Fitness

Alexandra Daddario Is Obsessed With Acupuncture, but You Probably Can’t Guess Where Her Needles Have Been

Image Source: Ben Watts for Women’s Health

Alexandra Daddario has been busy since her 2022 Emmy-nominated performance on season one of “The White Lotus.” From getting married in New Orleans to spending long days on set for her first leading role in the upcoming TV show “Mayfair Witches,” her calendar is packed. Still, Daddario finds time for the mind-body practices that ensure she’s ready for whatever comes next — even if her approach is a tad unorthodox.

As Women’s Health’s October cover star, Daddario chats with the magazine about her wellness routines, including naming her two secret weapons for staying sharp: hot yoga and acupuncture. “If I do them back-to-back, it’s almost like a computer rebooting,” she says. The 36-year-old says the Chinese medicine practice helps her sleep and stress levels and that she’s been doing it since age 23, when she started struggling with joint pain and stiffness. “I’m obsessed,” she says. “I’ve had the needles everywhere — all over my body.” And she does mean everywhere. Even the perineum — aka her “taint,” if you can believe it. “I felt like a million bucks the next day,” she says.

Besides sweating in yoga and next-level acupuncture, Daddario works hard to stay connected to her body in any way she can, which also includes swimming in the ocean or going on a hike. “I’ve found that my body heals faster and responds better if I’m in tune with myself and can be in nature,” she tells Women’s Health.

Her weekly sessions with celeb trainer Patrick Murphy target a different aspect of her wellness journey: building strength. Daddario started working with Murphy for her role in “Baywatch” in 2015 and has become a long-term client because of their shared priorities of workout safety and functionality. Though she often logs full-body workouts with Murphy, there are two specific goals Daddario is focusing on: better posture and a bigger butt. “She puts in the work and never looks for shortcuts,” Murphy says. To do so, she credits a few key moves.

See a breakdown of the exercises below so you can participate in Daddario’s routine — with or without taint acupuncture.

Alexandra Daddario’s Go-To Back and Butt Exercises

Equipment needed: A light- to medium-weight pair of dumbbells (i.e., five to 15 pounds)

Directions: Try each of the following moves for three sets of 10-12 reps each. Incorporate them into your workout individually, or do them all together for a solid back and butt workout — just make sure to do a dynamic warmup beforehand and a cooldown when you’re done.

Dumbbell Row

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  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended toward the floor, and hinge at your hip joint while keeping your back straight.
  • Draw your elbows backward and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weights to the sides of your torso. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upward.
  • Lower the weights with control to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Dynamic Bridge

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sam Kang

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell horizontally across your hips.
  • Exhale to lift your hips up into a bridge, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  • Inhale to lower your hips to the floor. That’s one rep.

Reverse Fly

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sam Kang

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at your hips while maintaining a flat back and keeping your core engaged.
  • On your exhale, lift both arms to the sides (with a slight bend in your elbows) and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Then, lower the dumbbells until they touch in front of you. That’s one rep.

Clamshell

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  • Lie on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other (your knees should be bent at a 45-degree angle). Rest your head on your lower arm, and draw your belly button in toward your spine to engage your core.
  • Keep your heels touching, and raise the knee of your top stacked leg as high as you can while keeping your hips in place. Your lower leg should remain in contact with the floor.
  • Lower your top leg to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Bulgarian Split Squat

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  • Stand a little over a foot in front of a bench, step, or chair. Extend your right leg back, and place your toes behind you on the surface.
  • Lower into a lunge, stopping when your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Press into your front foot to straighten your leg and return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Note: Your front foot should be out in front of you far enough that your knee won’t extend past your toes when you lower your body into a lunge. You may need to play with your foot placement to find the sweet spot.

Walking Lunge

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  • Start standing with your feet together. (You can do this move with your bodyweight or holding dumbbells at your sides.)
  • Take a big step forward with your right foot, and bend both knees to lower into a lunge. Pause just before your rear knee taps the floor.
  • Press off your left foot to step it forward to meet your right. Take a big step forward with your left foot to repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep.
  • Continue alternating for the target number of reps, turning around if you run out of space.