Pilates can improve your flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. It can also do a fantastic job at toning those difficult-to-reach muscles. Check out the 5 Pilates moves below from all-star instructor Peta Serras, and start working on those abs you're dreaming of right now! Remember, small accomplishments every day will lead to great achievements over time.
The main abdominal muscle used in this workout is the Tranverse Abdominis. This muscle wraps around our midsection, stabilizing our spine, cinching in our waist and making us stand taller! Here are my 5 favourite exercises that target the core and deliver maximum results. When you get familiar with these exercises aim to complete them in a flowing 10-minute routine. To see a change perform 3 times a week. Complete each exercise 6-8 times and one set of The Hundreds.
1. Chest Lift
Lay on your back with your legs bent up, the feet hip distanced apart and the hands interlaced behind the head. Inhale prepare and exhale to curl up with the head, neck and shoulders, cinching the waist in. Inhale to pause at the top. Exhale to relax back down.
Start on your back and take the legs straight up towards to the ceiling. Hover the arms alongside the body and curl up with the head, neck and shoulders. Begin to strongly pump the arms as you inhale for 5 counts through the nose and breathe out for 5 counts through the mouth, this is one set and you will do 10 of these. To modify bend the legs, place one hand behind the head or relax the head down.
3. The Rollup
Start on the back with the legs straight on the mat and the arms reaching behind you. Breathe out to lift the arms to the ceiling. Inhale to lift the head off the mat. Exhale to roll up through the spine to touch your toes. Inhale to sit up tall. Exhale to roll down back to the start position. Ensure you articulate through the spine and the abs are hollowed.
4. Double leg stretch
Start on your back with the head curled up, the hands on the knees and the legs in table-top. Inhale to stretch the arms to the ceiling and the legs on a diagonal in front of you. Exhale to draw back into the ball shape and curl a little higher. Ensure the back doesn’t arch, the head doesn’t drop down and think long through the limbs.
5. Double leg lowers
Place the hands behind the head and curl up into a chest lift. Bring the legs straight up towards the ceiling. Keep the waist tiny and the spine pressed into the mat as you exhale and begin to lower the legs towards the floor. Inhale to slowly draw the legs straight back up towards the ceiling.
Peta Serras is an accredited Polestar Pilates instructor based in the Hunter Valley where she runs the premier Pilates studio Pilates Evolution Now. She's also one of a select group of instructors licensed to teach the Fletcher Pilates method in Australia and has created her own DVD Stretching Series focused on maximising flexibility in just 15 minutes a day. She also holds other qualifications in fitness and nutrition.