Get great abs

Tags: Good Living
Get great abs
There is nothing better looking than a lean abdominal area. It is a standard myth that you should work your abs every day to shape them up. In reality, your abs are just like any other muscle group which needs precise, controlled and targeted movement to get them into shape. Taking forward our conversation about Pilates, let’s get started with a set of brilliant exercises taken from the system.

Usually, Pilates workouts begin with an exercise called Hundred. Lie on your back with your knees bent and up in the air, your knees and hips forming 90-degree angles. Your back should be in neutral spine. If this position strains your lower back, try keeping your feet down on the floor. Inhale; stretch out your arms, palms facing forward. Exhale, as you reach your arms back down to the floor, lift your head and your chin to the chest with your shoulder blades just off the mat. Your palms gently flap the air as if you are pushing down water. Inhale deeply for five beats through your nose, and exhale for five beats through your mouth. Hold the position and continue pulse your arms for 10 breaths. Remember that 10 breaths mean 100 total beats (five for each inhale and five for each exhale).

The second exercise is Rolling Up. Lie down flat on the ground keeping the neutral spine position (back is neither arched nor pressed against the mat) Knees are bent, and feet are apart. Arms are stretched over the head. Inhale, pull your stomach muscles in, and start slowly lifting your arms up. Lift your head, curled your spine and “peel” yourself off the mat. If you have to, catch hold of your thighs and pull yourself up keeping your spine curved, stretch your legs in front of you. Stretch your arms over feet; chin stays close to the chest throughout the exercise. Do this three to five times. Challenge: Do this exercise with knees stretched on the ground, and perform the movement without moving them!

The third exercise for today is Modified Teaser. Bend your knees; lie flat on the ground, spine in the neutral position, arms stretched over the head. Inhale, tuck your abs in and lift yourself up so to come in the parallel position with your thighs. Keep it up there till the count of three and slowly go back into the starting position. Lie down; lift one leg, so the thighs are in the same line. While exhaling lift yourself up and be parallel to your leg, count to three. Change legs do this exercise three times with both legs on the ground, and three times with one leg up in the air followed by the other. That makes a total of nine repetitions. Look after your spine and do not arch your back. These exercises should set you on your way to getting washboard abs. Remember, in Pilates, we always give precedence to quality over quantity. Joseph Pilates famously said, “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy callisthenics or forced contortion.”

Keep this in mind whenever you exercise irrespective of the system and you will have the half the battle won before you even start.

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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