Pilates is a holistic fitness approach focusing on core strength, flexibility, and overall body awareness. You can do full-body Pilates exercises on a mat or with an apparatus such as Pilates stall bars. Learn how to target your core with Pilates to have an effective workout.
Understanding the Core Muscles
Before diving into the Pilate techniques, understand why core muscle strength is important. The core is a complex network of muscles in your lower back, hips, pelvis, and stomach. These muscles work together to provide the entire body with stability, support, and movement.
Here are some benefits of having a strong core:
- Improved balance
- Better posture
- Enhanced lifting form and ability
- Reduced back pain
Pelvic Stability Exercises
One way to target the core with Pilates is to do pelvic stability exercises. These exercises require you to maintain a stable, neutral pelvis to engage the deep stabilizing muscles, including the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. Try pelvic tilts, hip circles, and bridging to strengthen and stabilize the pelvis.
Parakeet With Push-Thru Bar
The Parakeet Pilates exercise works the abs and glutes, and you can complete this exercise using a push-thru bar. Your starting position is lying on the ground, arms at your sides, with your feet up and on the push-thru bar.
Bend your legs to bring the bar down toward you. Then, press your legs down and out to bring the bar away from your body.
Bend your legs again to bring the bar back up and toward you. Then, press your legs up and out to return to your original position with the push-thru bar up and your feet on the bar.
Knee raises are a fundamental Pilates exercise that targets the core muscles, particularly the lower abdominals. You can take a progressive approach, gradually advancing from lying knee raises to hanging knee raises.
Lying Knee Raises
To begin lying knee raises, lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms relaxed by your sides. Keep your spine neutral and engage your core muscles.
Bend your knees and bring them toward your chest, avoiding lifting your hips off the mat. Pause at the topmost position. Then, slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.
Progress to Hanging Knee Raises
After mastering lying knee raises, you can progress to knee raises on elbows, leg raises on bent knees, straight leg raises, and hanging knee raises. You’ll move from doing the exercises on the mat to doing them on stall bars.
You’ll hang from a bar with an overhand grip to perform hanging knee raises. Engage your core and lift your knees toward your chest without winging. Then, slowly lower your legs to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement to engage your core.
Use Stall Bars for Pilates
Pelvic stability exercises, the Parakeet, and knee raises are just a few Pilates exercises you can do to ramp up core strength. To extend your possibilities with Pilates, shop for stall bars from Beyond Balance. Our Pilates wall bar includes push-thru and roll-down bar attachments that improve core strength.