Shawn Johnson East’s Home Workout

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The Paris 2024 Olympic Games are on the horizon, and I just love seeing people at the top of their sport compete to be number one in the world. It’s exciting, it’s intense, it’s emotional, it’s raw.

While any Olympic Games bring excitement, I especially enjoy the summer games because they include my favorite sport, gymnastics. One of the gymnasts I’ve always been a fan of is Shawn Johnson East, who, at 16 years old (the age most of us are just trying to get through high school), won four Olympic medals. The discipline it takes to perform at that level—especially at that age—is unbelievable.


Experts In This Article

  • Shawn Johnson East, the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around, and floor exercise silver medalist

I recently worked out with Johnson East in Nashville, where she led a 17-minute workout to promote the new Barilla Protein+ pasta, which has 17 grams of protein per serving. (FYI: Our handy protein cheat sheet can help you reach your daily protein goals in no time!)

After the workout, I spoke with Johnson East about how she tackles her at-home fitness routine now and how different it is from training for the Olympics.

“Post-gymnastics, it’s just been a wild roller coaster of ups and downs of trying to figure out what fitness looked like,” she says. “I feel like right after gymnastics, I was really obsessive about trying to stay in Olympic shape, so I’ve been on this journey of trying to figure out what is ‘normal’ fitness and not Olympic-level gymnastics fitness.”

Johnson East has lived a life full of elite competition, but now as the mother of three young children, her fitness goals are all about staying strong and healthy for them.

“I took everything to the extreme, because I needed to, at that high of a level. Now, being a mom and a wife and just living a normal life, I try to just stay healthy in a very wholesome, holistic way. Not super, super fit. I don’t try to tip the scales anywhere,” she says.

“I feel like right after gymnastics, I was really obsessive about trying to stay in Olympic shape, so I’ve been on this journey of trying to figure out what is ‘normal’ fitness and not Olympic-level gymnastics fitness.” —Shawn Johnson East

The athlete mentality is something Johnson East has had to work on taming, post-Olympic career.

“I think the last time I truly did a workout was three weeks ago, but I’ve been chasing three toddlers around, and you know what, that’s totally fine. I don’t have to work out six hours a day to be healthy. That’s actually not healthy,” she says.

Since competing, she’s obtained her personal training certification and studied nutrition and psychology to learn how to approach health and fitness in a healthier way.

When it comes to working out, Johnson East is a fan of lifting weights, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and anything fast- paced. Just don’t put her down for cardio.

“I really dislike cardio, but I’ll get it through weightlifting,” she says.

She her husband, former professional football player Andrew East, tackle some tough workouts in their home gym—and she even designs many of them, like the one below.

Try Shawn Johnson East’s at-home workout for yourself

Don’t worry if you don’t have a gym at home, you can still work out like an Olympian. Grab a resistance band and mat to try Johnson East’s at-home workout.

It’s inspired by her time as a champion gymnast and informed by her personal training certification. She created the workout to show that no matter how busy life can get, there’s still time to show love for yourself through an active lifestyle. You may not be an Olympian, but you can definitely train like one!

1. Squat

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating at-home workout squat
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and extend your arms out in front of you.
  2. Slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to lower toward the floor, as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or as far down as you can comfortably go).
  4. Pause for a moment, then push through your feet to return to standing.
  5. Complete 10 reps.
TIP

To kick this move up a notch, you can do jump squats (one of Johnson East’s favorite moves) instead. From the bottom of your squat, push through your feet to jump explosively off the ground.

2. Banded glute bridge

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating at-home workout banded glute bridge
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Place a mini band or looped resistance band around your legs, just above your knees.
  2. Lie on your back with your arms resting by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the ground hip-width apart.
  3. Making sure your feet are hip-width apart, drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the floor until your hips and shoulders form a diagonal line.
  4. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  5. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground.
  6. Complete 10 reps.
TIP

To make this exercise easier, remove the resistance band.

3. Banded mountain climber

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating mountain climber in at-home workout
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Place a mini band or looped resistance band around your legs, just above your knees.
  2. Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, making sure your hands are beneath your shoulders and your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.
  3. Drive your right knee to your chest.
  4. Return to high plank position.
  5. Drive your left knee to your chest.
  6. Return to the plank position.
  7. Continue to alternate until all reps are complete.
  8. Complete 20 reps, keeping your core engaged the entire time.
TIP

To make this exercise easier, remove the resistance band and/or slow down your reps.

4. Banded row

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating banded row as part of at-home workout
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place one end of a resistance band under your right foot and step your left leg back as far as you can.
  3. Hinge forward and grab the other end of the resistance band with your right hand.
  4. Pull your right elbow back to bring your hand to your hip.
  5. Straighten your right arm to complete the row.
  6. Complete 10 reps on the right, then repeat on the left.

5. Scissor kick

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating scissor kicks as part of at-home workout
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and place your hands under your hips.
  2. Lift both legs straight up above your hips. Your body should make an L-shape, forming a 90-degree angle.
  3. Brace your core and your left leg until it’s parallel to the floor (or as close as possible).
  4. Lift your left leg back up to the starting position while simultaneously lowering your right leg until it’s parallel to the floor (or as close as possible).
  5. Continue to alternate until all reps are complete.
  6. Complete 20 reps, keeping your core engaged the entire time.

6. Forearm plank

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating forearm plank as part of an at-home workout
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Lie face down on the mat with your forearms on the floor, elbows underneath your shoulders, and your legs extended.
  2. Squeezing your core and glutes, press into your forearms and rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor.
  3. Hold yourself in this position for 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Lower your body back down to the mat.
TIP

To make this move easier, drop down to your knees.

7. Toe touch

Shawn Johnson East demonstrating toe touch as part of at-home workout
Photo: Barilla Protein+

  1. Lie on your back and lift both legs straight up above your hips. Your body should make an L-shape, forming a 90-degree angle.
  2. Reach your hands up over your shoulders.
  3. Engage your core and lift your head, neck, and shoulders off of the floor.
  4. Touch your toes.
  5. Return to the starting position.
  6. Complete 20 reps.

 

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