Pilates Ab Exercise: Pilates 100s
"This one is great because it engages your entire core," said Tracy Green, a certified Pilates and barre instructor at Baptist Health-Milestone Wellness Center in Louisville, KY. "Focus on the percussive breathing here — it's five sharp, quick breaths in, then five strong, quick exhales. Each breath further engages your abdominals." Pilates instructor Gia Calhoun, vice president of Pilates Anytime, agreed, saying Pilates 100s are designed to "fire up your core."
- Start lying on your back with your legs in tabletop position (hips and knees at right angles). Engage your deep abs to round your lower spine into the floor. Make sure you are not "pooching" your abs, which means you are just working the top layer of abs, which is a Pilates no-no.
- Exhale and lift your upper back off the floor, until the bottom tips of your shoulder blades skim the floor. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle (but make sure your low back is staying connected to the floor). Reach your arms toward your feet. Your arms will be about two inches off the floor.
- Pump your arms up and down with a small range of motion, keeping your elbows straight. Inhale for five arm pumps, and exhale for five pumps. That completes one set or cycle. Over time, work your way up to 10 cycles.