The Workouts Lizzo Does On the Road Include Barbell Back Squats, Lat Pulldowns, and More

Here's how the high-energy performer stays strong when she's on the move.

The acclaimed singer Lizzo is renowned for her staunch advocacy for self-love and positivity. However, she has been open about the fact that maintaining a healthy level of self-love requires consistent effort. In her recent dialogue with Paper Magazine, the artist behind "Truth Hurts" revealed that there was a period in her life where she neglected both her mental and physical well-being. She shared a memory of being at her smallest size, exercising excessively while consuming little food. Yet, she wasn't satisfied with her appearance, and others still criticized her body shape. These experiences led Lizzo to the conclusion that true happiness comes from within, not from others' approval. To foster a healthier relationship with her physique, Lizzo has teamed up with Marcus Ely, a certified personal trainer. She often uploads clips of her workout routines on Instagram Stories. One such video shows Lizzo performing wide-grip lat pull-downs on a double-cable machine under Ely's guidance. The trainer instructs her to hold each pull at its lowest point for two seconds, with the last repetition held for 12 seconds.

The lat pull-down exercise, when performed in a kneeling position, targets the latissimus dorsi muscle and helps to achieve that desired "V" shape from shoulders to waist, as expounded by certified trainer and CEO/founder of Poulin Health & Wellness in New York City, Nick Poulin. In addition, integrating isometric holds makes the workout more intense and strengthens ligaments and tendons. Furthermore, it aids in mastering the correct form of the exercise, shared Jeremy Frisch, owner and director of Achieve Performance Training in Clinton, Massachusetts. While executing lat pull-downs, Poulin advocates for maintaining a neutral neck and back alignment. He stresses on the importance of pulling with your elbows instead of biceps. The double cable neutral-grip lat pull-down is an effective exercise for enhancing arm and back muscles along with boosting upper-body strength. Poulin also suggests performing this exercise unilaterally (on one side at a time) for maximizing benefits. In a different Instagram Story, Lizzo can be seen performing barbell back squats on a Smith machine, with her trainer Ely motivating her through each rep and reminding her to breathe.

Barbell back squats are an effective addition to any fitness routine. According to Jordan Feigenbaum, M.D., founder of Barbell Medicine and a certified strength and conditioning specialist, the back squat allows for the use of heavier weights compared to other squat variations such as front squats, overhead squats or those using different equipment like kettlebells, dumbbells, or sandbags. Feigenbaum elaborates that barbell back squats offer a considerable range of motion and the potential to load heavy weights, which effectively trains a large amount of muscle mass concurrently.

On another note, it's worth mentioning that you don't have to do back squats on a Smith machine. The Smith machine can be a useful tool for performing heavy squats safely without a spotter, however, some trainers strictly advise against its use for back squats. Lou Schuler, C.S.C.S., co-author of The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged, explains that when doing a squat using this machine, one tends to maintain a straight back, almost perpendicular to the ground, which puts undue stress on the vertebrae. Besides, leaning into the bar while using the Smith machine could potentially over-stress your knees, not fully engage your glutes or hamstrings, and probably won't train your core as much as it should be, adds Schuler.

In another IG Story clip, Lizzo is seen performing a set of Russian twists, with a medicine ball bouncing from side to side.

Russian twists are a powerful exercise that works out almost all the muscles in your core, including the lower back, abs, obliques, diaphragm, and inner thighs, according to Jodi Sussner, Snap Fitness 24/7's director of personal training. It's crucial to keep your back straight and your stomach engaged when executing Russian twists, says Poulin. He advises maintaining hold of the ball throughout the motion, striving to touch the ball to the ground each time and emphasising on slow, controlled movements. This not only enhances abdominal strength but also improves cardiovascular endurance and heart function over time.
Along with her workout routines, Lizzo also shares clips of her recovery activities. In a now-deleted Instagram Story, she is seen receiving what appears to be a Theragun massage.

Theraguns are breakthrough recuperation instruments that implement a fast deep-tissue massage with a pounding motion. This might look aggressive, but it's actually beneficial in promoting blood circulation and aiding muscle recovery, according to Poulin. "Percussion therapy enhances the healing process of muscle fibers by providing concentrated bursts of pressure through short-duration pulses deep within the body tissues," Poulin explains. "This improves the blood flow to vital areas, providing pain relief, and consequently improving functionality and range of motion." Moreover, percussion therapy is not only great for recovery but is also utilized by elite athletes as a warm-up before competitions. "Given that percussion therapy aggressively treats deep-tissue muscles, it aids in increasing blood and oxygen distribution to various parts of your body, particularly on the local topical area," states Poulin. "This reduces post-exercise muscle pain and cramps, accelerating the body's healing and recovery capabilities." (If you're not prepared to spend $400 on a Theragun, consider these other recovery tools for when your muscles are sore.) However Lizzo utilizes her Theragun (and her workouts), her routine seems to be benefiting not just her physique, but her mental well-being too. In a recent chat with NPR, the singer shared how she had learned to be more at ease with her body by finding what suits her. "There was a point where I realized my body wasn't going to change unless I did something drastic, which I couldn't afford," she admitted. "About 10 years ago, when I started to discover self-love and tried to be more positive about my body, I was broke. My options were limited; no plastic surgery, no extreme dieting; I've been big all my life. 'Deal with it! Accept your body!' It was a decision I made that I would eventually be content with it, and it took a while. Ten years later, I have a healthy relationship with my body."

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