A Pilates abs workout can tighten and streamline your abs quickly and effectively, because it emphasizes your breathing along with maintaining proper form. An additional benefit is that once you have your breathing and form correct, you don't have to do dozens of exercises to get results. One of the greatest benefits of Pilates is that it can be done with no equipment except a mat. However, in order to truly benefit from Pilates, you should take an instructor led course or use an instructor led DVD.
Joseph Pilates was a German gymnast who is the father of the very popular Pilates exercise movement. He created it during World War I to treat wounded war veterans. His theory was an integrated approach of the mind, breath and muscles working fluidly together to create a lean, healthy body. By integrating these elements, Pilates provides an overall approach instead of "spot fitness."
The torso muscles, the tummy, lower back, hips and behind, are called the powerhouse and are vital to performing Pilates correctly. These body parts work in tandem to provide the "core" from which the rest of the muscles take their impetus to exert effort in exercise. Maintaining a stabilized core is the ultimate goal in any Pilates workout, therefore, any Pilates workout works the abs well.
An equally important and emphasized element of Pilates is a complete exhalation of the lungs in order to get a full breath behind each exercise. The most common mistake even seasoned exercisers make is holding their breath while exercising. Joseph Pilates believed that proper blood circulation was the key to effective exercise. He theorized that exhalations expel waste accumulated in the blood, which if not exhaled can lead to exhaustion from shallow breathing, as well as improper form.
Pilates emphasizes holding your body in the proper position from beginning to end of a routine. With the proper form involving the powerhouse, the abs are always engaged when doing any Pilates exercise routine. An ab focused Pilates workout can be more demanding than expected. The requirements of keeping your tummy pulled in while inhaling for five counts then exhaling for five counts and keeping your legs at a forty-five degree angle, while pumping your arms up and down, easily make the infamous Pilates "hundred" the most challenging and effective Pilates exercise. The rest of the Pilates regimen is similarly demanding, and not for those who are easily intimidated.
Less Is More
With such demand being placed on proper breathing and always keeping your powerhouse or core active, Pilates can provide results quicker than many other types of exercise, while requiring you to perform less repetitions. That's good news, especially for beginning exercisers.
A Pilates abs workout gets your breath working with your muscles, to lengthen and strengthen your entire abdominal area in a short amount of time. With focus, determination and diligence, a Pilates abs workout can give you the tummy of your dreams. So, with a little good form and good breathing you will be well on your way to good abs.