Pilates exercises for abs, or as they are really known, abdominals, are the best abs exercise workouts for your waistline. If you are like most people, you have tried crunches, leg lifts and the sit-ups and found they not only hurt your back but they do not provide the results you are looking for.
Pilates may be the perfect answer.
To say that Pilates exercises for abs is the best abs workout around is only half the story. Pilates doesn?t isolate the abdominal muscles but builds a balance of strength in your entire body.
Core strengthening has become a popular term in the fitness industry and Pilates is the original core strengthening workout.
No matter what exercises for abs program you have been doing, there is always time to change to something more effective. Everyone has at one time or another tried the traditional crunches and sit-ups to achieve that ?six pack? look.
It?s important to know that these types of exercises for abs focus mainly on the superficial abdominal muscles. When you take the opportunity to try Pilates you will discover that Pilates exercises for abs use all core muscles and focus on the deep abdominal muscles.
see our article on male abs and female abs
(Please note that the exercises as they are written below are intermediate/advanced levels. For the beginner version of these same exercises please see the Abs workouts for beginners article
? The Hundred: Lie on your back with your knees on top of your chest and stretch your arms down at your sides. Now roll your chin and chest off the mat so that you are raised up on your shoulder blades drawing your shoulders away from your ears. Extend your legs long and as low as you can while still keeping your lower back on the mat. Lift your arms 6 inches and quickly pump them up and down five times while inhaling and exhale, pumping your arms five times. Repeat 10 times to make 100 pumps.
? Crisscross or Obliques: Roll head and shoulders off the mat, bring your knees to your chest and place your hands gently behind your head for support. Inhale and slowly twist to the right, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee while extending your left leg. Hold this long enough to exhale. Now inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat 5 times each side keeping your lower back connected to the mat at all times. For more challenge: alternate right and left without stopping in between.
? Rolling like a ball: Sit up tall and pull your ankles in towards your bottom as close as you can get them. With your hands wrapped around your ankles, bring your head towards your knees and lift your feet off the ground so you are balancing on your sit bones. (You should be on a mat to avoid any pain in your tailbone) Now tighten your core and slowly roll backward through your spine until your shoulders have touched the ground, being careful not to roll on your neck. Then slowly roll back up again, like a ball! Use your core for stability. Start with a sequence of 5 and then slowly increase as your abdominal muscles strengthen.
? The Teaser: Lie flat on your back with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms stretched straight over your head. Inhale raise your arms, exhale and roll up through your spine lifting your legs and arms up until your fingers are pointing at your toes and you are sitting up on your sit bones. Think of creating a ?V? with your body. Inhale to stay, exhale and return slowly back to starting position. Do this in a sequence of 5 and gradually increase to more reps.
? Plank Pose: Start out on all fours, then slowly lengthen the spine and extend your legs behind you on the floor pushing your weight into you heels. Once you have reached a position where your arms and wrists are directly in line with your shoulders and your spine is long and straight, push your weight forward, transferring the weight to your toes. Think of lengthening your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet and maintain that ?plank? position. Feel the scapula down on your spine, shoulders pulled away from your ears, and abdominals pulling up into your back.
Exercises for abs are best when they combine core strengthening and stability work. The abs exercises listed above are not necessarily for the absolute beginner and better done with the watchful eye of an instructor.
Need some help getting and staying motivated with your Pilates exercises for abs program. Perhaps the solution is through video.
While I am not suggesting you replace live lessons with video, I am suggesting videos maybe a good solution to help you stay motivated when working out at home alone.
For help in deciding which ab video is right for you please click here for our review on pilates ab exercise dvds.
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