Because there’s nothing quite like that deep Pilates burn.
To really achieve definition, you must strengthen and stabilise your core from the inside out – for this you need to add Pilates to the mix.
Pilates works specifically on your abdominals or your “powerhouse”, as Joseph Pilates would say. The moves are often deceiving and a lot more challenging and effective than what meets the eye. So, ditch the planks and crunches ASAP and throw this sequence of moves into your workout. Pronto!
By adding specific Pilates ab moves to your workout at least 3 times per week, you’re guaranteed to become stronger overall.
You’ll need: A yoga mat
Tip: Keep your belly button drawn into your spine throughout all exercises. Exhale on the exertion.
x4 rounds or x2 rounds at the end of your gym workout or morning walk/run
Breathing 100s works everything: your abs are engaged, your legs are stretched, your arms are pumping vigorously, and your lungs are fully inflated and deflated with each set.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and up in the air. Your back is in “neutral spine”. If this position feels like a strain on your lower back or you are new to this exercise, stay here. If not, extend your legs away from you. Inhale and reach your arms straight up to the ceiling.
Exhale as you reach your arms back down to the floor, lift your head and roll up (like a small crunch) with your shoulder blades just off the mat. Think of squeezing a mandarin under your chin on the way up. Your palms gently start to pulse to the floor in a percussive rhythm.
For the breath, take 1 big deep breath for 5 seconds and one big deep exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat for x100 percussive pulses.
Single leg stretch
This will really target your lower abs.
Start by lying flat on your mat. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, bring yourself into a crunch position, then bring both your knees to your chest and hug them.
Draw your abs in, taking your bellybutton down toward your spine, extend your left leg at a 45 degree angle (from the floor) and keep your right leg hugged into your chest. Maintain your upper-body curve/flexion whilst switching between legs. Throughout the exercise keep your shoulders relaxed and your abdominals deeply “scooped in”.
This exercise not only develops your oblique muscles but it also improves your posture and core stability, helps reduce back pain and slims down your waist.
Lie on your back and keep your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Curl up and bring your left elbow and shoulder across your body while bringing your right knee in toward your left shoulder at the same time. Reach with your elbow and try to touch your knee. Alternate sides. 30 reps total.
Reverse plank bridge with single leg lift
x10 each leg
The reverse plank is the perfect complement to the traditional plank since it works the posterior muscles of the core – the lower back, obliques, glutes, and hamstrings.
Begin seated with your hands behind you and fingers pointed away from you. Press the heels of your feet and hands into the ground as you raise your pelvis off the floor until it is in line with your shoulders and knees. Only do the full leg extension plank if you are advanced. Raise the right leg into the air. Keeping the arms straight, lower your leg back down toward the ground, then lift it back up to complete one rep. Do 10 reps before switching to the other side.
For more workouts like this, including Steph’s new Energy & Performance Program powered by Voome, please visit: https://www.voome.com.au/programs/energy-performance/