Okay, okay, I’ll admit it… I’m hella lazy and probably stubborn too. But I still want to be fit and healthy. That’s why I was super excited about taking up Pilates as part of the three-month #WHGetsFit winter fitness challenge. In my mind it was easy and pain-free. Boy, was I wrong. No regrets though – because it’s toned my body and done incredible things for my core.
Why you should focus on your core
A strong core isn’t just about showing off washboard abs in a crop top – though there is that… Your abs, obliques and lower back muscles all help your body maintain proper posture and exercise form too. These four moves in particular showed me flames, but were also very effective.
Hundreds might look like an unassuming move, but it’s a killer – and if you’re not particularly fit (like me), you’ll feel it at take 40 already. But it works like magic to tone those abs and strengthen your core.
How to do it
Lying face-up, lift both legs up towards the ceiling and lower them halfway, so they’re at an angle. (If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees slightly – as shown in the video.) Slightly curl your head up, reaching your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Pump your arms up and down as you inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. Repeat this breathing pattern 10 times while holding the position.
2. Double leg reach
When done right, these are the ideal core-strength builder. They’re challenging, but still great for beginners – that’s how simple they are to do.
How to do it
Do these on a mat or any other comfortable surface. Lying on your back, extend your legs up to a 45-degree angle, toes pointed. Shoot your legs and arms out towards your head at the same time. Then bring your knees towards your chest, with hands lightly touching knees. Remember to inhale and exhale as you go. Repeat at least 10 times for beginners.
Ready to reveal an insane core? Just tag these simple exercises onto your next workout – and keep at it for best results.
This article was originally posted on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock