The 30-Minute Cardio and Strength Workout Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea Swears By

Celebrity trainer Erin Oprea, who worked with Carrie Underwood for 11 years, likes to design workouts that are (a) fun and (b) suitable for a wide range of people, from beginner exercisers to hard-core regulars and everyone in between.

Such versatility is “my style of training,” the Nashville-based trainer, who currently trains Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, and Kacey Musgraves, among others, tells SELF. And it’s also a core component of Oprea’s new app, Pretty Muscles, which launched in January and features a different workout every day for 52 weeks with loads of modifications for various fitness levels.

The following 30-minute routine, which combines total-body strengthening with cardio, is akin to what you’ll find on her app. And in Oprea’s signature style, this workout incorporates fun (in the form of circuits that vary in format and flow) with challenge, including moves that aren’t complicated but are easily adjusted to different levels.

“It can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be,” Oprea says.

Whatever your level, this nine-move workout can provide big benefits. The first? Total-body strengthening. As you move through the circuit, you’ll target multiple muscle groups throughout your body, including your shoulders, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and chest. And because of two challenging plank variations, you’ll also seriously work several muscles in the core, including the obliques (muscles on the sides of your stomach), rectus abdominis (what you think when you think “abs”), and transverse abdominis (the deepest internal core muscle that wraps around your spine and sides).

But you’ll also get a good hit of cardio too, since the no-rest-style circuit will keep your heart rate up as you go through the moves. (Of course, you should always take breaks when you need them). And the Tabata finisher—a style of HIIT training that uses 20 seconds of maximum-effort work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times—will give you an even bigger cardio boost while seriously working your shoulders from multiple angles.

“My clients always say Tabatas are their favorite,” she says. Oprea shares the love, describing Tabata as “almost a game,” since the format is not mentally intimidating (you have to work hard for only 20 seconds at a time, she points out), but it is physically difficult, thanks to the small amount of rest in between each round. This means the maximum-work, minimum-rest Tabatas can be a very effective way to challenge yourself in a short amount of time.

Ready to bang out an entire, total-body strength workout that will challenge your muscles and give you a cardio challenge in just 30 minutes? Read on for an awesome workout from celebrity trainer Erin Oprea.

The Workout

What you’ll need: Three sets of dumbbells: one heavy, one medium, and one light—the exact weight will depend on your current strength, so do a few reps of each move to test it out first.

Instructions

Complete the first three rounds straight through with no rest, finishing each of the prescribed reps of each exercise before moving on to the next (though be sure to take breaks if you need to). Once you get to round 4 (the Tabata finisher), you’ll rest as indicated after each move.

Round 1: Do three sets of the following moves.

  • 15 deadlifts
  • 30- to 60-second plank with shoulder tap

Round 2: Do the prescribed number of reps in a descending pattern, alternating exercises. Start with 10 of each, then 9 of each, then 8 of each, and so on.

  • 10 shoulder presses
  • 10 push-ups

Round 3: Do three sets of the following moves.

  • 15 to 20 jump squats
  • 15 chest presses with glute bridge
  • 30-second plank with hip dip

Round 4: Tabata finisher! Do four sets, alternating between the two exercises for four minutes.

  • Lateral raises for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds
  • Front raises for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds

Here’s how to do each move:

1. Deadlift

  • Grip one of your heavier dumbbells in each hand. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, soften your knees, and shift your weight back onto your heels.
  • Pull your shoulders back, keep your chest up, back flat, and hinge forward at the waist as you push your butt back, lowering the weights until your back is parallel to the ground. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Drive through your heels and squeeze your butt to reverse the movement to standing position. At the top of the movement, squeeze your butt as tight as you can. This is one rep.
  • Complete 15 reps.

Modification suggestion: Use lighter dumbbells.

2. Plank With Shoulder Tap

  • Get on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
  • Press your hips up into a high plank position. Tuck your pelvis, squeeze your butt as tight as you can, and engage your quads. Your neck should be in a neutral position, and your body should form one long, straight line from your neck to your heels.
  • Slowly lift your left hand up off the ground and bring it across your body to tap your right shoulder. Keep your body braced as you perform the chest tap; don’t let your hips wiggle.
  • Reverse the movement to bring your left hand back to the ground, still keeping your glutes and core tight and hips as stable as possible.
  • Repeat with your right hand touching your left shoulder.
  • Continue this pattern for 30 to 60 seconds.

Modification suggestion: Hold a regular high plank or a forearm plank.

3. Shoulder Press

  • With feet about hip-width apart, grip one of your lighter dumbbells in each hand, palms facing forward. Hold the weights at shoulder-level at the sides of your body with your elbows bent and forearms pointing up. This is the starting position.
  • Press the dumbbells overhead, straightening your elbows completely, keeping your core engaged to prevent overarching your back.
  • Slowly lower the weight back to 90 degrees (or slightly lower). This is one rep.
  • Complete your reps as indicated with the descending pattern.

Modification suggestion: Use lighter dumbbells.

4. Push-Up

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor. Drop to your knees if needed.
  • Push through the palms of your hands to straighten your arms. This is one rep.
  • Complete your reps as indicated with the descending pattern.

Modification: Drop to your knees for the push-up.

5. Jump Squat

  • Stand with your feet about hip-distance apart, hands clasped in front of your chest.
  • Keeping your chest up, back straight, core engaged, and weight on your heels, bend your knees and push your hips back, lowering into a squat.
  • With your core engaged, jump straight up, swinging your arms back as you do so.
  • Land with soft knees and immediately sink back into the squat position. This is one rep.
  • Without pausing, complete 15 to 20 reps.

Modification: Do basic bodyweight squats (no jumping).

6. Chest Press With Glute Bridge

  • Lie faceup on the floor, holding a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out and elbows on the floor bent at 90 degrees. Your forearms will be vertical, and the weights will be above your chest. With your knees bent and heels touching the floor, push your hips up and squeeze your butt. This is the starting position.
  • Press the weights toward the ceiling, straightening your elbows completely and keeping your palms facing your legs. Pause here for a second.
  • Slowly bend your elbows and lower them back down to the floor and out so that they are perpendicular to your torso (or for more of a challenge, you can pause and hover the weights right above floor level). This is one rep.
  • Complete 15 reps.

Modification: Use lighter weights or keep hips on the floor.

7. Plank With Hip Dip

  • Get into a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your feet about hip-distance apart. Tuck your pelvis, squeeze your butt, and engage your quads. Your neck should be neutral and your body should form one long, straight line from your neck to your heels.
  • Make a rainbow motion with your hips, dropping them side to side at a slow, controlled pace, keeping your core tight and your back flat.
  • As you perform this move, squeeze your butt and keep your upper body as stable as possible.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Modification: Hold a static forearm plank.

8. Lateral Raise

  • Stand up straight with your feet about hip-distance apart, softening your knees so they are not locked out, tucking in your pelvis and squeezing your butt. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand, with your arms resting along the sides of your legs, palms facing in. This is the starting position.
  • Slowly lift your arms out to the sides until your hands are in line with your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down, elbows slightly bent, and core tight.
  • Then slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.
  • Continue for 20 seconds.

Modification: Use lighter weight (or perform move with just your bodyweight).

9. Front Raise

  • Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart, softening your knees so they are not locked out, tucking in your pelvis and squeezing your butt. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing the floor) at your thighs.
  • Keeping your arms completely straight, squeeze the front of your shoulders to raise your arms straight out in front of your body.
  • Pause when your arms reach shoulder level, then lower your arms back to your sides.
  • Continue for 20 seconds.

Modification: Use lighter weight (or perform move with just your bodyweight).

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