training to condition the muscles so once the fat is burned off, you can see a lovely toned tummy.

Strong, Toned Abs Inspo From Jillian Michaels

Strong, toned abs are not just for aesthetics. Your core is your power center! Having a strong core makes you feel strong and confident. It also helps protect your low back and prevent injury.

A big YogiApproved thank you to Jillian for sharing this awesome advice with our readers!

Want more ab inspiration from Jillian? She has a 4-Week Sexy Abs program in her My Fitness App. The program consists of 18 unique 20-minute workouts that utilize HIIT circuits and core-focused strength exercises to deliver the results you seek.

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