Fit Tip Thursday: Pilates Ab and Back Workout
Tired of the same old ab workouts? Ready for a core challenge that will develop strength, flexibility and good posture with low risk of injury? Check out this 5-step Pilates-inspired ab and back workout from Bowflex Fitness Advisor Amy Dixon!
Exercise #1: Roll down on to your back, and lift your legs up into a table top position. Put your hands behind your head, and place your heels together. Open out the toes. Lift the shoulder blades so they're off the mat, feel the abdominals engage, and then press the feet all the way out so the legs become straight. Then pull back in. It should feel as though you're pushing against resistance as you come back out, and all the way back in. To amp this up, you can add a crunch. As the knees come in, lift up. And as you press the legs out, lay back down.
Exercise #2: Legs up in tabletop. Lift the shoulder blades off the mat. This is a simple bicycle! Start with doubles on either side. The slower you go, the better. Take your time to really engage those abdominals. Your rotation should be happening from the T-spine. Once you feel that your core is warmed up, take it to singles on either side and speed it up. Pick up the speed, but make sure that you maintain control.
Exercise #3: Laying on the back with hands at sides, lift up and bridge up. As you work through this bridge, press in through your heels. Your balance here needs to be perfect. Bringing your hands up, you'll alternate bringing one knee in toward the chest at a time. As you hug the knee in and alternate, work to not rotate or tip through the hips. You want to keep those hips balanced. Keep the hips lifted as much as possible so that you can really engage through the core.
Exercise #4: Roll on to the front side of your body. This is a great exercise for all the lower muscles that support your back. This will keep the back healthy and mobile. Let's start with the cobra. Press up, and allow the front side of the body to come up and come back down.
Exercise #5: Laying on your stomach, extend your arms out in front of you for a Superman. It's similar to the cobra but longer levers with the arms, and the legs will also come up off the floor.