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More to Core

Strengthen all of the core muscles, not just abdominals, for the best overall functional strength. The corset muscle, or transversus abdominis, is often overlooked in training.

By engaging and strengthening your deepest abdominal muscle, the transverses abdominis, you’ll improve your  core strength and balance, reduce back pain, and gain a flatter-looking abdomen. Add these two Pilates exercises to your mix and target your deep “corset” muscles.

The Hundred
The position:
•  Lie on your back with your spine in neutral position
•  Arms at your sides
•  Knees bent
•  Feet flat on the floor and your heels in line with your hips

The movement:
•  Stay in original position

•  Engage your abs
•  Lift the feet off the floor to table top position
•  90 degrees at hips and knees

•  Reach your arms straight toward the ceiling

•  Lower your arms toward your hips (palms down) as you roll the head,
   neck and tips of your shoulder blades off the mat
•  Keep your head on the mat if you have upper back or neck issues
•  Straighten the legs up to ceiling
•  Lower legs as close to the mat as you can while maintaining a neutral spine

•  Pulse the arms on and off the floor for five counts hinging from the shoulder
•  Repeat, doing 10 total sets (100 arm pumps)

•  Keep your spine curved as you bring your knees in toward your chest
•  Grasp your knees and roll your upper spine and head back to the floor
•  Take a deep breath in and out

•  Keep body still and controlled while pumping arms
•  Keep your head tucked in toward your chest
•  Keep your elbows and wrists straight as the arms pump

Easy start for beginners
•  Pump arms with feet flat on floor (very beginner)
•  Pump arms while legs stay in table top (beginner)
•  Pump arms with legs straight up (intermediate)

If you would like to see The Hundred exercise demonstrated, visit this link.

Double Leg Stretch
The Position:
•  Lie on your back with your head and the tips of your shoulder blades
   rounded off the mat
•  Pull both knees in toward your chest and hands on your shins
•  Reach toward your ankles if you cannot touch the shins

The Movement:
•  Reach the legs straight out and the arms overhead
•  Maintain the curve of the upper body and the position of the lower back
•  Lower the legs as close to the floor as you can while keeping lower back
   pressed to the floor

• Draw the legs back into the chest
• Sweep the arms around to grab the shins/ankles again
• Repeat 5-10 times

• Keep legs squeezed tightly together
• Think of the abs and ribs moving toward the center line
• Use the image of the sit bones coming together

Easy start for beginners
• Work the arms and legs with the head down on the mat

To see the Double Leg Stretch demonstrated, visit this link.

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