If you want to build strong, sculpted abs, Pilates can help! However with a comprehensive Pilates program (like XB Pilates) you work out All Body, your core gets a lot of attention.
So we spoke to Andrea Rogers, XB Pilates instructor and creator of Xtend Barre, to tell us what her favorite Pilates moves are for working your abs.
Read on to learn nine Pilates exercises to get the abs Andrea loves, exercises you can find in many Pilates classes and even at XB Pilates.
Additionally, we include step-by-step instructions for making them, which will allow you to really get the most out of each one. Try one (or more) of them to end up with burning abs!
“Xtend Barre is based on pilates and dance techniques, so our main focus is proper alignment and a good connection with the core,” explains Andrea. “Our series of Pilates-based abdominal exercises tone every part of the abdominal wall, helping you build core strength and definition.”
If you want to try a full Pilates program, you can try XB Pilates.
You have the option to choose between 21, 30 or 60 day calendars depending on your goals and fitness level.
1. Circle with one leg
- Lie on your back with your legs extended and straight, your arms extended by your sides and your palms flat on the floor. Engage your core to press your lower back into the ground. You should keep your back like this throughout the exercise.
- Extend one leg straight up, toes pointing toward the ceiling.
- From there, move your lifted leg in a large, controlled, counter-clockwise circle, as if you were drawing circles with your legs. Reverse the circles, moving your feet clockwise the same number of times as before. Make sure you always engage your core, keeping your back on the ground.
- Support the foot on the ground and repeat the exercise with the other.
2. Pilates Hundred
- Begin in the supine position (lying on your back) on the mat. Place your feet as if you were in a bench position, meaning your hips are vertical, your knees are bent and your shins are horizontal.
- Engage your abs and raise your shoulders, round your spine and lift your head off the mat. Keep your lower back touching the ground; It does not arch. If you can, extend your legs fully, so that your feet point at a 45-degree angle to the ceiling.
- Raise your arms off the mat by your sides, making sure your fingers, hands and arms are straight, and inhale as you move your arms up and down. Breathe in to one, two, three, four and five with the first five arm movements and then exhale to one, two, three, four, five with another five movements. When you complete all ten hand movements, immediately move on to the next round.
- Repeat the sequence ten times to reach the magic number: 100!
- When you finish a set of ten, inhale, round your back and lift your arms above your hips. Hold that pose. Then, exhale and relax your back until you return to the starting position. Do not drop suddenly; Come down slowly
3. Extend one leg
- Lie on your back and bring both knees to your chest. Engage your abs, press your lower back into the ground and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Gently circle your pimples with your hands.
- Inhale and extend your right leg straight, until it floats a few inches off the ground. Make sure your lower back is still touching the ground. If it rises, don’t lower your leg as much. You can lightly touch your left shin with your hand.
- Exhale and switch legs, bending the right leg toward your chest and extending the left forward so that it floats a few inches off the ground. You can touch your right shin lightly with your hand.
- Alternate legs until you complete all reps.
4. Extending both legs
- Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Engage your abs, press your lower back into the ground and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Gently circle your ankles with your hands.
- Inhale, extend both arms above your head and simultaneously straighten both legs, so that they float a few inches off the ground. Make sure your lower back is still touching the ground. If he gets up, don’t lower your leg as much.
- Exhale and lower your arms into a curve as you bring your knees back to your chest.
- Continue until you complete all reps.
5. Straight Leg Kick (Scissor Kick)
- Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.
- Engage your core and press your head, shoulders and lower back into the ground as you lift both feet about 12 inches off the ground.
- Keep both legs straight, and lift one and then the other toward the ceiling, alternating quick upward movements, as if you were swinging them.
- Do the same number of repetitions on each leg.
6. Low lift (both legs lift)
- Lie on your back and stretch your legs toward the ceiling, toes pointing up and heels together. Place your hands behind your head and keep your elbows open. Engage your core to press your lower back into the ground. Lift your chest to lift your shoulders off the ground.
- Breathe in a controlled manner and lower your legs. Lower your legs as far as possible without lifting your lower back off the ground or loosening your stomach.
- Once you reach the limit of your range of motion, exhale and return your legs to the starting position in a controlled manner. Continue like this until you complete all repetitions of the set.
- Throughout the movement, keep your elbows open and your lower back pressed into the ground. Avoid bringing your neck forward; The curve of the upper body should come from the stomach area and not the neck.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees (shins parallel to the floor). Gently rest your fingertips behind your head, with your elbows pointing out to the side. Engage your core, press your lower back into the ground and lift your shoulder blades.
- Exhale as you rotate your upper body to the right, extend your left leg forward and bring your left elbow toward your right knee.
- Return to center as you inhale.
- Exhale again as you rotate your upper body to the left, straighten your right leg and bring your right elbow toward your left knee.
- Alternate legs until you complete all reps.
- Lie on your back with your core engaged and your lower back touching the floor. Bend your legs and place your feet on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Raise one leg and extend it to a 45-degree angle. Raise your arms straight up toward the ceiling.
- Inhale as you raise your torso, bringing your arms straight toward your toes, forming a “V” shape with your body.
- Hold this position for five breaths, then lower down in a slow, controlled manner as you exhale.
- Do all reps on one side; Then switch legs. Do the same number of repetitions with each.
9. Open to the clock
- Lie on your back and lift your body onto your arms, with your elbows under your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor.
- Extend your legs straight at 45 degrees. Keeping your core engaged, slowly rock your hips to the right, dropping your feet slightly to the right. Keep your shoulders wide and pointed forward.
- Return to center, then repeat to the left.
- Continue alternating side to side, repeating the same number of repetitions on both sides.