According to People, she has a pretty dedicated routine with her personal trainer, Ben Bruno. She warms up with a bit of foam rolling and stretching, lateral band walks with a resistant band, and lunges. From there, she does a circuit that incorporates a bunch of pretty legit strength-training moves like weighted hip thrusts, TRX rows, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, and a body saw. Bruno told People Upton is "insanely strong" and can deadlift over 200 pounds, do sled pushes with 500 pounds, and bear crawls with 300 pounds. Damn.
Feats aside, Upton also nails the fact that lifting weights can also change how you feel about what your body is capable of. "Lifting heavy increases self confidence, and that can spill over into improving your body image," says Michele Burmaster, trainer and president of Body Positive Fitness Alliance. "Often positive body image is born from gratitude for what our body is and can do for us, and nothing compares to the badass feeling of deadlifting the equivalent [or more] of your bodyweight off the floor."
Upton's attitude is totally on-brand with this philosophy. “This year, I had a completely different mindset about my body and instead of always trying to fit in a certain sample size, I wanted to be strong and healthy,” she told People. “Changing my workout and focusing on weight training helped me do that. It helped me think about my body as a machine and less of something people can judge me on."
For proof or clarity about some of the badass-but-crazily-named moves Upton is doing, just check out her trainer's Instagram:
There's a screwed-up misconception that lifting heavy weights will cause you to "bulk up," and that's for some reason bad. But here's the thing: Being able to bulk up in the first place or become a legit bodybuilder takes years of intense work, Burmaster says. "So lifting heavy barbells, kettlebells, or dumbbells two to three times a week will absolutely not cause you to become or look like a bodybuilder," she says. (Though it'd be pretty cool if it could, tbh.)
And anyone — literally anyone — can lift weight, heavy ones, for that matter. "Our body was designed to adapt to the work we place upon it," says Burmaster. "Someone insisting on 'strength training' by lifting the same light weights for extended periods of time actually ends up not doing any work at all." Lifting the same five- or 10-pound weight every time you go to the gym totally gets easier over time. "And if it's easy, you're likely not getting the results you are hoping to get by lifting light weights and refusing to increase the weight."
It's not just about challenging yourself, though: Lifting weights correctly and safely is crucial, too. And a quick dive into Bruno's Instagram reveals he's a stickler for form. That's another thing we love; very few people who aren't professionals can waltz into a gym and know how to use all the equipment. Talking to a trainer, even just for one session or on the fly at the gym, can be hugely helpful to figure out exactly how to safely do an exercise. This video of Upton and Bruno talking through the proper form of a landmine deadlift, for example, is super-informative: