Pilates ab preb exercise start & finish photo

Pilates exercise: Ab prep

Start position: Lay on your back, knees bent to the ceiling, soles on the floor. Arms long down your sides, palms on the mat. Shoulder blades float down your back. Lay in neutral spine with the “mouse hole” gap between your lower back and the mat.

Inhale: Lengthen the back of your head away from your shoulders, a head nod. Exhale: Contracting your core muscles, slide the ribs towards the hips and pelvis, bringing your upper back away from the mat. Arms reach off the mat, hands at shoulder height.

Inhale: Stay here, look at our belly button.

Exhale: Roll your upper body back and head back onto the mat. Maintain that core contraction your arms return to the mat at the same time.

Repeat 5-10 times Tip:  Do not come up so high that you lose the mouse hole (neutral spine) and fully flatten your back onto the mat. At the same time, keep the tummy flat (don’t overwork your rectus abdominis, 6- pack muscles).

Avoid upper body tension by making sure that your shoulder blades are stabilised, sliding open away from your ears.

The benefits: This is great preparation for the movements of later exercises, where your thoracic spine is flexed away from the mat, in other words a warm up for other head and shoulders off the mat exercises.

What are you working: Mobilising the upper to mid spine. Transversus abdominis (deep abdominal muscles) contract to flatten and compress the abdomen. Rectus abdominis and obliques create your thoracic flexion by contracting and lengthen as you return to the mat.

Be fit. Be well. Be happy.

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