This workout is inspired by Zoya the Destroya. GLOW’s resident villain may be small, but she’s fighting fit and crazy strong. The exercises outlined here will help ladies build strong muscles without accumulating absurd mass.
Main Goal: Strength Training
Workout Type: Full Body
Training Level: Intermediate
Program Duration: 12 weeks
Days Per Week: 5
Time Per Workout: 60-75 minutes
Equipment Required: barbells, dumbbells, weightlifting shoes, weightlifting belt, wrist
wraps, training bar, curl bars, kettlebells, medicine ball, squat rack
Target Gender: Female
GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) was a surprise hit for Netflix back in 2017. It gave the world the 80’s hair and neon we didn’t know we needed. It also gave us Ruth Wilder, aka Zoya the Destroya, played by the diminutive Alison Brie.
Four years later, we’re gearing for the 4th and final season of this professional wrestling-themed outfit. The latest season is set to drop in the last quarter of 2020, if reports are to be believed.
But before we say goodbye to our spandex-clad female wrestlers, let’s take one more look at how Alison Brie went from Community’s innocent Annie Edison to GLOW’s inaugural wrestling champ.
This workout regimen will teach you which workouts target what muscle groups, how to continue strengthening your muscles while on “active rest” and how to supplement your training with the right rest and recovery methods.
Introduction to the Zoya the Destroya Inspired Workout
There’s always been a negative notion about women getting jacked. But if Alison Brie is any indication, muscular girls don’t always mean “manly.” And this is not a workout to make ladies bizarrely big.
Zoya the Destroya was never just about “glamour muscles” and Brie put a lot of work on making herself strong and believable on-screen.
Brie has been working with trainer Jason Walsh even before faux wrestling came calling. But with her bagging the role of the body slamming Russian anti-hero, Walsh upped the ante.
Walsh developed a training plan for Brie that gives the following benefits.
1) Improve muscle strength
2) Build endurance
3) Improve resiliency/flexibility
4) Lower injury risk
The Zoya the Destroya Inspired Workout
We lay out a training regimen inspired by Alison Brie’s transformation. The exercises below were created with attention to how Trainer Jason Walsh built Brie’s regimen. It’s not her exact and actual program but was designed with attention to how she trained to be wrestling-fit.
This program is what’s typically called a split, with focus on a particular body part for every day of the week. It has strength training on primary training days and cardio on rest days.
You’re encouraged to start off on weights that are “comfortable” for you (read: the heaviest you can carry without sacrificing form) but to continually build and add to the starting weights as you get further into the program.
To begin with, we’re doing reverse pyramid sets. That means for every exercise, we’ll do increasing reps. But for every increase, you need to decrease the weight a little bit.
Reverse pyramid sets are awesome for creating progressive overload.
Remember to do warm up exercises targeting the same muscle group you’re working on for the day. Rest between exercises should be limited to 3 minutes maximum.
Zoya Workout Day 1: Chest and Back
- Barbell Bench Press
3, 5, 8, 10
- Barbell Military Press
1, 3, 5, 8, 10
- Cable Pull-Down
8, 8, 10
- Dumbbell Row
4, 6, 8
3, 5, 8, 10
Warm up by doing arm circles. Then move to full stretches. Make sure you squeeze your back. If you’re pressed for time, you can also try using a massage gun to loosen you up.
Fun fact: Alison Brie at one point was deadlifting almost 75kgs (165lbs) per rep. And she was doing 6 sets of between 3-5 reps!
Zoya Workout Day 2: Legs and Abs
- Barbell Squat
6, 6, 8, 10
- Leg Press
6, 8, 12
- Lying Leg Curl
6, 8, 10
- Standing Calf Raise
8, 10, 12
- Box Jump
8, 8, 10, 15
- Hip Thrusts
6, 8, 10
25, 25, 25
- Twisting Medicine Ball Throw
20 per side
Warm up by walking for 2-3 minutes. Or just jump side to side for a couple minutes. Add a few simple side stretches and you should be good to go.
Fun fact: Brie’s trainer’s favorite exercise is the hip thrust. Hip thrusts are fantastic for strengthening the glutes. Being the biggest muscle group, having sturdy glutes helps with almost every other exercise you do.
