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Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and lean

When A-list celebs like Anne Hathaway and Naomi Watts need a muscle-burning fitness fix, they call their favourite trainer, Simone De La Rue. With studios in New York and L.A. and a new book, Body by Simone, she can transform your body too using her hybrid of yoga, Pilates and ballet.
Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and lean

Photo, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

Simone de la Rue workout | June 2014

Get outside!

Simone invited us to work out with her at her fave outdoor space, the Hudson River Park, in New York City.

We asked Simone:

Q: How does Body by Simone work?
A: The exercises are super- specific and isolate particular muscle groups so you see change quickly. I call it “the shrink workout.” Your waist, hips and thighs narrow, and your arms and upper body become quite defined. I focus on high reps because that means you’re totally fatiguing each muscle group. This is how you see change in a muscle’s strength and structure: low weight, high reps.

Q: If you kept a food journal, what would a typical day look like? 
A: It starts with a protein shake of almond milk, mixed berries and a cup of green tea for breakfast. Then hummus and rice crackers for my mid-morning snack. Probably a turkey burger and kale salad for lunch, and a handful of almonds or peanut butter on celery sticks in the afternoon. Dinner consists of a chicken breast and spinach salad with avocado and some walnuts, and a small piece of chocolate or a sweet biscuit with a herbal tea for dessert.

What you need for this workout: Resistance band, Pilates ball. 

Simone De La RuePhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

1. Heel press

Works: Quads, hips, abs

Sit with one knee bent, foot flat on the ground, and the other leg extended along the ground, foot flexed. Lean onto your elbows, keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Bend the knee of your extended leg and bring it toward your chest. Return leg to straight position to complete one repetition. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other. Do 30 reps per leg.

Perfect your form: Keep your chest proud to avoid rounding your spine.

Dial it down: Extend your leg only halfway or reduce reps.

Amp it up: Increase resistance with an exercise band.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

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2. Leg lift

Works: Quads, hamstrings, abs

Sit with one knee bent, foot flat on the floor, and extend the other leg along the ground, foot pointed. Lean onto your elbows, keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Lift and lower straight leg, pointing your toes on the way up and flexing your foot on the way down. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other. Do 30 reps per leg.

Perfect your form: Focus on engaging your core, not your hip flexors, during the movement. Try not to rush.

Dial it down: Lift your leg halfway.

Amp it up: Increase resistance with an exercise band.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

3. Marching band

Works: Outer thighs

Place a resistance band around your ankles and step your feet apart just enough to create tension in the band. Step your right foot out to the side to widen your stance, keeping your legs straight and maintaining tension in the band. Return to start and repeat with left foot. Do 30 reps.

Perfect your form: Keep your shoulders down and your hips facing forward.

Dial it down: Try the move without the band.

Amp it up: Use a stronger band.

We asked Simone:

Q: Why are resistance bands and Pilates balls so effective?
A: First of all, they’re portable, which means you can travel with them and use them on the go. They also help you develop strength without the strain or risk of injury that heavy weights and some machines can do. And they’re a brilliant guide to help you use correct form, so you will see results much faster.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

4. Knees up

Works: Full body

Stand with your feet apart, one leg slightly bent almost in a lunge, arms above your head. Jump, bringing back knee to chest height and hands to the top of your knee. Then jump back to starting position. Do 20 reps per leg.

Perfect your form: Try not to round your back.

Dial it down: Tap foot in front of you.

Amp it up: Increase reps.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

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5. Thigh squeeze

Works: Inner thighs

Sit with your knees bent, feet flat, and place the Pilates ball between your knees. Rest your hands on the ground behind your hips for stability, and lift your chest so your back is straight. Alternately squeeze and release the ball between your knees. Do 30 reps.

Perfect your form: Keep your shoulders back and chin up.

Dial it down: Do fewer reps.

Amp it up: Perform the move with your feet up and shins parallel to the ground.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

6. The jack

Works: Full body, cardio

Stand with your feet together, arms by your side. Jump your legs out to the side and raise your arms above your head. Jump back to starting position. Do 30 reps.

Perfect your form: Keep your chin up and avoid locking elbows and knees.

Dial it down: Place hands on your hips.

Amp it up: Increase tempo.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

7. Touch base

Works: Quads, hamstrings, abs

With hands on your hips, jump feet into a very wide stance, bending your knees. Touch the ground with one hand. Jump back to starting position, feet together. Then repeat move using other hand to touch the ground. Do 30 reps, alternating hands.

Perfect your form: Keep your back straight and chin up.

Dial it down: Keep hands on hips for full movement.

Amp it up: Pick up the pace.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

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8. Great glute kick

Works: Glutes, lower back, abs

Start on your hands and knees in tabletop. Extend one leg behind you, with your toe pointed. Bend your knee and and tuck it into your chest without rounding your back. Extend leg back and repeat. Do 30 reps per leg.

Perfect your form: Engage your abdominal muscles from beginning to end. Place hands directly under your shoulders, and avoid locking elbows.

Dial it down: Cut reps in half.

Amp it up: When leg is extended back, pulse it two or three times before bringing knee to chest.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

9. Froggy

Works: Glutes, lower back, hamstrings, inner thighs

Lie on your stomach with your legs behind you and your hands together on the ground, a comfortable distance from your chest. Bend knees and splay them out to the sides. Place a Pilates or exercise ball between your heels, flex your feet and bend knees so the soles of your shoes face up. Press soles upward, squeezing your glutes and lifting your knees off the ground as high as you can. Lower your legs to finish. Do 20 reps.

Perfect your form: Be aware of your spine. You don’t want to over-arch your back.

Dial it down: Do fewer reps.

Amp it up: Add 10 reps, then pulse your feet for 30 seconds at the end.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

10. Total side shaper

Works: Outer thighs, glutes, abs

Lie on your side with your upper body propped up by your forearm and your bottom leg bent. Extend your top leg so it’s straight and almost parallel to the ground, with your foot flexed. Bend your knee and bring it in toward your chest, keeping leg off the ground. Return to start and repeat. Do 30 reps per leg.

Perfect your form: Lightly rest your top hand on the ground to stabilize your body and keep hips from wobbling.

Dial it down: Lift and lower top leg.

Amp it up: Extend foot in front of you in the middle of the move.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and leanPhoto, Zoe Buckman. Hair, Lindsay Block. Makeup, Simone De La Rue.

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More from Simone

We asked Simone:  

Q: What are your go-to healthy habits?
A: I always make time to exercise an hour a day, six days a week. I take one day off. I miss the good endorphins when I do not exercise. I eat well, which means limiting my sugar, caffeine, salt, dairy and grains and eating as much real, whole, organic foods as possible. And, of course, I get lots of sleep. I am in bed most evenings by 9 or 10 p.m. All of this helps me to feel fit, healthy and ready to take on whatever life throws my way!

For more workout ideas from Simone, check out her new book Body by Simone, out now.

Simone De La Rue's 10 cool moves to get long and lean

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