To strengthen the abdominal muscles is important for stabilizing the pelvis and providing a solid base for the rest of the spine to sit on. The following movement works on strengthening the abdominal muscles and it is also known as a heat inducing movement (so it is good for warming up the body).
- Start by lying on the floor on your back. Have your feet in semi supine – feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart; hands interlaced at the back of the head. Breathing out, lift your head and direct one elbow towards opposite knee. Breathing in rest everything down and swap sides. A few times like this, coordinating breath and movement… Feel the twist through the upper body….
- Stay with this movement but start to bring the knee towards the elbow, breathing out as you come up and breathing in as you come down, alternating sides….
- If it is easy, slowly piston the legs – instead of coming back to semi supine each time, keep the legs long and off the floor. It is more difficult to breathe while doing this, so make sure you are breathing, consciously using the lower back muscles. To work more strongly with the abdominals keep the belly pulled in for the whole movement, while breathing. This is a Pilates movement. It is much stronger on the abdominals and lower back, so rest any time you need to rest.
- Finish by briefly circling the knees over the chest to release the lower back.