Top 10 Pilates Exercises For Flat Abs Maanasi Radhakrishnan Hyderabd040-395603080 May 30, 2019
Men and women alike rue over the perfect abs they once had that have now been replaced—by a beer belly or post pregnancy flab! Juggling a successful career and family at home is no easy task; it barely leaves room to catch your breath. Time is precious. So, instead of wasting money and time at the gym, you can do these simple Pilates exercises for abs to get back your abs of glory.
- Pilates for Abs
- Why Pilates Doesn’t Guarantee a Flat Stomach
- Get a flat, lean stomach with Pilates
- Will Pilates Give Me Flat Abs? | Pilates Studio in Dubai
- Washboard abs. Toned 6 pack. Sleek stomach. We all wish for that. Here is a great low down on the most popular question we get from our clients …. will Pilates make me lose weight and give me a flat stomach?
- Pilates Strengthens a Weak Core
- Other Factors to Reduce Stomach Fat
- To Recap, Can Pilates Give You a Flat Stomach?
- To discuss a Pilates class that’s right for you, please e-mail us or give us a call +97143447333. See the class schedule here.
Pilates for Abs
1. The Hundred:
Before you jump into Pilates, you need to warm up with these exercises. The Hundred is practiced by almost all Pilates coaches as it warms up the body by improving your breathing and heart rate while stretching and relaxing your spine and chest. It also strengthens the muscles and accelerate the flow of blood in your body. To do this, you have to lie on your back, lift your shoulders and curl forward with your legs stretching at a slight angle. During this exercise, you belly remains tight and sucked in.
2. Ball Exercises:
You can use the Pilates ball to get a great workout for your abs. This stability ball is less stable than the exercise mat, which adds to the resistance. Besides, stretching on the ball gives your body an organic rubdown and intensifies the abs workout.
3. Double Leg Lower Lift:
To do this exercise, you have to stretch your legs vertically upwards. Now pulling the inner leg and keeping the ankles together, rotate them slightly. Put your hands behind your head and keep the elbows wide open and inhale. During exhaling, suck in your tummy and push your lower back to the floor. Doing this in reps of 6 to 8 is very beneficial for trimming the waistline.
There are various squeezes in different Pilate workout abs routines. The inner thigh squeeze while sucking in tummy helps in abs definition and can help you get those fab abs!
5. Back Extension with Rotation:
Lie on your stomach, placing the palms under your forehead. Raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor and rotate your upper body to the right and go back to the lying position. Do six reps switching sides.
A lot of the stretches of Pilates are targeted towards reducing tummy flab. Using stability balls help in intensifying a workout.
7. Dolphin Arm Plank:
For this pilates abs, you have to rest on your elbows (that should be directly under your shoulder) and knees. Keeping your abs tight and the legs together, step into a plank position. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths. Do 1-2 reps.
8. Leg Kick:
Lie on your stomach with both legs together, extended behind you. Now you need to swing the right foot as far as you can and kick out twice in the air. Doing six reps by switching sides helps in toning the abs.
9. Criss Cross:
To do this pilates for flat abs, lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that your shins are parallel to the floor. While keeping your hands behind the head, exhale while scooping in the stomach. Your pelvis should lie flat while your chin and shoulder blades are drawn up off the mat. Now extend your left leg and rotate your body towards the right knee while exhaling. Switch legs and inhale. Do 6 reps and increase to 10 with time.
10. Ball Leg Curl:
Doing leg curls help ward off tension from the neck and shoulders. Lie down on your back. Grasp the exercise ball with the help of your thighs and calves. Now, start to squeeze the exercise ball by pulling your legs towards your back. After a short pause, slowly return back to the original position. Remember to hold your breath out while squeezing.
Many of us, who are too busy to go to the gym, often do a few laps of crunches to reduce belly flab. But these isolated exercises seldom show results. Instead, you can do Pilates that engages your entire body to increase the intensity of the workout. So be ready to flaunt perfect abs! Don’t be scared to push your body, remember—‘No Pain, No Gain!’
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Why Pilates Doesn’t Guarantee a Flat Stomach
When Joseph Pilates first created Pilates in the 1920’s, he was way ahead of the times in the world of physical fitness. The patients, athletes, and dancers he worked with appreciated his methods, but mainstream culture has taken more time to jump on board. Fifty years after his death, the Pilates method is finally gaining the momentum and respect Joseph hoped to see during his own lifetime.
