People ask me all the time: “How do I target my abdominals? How do I get rid of this belly? Will I ever have a flat stomach?” The answers are complicated and it takes a lot of work on top of excellent nutrition, but it is possible to flatten your belly.
Pilates exercises target the belly muscles in a unique way. In Pilates classes, you won’t find those sit-ups we did in gym class for the Presidential Physical Fitness test. Oh no, it’s much more in depth than that…literally.
The first step is to find your deepest layer of your abdominal muscles and this can be challenging. There are four layers of abdominal muscles. The deepest layer, called transversus abdominis, is an important trunk stabilizer but it often gets ignored during traditional ab exercises. Traditional exercises target the outer abdominal layer or the “six pack.” But we don’t necessarily want to train the six pack muscles! I always say: “It looks good on the beach, but that’s it.”
Follow the steps and the simple yet technical exercises in this video. If you are serious about working on the tummy area, please try this every day. Spend 5 to 10 minutes practicing the concepts I discuss. Even if you are a big time athlete, cross-fitter, barre instructor, or couch potato, perform these exercises to gain more core control and to start your journey to a flat belly.
First step to flat abs
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Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.