I worked out like Margot Robbie for a week — here's what happened

a photo of Margot Robbie and fitness writer Lucy Gornall
(Image credit: Getty Images/Lucy Gornall)

If there’s one actress who has got our tongues wagging in overdrive this year, it’s Aussie-born actress Margot Robbie, 33. The Barbie star’s lean and lengthy physique is pretty enviable, so I set out to find out exactly how Margot gets in shape — mostly because I’m nosy, and also because I was committed to following her workout plan for one week. 

What is the workout? 

In order to start my week of training a la Margot, I looked into how the actress has worked out over the years for her various roles. Back in 2015, Margot played Harley Quinn in ‘Suicide Squad’. According to my research, she took up boxing and completed fairly serious leg and glute workouts. These workouts were ballet-inspired which her trainer Andie Hecker, speaking to US People magazine described as consisting of “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”. 

In 2017, Margot completely changed her routine to get in shape for her role in ‘I, Tonya’. According to my research, the ice skating training was intense, and there were times when Margot would spend four hours in the gym.

For Margot’s latest role in Barbie, I discovered that Reformer Pilates and weight training seemed to be the main way in which Margot kept her figure. She trained five times a week for up to 60 minutes. I also found a workout online, which Margot supposedly did with her Barbie trainer David Higgins, a PT and Pilates instructor. I’ve met David in the past and he really knows what he’s talking about; plus, he’s sculpted the bodies of some of Hollywood’s most famous faces. Here’s the workout: 

15 reps of the below:

  • Supine chest press
  • Bent-over row, right side
  • Bent-over row, left side
  • Standing bicep curl
  • Seated shoulder press
  • Supine skull crushers

David also gets Margot to do this 100-rep ab challenge, five times:

  • 20 crunches
  • 20 toe taps (legs together)
  • 20 toe taps, left side
  • 20 toe taps, right side
  • 20 toe taps (legs together)

David also shared Margot’s impressive core strength on his Instagram. Apparently, she can hold a plank for four minutes and 10 seconds, beating the other Barbie cast members. So, I also added planks to the weekly workout routine.

As for rest days, supposedly Margot takes two a week. For the purpose of this piece, I basically incorporated all of Margot’s workouts into my week. Luckily I hit the gym most days already, so I wasn’t expecting this week to be too tough, but read on to find out what happened.

I worked out like Margot Robbie for a week — here’s what happened  

My abs were firing

I tried the Margot 100 rep ab challenge above and I did the circuit above five times through, and boy was my core screaming! Not many things beat that feeling of your abs firing up, and I would definitely give the ab challenge a go —it doesn’t take long and if you fancy waking up your abs, then this will do it!

I am even more obsessed with Reformer Pilates

I researched and carried out my week of Margot Robbie workouts in Australia while visiting my family, and even though I was on the other side of the country to Robbie’s native Dalby, I  went to a Pilates studio called Balanze in Perth. 

I recently did Reformer Pilates every day for a month, and am so pleased with my results — it makes me feel so long and lean and it genuinely has woken up muscles I didn’t know existed. Although I do need to keep doing it to see real benefits, I feel like my posture has improved and I’m more aware of how I sit and stand. I can see how Reformer Pilates contributes to Margot’s fit physique; it really works your muscles hard, particularly your abs. 

I tried Margot’s plank challenge

In a bid to try and beat Margot’s impressive four-minute plank, I took to the living room floor and dropped down into a plank. I did four minutes and 11 seconds and nearly combusted! I was truly humbled and stood up with shaking arms and a midsection that felt like flames. Good on ya Margot; if this is how you work those abs, then I’m here for it.

I am not a ballet dancer

During this week of Margot Robbie's workouts, I didn’t have access to barre classes, which are similar to the ballet-inspired workouts that Robbie would have been doing. So, I turned to a 20-minute YouTube ‘at-home ballet workout’.

Despite looking easy, the little pulses, big stretches, and many attempts at balance were a struggle and I was humbled yet again. Think I’ll stick with Pilates…

Boxing is the best stress relief ever

Not only is boxing an incredibly good workout — it helps tone the upper body and core, whilst really torching through calories and releasing a shed load of feel-good endorphins. I found the boxing section of this week-long challenge really helped me clear a busy mind and just generally shake off any stress. I box once a week, usually with a couple of mates at my gym, and every time, I walk away from the bags feeling lighter after an hour of smacking a punching bag. It also makes my arm muscles pop. No wonder Margot has such slender, toned arms. 

I trained like Margot Robbie for a week — here’s my verdict 

Margot’s training isn’t super out-of-the-ordinary, and to be honest, from what I gather, it’s a really well-structured way to train. From a PT perspective, I would recommend that everyone incorporate weights into their regime. Since taking up Pilates myself, I’d probably be inclined to recommend people add this into the mix every so often too. Resistance training is vital for healthy muscle mass, and bone health and to generally stay strong, fit, and mobile. Pilates helps to lean and lengthen, as well as strengthen the core, which is so important for posture, injury prevention, and to help move comfortably when we run, cycle, and walk.

Ultimately, Margot’s routine isn’t overly intense — it doesn’t look like it’s stressful to the point where it ends up having a negative effect on the body, but instead, it helps to keep her toned, lean and tall, plus lifting weights is a great metabolism booster too, helping to burn fat. 

Would I carry on with it? Hell yes (just probably without the ballet).

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Lucy Gornall

Lucy is a freelance health and fitness journalist as well as a pre and post-natal personal trainer. Although a sweaty gym session (skipping rope is a must) is her favorite way to ‘relax’, she’s also a fan of bingeing on The Office, snacking on chocolate-coated raisins, and fizz-filled brunches with friends.