Cardio workouts are a great way to shed pounds, but my favorite way to tone up is by focusing on deep core muscles. Pilates exercises develop a strong core connection through a full-body workout.
We all hear talk about the core, but many don’t realize the core goes beyond abdominals. As defined in Pilates, specific muscles make up the core: the transversus abdominis, your internal abs; the pelvic floor, at the base of your abs and attached to the pelvis; the diaphragm, which extends across the bottom of the rib cage and is used for breathing; and the multifidus, a small but powerful muscle that supports your spine. Essentially, these muscles are in charge of stabilizing your trunk and pelvis, so a strong core will enhance balance and stability as well as help prevent injuries.
Pilates exercises are a great way to get you to a flat tummy because of their abdominal focus and overall core challenge. In addition to all the core muscles already mentioned, Pilates exercises can challenge the rectus abdominis, your superficial abs, and the obliques, your lateral abs. When engaging your core, imagine a corset around your waistline hugging your abs in towards your spine.
Want to give your abs a run for their money? Here are three of my favorite ultra-challenging Pilates exercises. As you work through them, pay attention to detail by beginning with a slow and steady pace.