For Julianne Hough, having a strong core and lower body is key. The actor, singer, and Dancing With the Stars alum loves exercises that target these muscle groups, so she makes sure to incorporate them regularly into her workouts.
“I'm a big believer that everything stems from your core,” Hough tells SELF.
A strong lower body (including leg muscles like your hamstrings and quads, and your glute muscles) is also important too, since those muscles are the foundation for so many movements in everyday life—and in dance. Strong legs, Hough says, allow her to dance with speed and power.
When it comes to building this strength, Hough relies on a lot of bodyweight exercises. She recently shared three of her favorites with SELF: plank to downward dog toe tap, kneeling obliques crunch, and fire hydrant.
The first exercise is a variation on the plank—one of the most classic, effective core moves—that combines core strengthening, mobility, and a little bit of cardio, too, thanks to its dynamic movement. As with any plank variation, you'll also be working on your shoulder stability, which is something many people tend to neglect in their workouts, but is important for injury prevention and safer lifting, as SELF reported previously.
The second exercise, which involves hip external rotation, engages your glutes and core. Thanks to this movement pattern—different from how you move in more traditional butt exercises like the squat or glute bridge—you'll be working your smaller glute muscles, too, as SELF reported previously.
The third especially targets your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen) as well as your glutes in a crunch-style move. Because it's a single-leg move, you'll also be working on building more balanced strength.
The best part, though? You can do all of these moves with just your bodyweight.
Hough typically does these exercises within a KINRGY Carve workout, a specific form of KINRGY (Hough's dance-inspired fitness method) that focuses on strengthening through bodyweight yoga and Pilates moves, and also incorporates doses of cardio, too. She recently partnered with FitOn, the free fitness app, to release workout videos that you can do at home.
Want to try these three exercises for yourself? We'll tell you how in just a sec. First though, a reminder that form—not intensity—is what's important. “It's not about how hard it is,” says Hough, “it's about how well you're doing the move.”
Incorporate these moves into your strength and cardio routine like Hough, or try them out on their own for some targeted lower-body and core work. (Want some workout inspiration? Underneath each move, you'll also find a full routine that incorporates that exercise.)
3 Tips Olympian Lolo Jones Swears By for Coping With the Unexpected
Lolo Jones’s career has been marked by highs and lows. She’s a three-time Olympian who has competed in two separate sports—hurdling and bobsledding—in both the summer and winter Games. She was also the gold-medal favorite in the 2008 Olympics when she snagged her foot on the second to the last hurdle and ended up missing the podium entirely.
She’s a reality TV veteran who has appeared on Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Big Brother, and The Challenge, but she’s also had her personal life picked apart after speaking out about her virginity in 2012.
“I’ve failed so many times over my career,” Jones tells SELF. “And if anything, I’ve had some amazing moments, and those failures propelled me to make history.”
In fact, Jones considers herself something of a pro when it comes to dealing with sucky circumstances. Her latest struggle? Having to bow out of the Tokyo Games due to the pandemic-induced delay, which made it impossible for her to prepare for both hurdling in Tokyo and bobsledding in the Winter Games in 2022.
“That was really tough because I was training for the Summer Olympics before the pandemic hit,” she says, referring to her intent to try to make the track and field team for the 100-meter hurdles. “And once it hit and they delayed the Games, I knew that I couldn’t go for both because they’d be six months apart.”
For Jones, now 39-years-old, missing the trials for the summer Games was a big disappointment, especially considering she had to withdraw from the 2016 Trials for the summer Rio Games due to hip surgery. But the decision was just another example of the resilience Jones has learned to cultivate throughout her career. It’s something she hopes to inspire in other people, too. In fact, that was one of the big reasons she decided to write her book, Over It, which she started amid the chaos and frustration of the global pandemic.
“I was like, where’s the book for the person who’s come up short multiple times and they’re not on the other side? Where’s their inspiration?” she says. “I wrote my book for the people who are frustrated, who are feeling hopeless, who are still in the battle.”
With that in mind, Jones sat down with SELF to offer some of her tried and true tips for overcoming the toughest of life’s proverbial hurdles. Here are her strategies for coping with the unexpected and emerging stronger than ever.
1. Write it all out.
Even before she became an author, Jones was in the regular habit of writing out her thoughts and feelings as a form of catharsis.
“I’m big on journaling,” Jones says. “There have been so many moments in my life where I just wanted to scream because I’ve been so angry, and just being able to journal and let it all out and let my raw emotions [out]—where tears are just dripping on the pages—has been really therapeutic and has given me hindsight to look back and see what I’ve overcome.”
You don’t have to be a traditional pen-and-paper kind of person to get the benefits of journaling, either. As SELF has previously reported, journaling out your negative thoughts can help you identify patterns of thinking or triggers, as well as help you identify ways to feel better These 13 journaling apps can help you quickly log important events or feelings, as well as provide prompts to dig a little deeper.
2. Cultivate your own team of supporters.
Jones recognizes that her sport has afforded her a built-in support network of coaches and teammates, but she says anyone can replicate that same camaraderie and mentorship outside of athletics, too.