Unfortunately, as Pilates has grown more popular, some of Joseph’s ideas have been skewed by today’s fitness fad market. We’ve come to desire unrealistic, photoshopped bodies with 6-pack abs and not a hint of cellulite. Because Pilates focuses on core strength, it’s easy for it to be reduced to the selling points of losing belly fat and gaining flat abs. The industry seizes on the nearly universal desire, posting ads and articles like “Get a Flat Stomach with Beach Body Pilates” or “Get Your Body Bikini-Ready with These 3 Pilates Moves.” While we understand the logic behind this kind of marketing, it’s misleading and overly reductive of the beauty and complexity of the Pilates method.
We can certainly appreciate people wanting to improve their bodies, but a flat stomach is not the pinnacle sign of health our culture makes it out to be. Being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean someone is healthy—and not being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean someone is unhealthy.
Health and wellness don’t have one singular definition; they look different on every individual person depending on genetics, environment, lifestyle, and a slew of other factors. Rather than striving for a flat stomach, it’s actually much healthier (not to mention far more attainable) to strive towards overall balance as a true sign of physical fitness.
In Joseph’s book, Return to Life Through Contrology, he wrote:
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”
Isn’t that such a lovely measure of physical fitness? Joseph doesn’t once mention having a tight core as the reason why Pilates is so good for our bodies. Because to him, the true key to physical health and success was about gaining efficiency for all muscles. He also wrote:
“Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit…. As we mature, we find ourselves living in bodies not always complementary to our ego. Our bodies are slumped, our shoulders are stooped, our eyes are hollow, our muscles are flabby, and our vitality extremely lowered, if not vanished. The is but the natural result of not having uniformly developed all the muscles of our spine, trunk, arms and legs.”
Note how Joseph uses the word ‘trunk’ rather than ‘abs’ or ‘core.’ Pilates definitely strengthens abdominal muscles, but it also strengthens breathing muscles, postural muscles, and muscles that support joints. More importantly, it strengthens everything with moderation and balance. If you follow Joseph’s original series for Mat exercises, you’ll definitely come away from the workout feeling your abdominal wall, but the point is it’s not the only thing you’ll feel.
In Pilates teacher training, we’re taught to lead a class that touches on every part of the body. Teachers may focus a class on legs or arms or, yes, abs, but the intention of the class is to help you feel longer, stronger, and balanced.
For example, let’s look at Pilates’ most famous (or infamous) exercise: the Hundreds.
Get a flat, lean stomach with Pilates
Everyone desires flat, washboard abs whether you are male or female. It motivates people to religiously work on crunches till their abs scream out for help. However, the frustration most face is that despite their relentless effort they seem to be unable to achieve the desired flat tummy.
Pilates, a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, is a growing exercise trend that is becoming the exercise of choice to achieve a flat tummy and a long, lean and toned body. Originally used for rehabilitation purposes, Pilates is a body conditioning routine that seeks to build flexibility, strength, endurance and coordination without adding muscle bulk.
Unlike many other training programs, Pilates works the whole body emphasizing control, precision and concentration in both the mind and body. Movements are not performed repeatedly or excessively as the focus is on quality not quantity. The abdominal muscles, lower back and buttocks (alternatively know as the “powerhouse”) serve as the center of all movement in Pilates, allowing the rest of the body to move freely. Compared to crunches which work only your outermost abdominals, Pilates exercises not only engage and strengthen your internal and external obliques, but also your erector spinae and deepest abdominal muscle the transversus abdominis.
The transversus abdominis( TVA) muscles are extremely important, but hard to target and often neglected by exercisers. A weak TVA can lead to back pain and a weak core whilst a strong TVA on the other hand acts like a corset, not only bracing your core and protecting against injury and back pain but most importantly it helps create a leaner, flatter tummy which no amount of crunches can achieve.
The key to a flat tummy is therefore to target the hard to reach transverses abdominis muscle and form a corset around your abdominal region, achieving the flat tummy so desired. Pilates is the exercise that will work this muscle most effectively.
