How to get strong abs like J. Lo, according to her trainer

Jennifer Lopez performing at the 2020 Super Bowl, and in June 2021.
Jennifer Lopez performing at the 2020 Super Bowl, and in June 2021. Getty/Maddie Meyer/MEGA
  • Building strong abs comes down to “focused, concentrated workouts,” trainer Johanna Sapakie said.
  • Sapakie trained Jennifer Lopez both for “Hustlers” and the 2020 Super Bowl.
  • She said it’s important to vary your core training to work all the ab muscles.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The secret to a strong core, flat stomach, and defined abs is focusing on quality over quantity of movements, according to Jennifer Lopez’s former trainer, Johanna Sapakie.

As a dancer and FlexItPro trainer, Sapakie has worked with Miley Cyrus and Madonna as well as J. Lo, and was the lead choreographer for 2019 film “Hustlers.”

She told Insider that building a tight mid-section doesn’t necessarily require endless crunches – it’s more about paying attention to what you’re doing (which is known as “mind-muscle connection”).

A post shared by Johanna Sapakie (@johannasapakiereal)

“My best advice for a solid core is to do focused, concentrated ab workouts where you are truly aware of what and how your core should be engaging,” Sapakie said. “Just knocking out a ton of sit-ups or reps of an exercise without any thought is a true waste of your time.”

She said it’s important to work with a qualified trainer to learn what you should be contracting and feeling while you move.

“Also, really varying up your core training will help your abs to improve more quickly and build a complete core, as opposed to just your upper abdominals,” Sapakie added.

Even if you have strong core muscles, the abs won’t be visible unless the body fat on your stomach is low enough, which largely comes down to genetics and nutrition.

J. Lo is ‘dedicated to her fitness,’ Sapakie said

Sapakie trained Lopez both for “Hustlers” and before her famous 2020 Super Bowl performance, both of which were “a pleasure,” she said.

“Working with Jennifer Lopez is a dream scenario,” Sapakie said. “She is very focused and dedicated to her fitness. She is 100% willing to put in the work it takes to get to her goals.”

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo)

As well-known for her physique as her performances, Lopez is “very open” to trying new and different ways of working out, according to Sapakie.

“She’s super fun to play around with varied styles of movement,” she said.

Look at health from all angles to lose fat and build muscle

If you want to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously (known as body recomposition), Sapakie says you need to address all aspects of your health.

“Don’t just do one thing,” she said. “You need a healthy combination of many different elements including weight training (or body weight training), cardio, nutrition, rest, and space to address stress and mental health as well.”

Start small, and think of ways you can incorporate movement into your life just by doing things you enjoy.

“Outside of your training sessions, try to find something else you really enjoy doing that involves some sort of movement or activity,” Sapakie said, such as bowling, walking, or playing with your kids.

“Doing something fun will seamlessly add more movement to your life without it feeling like a chore,” she said. “Before you know it, you’ll be moving more, feeling better, and connecting more with your total life on a daily basis.”