Pilates works on the core. Strengthening and lengthening your muscles. A strong lean and mean core with no flab. No protruding belly overlapping the belt line. Having to suck it up all day can become very tedious and its hard work. Why not put all that hard work and energy into these Super Six Pilates exercises so you can achieve sexy flat abs and lose your stomach fat once and for all!
Lose your Stomach Fat and get Healthy Flat Abs
Healthy and well functioning abdominal muscles support and unload the back and spine during lifting, support internal organs, stabilize and protect the spinal column, and provide control and flow in all movement. Losing your belly fat will promote healthy abs! The abdominal muscles consist of four major muscles which are the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques and the transverse abdominis. You need to lose your belly fat so some of these muscles will become visible!
Often in traditional fitness programs the rectus abdominis receives the focus with repeated exercises that stress spinal flexion. In Pilates the other muscles of the abdominal region, transverse abdominis and internal and external obliques, play the greater role in stability for spine support.
Because the majority of people have weak or poorly trained abdominals in relationship to their back strength, the abdominal work provided by the Pilates abdominal exercises can be recommended for almost everyone. All of these exercises can be modified to the bare basics to suit beginners so there is no strain and also made more challenging for intermediate and advanced levels.
Hundred: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, legs together. Lengthen the spine and decompress. Place your arms and palms down along your body. Bring your chin to your chest, don’t crush the peach, (pretend you are gently holding a peach under your chin) your knees to your chest and stretch your arms long to your sides. Stretch your legs to the ceiling and then lower them to a 45degree angle keeping your lower back imprinted. Pump your arms up and down 6-8 inch pump while breathing in for 5 and out for 5 breaths, repeat 10 times, hence the 100. Scoop the belly and maintain a flat back. If your back is lifting or you feel pressure bring legs up to a higher angle or bend knees in until you become stronger. When you bring your legs closer to your body as in bending (tabletop position) you are modifying the exercise. You can also rest your head down if needed or use support such as a towel or small squishy ball.
Single Leg Stretch: Lie on your back, head up and one knee into your chest. Place hands gently across the knee. Keep the elbows wide. Extend the other leg out as low as you can go without lifting up through the lower back. You must maintain an anchored back into the mat. Pull one knee in with both hands, extending other leg and switch. If your neck is straining, lower down to mat and then lift again when you are ready. Repeat 6 – 12 times each leg.
Double Leg Stretch: Lie on your back and bring your chin to your chest. Allow your knees to come slightly apart and take your ankles in your hands pressing heels firmly into your bottom. Keep the tips of your shoulder blades on the mat with your elbows wide. Reach your arms up by your ears and legs our long in front. Sweep your arms around to the side and then in towards your ankles. Hug your knees in. Repeat 6 – 10 times.
Single Straight Leg Stretch: Lie on your back with your legs toward the ceiling. Bring your chin to your chest, don’t squish the peach. Tips of shoulder blades on the mat. Take one ankle with both hands, and stretch the other leg out straight at an angle. Pull the leg toward you, pulsing twice. Switch legs, reach for ankle. This is about working from the core not the legs and imprinting the lower back. Repeat 6 times on each leg.
Double Straight Leg Lower Lift: Strengthens and builds endurance of abdominals.
Lie on your back. Chin to chest with small space for peach, don’t squish the peach, eyes on navel, hands behind head, stacked. Elbows are wide, tips of the shoulder blades on the mat. Legs reach up to ceiling and back is firmly into the mat. Keep the spine long. From your core lower your legs with control keeping your lower back pressed firmly into the mat. Spring the legs back up, sacrum flat. Lower your legs for 3 counts and lift on 1 count. If you need to modify you can place your hands underneath your sacrum. (lower back area) Repeat 6 – 10 times.
Criss Cross: Strengthens and builds endurance of abdominals, specifically the obliques and challenges rotation.
Lie on back, hands behind head and stacked, elbows wide. Bend one knee into your chest and reach the other leg long off the mat. Armpit reaches for opposite knee, while the other elbow reaches back and you eyes look back. Change legs. Bend the knee, twist and look back. Lift higher and switch. Keep both shoulders off the mat. Anchor the hips to the mat as ribs rotate. Twist from the core and the waist. If you need to modify you can work your upper body with knees bent and feet flat on mat. Repeat 6 – 12 times each side.
Check out this video for excellent instruction on the exercises above – The Best Pilates Core Workout (client keeps good form too!)