There are many Pilates classes currently available, especially with the growth of Group Matwork and Reformer classes versus traditional private classes aimed at individuals with specific needs or require rehabilitation work. Both Matwork & Reformer classes require you to work against resistance to strengthen your “powerhouse”. In Matwork classes your own body weight creates resistance whereas in Reformer classes, pulleys and springs give you the resistance needed. Ideally, one should do a mixture of both at least 3 to 4 times a week for best results. If you have to chose one, Pilates Reformer classes would be your choice workout.
The Pilates Reformer machine is an intelligent machine that works like a weight trainer using springs as a form of resistance to enable one to build strength more effectively and to tone up the body without adding bulk. A versatile machine, it enables more exercises to be performed than on the mat. The resistance provided by the springs and pulleys also provide for a more challenging workout to effectively work your core “powerhouse”.
Give yourself at least 10 classes to start seeing results. As Joseph Pilates sums it up “ It 10 sessions you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. In 30 sessions you will have a new body.”
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.
The quest for a whittled waistline gets harder as you age. The reason: hormonal changes encourage excess calories to make a beeline for your belly, where they are stored as—you guessed it—fat. When researchers at the University of Vermont tested 178 healthy-weight women ages 20 to 60, the oldest had 55% more belly fat than the youngest. (Tighten your tummy and tone every inch in just minutes a day with these exclusive ballet-inspired routines from Prevention’s Flat Belly Barre!)
A bigger belly, however, isn’t inevitable, and tummy-toning exercises can help. A pilates workout and training is your secret weapon because it works all of your abdominal muscles: the six-pack rectus abdominis, which runs down your center; the waist-defining obliques, which wrap around your sides; and the deep transversus abdominis, which is often missed in traditional ab workouts, says LA-based Pilates instructor Michelle Dozois, who designed this Pilates workout. For maximum results, flatten your belly by pulling your navel toward your spine during each rep. Do a Pilates workout three times a week, every other day.
A. Lie on your back with your legs up and bent at 90 degrees—thighs straight up and calves parallel to the floor. Rest your hands at your sides, palms down. Keep your abs contracted and press your lower back toward the floor. Hilmar Hilmar
B. Inhale and lower your left leg for a count of 2 (“down, down”), moving only from your hip and dipping your toes toward the floor (without letting them actually touch it). Exhale and raise your leg back to the starting position for a count of 2 (“up, up”). Repeat with your right leg and continue alternating until you’ve done 12 reps with each leg.
Lie on your back with your legs extended along the floor. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling, with toes pointed and hands at your sides, palms down. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds. (If this position is uncomfortable, you can bend your right leg and place your right foot flat on the floor.) Make a small circle on the ceiling with your left toes, rotating your leg from your hip. Inhale as you begin the circle and exhale as you finish. Keep your body as still as possible—no rocking—by tightening your abs. Do 6 circles, then reverse direction for six more. Repeat with your other leg.
MORE: The 8 Most Effective Exercises For Weight Loss
A. Start as in the Toe Dip but with your hands behind your head, elbows out to the sides. Curl up to raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Hilmar Hilmar
B. As you inhale, rotate your torso to the right, bringing your right knee and left shoulder toward each other and extending your left leg toward the ceiling in a diagonal line from your hips. As you exhale, rotate to the left, bringing your left knee toward your right shoulder and extending your right leg. That’s one rep. Do 6 reps.
A. Lie on your left side with your legs straight and together so your body forms one long line. Prop yourself up on your left elbow and forearm, lifting your ribs off the floor and your head toward the ceiling. Place your right hand lightly on the floor in front of you for balance. (If this position is uncomfortable, extend your left arm on the floor and rest your head on your arm.) Raise your right leg to hip level and flex your foot so your toes are pointing forward. Hilmar Hilmar
B. Exhale as you kick, swinging your right leg forward as far as comfortably possible and pulsing for 2 counts (“kick, kick”). Inhale, point your toes, and swing your leg back past your left leg. That’s one rep. Do 6 reps without lowering your leg. Then switch sides and repeat.
MORE: 4 Moves To Slim Your Hips And Thighs
Back Extension with Rotation
A. Lie on your stomach with your forehead on your hands, palms on the floor. Separate your feet to hip width. Pull abs in. Hilmar Hilmar
B. Raise your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor. Rotate your upper body to the right and back to the center, then lower. Repeat to the left side and continue alternating until you’ve done 6 rotations to each side.
