As a weight loss coach for women, I often recommend Pilates to my private weight loss coaching clients. Pilates workouts put minimal impact on the joints and the exercises, in general, are easy on the body.
In particular, Pilates is one of the best types of exercise to build your core strength. Doing Pilates core strength exercises consistently will help you slim down, create long toned muscles, and improve your overall fitness and conditioning.
Yes, Pilates core strengthening exercises can help flatten your abs–something we all want– but it’s also important to note that core strengthening exercises help to improve your posture and overall well-being as well.
What you may not realize is having good posture and strong abs is important for good health. Standing up or sitting up straight and tucking in your tummy is not just something to do to make you appear more confident and attractive–lengthening your spine and engaging your deep ab muscles is good for your spine health, helps you to avoid injuries and alleviate chronic pain, improves blood flow and oxygen, and protects your organs.
When doing Pilates exercises, be sure to concentrate on your breath as well as slow and controlled movements.
The Step It Up With Steph Signature Slimdown DVD includes a quick core-strengthening Pilates workout!
I teamed up with my favorite workout and Pilates partner, Jenny Milkowski, to demonstrate an intermediate Pilates core-strengthening exercise — the open-leg rocker. Watch the video below:
Here’s how to do the Pilates open-leg rocker:
- Begin by sitting up tall on our sit bones, spine lengthened, abs activated.
- Bend your knees and grab your ankles.
- Next, balance your body between your tailbone and sit bones.
- Lift and extend one leg and then the other, shoulder-width apart, by engaging your abdominals.
- Inhale and roll back onto your shoulders, maintaining a c-curve in your back and keeping your head and neck elevated off the mat. Be sure to engage your abs to propel the movement.
- Pause and hold briefly.
- Exhale and bring your body back to an upright balanced position. Maintain the curve in your back and use your ab muscles to activate the movement.
- Concentrate on your breath, engaging your core, and using slow controlled movements.
- Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
Keep in mind, the Pilates open-leg rocker is an intermediate core-strengthening exercise. For a quick easy-to-follow Pilates routine, grab a copy of the Step It Up with Steph Signature Slimdown DVD.