Pilates Takeaway - Engage your abdominal muscles

One of the benefits of Pilates is a flat stomach.

Pilates exercises work your deep postural muscles, the transversus abdominis these muscles run around your body like a corset, strengthening these muscles creates core stability, helping you to look taller and leaner.

To engage your abdominal muscles, draw your navel back towards your spine and then scoop your abdominal upwards to make your stomach look really flat. You should not feel any pain or discomfort.

You can engage your abdominals anywhere, waiting for a bus or queuing at the bank, draw your abdominals in and up, drop your shoulders and breathe, with them held in, no one will notice.

You can perform the following exercises every day, working towards a flat, strong stomach,

Stop if you feel any pain or discomfort always listen to your body.


Takeaway exercise 1 - Tiny Steps

Make time and give yourself space to perform the following exercises.

1 - Lie on your back with your legs bent, your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Relax your arms by your sides palms facing down, Draw your navel back towards your spine.

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2 Take a breath, as you exhale float your right leg to tabletop position, your knee above your hip and your shin parallel to the ceiling. Hold for a breath, as you exhale return your leg to the floor.

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Repeat 10 times on each leg, alternating between them.

Tip: Maintain a neutral spine, do not arch your back, keep the natural curve of your lower back.


Takeaway exercise 2 - Knee folds

If you feel discomfort in your back, go back to Tiny Steps

1 - Lie on your back with your legs bent, your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Relax your arms by your sides palms facing down, Draw your navel back towards your spine.

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2 - Float your right leg to tabletop position, take a breath, as you exhale float your left leg up to join the right. Keeping your abdominals engaged.

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3 Lower your right toe down towards the floor as it comes back up lower your left toe, imagine you are dipping your toes in a pool of warm water, a continuous movement.

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Repeat 10 times, alternating legs,  increase the number of reps as you get stronger.

4 - Finish with a full body stretch, to release and lengthen abdominals

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Tip: Place one hand flat on your lower abdomen, make sure your muscles are scooping in and not doming out.