A. Sit on your left hip with your left leg bent in front of you and your left hand beneath your shoulder. Place your right foot flat on the floor just in front of your left foot so your right knee points to the ceiling. Rest your right arm on your right knee. Hilmar Hilmar
B. Pull your abdominals in, press into your left hand, and lift your hips off the floor. As you come up onto your left knee, straighten your right leg and raise your right arm over your head so you form a line from your right fingers to your right toes. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Lower and repeat on the other side.
Martica K. Heaner Martica K.
Will Pilates Give Me Flat Abs? | Pilates Studio in Dubai
March 4, 2019
Washboard abs. Toned 6 pack. Sleek stomach. We all wish for that. Here is a great low down on the most popular question we get from our clients …. will Pilates make me lose weight and give me a flat stomach?
The first component of stomach fat is the visceral layer around and between your organs. Visceral fat is used as protection. When you are overweight it will also act as a storage area. Visceral fat is tight, so even though your stomach will bulge it will feel tight.
The second type is subcutaneous fat. This is the layer directly under the skin. This is the fat that feels and looks ‘flabby’. Woman store more subcutaneous fat than men (mainly for use during child rearing). Men with excess abdominal fat generally have hard or tight tummies while woman have loose and flabby tummies. This is due women storing fat in the subcutaneous layer as opposed to visceral layer.
The third cause of flabby tummy is weak core muscles and this is where Pilates can be a huge benefit. Not only for strengthening and tightening the core muscles but also for burning fat and increasing blood oxygenation which burns more calories and increases cell renewal.
Pilates Strengthens a Weak Core
Since it is not possible to directly lose fat from just your stomach, you have to lose fat from all over your body. To do that you have to increase your cardiovascular work, eat less, breath properly and of course do pilates!
The one place we can ‘spot’ train is a weak core and the ideal form of exercise to do that is Pilates. In fact the whole basis of Pilates is about core strength in the pelvic floor, abdomen and back. For visceral and subcutaneous fat, they have to be burned off with the rest of the fat in the body. Pilates makes your muscles stronger and more efficient at burning fat, it also trains the muscles that help you breath (the intercostals ) and makes your lung capacity bigger and more flexible. The easier and faster exchange of oxygen into carbon the more calories you burn and this increased exchange also increases cell function by pumping more oxygen into the blood. However Pilates on its own will not burn large amounts of calories. Which is why we recommend another form of cardio exercise, walking, swimming and cycling are perfect.
Other Factors to Reduce Stomach Fat
There are a few other things to consider in relation to the fat on our stomachs. We all have different genetic make up and some people store fat more on the stomach. Some store on the hips and thighs etc. Also the place that you last stored fat will be the first place that it comes off when you lose fat. Woman tend to store fat on the stomach and thighs first so this will potentially be the last place that will shed excess weight.
There is another factor that will effect stomach fat – stress. When we have a lot of stress in our lives (who doesn’t have a lot of stress in their lives these days?) we release more of the hormone called cortisol which triggers fat storage in the abdomen. Pilates helps to address the stress in our lives because it takes you out of your day completely for one. two or three hours a week. You focus on your breathing, your body and your mind and that is deeply relaxing and stress reducing.
To Recap, Can Pilates Give You a Flat Stomach?
Yes! By doing Pilates to strengthen core muscles, increasing the fat burning efficiency of the body, and by reducing stress in your life. In fact Pilates combined with another form of cardiovascular workout can provide huge weight loss benefits. But a one off session once a week for three or four weeks will only give you a basic understanding of Pilates principles. You will need a more intensive practice of 3 or 4 times per week, plus some form of fat burning cardio exercise, and address the stress in your life, eat a healthy balanced diet to get really great results.
To get the most and best results, it is always advised to train with an expert and we invite you to join us at The Hundred Wellness Center in Dubai with our watchful Pilates experts to reap the best in your workout. We offer private and small group classes to ensure best results, from Mat Pilates to Reformer, Cadillac, Pole, Chair….don’t let those names scare you off!
To discuss a Pilates class that’s right for you, please e-mail us or give us a call +97143447333. See the class schedule here.
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