Challenge Yourself With This Pilates-Inspired Core Workout
Frenetic HIIT workouts which raise your heart rate and burn loads of calories may be all the rage right now, but when it comes to building core strength it’s worth slowing down your sessions.
Anyone who has done Pilates will know this. The slower pace of the practice allows for long periods where you hold positions under tension, strengthening your stabiliser muscles and vastly improving your core strength.
That’s exactly what the session below does. It’s been put together by Pilates instructor and founder of Pilates PT, Hollie Grant, who has also made a video to help guide you through the moves. Remember control is key, so don’t rush.
1 Toe dip
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and your arms reaching up. Imprint your lower back – bring it closer to the ground using your abdominals – and bring your legs up one at a time to tabletop position, with your knees bent at 90° and lower legs parallel to the floor. As you inhale, move at your hips to lower one of your feet down towards the end of your mat keeping the 90° bend in your knee, and then exhale as you lift it back to tabletop. Repeat, alternating legs. The aim is to keep your lower back close to the ground throughout. To challenge yourself more, bring your legs together and lower them towards the floor.
2 Abs prep
Lie on your back with your fingers by your temples, elbows wide, knees bent and feet on the floor hip-width apart. Inhale and tilt your chin gently towards your chest. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders, bringing the upper back into flexion. Inhale at the top, and then exhale and lower back to the starting position with control.
3 Flexion with toe dip
Start with your legs in tabletop position, an imprinted spine, fingers by your temples, and your elbows wide. Inhale and tilt your chin gently towards your chest. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders, bringing the upper back into flexion. Hold this position while you inhale and lower your left foot towards the end of your mat. Exhale and lift back up. Repeat, alternating the legs each time. To make this harder bring your legs together and lower both feet to the floor.
4 Oblique rotation
Time 60sec each side
Start with your legs in tabletop position, your left hand behind your left knee, and your right hand behind your head for support. Inhale in preparation, then as you exhale lift your head and shoulders and rotate your torso towards your left knee. Keep your hips square on the floor and focus on bringing your right ribs to your left hip. Inhale and return to the starting position. Do 60 seconds on one side and then swap.
5 Hip twist
Lie on your back, propping yourself up on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders. Bring one leg at a time to tabletop, then extend your legs so they are on a diagonal. Imagine a clock on the wall in front of you – you’ll be drawing your feet around that clock. Inhale and begin to circle your legs to the right and down, then exhale to bring them up the left, drawing a circle. This is one repetition clockwise. Now repeat anti-clockwise. Alternate each time. The aim is to keep your hips still, and do not allow your back to arch.
6 Roll up
Lie on your back with your legs extended, ankles flexed, and arms extended behind you as far as you can without lifting your ribcage. Inhale and raise your arms, then exhale and begin peeling your spine away from the floor, rolling all the way up and reaching for your toes. Inhale and begin rolling back, and exhale as you unroll your spine down towards the floor. Move slowly and with control.