If you’re looking for a form of exercise that keeps its main focus on your core to help you get a flat stomach, look no further than Pilates. Few, if any, other exercise methods emphasize effective core training, and I often recommend Pilates to my clients as a supplement to traditional weight training or as a primary form of exercise, depending on their goals. That’s why I’m here to share the #1 best no-equipment Pilates exercise to get a flat stomach.
This Pilates routine focuses on exercises that engage multiple muscle groups, improve stability, and improve posture—all important aspects for sculpting a toned stomach. When doing this workout, be sure to follow an overall healthy lifestyle, eat a diet high in vegetables and lean protein, and get plenty of sleep and hydration.
Keep reading for the #1 best no-equipment Pilates workout to get a flat stomach. And when you’re done working out, get inspired by more fitness content with A 69-Year-Old Fitness Trainer Shares 6 Exercises That Keep Her Looking Middle Aged.
Engaging the core, especially the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis, the Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise that also stimulates the respiratory system and increases blood circulation. Challenge your stamina and coordination as well, as you synchronize your breath with movement.
To perform this exercise, lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Lift your legs slightly off the ground, keeping them straight, and lift your head and shoulders. Vigorously pump your arms up and down while breathing in and out for a count of five. Focus on keeping your abdominal muscles pulled toward your spine. Repeat this breathing and arm movement for a total of 100 arm pumps.
The roll-up effectively targets the deep core muscles and helps lengthen the spine. This exercise is more than just an abdominal workout, but also improves flexibility in the spine and hamstrings, promoting better posture and alignment. This move is a great way to engage the mind-body connection, which requires focus and precision to perform well. Avoid “rising” when doing the roll-up. Instead, focus on a smooth movement from start to finish.
To perform the exercise, start by lying on your back with your arms overhead and legs flat. Inhale, and raise your arms above your head, then exhale as you curl your upper body toward the floor in a “rolling” motion. Reach through your toes, keeping your spine rounded. Slowly roll back down, vertebra by vertebra, to the starting position. Complete three controlled sets of 10 to 12 repetitions with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
This exercise is great for engaging the obliques, which helps sculpt the waist and reduce love handles. The criss-cross targets the obliques and improves rotational mobility, which is essential for daily activities and sports performance. This exercise encourages proper breathing techniques, essential for core stability and effective Pilates training.
To perform the exercise, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent to your chest. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, keeping your lower back pressed against the mat. Rotate your upper body, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee while extending your right leg. Move to the side, bring your left elbow toward your right knee and extend your left leg. Complete three sets of 20 repetitions (10 per side), with 60 seconds of rest between sets.
The teaser is a challenging Pilates move that works the entire core, including the rectus abdominis and the obliques. It is particularly effective in improving functional strength, which is important for better performance in daily activities and other sports. Full core activation will help target your entire midsection, not just the front.
To perform this exercise, start by lying flat on your back with your arms extended and legs extended. Inhale, then exhale as you lift your upper and lower body off the ground, reaching your hands toward your feet. Balance your sitting bones, keeping your body in a “V” shape. Slowly lower back to the starting position without touching your feet on the ground. Perform three sets of eight to 10 repetitions. Pause briefly at the top for one to two seconds for maximum core strengthening.
The plank strengthens the entire core, including the transverse abdominals, and improves posture and balance. Beyond core strengthening, this exercise also builds strength in the shoulders, arms, and glutes, making it a comprehensive body-stabilizing movement.
To perform a plank, start in a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core and glutes to maintain stability. Hold this position, keeping your breathing steady and even. Hold the plank for 30 to 60 seconds. Aim to complete three full sets of 60 seconds.
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