Everyone desires a flat and toned stomach. But despite relentless efforts, getting there is one of the most challenging parts of a workout routine or training regimen. There are many reasons we have belly fat, including hormonal changes, food choices, lack of exercise, and stress. An effective exercise program coupled with proper nutrition can help reduce your belly fat, giving you that flat-toned stomach you have always wanted.
Before we dive deep into Pilates’ moves for a flat stomach, let's see why it's such a useful exercise for a flat stomach. To start, Pilates is a system of controlled exercises that conditions the total body while improving postures, creating lean muscles, and reducing stress. The physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates is becoming the choice of tummy-toning exercise for many people. The reason, as you might guess, is because it works all of your abdominal muscles, including the six-pack rectus abdominis, the waist-defining obliques, and the deep transversus abdominis. The key to a flat stomach is to target the hard-to-reach deepest layer of abdominals, and Pilates works the muscles layers effectively, mainly the transverses abdominis muscle, to give you the desired toned stomach.
Doing a Pilates workout three times a week can be your secret weapon to flatten your belly while at the same time rejuvenating the whole of your body.
Here are five common Pilates moves to help you get started.
The Pilates Hundred is one of the most common and popular exercises in Pilates that’s appropriate for beginners all the way to the advanced enthusiasts. It’s a dynamic movement of your arms up and down 100 times, perfect for warming up and preparing the abdominals for the following exercises. This is a classic move that works your abs and helps you achieve a flat tummy.
Step 1: Lie down on your back with your hands on your side.
Step 2: Bend your knees toward your chest.
Step 3: Curl your head, neck, and shoulders up slightly while your lower back is still pressed to the floor.
Step 4: Hover your hands up just about the height of your abdominal wall.
Step 5: Extend your legs to 45 degrees to position into a Pilates stance.
Step 6: Now, pump your arms up and down in small rigorous motions at your side.
Step 7: Breathe in for five and out for five until you hit 50 pumps. Repeat for a total of 100 pumps.
This classic Pilates mate exercise is a great challenge for the abdominal muscles and is one of the most effective Pilates flat abs exercises. You can do this after the Pilates Hundreds and follow it with the roll-over.
Step 1: Bring your legs straight in front of you.
Step 2: Extend your arms over your legs and lower your head between your arms.
Step 3: Curl backward, bending your knees, and stop halfway down.
Step 4: Raise your arms straight up and pull your abs in tightly.
Step 5: Exhale and lower your arms as you curl back up.
Step 6: Do 6-8 reps at a moderate pace.
Twist and Reach
This Pilates move targets your abs, obliques, and lower back. There are variations, but you can start with the common steps given below.
Step 1: Sit with your legs a little more than hip-distance apart.
Step 2: Hold the band between your hands and raise your arms overhead.
Step 3: Exhale as you turn to one side, using the muscles in your waist.
Step 4: Inhale as you reach the arms out and back, keeping the hips in place.
Step 5: Exhale and return to starting position.
Step 6: Alternate for a total of four sets on each side.
Double Straight Leg Stretch
The double straight leg stretch Pilates exercise effectively engages abdominal muscles, working both the upper and lower abdominals. The exercise, if done correctly, is ideal for core strengthening.
Step 1: Take your hands on top of the other and place them right behind your head.
Step 2: Now, lengthen your head into your hands.
Step 3: Inhale to prepare, then exhale.
Step 4: Position yourself in a Pilates curl.
Step 5: Now extend both legs up towards the ceiling in a Pilates stance.
Step 6: From this position, lower your legs to 45 degrees and lift them right back up.
Step 7: Slowly set your rhythm and continue.
One Leg Circle
This Pilates move is very useful to tone your lower abs. It's a classic Pilates move that' great for warming up your hip joints and challenge pelvic stability. It targets your abdominal muscles, quads, hamstrings, and you can perform it conveniently on a Pilates mat.
Step 1: Begin by bending your right knee in towards your chest.
Step 2: Extend your right leg up towards the ceiling. Keep the leg on the mat flexed and parallel.
Step 3: Now circle your right thigh into the left thigh, straight up, and right back up.
Step 4: Inhale while you circle and exhale to stop the leg at the top.
Step 5: Repeat the circle in five and reverse, changing the direction of the leg movement in a circle.
Step 6: Repeat the same steps for the left leg one leg circle.