Working out can be such a chore but if you really want to get fit, there is no other way but to exercise. The only way to minimize the boredom in an ab workout routine is to incorporate other physical activities. After all, the point of earning that highly-coveted six-pack abs is to be able to do other physical activities. Running, swimming, dancing, football, and surfing are truly enjoyable activities that strengthen the abdominal muscles and are good ways of putting those hard-earned six-pack abs to work. Aside from that, it is good to veer away from the typical crunches sometimes and try other ab exercises that can provide an extra push to the normal ab workout routine.
What is Pilates?
Joseph Pilates designed a workout that would strengthen him and at the same time increase his flexibility because he suffered from poor health as a child. He incorporated aspects from Zen, yoga, and some exercises from the Ancient Romans and Greeks. German nationals practiced Pilates in World War II to stay away from sickness. It was there that Pilates was improved because of experimentation using various apparatuses. Pilates has a huge following today, especially from women, because it strengthens the body and makes it flexible without providing the added bulk. This workout is particularly helpful for dancers, gymnasts, and contortionists.
How are Pilates and the Ab Workout Routine Related?
Pilates is all about strengthening the core or as what other trainers would call it, the powerhouse. The benefits of a strong powerhouse go beyond flat abdominal muscles. Activities like dance and sports are easier to do with a strong core because you do not lose balance while doing gravity defying, seemingly painful stunts. The core acts as a stabilizer. The more stable the core, the longer and better you can do a movement. A Pilates routine targets the core muscles. They make a good addition to the traditional ab workout routine.
What are some Pilates exercises that are good for the abs?
Well, almost any Pilates exercise strengthens the abs. The most popular, however, is the teaser. It certainly burns the abdominal muscles and the move is not impossible to do. A study in Auburn University in Alabama reveals that it activates 39% of the rectus abdominus muscle and 266% of the external obliques, which are the locations where love handles are found. To do this, you have to first lie on your back. Lift your legs and bend your knees so they are perpendicular to the floor. Raise your hands to the sky, lift your torso, and straighten your legs simultaneously to form a “V” with your body. Hold for a second and then roll back down. 8-10 repetitions should be enough. Increase the time of suspension and repetitions as you gain more strength.
The roll-up is a beginner Pilates move that is effective as well. Lie on the floor and stretch your arms and legs on the opposite direction. Slowly lift your arms and gradually lift your back of the floor. Keep your stomach tight as you touch your legs with outstretched arms. Rise up, roll back, and repeat. The key to this is to move vertebrae by vertebrae. Do 8-10 repetitions.
If you include this in your ab workout routine, you’ll see lines on your abs in no time.