No workout has a better reputation for firing up your core than Pilates. The super-slow, minuscule movements activate your slow-twitch muscle fibers to build strength. While we don't all have the luxury of having a Reformer in our living room (or a studio filled with them around the corner), we're happy to report that you can get a similar workout at home with with sliders.
It's so easy in fact that Trainer of the Month Triana Brown, an instructor at SolidCore, put together a follow-along workout only using sliders. In the 10-minute, six move series, you'll fire up all the muscles in your core (and a good amount in your arms, as well). So let's get to it. Here are the abs exercises that will get you the same sweat value of a Pilates class from the comfort of your own living room.
Try this at-home Pilates abs workout
1. Army crawl: Grab your sliders and put them on the bottom of your feet. Starting in a low plank position with your tailbone tucked under and abs braced, walk your elbows up and down your mat. Keep your hips lifted and stationary. As you go up and down, press into your elbow as you lift the opposite elbow—this gets you feeling the active oblique. Keep your neck neutral and hips lifted away from the mat. To add more, you can add in a plank up-down, walking from your palms back onto your forearms, or you can add a push-up. Do this for one minute.
2. Plank extension: Put your knees on the bottom of your sliders and your elbows directly on the ground. From here, rock your shoulders back behind your elbows, a tiny range of motion, then squeeze your abdominals to re-stack your elbows directly on top of your shoulders. Make sure your shoulders are down and back away from your ears. You'll feel the tension building in your abs. To add a little more intensity, hold the position when you're extended, and pulse if you want to. For even more, you can put your toes on the sliders and then rock back, keeping your hips lifted but stationary. Do this for two minutes.
3. Plank crunch: Come to your toes in a high plank position, pushing away with your hands and contracting your abs. Bend your knees in to your chest, making sure your hands stay stacked underneath your shoulders. If you're feeling your hip flexors or quads, come down to your knees, bring your elbows down, and then lift your hips up to the ceiling two to three inches, then slowly come back down. To add more intensity, hold your hips at the top and squeeze your abs. Do this for two minutes.
4. Side plank with rotation—left: Come onto the left side with your shoulder right underneath your elbow. Your feet can be stacked right on top of each other or staggered. From here, reach your opposite hand toward the ceiling and lift your hips up higher, rotate down to your shoulder, coming square to the ground. Reach your arm underneath your torso, then rotate back up. Lift your hips higher with each rep. Focus on the hip-rib connection. For a challenge, pause at the top. If you need support, come down to your knees and stack them as you lift your hips as far as you can, then wrap your arm around. Do this for one minute.
5. Side plank rotation—right: Bring your shoulder underneath your elbow on the other side, feet stacked or staggered. Lift your hips up to the ceiling, squeeze that right oblique, and rotate down to square your hips and your shoulders down towards the mat. Make sure you really rotate your shoulders, otherwise you're not getting the twist of your oblique. Breathe and lift your hips higher every rep. Do this for one minute.
6. Straight arm crunch: Lay down in a supine position, bringing your feet straight over your hips, hands right over your shoulders. Make sure your low back is touching the mat. From here, lower down with your hands and feet so that they hover into a reverse plank hold. With your abs braced, make sure your lower back is still touching. Then raise your arms back up over your shoulder and feet over your hips. Stay really slow. You can also move your arms and legs in opposition, lowering your legs as your hands come up. For even more, you can lift your shoulder blades off the ground. If you need more support, bend your knees a little. Do this for two minutes.
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