Can Pilates gives me a flat belly?
I need to get my stomach flat and I cannot get on the floor or put pressure on my knees. What exercises can I do?
A flat stomach is the result of using both the inner outer unit muscles of the pelvis. The inner unit is the pelvic floor, multifidi and transverse abdominals. The outer unit are more global muscles such as the obliques and rectus abdominus. And of course cardio work is necessary if weight loss is needed. It is the inner unit that is most often over looked. Pilates exercises are designed to cue the inner unit first so that a strong base is created before one starts to move. With your limitations you will need to do exercises that are either standing or sitting. Let’s start with a simple standing exercise to engage the inner unit. Stand with your feet parallel, your spine long and your head looking straight ahead. Put one hand on your belly and one on your lower back, wherever is comfortable. Before starting imagine that the top of your head is lengthening up to the ceiling. Even just this small movement can start the engagement of the inner unit. Take a breath into your lower belly and as you exhale draw your hands in towards the center of your body, so you are narrowing your body from front to back. Your pelvis and back should not change position. In Pilates this is called a “belly breath”.You can also do this with your hands on the sides of your waist and as you exhale imagine that the sides of your waist are also drawing in as you lengthen the spine upward. Each of these exercises should be done 10X. If you start to get dizzy , you should stop immediately. When you feel better start again but this time do the exercises sitting down with smaller breathes. These exercises can be done 3x a day to start to build endurance into these muscles. Good luck! Or come visit us at our Soho, NYC Pilates Studio. Halle Clarke www.mongoosebodyworks.com 594 Broadway #904 New York, NY 10012 Pilates in Soho, NYC