There's no question about it, a strong core is a confidence booster. When you strengthen your core — which includes your abs, back, butt and pelvic muscles — your posture and balance improves, giving you a strong center. Pilates is a very effective way to achieve this feeling of awesomeness.
Before heading out, try this 10-minute Pilates routine for an instantly flatter stomach, longer waist and leaner silhouette by Alisa Wyatt, chief Pilates officer at Pilatesology.com.
1. Lie on your back with arms by your sides, palms down, legs long and hugged together. Scoop your abdominals in and up to lift both legs off the mat while you bring your chin to your chest. Look into your abs and keep your legs high enough so your back lengthens flat on the mat. The tips of the shoulder blades remain on the mat. Raise both arms 6 inches above the thighs.
2. Inhaling slowly through the nose, begin pumping the arms straight up and down for five counts. Exhale and continue pumping for five counts. Keep your arms straight, pumping from the shoulders as if your arms are in water and you're making waves.
3. Continue inhaling and exhaling with pumps to a count of 100 pumps (or 10 breaths). Rest.
Benefits: You'll get an instant flush in your cheeks from the Hundred. The deep ab work combined with pumping stimulates your circulatory system, giving your skin an all-over bright, even and clear appearance.
1. Inhale while lying on your back; on your exhale, sink your abdominals in and up to lift your head and bend your right knee to your chest, while lifting the left leg straight out. Grab your ankle with your right hand and your knee with your left hand. Open your elbows out to the side and give your leg a vigorous pull/pull.
2. Inhale and switch legs, bringing your left knee to your chest; left hand goes to ankle, right hand to knee. Exhale and sink your abs deeper on the pull/pull.
3. Continue switching legs for 10 sets. Be sure to scoop your abs throughout, keeping your back flat on the mat and body stable.
Benefits: Tones your tummy while creating long lean legs
1. Lie on your back with knees bent to your chest, holding your ankles.
2. Lift your head to your knees and exhale. Inhale deeply and anchor your torso to the mat as you stretch your arms and legs up. Keep your eyes on your stomach and stretch longer as you flatten your back deeply into the floor.
2. Exhale as you circle your arms wide to the side to hug your ankles back to the starting position. Repeat eight times.
Benefits: Pinch in your waistline and flatten your lower abs with this fantastically effective exercise.