Get a Flat Belly - 3 Best Pilates Exercises for a Flat Belly - 4 minutes read
Do you want a firm flat belly? Many people try new exercises and diet programs to help them get flat abs. As a Pilates Instructor I found these exercises to be some of the best to strengthen and lengthen your stomach muscles and whittle away your waist line.
These special exercises, if done correctly along with healthy nutrition, will effectively give you a flat belly and reduce unnecessary belly fat. There are a number of exercises that focus on the belly and for this article I am focusing on three. These exercises, performed regularly and accompanied with a healthy and nutritious diet, will give you the flat belly you have always desired.
A Pilates chest lift is not like the traditional crunch but if performed correctly will give you a flat belly. The chest lift creates an abdominal hollow down towards the floor. The hips do not curl off the floor, they remain stable. You are lengthening as well as curling. The chest lift is done slowly with the breath so you can reach the deep transverse abdominal muscles.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat. Bring your hands lightly behind your head not interlaced. Keep your elbows open.
Inhale to prepare. Exhale, slowly pull your navel down toward your spine lengthening out the lower back to the mat. Tilt your chin slightly down with a long neck and slowly lift your upper spine off the mat to your shoulder tips.
Pause at the top and inhale while drawing the abs deeper. Exhale keeping the abs in as you slowly lower down to the mat. Repeat.
The chest lift is to specifically engage the abs which are in a deep concave position. Let your neck and shoulders stay relaxed.
A Pilates exercise that helps to tone abdominal muscles and achieve a flat belly is the push-up. This exercise effectively reduces belly fat, strengthens the core, tones the arms and legs, especially the back and shoulders. The navel should be drawn to the spine to stabilize the body and work the core muscles.
You can begin this exercise standing with heels together and toes about 4" apart. You will be externally rotated from the hips, turned out. Stand tall, lift abs in and up.
Bring your chin down and roll down through your spine until your hands reach the mat. Walk your hands out one at a time for three or four until you are in a plank position. Push up for three with hands underneath shoulders, lift your hips and walk your hands back in until reaching your feet and roll up to your standing position. Repeat.
Pay special attention to alignment and lengthen through your spine. Your legs are fully engaged drawing toward the mid-line of your body. Squeeze a little into your glutes. Your body is in one long line from your ears down to your ankle bone. You can modify this exercise and perform with knees bent. You can also bend your knees when rolling down through your spine to reach the floor if your hamstrings are tight.
The Pilates plank is very similar to the Pilates push up. You can begin on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips and your hands lined up under your shoulders. Gently slide your shoulders down into your back away from ears. Your finger tips are facing forward and your inner elbows in same direction.
Lift up in your middle and step one foot straight back behind you and then the other, heels together and toes 2-4" apart. Keep your chest open and lift your navel to your spine. Work your legs and wrap your thighs to the mid-line.
Simply activate your muscles through your legs and your inner thighs. Hold the plank for 3 -5 breaths. Repeat.
Or you can combine the plank within the push-up exercise. These exercises should be done regularly to achieve a firm flat belly.
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