- I tried following Margot Robbie’s ballet- and barre-inspired workout for a week.
- According to her trainer, she trained 2 to 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for “Suicide Squad.”
- I don’t think most people would have the time or strength to follow the routine completely.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Margot Robbie is no stranger to transforming her physique with challenging exercise routines for films like “Suicide Squad” and “I, Tonya.”
Her trainer, Andie Hecker, has described the star’s workouts – which she does two to three hours a day, five days a week when she’s preparing for a role – as “very intense” and told Shape that she wouldn’t recommend it “as the norm for anyone who isn’t a highly trained athlete.”
Since most people (myself included) don’t have the time in their day for a three-hour workout, I chose some of the moves that Hecker has shared with various publications to come up with a strenuous week-long exercise routine that incorporates barre- and Pilates-inspired moves as well as ab- and glute-centric exercises.
Here’s what it was like working out like Robbie for a week:
Keep in mind that just because a certain routine works for a celebrity doesn’t mean it will work for you (or me).
Day 1: I tackle a variation of Robbie’s intensive ab routine
To start the week off, I decide to focus on a few of the actress’ ab workouts.
I’m already feeling pretty apprehensive as Robbie has said she did 100 sit-ups a day to get the core strength needed for her role in “I, Tonya,” as well as plenty of planks, hip dips, and pikes to achieve the physique of Harley Quinn for “Suicide Squad.”
Based on the workout routine that Hecker shared with The Hollywood Reporter, I grab a mat and do 30 plank-to-pike combinations where I use my core muscles to lift up my hips toward the ceiling. Because I don’t have the Pilates reformer machine that Robbie typically uses, I swap in a stability ball to complete these moves.
At this point, I’m already feeling the burn in my core, and I’m dreading the rest of the moves I still have to do.
Next, still in the plank position, I attempt arm lifts by bringing them forward and back one at a time. After, I do single leg lifts. Hecker has said Robbie typically does about 40 to 50 of these, but I’m shaking after just doing 30 with frequent breaks.
I lay on the ground for about five minutes and then attempt 15 hip dips on each side.
At this point, my abs are on fire, and doing 100 sit-ups in a row seems even less appealing than before. I manage to do 25 before collapsing on my mat.
I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not even getting through half of the routine, but at least I feel happy that I pushed myself as much as possible today. I don’t remember the last time my entire core hurt this much.
Hopefully I’m able to do more as the week goes on.
Day 2: I spend the day doing different variations of leg lifts
When I wake up, my abs are in so much pain that I can’t even sit up in bed. Still, I’m happy to see they’re already looking much more defined.
I feel motivated to spend the day working on my lower body.
I tend to do weighted leg exercises, but Hecker told The Hollywood Reporter that for Robbie’s role as Harley Quinn, she had the actress do a lot of ballet- and barre-inspired, non-bulking leg exercises to sculpt her inner and outer thighs.
Hecker told Shape Magazine that she’d typically have Robbie start a three-hour workout with about 45 minutes to an hour of swimming. Because I don’t have access to a swimming pool or three hours to spend at the gym, I decide to warm up on the treadmill for about 10 minutes.
Next, based on some of the moves Hecker has shared, I do one minute each of jump squats (I don’t have a Pilates rebounder machine, so it’s my version of the trampoline jumps that Robbie typically does), then I jump rope and do one-legged hops to mimic Bosu ball jumps and get my heart rate up.
I follow up with one minute of big-circle leg rotations, double leg lifts, outer thigh lifts, hundreds, and mountain climbers.
The mountain climbers are a struggle after all the plank work from yesterday, so I’m happy to take one minute of rest after each circuit before launching into a second and third set. Although Robbie typically completes this circuit four times, I call it quits after just three.
I’ve always considered myself someone with a strong lower body, so I’m surprised to find smaller muscle groups that I didn’t know existed burning while I do these barre- and ballet-inspired moves. I’ve never tried a barre or ballet class, and I find myself wondering if I’m missing out on toning certain parts of my body.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I don’t have the ankle weights that Robbie uses to up the intensity on these workouts, but my legs are on fire after the second round of moves.
I also find my whole body shaking when I try one of the comprehensive side-plank moves that Hecker told The Hollywood Reporter targets the “core, obliques, bottom hips, top outer thigh, and outer glutes.”
To start, you hold a side plank on your elbow and lift your outer leg up and down 30 to 40 times. Next, you bring your top leg forward and back.
Robbie does these outer-thigh movements with a 2 1/2-pound weight attached to her ankle, which I can’t imagine. Even though I don’t have a weight on my leg, I feel like I’m going to collapse after doing these moves.
I have a lot more respect for the strength of ballet dancers after this grueling workout.
Day 3: I attempted one of Robbie’s full-body workouts with ballet jumps
In an interview with People, Hecker said that Robbie focused on outer booty and thigh moves to get ready to rock Harley Quinn’s shorts in “Suicide Squad.”
“We did a lot of heavy-weighted, low reps of arabesque pulls hooked up to resistance pulleys, as well as arabesque lifts with heavy ankle weights in order to build and lift the butt,” she told People.
I start with three sets each of 20 reps of body-weight squats and arabesques, and 25 reps of triceps extensions to target my arms, butt, and legs.
