You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but want to be like the stars, but are the products worth it? In Elite Daily's I Tried series, we put it all to the test. We're trying those products as well as celebrities' health and wellness tips, recipes, and life hacks. We'll do the leg work and tell you what living like your fave star is really like.
You'd never guess Brie Larson — Captain Marvel herself — would slack on her fitness routine. And yet, she revealed in a YouTube video, that's exactly what she did during the first few months of her coronavirus quarantine. After months of not breaking a sweat, Larson shared her first back-to-the-grind workout on her YouTube channel in July. The video is a reminder it's OK to give yourself a break, but it's also fun to get active again. By the end of the video, I was so inspired, I decided to try Brie Larson's quarantine workout for myself.
Larson started the video by chatting about fitness with her trainer Jason Walsh, and she didn't come empty-handed. While Walsh pep-talked her ahead of the workout, she chomped down on a cookie in order to get some energy for the sweat sesh. Relatability level: off the charts.
Walsh described the routine as a "reintroduction," which is perfect for anyone who, like Larson, may have taken some time off from the workout grind during quarantine. Heading into the exercise portion of the vid, Larson was open about being kind to her body and "realistic" about her expectations for herself, which is sound advice for anyone, regardless of where they're at in their fitness journey.
But don't let Larson's uplifting words fool you. This workout, which uses nothing but bodyweight, would be intense even if you've exercised every day during quar. According to Walsh, the at-home routine is all about "reestablishing circulation and nervous patterns," which basically awakens your joints and gets the blood flowing through your muscles again.
Check out Larson's video, which I followed along with as I attempted the workout moves myself.
Here's how I did:
1. Sumo Stance Lateral Shifting
Larson kick-started her workout with sumo squats, which are a play on regular squats, in which you lengthen your stance in order to really feel it in your inner thighs. I couldn't get my squat down quite as far as Larson (I was seven months pregnant at the time of this experiment, after all), but hearing Larson poke fun at herself for having a hard time with the squats helped me loosen up and realize I wasn't alone in the struggle.
In total, I did 12 sumo squats, and it was more than enough to feel the burn.
Larson then moved into lateral squat variations, which work your inner thighs, quads, and glutes as you move side to side and sit low into one side at a time. Good tip: Focus on keeping your bent knee over your toe as you sit into the lateral squat in order to maintain balance and prevent injury. This move really got my body temp rising, so be sure to have some water within reach.
For this move, I did 10 on each side before tapping out.
2. Squat With Lateral Knee Push Into Reach
Next, I got low down to the ground and did just what Larson's trainer said to do: push through my legs and pretend like it's up to me to spread the floor with my strength. After you get low into a normal squat, just use your elbows to push your inner knees apart until you feel the burn. I lasted a full 60 seconds on this one, so I was feeling pretty good about myself.
3. Plank Sequence
After warming up the bottom half of my body, I went into a super challenging plank sequence that set my biceps, core, and shoulders on fire. The sequence involves holding a series of planks for 30 seconds each, including the following:
- Body saw plank, which involves pushing your body back and forth while maintaining a plank position
- Plank-to-knee, which requires core strength as you lift your knee to your elbow
- Creepy crawler planks, in which you walk one foot at a time up to your knee and then back down again
- Up-down planks, which simply means you go from a push-up position down to your forearms, and then back up again
It was tough to put my trust in my core, since I was worried about falling over while doing this sequence. Once I got the hang of it, though, the burn was so good.
4. Plank Push-Ups & Upward Dog To Push Back
After the plank sequence, it was time for the toughest move yet: the plank push-up. For this move, you start in a plank on your elbows, then use your upper body strength to push up into a push up, one arm at a time, and then reset back down into your elbows. It was challenging to complete 12 of these in a row, but I fought through the shaking to get them done.
After this move, Larson's trainer incorporated a bit of yoga — the downward dog pose — as a nice little break. It felt great to get a 60-second stretch in my back and spine before launching into more muscle work.
5. Cross Over Lateral Lunge & Lateral Skater Jumps
Then it was time for glutes and hamstrings. For the cross over lateral lunge, you take one leg at a time and lower it behind the other knee. The slower you do this move, the more you feel it working, and reducing my speed was a welcome change after getting my heart rate going at the beginning of the workout.
But don't get too lazy. When it comes to the skater lunges, you'll want to pick the pace up to get your heart going again. Skater lunges are similar to lateral lunges, but for these, you'll want to jump into each position by leaning forward and crossing your back leg over your front leg.
I spent 60 seconds doing each of these moves; it was a tiring but successful two minutes.
6. Standing Single Leg Hip Extension To Squat & Single Leg Toe Touch To Forward To Reverse Lunge
Walsh had to walk Larson — and me — through the single leg hip extension step by step. I started by standing straight up and raising one knee up so my thigh was parallel to the ground. I then brought that knee back behind my body as I squatted through my standing leg. While it seems like a simple combo, it was hard to keep my back leg at an optimal height while getting into the squat. After 10 reps, I was maxed out.
The single leg toe touch was another welcome stretch that was easy to incorporate into all the strength training I was doing. For this move, I started exactly the same way I began the single leg hip extension to squat, but instead of squatting when I brought my bent knee back, I leaned my body forward to make both hands touch the toes of my standing foot. I didn't count how many times I did this on each side, but spent 60 seconds on the move in total.
7. Cool Down
At the end of the video, Walsh encouraged Larson to put her focus on her breath as she stretched and cooled down, and it was a great reminder for me to do the same. After this grueling workout, it felt good to lose myself in the stretch. It also helped me to be more mindful about how I was breathing, instead of huffing and puffing like I had unknowingly been doing before checking in with my breath.
I not only felt this workout while I was doing it, but I was also definitely the good kind of sore the following morning. I liked the ease of using only bodyweight for this workout, and I know I'll be turning to this video the next time I need a full-body reboot. The best part was doing the workout right alongside Larson, whose sweaty, beet-red face made me feel proud of my own post-workout look.