Get a flat, lean stomach with PilatesClaire Bostock - Yoga & Pilates - Absolute Sanctuary
Everyone desires flat, washboard abs whether you are male or female. It motivates people to religiously work on crunches till their abs scream out for help. However, the frustration most face is that despite their relentless effort they seem to be unable to achieve the desired flat tummy.
Pilates, a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, is a growing exercise trend that is becoming the exercise of choice to achieve a flat tummy and a long, lean and toned body. Originally used for rehabilitation purposes, Pilates is a body conditioning routine that seeks to build flexibility, strength, endurance and coordination without adding muscle bulk.
Unlike many other training programs, Pilates works the whole body emphasizing control, precision and concentration in both the mind and body. Movements are not performed repeatedly or excessively as the focus is on quality not quantity. The abdominal muscles, lower back and buttocks (alternatively know as the “powerhouse”) serve as the center of all movement in Pilates, allowing the rest of the body to move freely. Compared to crunches which work only your outermost abdominals, Pilates exercises not only engage and strengthen your internal and external obliques, but also your erector spinae and deepest abdominal muscle the transversus abdominis.
The transversus abdominis( TVA) muscles are extremely important, but hard to target and often neglected by exercisers. A weak TVA can lead to back pain and a weak core whilst a strong TVA on the other hand acts like a corset, not only bracing your core and protecting against injury and back pain but most importantly it helps create a leaner, flatter tummy which no amount of crunches can achieve.
The key to a flat tummy is therefore to target the hard to reach transverses abdominis muscle and form a corset around your abdominal region, achieving the flat tummy so desired. Pilates is the exercise that will work this muscle most effectively.
There are many Pilates classes currently available, especially with the growth of Group Matwork and Reformer classes versus traditional private classes aimed at individuals with specific needs or require rehabilitation work. Both Matwork & Reformer classes require you to work against resistance to strengthen your “powerhouse”. In Matwork classes your own body weight creates resistance whereas in Reformer classes, pulleys and springs give you the resistance needed. Ideally, one should do a mixture of both at least 3 to 4 times a week for best results. If you have to chose one, Pilates Reformer classes would be your choice workout.
The Pilates Reformer machine is an intelligent machine that works like a weight trainer using springs as a form of resistance to enable one to build strength more effectively and to tone up the body without adding bulk. A versatile machine, it enables more exercises to be performed than on the mat. The resistance provided by the springs and pulleys also provide for a more challenging workout to effectively work your core “powerhouse”.
Give yourself at least 10 classes to start seeing results. As Joseph Pilates sums it up “ It 10 sessions you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. In 30 sessions you will have a new body.”
This is a guest blog article by Claire Bostock, Executive Director at ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY, Thailand’s Premier Detox & Yoga resort and former yoga instructor. Absolute Sanctuary offers yoga classes such as Hot, Hot Flow, Flow, Hatha, Restorative, Pranayma & Meditation, Yin and Pilates daily.