As someone who tends to do fewer reps with heavier weights, it took a little longer to feel the burn. But my legs are still a little sore from yesterday, and I’m covered in sweat by the time I’m done with three sets.
Before hitting some of my arm and ab exercises, I mix things up with 10 ballet jumps, otherwise known as sautés. They’re pretty similar to a jump squat, except your toes are pointed and your heels are together. You bend your knees into what’s called a demi-plié and then jump up and land in the same position.
I’m not able to jump up very high, but I’m surprised by how much my legs are feeling it after just a few, and I’m relieved when I get to move on to the upper-body section of the workout.
Next, I do 30 lateral raises with 1kg weights, 20 reps per arm of bicep curls with 2kg dumbbells, and 20 lateral raises going forward and backward.
To finish off my workout, I do 25 tabletop crunches and 25 clamshells on a mat before collapsing.
Although this workout was very challenging, it’s been my favorite day so far because it efficiently worked all my core muscle groups.
Day 4: I’m getting better at Robbie’s plank variations
The workout yesterday was challenging, but I’m surprised by how sore my calves are today. Although I’m barely able to walk, I’m ready to tackle a full day of abdominal exercises.
I pull out a mat and drop down to do 30 plank-to-pike combinations using a medicine ball. My arms are shaking around the 20-rep mark, but I push through and only take a two-minute break before doing 30 reps each of arm lifts and leg lifts from a plank position.
My body is covered in sweat at this point, and I’m struggling to get into a side plank and do 30 hip dips without taking a break. I grab some water and head to the treadmill to walk for about eight minutes before heading back to the mat to see how many of Robbie’s 100 sit-ups I’m able to get through.
I surprise myself by doing 40 with one small break, which is quite a bit more than I was able to get through the first day.
Day 5: I struggle to get through the ballet jumps
I wake up dreading attempting Robbie’s butt and outer-thigh routine for the second time.
I stretch out and take a five-minute walk on the treadmill to warm up before going into one minute of jump squats. Next, I do 60 seconds each of jump rope and one-legged jumps where I take turns balancing on each leg.
I’m definitely feeling it a bit, but it feels kind of good to warm up my legs again once I’m over the initial hump. I do two more sets of these warm-up moves.
But soon I’m struggling as I hunker down for one-minute sets of leg rotations, double and outer leg lifts, and hundreds, before finishing off with 60 seconds of mountain climbers.
I’m sweating profusely and my legs are hurting after just two sets, so I just let myself collapse on the ground and hug my legs to my chest to rest for a while.
To finish up, I do side-plank lifts, raising my outer leg up and down and then forward and back about 35 times each before calling it a day.
Day 6: The ballet jumps are still killing my legs
I’m still feeling sore today, but I’m also energized and motivated to fly through Robbie’s full-body workout.
To start, I stretch out my calves and thighs before doing three sets of 20 to 25 reps of body-weight squats and arabesques. I then attempt 12 ballet jumps, really feeling the impact in my calves and thighs as I dip down and jump up.
My legs are shaking by the time I’m done, and I’m relieved to spend the rest of the day focusing on my upper body.
I know I’m cheating, but I sit down on the bench before grabbing a 2kg weight to start my arm exercises. I do 25 triceps extensions, followed by 30 lateral raises, 20 bicep curls, and then 20 front and back lateral raises. My arms are definitely feeling it, but it’s doable with the low weights, and I’m not as exhausted when I’m sitting down.
Once I’m done, I head to the mat and grind out 25 tabletop crunches and 25 clamshells to finish off the day’s workout.
Day 7: I’m finally able to get through 100 sit-ups
Today is the last day of my workout challenge, and despite how sore my entire body is, I want to hit as many sit-ups as possible and end things on a strong note.
I’ve been trying different variations to try and hit 100 sit-ups in one day without success, so I decide to spread them out throughout the workout this time.
The first 40 sit-ups are hard but doable.
Next, I push through the 30 plank-to-pike combinations, which are a little harder than usual. I lay down on the mat and crank up the music on my playlist before attempting 30 more sit-ups and then getting back into a plank position for the arm and leg lifts.
My body is shaking at this point, so I grab some water and rest in child’s pose for about 10 minutes before doing the 30 hip dips and laying back down for the final 30 sit-ups.
I have to give myself an inward pep talk before starting on sit-ups again. It’s not pretty, and I take frequent breaks throughout, but I push through and hit 100.
I’ve never done this many sit-ups in one day, so I’m definitely proud of myself.
I think Robbie’s workout was one of the hardest I’ve ever attempted
Hecker warned fans that Robbie’s workout isn’t for the faint of heart, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be as strenuous as it was. It appeared to be more of a toning and sculpting routine at first glance, but I was surprised by how sore my body was with the low weights I was using.
Even after condensing Robbie’s three-hour workouts to about an hour, I really felt like I was getting a great workout and exercising muscle groups I’ve never really concentrated on.
At the end of the week, I thought my abs looked more sculpted, but the biggest change was to my legs, which felt strong and lean from hip to toe.
I definitely don’t think it’s feasible for a regular person to take three hours out of their day four times a week to work out, and not everyone has access to the Pilates equipment that Robbie uses. But with some small adjustments, most people can easily add some of Robbie’s moves into their routines.
Personally, I’ll definitely be supplementing my classic jump squats with at least 10 ballet jumps going forward.
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