Looking to strengthen and tone your core?
You might want to give Pilates a try!
Pilates is an incredible workout method with a focus on effective core exercises that are great for a wide variety of movers.
A healthy, strong core improves your posture, balance, and overall movement quality, making it an important part of your routine.
The Pilates technique offers safe, productive, and challenging ways to engage and sculpt your entire core.
Each exercise is designed with alignment and results in mind and doesn’t require you to buy a pilates reformer in order to complete the exercises.
Try out these 4 powerful Pilates moves during your next sweat session to fire up your abs!
1. Bird Dog
Bird Dog is a fantastic core move that involves balance, stability, and coordination. It’s low-impact, gets the whole body involved, and is great for all levels of practitioners!
- Start in a tabletop position with your hands stacked beneath your shoulders and your knees stacked under your hips.
- Draw your navel towards the spine and press the hands firmly into the floor while sliding the shoulders down the back.
- Lift and extend the opposite arm and leg away from the body. Draw your elbow and knee towards each other and scoop the belly.
- Lengthen the limbs back out keeping the belly button towards the spine and the tailbone lengthened.
- Try to avoid arching the back or tilting the pelvis and remember to breathe! Perform 10-12 repetitions and repeat on the other side!
“Here we have a woman performing a Pilates exercise on a Reformer.”
Photo Credit: Pixabay
2. The One Hundred
The Pilates Hundred is a popular exercise that incorporates breathwork and core strength.
When done properly it works the entire core and can feel like a pleasant challenge!
- Begin lying on the floor with the legs lifted with knees over the hips and shins parallel to the floor creating a 90-degree angle.
- Peel the head, arms, and shoulder blades off the floor to a hover. Extend the legs out straight to a 45-degree angle while keeping the belly button drawn down towards the spine.
- Slide the shoulder blades down the back, reach through the fingertips, and start pumping your straight arms through small, firm movements.
- Inhale sharply through the nose for 5 pumps and exhale deeply out the mouth for 5 pumps. Complete 10 rounds total to finish your hundred.
3. Pilates Scissors
Scissor kicks are not only a great ab workout, but will also stretch your legs!
Practice full-body coordination with this fun core crusher!
- Start lying down on your back with the legs lifted straight up towards the ceiling. Bring your hands to support the back of one calf.
- Peel the head and shoulder blades off the floor drawing yourself closer towards the leg and lower the opposite leg to a hover above the floor.
- Switch legs catching the other calf and hover the opposite leg while keeping the navel towards the spine and the shoulders hovering.
- Continue this scissor motion in the legs, switching and catching, keeping them as straight as possible. Repeat 10-12 times on each side.
“Here we have four people performing a Pilates exercise on Reformers.”
Photo Credit: Pixabay
4. Plank with Leg Lifts
Planks are well known for their core benefits and have earned their place as a staple in the fitness industry. They also engage the whole body when done with good technique.
If you’re looking to spice up your planks, try out this challenging variation!
- Start with the forearms to the ground with the shoulders stacked over the elbows. Step the feet back and straighten the legs so that the body is in one long line.
- Draw the navel towards the spine and keep the tailbone slightly tucked as you float one foot off the floor reaching the leg long behind you. Hold for 5-10 seconds and switch sides. Repeat for as many repetitions as you’d like!
- Try to avoid dipping the hips or arching the back by keeping the core engaged, pressing down through the forearms, and squeezing the standing thigh.
About The Author:
Brittany T. began her fitness journey over 10 years ago and, after realizing how frustrating the process of buying pilates equipment was, she decided to found Pilates Connector to help hundreds of other fitness enthusiasts become healthier and happier.