Whether your practicing your abdominal exercises at home or in your regular pilates class or at the gym, keeping this series safe is an integral part of making it effective. many people continue performing an abdominal exercise despite experiencing lower back pain or tension in their neck. Continuing in this way means that all we are doing is simply hurting our bodies, placing more tension in areas that might be already tense. many people don’t realise that by eliminating these feeling of pain and tension we actually work our abdominal more, rather than working your back or neck. So here are my five tips for getting the most out of your abdominal exercises.
- Protect your Back: The most important thing to remember with Pilates is to always work safely through your back, at no time should your lower back be in pain whilst doing any abdominal exercise. If you do experience pain regress to a simpler exercise, bend your knees to table top or have a much needed rest.
- Engage those Abs: We all love working on our tummy, building core strength and getting those abs toned and taught, when working through your pilates routine at home remember to keep your lower back imprinted into the mat. This can be done by simply drawing your belly into your spine, this helps to engage your transverse abdominal muscles and protect your lower back.
- Work at a level thats appropriate for your skills and fitness, sometimes its easy to want to move through higher levels but remember that your body might not be ready for the extra challenge. Always start from the beginning and work your way through the Pilates levels over time. For example when your working through a traditional pilates Abdominal exercise like the hundreds start with your legs in table top, once this variation feels easy and you have mastered all the key precision movements move onto having both legs extended to the ceiling and so on and so forth.
- Keep your neck safe: As a pilates teacher many of my students would complain of neck pain during many exercises when their heads were elevated. I recommend if you are experiencing any type of neck pain during your abdominal routine to either place your hands behind your head to support your head and neck or place your head on the floor. Another alternative is to place a pillow under your neck to support you head when doing any abdominal series that requires you to elevate your head. By simply resting your head on the pillow you allow your neck muscles to relax and your abdominal muscles to do more.
- Precision, precision precision: this is one of the 6 basic pilates principals and an integral part of both classical and contemporary Pilates. Precision means to do every exercise incorporating all the cuing elements to the best of your ability, breathing, movements and muscle activation. If we preform every abdominal exercise exactly how its instructed listening to the cueing of precision like “Lengthening your legs away from your body” and “Drawing your belly into your spine” our bodies will be able to work smarter and thus give you the results your looking for. Toned, strong abdominal muscles.
Founder of A Life of Energy