The power of Pilates for abs

2014March27_Pilates_AA flat stomach is a dream for many, yet there are exercise routines that you can realistically do to help build sculpted six-pack abs. Pilates on the other hand focuses on the development of flexibility, strength, and posture. The focus of this form of exercise is on improving the whole body and boosting concentration. Pilates exercises do not focus on repetition and are not performed with ferocity. This is perhaps why many people discount Pilates when it comes to abdominal development without understanding the power of Pilates for abs.

Truth is, Pilates can help achieve a flat midsection and even help sculpt the abdominals because there are a number of exercises that target the ‘powerhouse’ muscles: abdominals, lower back and buttocks. These muscles are the center of movement and the focus on their stabilization makes Pilates students stronger from the inside-out. If you have recently started Pilates with the hopes of getting better abs, here are some tips that might help.

Pilates is about gentle conditioning

For those who are just a few sessions into their first Pilates class, don’t expect flat abs right away. Pilates is all about gentle but effective conditioning of the body. This means that you will not see results necessarily immediately but you will feel different. Don’t despair, you will begin to see results if you are consistent with your Pilates exercises.

Do Pilates correctly

The trick to getting stronger, leaner, and healthier with Pilates is to follow correct form. According to Michelle Olson, a physiologist from the Auburn University in in Alabama, Pilates exercises are 200% more effective than simpler routines like crunches. During a Pilates class you need to concentrate on what your instructor is telling you and on your movements. Pilates is about quality not quantity, so make sure that your posture is correct while doing each routine. This will also help minimize the chances of injuring yourself and introducing poor habits that reduce the effectiveness of your exercises.

Pilates is a great way to get your pre-pregnancy body back

Pregnancy, while a wonderful experience for many women, can be hard on the female physique. Many women experience weight gain with their stomach often revealing the most noticeable excess weight. Many women who have given birth are conscious about their midriff and want to know how to flatten this abdominal area. Every Pilates movement (when done correctly) starts in the abdominals and this regular repetitive motion leads to a stronger core. And because of muscle memory women can eventually get their flat tummies back.

Integrate the Pilates ball

A Pilates ball can add a variety of exercises to your Pilates routine. Using a ball will mimic the resistance of some of the Pilates machines and challenge your muscles. The ball will put muscles under constant tension to make your stomach leaner and flatter. According to studies: 60-minute Pilates sessions twice a week can increase abdominal endurance, upper body endurance, and hamstring flexibility.

Try: The mermaid with a ball

This Pilates abdominal exercise is easy to do. If done correctly and consistently you could see a flatter tummy in a few months.

Sit on your mat with a ball on your left side. Bend the left leg in front of you and the right leg behind you. Place the left hand on the ball with the elbows slightly bent and lift the right at shoulder level. Brace your core muscles and prepare to roll the ball to the left while raising the right hand over your head as far as it will go. Hold for 3 seconds then roll the ball back to the original position.

This exercise is considered to be one repetition. Do 8-10 reps then switch to the other side with little to no rest in between reps.

Anybody can do Pilates and achieve a strong body and beautifully sculpted stomach. Pilates conditions the body so that injuries are prevented and fitness is increased, while also focusing on muscle development so stomachs are flatter and thighs, arms, backs, and even ankles are firm. Strength and balance can be achieved without overtiring the muscles because no muscle group will be over used.

If you are looking to tone your tummy, or looking for a great exercise alternative, give Pilates a try. Contact us today to learn more about our lessons, and even join in on the fun!

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