Social media has blown up with Ab challenges for the month of June so I wanted to join in on the fun. The most effective exercises I have found for core strength are all from my Pilates training. Yes, I’m a yoga teacher but it all began with Pilates. The moves I am going to share with you are known as the Pilates Powerhouse 5. They are some of the most effective exercises to strengthen and tone your core. Don’t believe me? Try them for yourself.
Tips for Pilates: Prepare by coming to lie on your back. Draw your belly button toward your spine, tuck your chin in towards your chest as if you have a piece of fruit between your chin and chest, curl up from your rib cage.
Single Leg Stretch
Curl up from your ribs, belly button draws toward your spine, bend your left knee and pull it in to the center. placing your right hand right below the knee and your left hand on your ankle and switch back and forth between the left and right leg.
Double Leg Stretch
Again, curl up from the ribs, draw the tummy in, tuck the chin and extend both the arms and legs and hug back into a ball. Repeat.
Single Straight Leg Stretch
Similar to the first exercise, this one is often called scissors. Switching the straight legs back and forth, drawing belly button towards spine. Keep your elbows wide and reach behind the calf or thigh to hug the leg in.
Double Straight Leg Stretch
Tuck your chin to your chest, curl up from rib cage and bring both legs up, heels together, toes slightly turned out. Here we drop our legs toward the floor using our core strength for control then reverse and bring them back up to the starting point. Very important to not let your low back take the grunt of the work. You want to keep the natural curve but if you notice your low back curving too much you’ve went to far. You don’t have to go all the way down to the floor. Start by going half way or less but work where you are. No exercise is worth injury, ever.
This exercise isn’t just used in Pilates, you’ve probably seen it a time or two. Remember to keep the belly button drawing in, work towards getting the shoulder up off the mat to bring it in to the opposite knee.
Practice these moves 2-3 times a week to challenge your abs and tighten your core. I’ve put together a short youtube video for you as well to see the exercises in action. Start out with 5-10 reps of 3 sets and work up to 12-15 reps of 5 sets. If you have questions, send them to me.
Find more from me at http://www.bepresent100.com
and on twitter @bepresent100