Santia Deck is known on social media as "The Queen of Abs" or "Track Baby (opens in new tab)", with almost 800,000 Instagram followers. Santia Deck is a 5ft 1" dynamo who recently made history by becoming the highest-paid woman to play professional football - signing a multi-million dollar deal with the Women’s Football League Association (WFLA).
Santia explains: “People never believe I play football, they usually think I’m the cheerleader but I’m used to it.”
Dubbed "The Queen of Abs" as a collegiate athlete for her rippling six pack, Santia Deck has created a successful brand off the back of this nickname.
As if one one successful career wasn’t enough, Santia is also a published author, a fitness model, TV personality, Social Media Consultant, Public Speaker, and a TV host. Not to forget she has her very own sneaker company.
Santia said: “I'm like the best of both worlds. So you get like the very feminine dancy girlie side, but then you get this very athletic, I don't mind getting dirty type of side of me as well."
As Santia prepares for her first professional season, she needs to keep on top of her fitness. We hit the gym to see Santia put to the test by her coaches, who are forever pushing her to the limit. Each session is fresh to keep her at the top of her game but as the tempo increases, will Santia be able to handle the pace?
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In the videos above, we see Santia running specialist football sprint drills and doing barbell squats. Squats exercise your entire lower body, but especially the "posterior chain" of muscles, the hamstrings, glutes and calves, that provide explosive power. This allows Santia to run faster on the pitch.
Squats, whether air squats or barbell squats, will also help you to improve your runs. Whether you're just getting started with a Couch to 5K plan or you're buying a set of the best running shoes for men or the best running shoes for women in preparation for a half-marathon, our guide on how to do squats can help you develop a stronger (and great looking) legs, butt and core, making for a faster, more efficient run.
Santia also holds a plank position on an unstable surface, which activates lots of little muscles in the core as she fights to keep herself stable. This is a wonderful exercise because even though you're not actually moving, you're toning your core in what's known as an "isometric" movement. Core strength is very important, whether you're a high-performance athlete like Santia, you want to look good in the mirror, or even in everyday life.
People don't realise we use our core when standing up out of a chair or moving around in any way. A strong core is a great foundation for keeping you mobile as you get older.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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