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Zoe Saldana's Colombiana Routine

First Posted: 09/04/11 12:47 PM ET Updated: 11/03/11 06:12 AM ET

By Kristen Aldridge for Shape.com

As one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, 33-year-old Zoe Saldana is gorgeous, smart, talented, and a true fashion icon.

With her starring role in the new action flick Colombiana, the fearless female can officially add “kick-butt action hero” to the list of adjectives fans might use to describe her. In the movie, Saldana plays Cataleya Restrepo, a babe-you-best-not-cross assassin who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who murdered her family.

To turn her already lean, mean body into a badass killing machine for the role, Saldana worked with Hollywood fitness trainer Steve Moyer (and total human dynamo) three to four days per week.

Moyer, who has worked with Saldana since 2009 and also trains Amanda Righetti and Shannon Doherty, was inspired to become a personal trainer after injuries ended his professional basketball career in Europe.

“I started giving individual basketball lessons to kids, and that evolved into personal training,” Moyer says. “My passion is not just training people, but helping them establish a healthy lifestyle.”

For Colombiana, Saldana wanted to maintain her toned, flexible, athletic body while remaining injury-free and healthy. Although Moyer has an extensive certification in nutrition (check out his Moyer Method, a wonderfully healthy lifestyle you can individualize), he didn’t need to put the sexy starlet on a special diet for the role.

“I give her a lot of credit — she knows how to eat healthy for herself,” Moyer says. “I give her tips and suggestions when she wants them.”

Moyer recommends having a main goal of being of good health rather than just trying to look fantastic, because you won’t necessarily be healthy with the latter.

“Exercise is a big part, and so is nutrition. What’s often overlooked is balance,” Moyer says. “You don’t have to be extreme with either to look great and feel great.”

So you can feel like a kick-butt fearless female (and look like one too), Moyer shares some of Zoe Saldana’s workout secrets, here.

You’ll Need: An exercise ball, a resistance band, a cable rack, and an exercise mat.

How it Works: Moyer’s workout for Saldana is a great one for toning because it works the whole body with a definite focus on the legs. The upper body moves will help define without any threat of getting bulky, as well as working the core hard.

“It hits the main problem area of the upper body that all my female clients tell me about — the triceps,” Moyer says. “You could also do this workout minus the cable push-pulls with just an exercise ball.”

Before beginning this workout, start with a five to 10 minute warm-up on an elliptical machine or treadmill to get the body warm.

STEP 1: Squats with Exercise Ball and Resistance Band
How to do it: Place the ball against a wall and stand with your back against it so that your lower back curves naturally with it. Your feet should be in a position so that when you squat down, your knees stay in line with your heels. When you squat down, you should roll with the ball, keeping your lower back extended.

At the bottom of the squat, Moyer likes to have Saldana hold a resistance band at arm’s length and pull it apart so that the band comes across her chest, working the rear delts.

Complete 12 to 15 reps, making sure each rep is very slow and controlled.

Muscles this move works: The entire lower body. Using the ball will protect the lower back and knees -- the two areas that are most at risk when you do a regular squat.

STEP 2: Cable Push-Pull
How to do it: In a nutshell, you’re squatting down, you’re pulling, you’re pushing, you’re rotating at the hips. It’s very hard to explain because there’s so much going on, so here’s a link to a video demonstration from Steve Moyer himself!

Complete 12 to 15 reps on each side.

Muscles this move works: Nearly the entire body! It’s a great exercise for toning, stability, and core strength.

STEP 3: Plank Push-Ups
How to do it: Start in a plank position, keeping your body aligned from head to toe. Work yourself up into a push-up position one arm at a time with as little body movement as possible.

Remember that you’re not doing a push-up, you’re just transitioning from a plank position to a push-up position. Make sure you switch which arm you use first from set to set. For reps, this will be a natural progression.

“You may start out only being able to do three or four. Just try to keep adding more each time you do them — you'll be surprised how quickly you can improve in this exercise,” Moyer says. “If you can do 10, that's great. If you can do 15, you're rockin'. If you can do 20 or more, you're a rock star!”

Muscles this move works: This is another great core exercise that also targets the triceps and to a lesser extent, the chest.

STEP 4: Walking Lunges
How to do it: Start in a standing position. Next, take a step that is much longer than your normal walking step, then stop and don't let your momentum carry you forward.

Dip straight down so that your front knee stays in line with your front heel. If your front knee is extending past your toes, you're putting too much stress on your knee, which can cause injuries. Your back knee should come very close to the ground but it shouldn't touch it. Come straight back up and step into your next lunge.

“For beginners, 12 to 16 steps is a great starting point,” Moyer says. “As you get stronger, add reps until you're doing 30 to 40 total steps with weight.”

Muscles this move works: This is another great leg toner. When the form is correct, this exercise really tones the gluteus. Remember to practice good form with this tip: Step, stop, straight, down.

STEP 5: Ball Hams with Exercise Ball
How to do it: Lie down flat on an exercise mat with your hands by your sides, palms down. Put your feet on top of an exercise ball with your legs extended and no bend in the knees. The back of your heels should be on the top middle of the ball.

Next, lift your hips so that you’re doing a reverse plank — your body should be a straight line from your feet to your shoulders. Keeping your hips steady and where they are, pull the ball in towards your glutes with your heels.

Keeping a slow and steady pace, roll the ball back to the starting position. Be sure to keep your hips up off the mat so that your body stays aligned. You can use your hands on the mat to stay steady. Complete 6 to 8 reps for a beginner and up to 15 reps as you get stronger.

Muscles this move works: Hamstrings and core muscles.

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Filed by Sara Gaynes  |