Two Pilates exercises for a flatter tummy!
Researchers from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama conducted a study to test what form of tummy exercises are the most effective. They compared the traditional crunch to 3 Pilates exercises and found that 2 of the Pilates exercises worked the transverse abdominis and internal obliques the most! Click here to read the full article.
What were these two exercises? “The Hundred” and “Double leg stretch.”
Here’s how to do them:
Beginner: Lying on your back, flatten your back into the mat and lift your legs into a table top position. (picture 1 below)
Intermediate/advanced: Lying on your back, keep a neutral spine and straighten your legs out to a 45 degree angle or as low as you can go keeping your back supported. (picture 2 below)
Take 5 short breaths in through the nose and 5 short breaths out the mouth. Repeat x 10 – 100 breaths!
Inhale to prepare, exhale and lift the head, shoulders and arms off the mat into a curl keeping the belly button pulled down towards the spine and the spine in the appropriate position.
In time with the breathing, do small pumps up and down with straight arms keeping the body stable and the tummy down. Keep pumping the arms until you have completed 10 reps of breaths then lower the body down and hug the knees into the chest.
*Note: Keep the neck and shoulders soft. If you feel the neck straining, bring the chin towards the chest and if that doesn’t help, start with 5 reps and build up to 10.
Double leg stretch
Lying on your back, beginners flatten the back into the mat, intermediate/advanced keep the spine neutral. Sink the belly button down towards the spine. Legs up in a table top position and arms next to your sides.
Inhale to prepare and exhale as you lift your head, shoulders and arms off the floor into a curl. (picture 1 below)
Inhale and extend the legs to a 45 degree angle and bring the arms straight back next to the ears. (picture 2 below)
Exhale and circle the arms round bringing them back to your sides and bring the legs back to the table top position.
Repeat x 8.
*Note: keep the tummy flat, the back in the appropriate position and the neck and shoulders soft.
The transverse abdominis is an extremely important muscle, but difficult to target, and often forgotten about or not known about. A weak transverse can contribute to bad posture, back pain and an overall weak core. But when strengthened, the transverse acts like a corset and helps to support your back, prevent injuries and straight away gives the appearance of a flat tummy. Unless you were born with genes from heaven or stick to a strict eating plan, chances are you don’t naturally have a flat tummy. Start becoming aware of your transverse, stand tall and keep your belly button drawn in towards your spine. The more aware of this you become, the closer you will be to a flatter tummy, a stronger back and core and an overall better posture and attitude! No amount of crunches can do that!