The world has gone wild for Meghan Markle, the royal bride-to-be of Prince Harry. Markle is an actress and philanthropist who is planning to quit acting and pursue full-time humanitarian work as a royal family member. Known for starting her fight for gender equality at the age of 11 when she took action against a sexist soap commercial, she has continued to be a strong role model for female empowerment. Growing up in Southern California with a yoga teacher mom, it’s no wonder she loves being active. In an interview with Women’s Health, Markle revealed how important a good sweat session is for her mental health. She loves running, Vinyasa yoga, and Pilates megaformer classes. Here are a few of Markle’s favorite workout moves. (I am in the third trimester of my pregnancy, and all of these moves are safe to do for each trimester.)
1. Donkey Kicks– Build your booty with this move. Get down on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Keep a neutral spine by pulling your abs in and engaging your lats. Squeeze your glute to lift one knee up with a flexed foot so that you are pressing your heel towards the ceiling. Resist arching your back by keeping your abs engaged. Keep your hips square and slowly lower your knee back down. Do 20 reps on each leg.
2. Kneeling Side Leg Raises– Kneel on the ground and lean over to place your left hand on the floor. Try to keep just your fingertips on the ground, centering most of your weight directly over your left knee. Place your right hand behind your head and extend your right leg out to the side in parallel. Keep your core engaged as you lift your right leg straight up to hip height using your outer thigh and glute muscles. Lower the leg back down with control. Do 15 reps and hold your leg up at hip height on the last one. Finish off this side with 10 small leg circles in each direction. Repeat on the other side.
3. Step Ups– Strengthen your legs while also getting your heart pumping. Place a stable bench or box in front of you. The higher the surface the harder it will be on your hamstrings and glutes. Place your right foot on the surface and squat down to one side with your left foot on the floor. You can hold your hands in front of your chest while leaning slightly forward. Press off your right heel to slightly straighten your right leg as you lift the left leg up and place it down on the other side of the bench or box. Continue to go up and down at a fast pace, bringing your left leg to either side of the box each time. Do this for 1 minute before changing legs.
4. Side Plank– A staple move in Pilates classes that strengthens the entire core especially the obliques. Lie down on your left side with your left forearm on the ground. You shoulder should be directly over your elbow. Stack your legs straight in parallel so your right leg is on top of your left. For a modified version, bend both knees and stack them. Straighten your right arm up to the ceiling at shoulder height. Engage your left lat to stay strong in your shoulder and not sink into the left shoulder blade. Lift your hips into the air until your body makes one diagonal line. Lower your hips down with control. Do 15 reps and then hold the last one up for 20-30 seconds before switching sides.
5. Mermaid Pose– Open up your chest, upper back, psoas, and hips with one of Meghan’s favorite yoga poses. Start in a pigeon pose with your right leg bent, hips square on the floor and your left leg extended behind you. Try to lift your chest in this position. Staying in pigeon pose might be enough for you if you are pregnant and have never done this pose before or if you are inflexible and need to work your way up to the full pose. Reach back as you bend your left knee and hook your left foot against the crook of your left elbow. Clasp your fingertips together with bent elbows. Lift your right arm over and behind your head. Gaze forward and continue lifting in the heart and chest. Keep your right shoulder relaxed and root down through the hips. Hold for 8-10 breaths before changing sides.
While Markle won’t need to get into shape for any more acting roles, she will definitely be working out to get ready for one of the biggest roles of her life when she weds Prince Harry!
What’s your favorite move from Meghan Markle’s workout?
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Video: Crystal Chin; Photo: Meghan Markle @meghanmarkle via Instagram