Spring is the time of year that we all begin to think about gearing up for our summer bodies. Whether you are looking for a flatter stomach, tight glutes, shapely arms and legs or just to lose weight and feel energized, Pilates can help you achieve it. However, you have to know how to do the exercises to get the best results.
Today we are focusing on the right way to do core exercises to flatten your midsection. When doing abdominal exercises it is important to remember that it is better to do one repetition correctly than to do hundreds of reps with bad technique. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
1) Keep it in: When doing abdominal exercises try to keep the abdominal wall pulled in and don’t let your stomach pooch out. If you are getting pooching, bulging or popping of the abdominals it usually means the “six pack” muscles are dominating and that the oblique’s and transverse abdominals are not doing their part. It is important to get all these muscles working together to pull the tummy in, creating a flatter more supported abdominal cavity. If your abdominals are pushing out it may mean that the exercise you have chosen is too difficult and you may need to modify the exercise so you can do it correctly.
2) Use the right muscles for the job: It is important while doing abdominal exercises to be aware of you back. If you back muscles are gripping or trying to take over it is a sign that you are doing it wrong. Abdominal exercises are for the abdominals so, if your back, hip flexors or quads are taking over re-asses your technique and or modify the exercise till your abdominals are strong enough to execute it without the help of less efficient muscle groups. Remember if you keep doing it the wrong way you are training your muscles to have bad habits which can lead to pain and/or injury.
3) Remember to breath: Muscles cannot function without oxygen so needless to say breathing is important when strengthening any muscle group. Often times Pilates exercises have deliberate breath patterns to enhance the exercise or to make it more challenging. The abdominal cavity responds to the movements of the diaphragm and changes with the breath. Always try to be mindful of your breath patters and using you breathing capacity to it’s fullest. Check out our post on Pilates principles to learn more about the importance of breathing techniques.
With this awareness on the correct technique of abdominal exercises you can get the most effective abdominal workout and will be ready for that swimsuit this summer. Book your 1:1 pilates appointment here.