Many people who hit the gym focus on their “core.” They may do crunches, sit-ups, or leg lifts to get help stiffen up their abs. While exercise should certainly not be discouraged, there is much more than just the abs to the core. In fact many of the so-called “core” exercises are doing more harm than help to other parts of the core. There are other exercises that can do more for your entire core. Pilates are a great way to build up your entire core–not just your abs–effectively.
Core are more than Abs
The core of the body is defined as everything that is not your legs or arms, so that’s a lot of body to cover. That includes abdominal muscles, but also your inner abdominal muscles, glutes, hips, pelvic floor, and scapula. To focus on your abs would not only be only focusing on a single area, it may hurt your spine. So take a comprehensive approach to improving your spine will build out your whole body’s foundation.
Your core is responsible for the power that moves your body. Think of when you complain that your body is stiff after a little doing something a little out of the ordinary. That’s your body telling you to get in shape. You really must listen and listen properly which means getting all parts of the core in shape.
A Pilates workout is a challenging way to build out a body. It will push the flexibility of your core with a whole series of exercises. So grab your Pilate mat and your outfit and get to a Pilate studio. It may seem you are heading to boot camp, but the results will give you the core that you are shooting for.
Pilates Exercises for the Core
There are many different exercises that can work the core. First of all you need to know that Pilates stance, because it is part of many the Pilates workouts. To get this stance, put the legs together, straight, and rotated outward from the top of the thigh.
Look for exercises that do not just focus on the abdomen when they say that they are core exercise. You should be looking for ones that work out everything from the scapula to the glutes. Here are five that you can start with:
Prone Heel Beats: Lie on your stomach with your head on your hands and you heels together in Pilates stance. Scoop your abs and clench your glutes.
Pilates Curl: Lie on your back with knees bent and arms at your side. Exhaling, pull chin to chest and bringing shoulders off the mat, then lower shoulders slowly.
The Hundred: Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle with palms facing forward. Put your hands in the air and inhale. As you exhale, bring your hands down to your side and raise your head.
Roll-up: (This one that will truly push your core). Inhale with your arms straight up to the sky. Pull yourself up until your hands reach your toes. Exhale as you bring yourself back to the lying position.
Rolling Like a Ball: Start by sitting down on the floor with your legs pulled toward you and your feet off the ground. Inhale, roll back onto upper back. Use your lower abdomen to lift your hips and do a hip-hop. Exhale. Return to your base point.
Single-Leg Stretch: Begin by lying down with your legs bent, arms at your side, and your palms facing down. Inhale and raise your legs one at a time to a 90 degree angle. Place your hand on the outside of your knees and pull them in. Exhale as you bring the leg down inhale as you switch between legs.
Double-Leg Stretch: Begin by lying down with your legs bent, arms at your side, and your palms facing down. Inhale and raise both your to a 90 degree angle. On the exhale, pull your abdominal muscles in to curve your upper body up off the floor. Bring your forehead toward your knees. Grasp you shins or your ankles. On the next inhale, stretch long lying down with your hands raised above your head and legs and toes stretched all the way out. On the next exhale, pull your body in again.
These are just five of the top Pilates exercises that will work your core and get your body in shape. The importance of your core is a key to keeping your body in shape. The more you build out your core, the less those creaks and stiffness will annoy you. As always, it is important to make sure that you have the proper equipment and the okay from a medical professional.