Zoya Workout Day 3: Arms
- Barbell Curl
6, 6, 8, 10
- Dumbbell Curl
6, 8, 10
- Skull Crusher
6, 8, 8, 10
- Close-Grip Bench Press
6, 6, 8
- Heavy Cable Press Down
6, 6, 8
Arm circles, arm swings, and overhead shoulder stretches work really well in warming up the arms for further exercise.
Fun fact: Alison Brie’s favorite move is the suplex and can pretty much execute one from muscle memory.
Zoya Workout Day 4: Rest and Recovery
Rest is an often-overlooked part of a training regimen. But it’s as important as any other day. When you exercise, muscles incur micro tears. It’s when these muscles fix themselves and heal the tears that they become bigger.
However, taking a rest day does not necessarily mean not doing anything. What we’re aiming for is “active recovery.” That means not doing the usual routines but still partaking in light physical activity that won’t strain the muscles too much.
Do some stretches or get a massage. You don’t even need to go out. Just get a massage gun and do the massage from the comfort of your own home. Massage has been proven to help with recovery time and is quite popular with athletes nowadays.
Or go out and take a quick walk around the neighborhood. Bike at the park. You can even give MMA a shot. After all, even superheroes need to learn defense.
Another very vital part of recovery is hydration. When muscles are rebuilding, the process is called muscle protein synthesis. This is where hydration is especially important. Studies show even as little as a 2% decrease in your body’s water can translate to lowered physical performance.
Zoya Workout Day 5: Shoulders and Back
1. Barbell Overhead Press
6, 6, 8, 12
2. Dumbbell Overhead Press
6, 6, 8
3. Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
6, 8, 10
4. Heavy Dumbbell Shrug
6, 8, 8
6, 6, 8
6. Lat Pulldown
6, 8, 8, 10
7. Hammer Strength Row
6, 8, 8, 8
Warm up like Brie by doing Farmer Walks. For her sessions, she held 65lb (approx. 30kg) dumbbells and did 3-4 sets of 45-second walks.
Fun Fact: Brie does farmer walks to the tune of “Lady Marmalade.”
Zoya Workout Day 6: Functional Movements
1. Push Ups
10, 15, 20
2. L-sit Pull Ups
6, 8, 8
10, 20, 30
5. Box Jump
15, 20, 25
6. Heavy Bag Slams
Warm up by walking or running in place while swinging your arms. Do some jumping jacks (walking jacks are fine, too).
L-sit pull ups are a nice change to the regular pull ups. It’s fantastic for working the upper body but also utilizes the abs. Watch Zoya destroya (haha) those pull ups here.
Fun Fact Watch: Alison Brie impressively slamming bags here.
Zoya Workout Day 7: Rest and Recovery
Again, your body needs to recover from all the abuse it’s been taking. Do more stretching exercises or bust out the massage gun again.
One other good way to spend a rest day is to work on your cardio. Brie (and even Matt Damon) did stints on the VersaClimber. Come to think of it, Brie was even more bad-ass than Damon because she usually did it with a 10lb vest on.
There are a lot of cardio workouts you can do even without leaving your house. Here are some of them -
- Jump rope
- Jumping jacks
- Jogging/Marching in place
You can alternate between the above exercises, doing each for 30-60 seconds.
Burpees are good, too. It burns 100 calories in just 10 minutes.
Another important recovery tip: get enough sleep. Studies show that people who get adequate sleep noticed improvement in their exercise regimens as well. On the flip side, people who do not get enough suffered reduced recovery capacity. So aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night if you can.
We also cannot stress this enough: nutrition is very important. Do not forget to keep yourself hydrated and eat healthy.
Invest in a coach, if you can. A good one can help you focus and achieve your goals.
Final Notes on the Zoya the Destroya Inspired Workout Program
Alison Brie is amazingly fit. She’s an inspiration to women everywhere that want to be strong but not masculine-looking. However, it’s important to note that she spent years to get to the state she’s in today.
This 12-week workout program is meant to help you build muscle and reach your strength training goals. If your objective is to be fit and strong, then this is a very good way to start you off.
Of course, any fitness regimen is more than just the actual exercises. The work you put in the gym should match the work off-gym. By that we mean giving particular focus on your general health and well-being as well.
Don’t be scared to be a woman that is strong and fit. In the words of Alison Brie herself, “I like to lead the charge against people thinking that strength training makes women bulky.”
Track your progress. And most importantly, have patience. Strength training takes time, but with discipline, you can do it.