After catapulting to the top of the Hot 100 Chart in 2006 with her infectious hit “Hips Don’t Lie” feat. Wyclef Jean, Latin artist Shakira gave everyone serious ab envy with her defined core and hypnotizing belly dancing moves. In the 11 years since, the Columbian singer has snagged 12 other Hot 100 hits alone, is married to FC Barcelona defender Gerad Pique, and is now a mother of two baby boys: Milan and Sasha.
The woman behind the “Me Enamoré” singer’s toned figure is Anna Kaiser, the founder of AKT in Motion, who had stints dancing for one of the originators of Modern Dance in NYC, performed in Disney’s movie Enchanted and danced in Showboat at Carnegie Hall. The two women first met after being introduced by a mutual friend, and after hitting it off, Kaiser began to train Shakira and assist her with choreography; Kaiser even danced in Shakira’s 2009 She Wolf music video.
To help prepare the singer for her upcoming El Dorado World Tour and perform at peak level, Kaiser ups the intensity of endurance and strength-training exercises and increases workout sessions to 90 minutes sound-tracked by classic rock music and even a “surprise” song thrown in: “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. “It’s very demanding on your body to perform every single day on stage, especially with two kids on top of it,” Kaiser tells Billboard exclusively. “It’s a different way to tour and a different energy.”
While Kaiser considers herself a “hardass” who doesn’t let clients take a day off, she believes her passion for helping devotees, which also includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Ripa, Drew Berrymore and Hilary Duff, achieve their personal fitness goals is something that strengthens the bond between her and Shakira. “I love that she puts 150% of herself into everything she does and is up for being pushed to work for those results.”
Below is a sampling of the specific exercises straight from Kaiser that you can also do at home to earn rock solid, killer abs just like Shakira, along with bonus moves to score a strong and lean upper and lower body.
Ab Exercise 1: C-Curve with a Pilates Ball
Have a seat on the floor and put an overball or small Pilates ball right underneath the level of your shoulder blades. With your feet on the floor, inhale back with your arms behind your head and exhale up to a C-Curve. Continue to inhale back slowly and exhale up 15 times and take a 20 to 30-second break. Repeat this exercise 12 times and take a break. For the third and final set, do the exercise ten times.
Pro-Tip: Exercise slowly. “Form is really important, so you’re actually accessing the muscles you need to. If you don’t do it slowly, you could be losing momentum and engaging your neck in pulling you up. Focus on engaging your abdominals to make that movement happen, not anything else.”
Ab Exercise 2: Side Plank on your Forearm
For a full body workout that pays particular attention to your core, try this side plank on your forearm.
Start with your left forearm and your legs are shooting out to your right in a side plank. Take your right hand and put it on your right hip, and then you’re going to twist your body into a plank facing the ground where your left forearm is and then come back into a side plank. Come over so that both of your toes are on the ground and your shoulders and hips are right off the ground, and then you’re going to get back into a side plank.
Pro Tip: It’s okay to take a break in-between multiple reps. “It’s a hard exercise so I would try eight to ten [reps], and if you can do two sets of those (left and right side), pause for a minute and do the left side and right side again, that’s great.”
Upper Body Exercise: Downward V Press
Go into a Downward Dog position and have your fingertips face each other in a narrow base, so they’re touching very close to each other. Begin to bend your elbows out and bring the top of your head down to the back, kind of like a shoulder push-up and then you’re going to extend your elbows straight. Slowly do eight to ten reps and try to get the top of your head to the floor. Be sure to rest in between sets.
Pro Tip: Proper shoulder development is a major fitness key. “The look of your shoulders is completely defined by your deltoids, which is the muscle that wraps the top of your shoulder. You see your shoulders in everything, and it’s the last part of your body to go as we age.”
Lower Body Exercise: Pulsing Curtsy Lunge
To get into a curtsy lunge, start from standing and move your left leg behind you and to the right, so your thighs meet. Make sure you bend both knees as if you are curtsying and while holding this position, begin to pulse eight times. Kick your right leg off to the right side and go back to the curtsy lunge and do the same on the reverse side.
Pro Tip: This move is one of Kaiser’s favorite lower body exercises. “I love curtsey lunges because it helps develop the glutes and you feel a wrapping sensation in your inner thigh all the way out to your gluteus medius.”