Carrie Underwood Shares the Core Workout She Swears By for Strong Abs
Carrie Underwood has racked up some impressive accomplishments this past year. The singer and songwriter, 36, wrapped her Cry Pretty 360 Tour, hosted the 53rd Annual Country Music Association Awards, and also won Favorite Female Country Artist and Favorite Country Album at the 2019 American Music Awards. Oh, and she gave birth to her second son, Jake, 11 months. (Isaiah, 4, is her firstborn.)
Despite it all, Underwood made it a point to keep up her fitness routine, to stay in shape and as a form of self-care. “It’s all about making time for it, because it’s a priority,” the performer tells Health. “It’s my ‘me’ thing. I wish I had time for massages and facials and to get my nails done and stuff like that, but I will take a workout over any of those things.”
While career and family haven't slowed her down, her workout has changed since giving birth to Jake. Like other women who deliver via C-section, Underwood experienced a disconnect between her pelvic floor and abs. To rebuild that core strength, "we did a lot basic stuff like pelvic tilts, really focusing on that hip to rib cage connection, and waking the abs back up,” Eve Overland, Underwood’s trainer of 10 years, tells Health.
Underwood used to rely on working out to fit into her clothes better. These days, she appreciates what her body can do for her. “I don’t know if it’s because of having children, or just being a little older and wiser, but now I work out to be healthy,” she explains. “I want to feel good, and working out makes me feel good.”
Another new change? Underwood has swapped the treadmill for lifting weights. “It’s like I could either spend an hour in the gym running on the treadmill, huffing and puffing, or I have a plan and it’s lifting weights,” she says. “I lift heavy, and then I rest for a minute. It’s a little less flail-y, and less high impact on my body.”
When it comes to her favorite workout, Underwood loves tabata, a type of interval training. “A tabata is four minutes—I count five for drinks and resting in between and stuff,” says Underwood. Tabata means working your hardest for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds. “If you do six moves, that’s like a half hour right there," says Underwood. "It’s simple and you just stick to it.”
Want to try Underwood's core-focused tabata workout to boost abs strength? The bodyweight moves she does are plank jacks, horizontal scissors, mountain climbers, Russian twists, the bottom half of burpees, and V-Ups. Perform each exercise for 20 second all out, then rest for 10 seconds. That’s one round. Repeat for 8 rounds, or 4 minutes. Then move on to the next exercise.
Underwood looks the part in the gym, too. Her women's activewear line, Calia, is entering its 10th season, debuting pieces that are fitness-focused and some athleisure options. Says Underwood: “I work out in tights and tank tops most of the time. I want things that stay in place. I like thicker waistbands that kind of suck you in a little bit. I like pockets on clothing." Some of her fave pieces this season: the warm and cozy cloud funnel neck pullover; the essential shine leggings that can be worn to the gym or dressed up with heels, and the journey woven pants for travel.
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