Pilates is a series of low-impact stretches and movements to help strengthen your muscles. These movements may seem difficult at first, but after doing them for awhile, you will not only notice your muscles becoming stronger and longer, you will also have a leaner body. If you don't have access to a pilates studio, pilates can be done at home using your body's own resistance. See below for some beginner movements to work your abs.
1. Leg Stretch (Single)
- Lay flat on your back on the floor or on a mat.
- Lift your legs off of the floor to a 45 degree angle, keeping your lower back flat on the mat.
- Lift your head, then hug one knee to your chest, keeping the other leg straight and off the floor.
- Switch legs, alternating between the two. Repeat for 10 reps. Be sure to keep your core still.
- Extra tip: If it's too difficult for you to lift your head, keep your head on the floor and do the same movement with your legs.
2. Ab Twist
- Lay on your back again. Raise your legs off of the mat to a 45 degree angle.
- Lift your head off of the mat using your hands behind your head as support (do not interlock your fingers).
- Bring one of your knees to your chest and touch it with the opposite elbow.
- Twist to the other side pulling the other knee in and touching it with the opposite elbow.
- Repeat for 10 reps. Be sure to pull your core tight and that your lower back does not leave the mat.
- Extra tip: If this move is difficult for you, try and raise your legs. Lower them when it becomes easier for you. You can also do fewer reps until you build up your core.
3. Leg Stretch (Double)
- This move is similar to the first exercise. You will raise your legs off of the mat to a 45 degree angle.
- Lift your head off of the mat and pull your legs to your chest with your hands.
- Stretch your legs out and stretch your arms above your head.
- Circle your hands from your head, down to your legs, pulling your knees to your chest again.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
- Extra tip: If this move is too difficult, try to lower your head.
These moves are beginner moves, but don't be discouraged if they are a bit difficult for you. Once your core muscles become stronger, you can add repetitions to these exercises and add more beginner movements to your routine. Be sure not to push your body too far and allow time for your muscles to recover.