Pilates is a fantastic low-impact workout that strengthens your entire body, but it’s particularly effective at strengthening abs. We asked Amanda Masarjian, Miami-based Pilates instructor to create a simple routine that focuses on your core (also known as your Pilates powerhouse). Just check out her Instagram for a little abs-spiration and jaw-dropping workout views.
Some of the moves on the following slides use the Pilates circle, a tool that helps engage your core and activate your leg and inner thigh muscles. Most gyms have these rings stashed in the group fitness studio or by the ab mats where the medicine balls and foam rollers are kept, but if you don’t have access to one you can still do the following routine without it. Now let’s get to the moves shall we?
Lie faceup and curl head, neck and shoulders up off mat. Extend legs to a 45-degree angle (as shown). Keeping arms straight and palms facing ground, pump arms for five quick inhales, then five quick exhales. Repeat for a total of 10 times. Modify by bending knees at a 90-degree angle.
Lie faceup and hold the circle between hands. Extend arms straight to sky so the circle is directly above face. Inhale and curl head, neck and shoulders up. Exhale and roll spine, one vertebrae at a time, off mat. Keep arms straight and parallel to legs. Continue to fold forward and reach the circle past feet (as shown). Inhale, exhale and slowly reverse the movement. Repeat a total of 6 times.
Rolling Like a Ball
After finishing your last Roll Up, place the circle to the side and pull knees into chest so feet are lifted a couple inches off ground. Grab front of ankles and keep heels together and toes apart. Inhale and roll back on the curve of spine to shoulders blades, exhale and roll up to a seated position (as shown). Repeat a total of 5 times.
Complete your final roll and release left leg and extend it away from body. Straighten right leg and place both hands comfortably on your ankle or shin. Curl head, neck and shoulders off mat (as shown). Keep torso lifted and switch legs without lowering to ground. That’s 1 rep, do 10 total.
Lie faceup and bend knees 90 degrees and bring heels together, toes apart. Stack palms one on top of the other and place them at the nape of your neck (as shown). Exhale and extend legs at 45-degree angle. Inhale and pull knees back to tabletop position. That’s 1 rep, do 10 total.
Lie faceup with arms by sides. Place circle between ankles and raise legs straight into the air. Circle the legs to the left (as shown) then stop in the center and reverse the movement, completing a circle to the right. That’s 1 rep, do 10 total.
With legs extended, hold circle between ankles. Lift torso off mat to create a “V” shape (as shown) balancing on sit bones. Exhale and lower legs and torso (to shoulder blades), then raise both back up to the V. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 3 reps.
Kneeling Side Kicks
Start kneeling and place right palm on mat with right shoulder stacked above wrist and right side parallel to ground. Extend left leg at hip-height and place left hand behind head (as shown). Lower left foot and tap toes on mat then raise back to hip-height. That’s 1 rep, do 10 total then switch sides.
Photos courtesy of SELF.