Many people migrate to Pilates as their exercise form of choice because they crave a strong core and abs. Because many Pilates routines focus on core muscles and the support they lend to spinal alignment, most Pilates exercises you practice will strengthen those abs. However, there are a few select exercises that target your abs with an exceptional intensity. Those five Pilates exercises for abs are what we will highlight in today’s blog.
Wind Down – Sit in the center of your mat with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Sit up straight, keeping your shoulders, back, and hips in alignment. Bend your elbows and stack your fists in front of your chest. Circle those fists around each other as you inhale and tuck your tailbone, engaging your abs. Roll down towards the mat, stopping just before you touch it. Exhale as you round back up, circling fists in the opposite direction. Repeat four more times.
The Hundred – If this sounds intense, you’re right – it is! Lie on your mat with your legs together and arms at your sides. Engage your glutes and core as you raise your feet off the ground, keeping toes pointed. Extend arms in front of you so your hands are slightly above your hips and your upper back and shoulders raise off the mat. In this position, pump your arms up and down on the inhale and pump five more times on the exhale. Repeat, gradually working up to 100 pumps total.
Double-Leg Stretch – Begin on your back, knees directly above your hips, with heels together. Extend arms in a t-shape out to your sides as you lift your shoulders and upper back. Look straight ahead, right below your knees. Slowly, extend your arms and legs in opposite directions as you exhale. Inhale as you return to the original position, repeating for 14 more reps.
Extension Arrow – This pose begins with you on your stomach, arms at your sides and legs extended behind you. Breathe rhythmically as you arch your back to lift both arms and legs off the ground. Hold the position as long as you can, slowly releasing your limbs back to the ground. Challenge yourself with increasingly heavier dumbbells as you build up proficiency.
The Roll-Up – This move is an improved variation on the old-school crunch you used to employ. Lie on your back, legs together and toes pointed. Raise your arms perpendicular to your body, palms facing forward. Moving slowly, draw in your belly button and exhale as you roll to a seated position, simultaneously bringing your arms down to they are parallel to the ground. Work this for 10 total reps.
If you crave strong, beautiful abs and proper spine alignment, you have come to the right place. These exercises provide a great foundation for building a strong core, combined with proper diet and other maneuvers we cover in our Pilates classes. For more Pilates exercises for abs and tailored fitness programs, come see us in our Southlake studio.