How to Strengthen Stomach Muscles? – 5 Exercises

Pilates is a very useful discipline to tone the whole body, improve posture and above all, strengthen the middle zone effectively. To demonstrate this, here are five Pilates exercises that you can put into practice. 

5 exercises to strengthen the midsection

1- Plank and its variants

The classic isometric for the abdomen that consists of maintaining a plank or plank position with our body aligned from head to toe is one of the options that we all know and that we can perform in a Pilates class.

We can execute the traditional horizontal stabilization or we can practice a lateral plank, with movement, displacement, or other variants.

With this movement, we will work the rectus abdominis, in the case of the lateral plank also the obliques, but above all, we request the deep muscles of the middle area including transverse abdominis often forgotten and lumbar.

2- The 100 or hundred

It is one of the best known Pilates exercises and with which we can work the entire rectus abdominis in its extension in addition to requesting the transverse abdominis.

For its execution we lie on our back, raise our legs forming an angle of 45 degrees and raise our torso thanks to the muscles of the abdomen resting on the tip of our shoulder blades.

The arms are extended on both sides of the body, in the air, and from there, while moving the arms up and down we perform 100 pulses.

For beginners, it can be done with fewer pulses, resting the feet on the floor, or bending the knees at 90 degrees.

The chin should always be kept away from the chest and we should not feel the tension in the neck area, so as to concentrate the effort on the work of the core muscles or middle area of the body.

3- Corkscrew or Corkscrew

This movement owes its name to the fact that we will resemble the path of a corkscrew with our legs, which should move together in a circle once we are lying on our back, with the entire back supported.

The arms will be extended by the sides of the body, relaxed as well as the neck and head. We must only keep the legs elevated and move them slowly, controlling the path during which the middle zone must be kept contracted at all times.

It is a well-known exercise used not only in Pilates but also in other disciplines. Involves the work of the rectus abdominis in its entirety but emphasizes the lower or sub umbilical portion of the same, also called the lower abdomen.

4- Dead bug

Another very popular exercise to work the entire middle area and also develop coordination between body segments and neuromuscular is called dead bug or dead insect.

To perform it we must lie on our back with arms perpendicular to the floor and legs in the air with knees bent at 90 degrees.

Simultaneously we must take our right arm backward, up to the height of the ear, and extend the left side of our hip or lower the leg, bringing the foot to the ground.

The only thing that should move in our body is the arm and the opposite leg, trying not to wobble in order to achieve a greater activation of the abdomen.

If we are beginners we can start moving only the arms or legs and then progress to the coordinated movement of one and the other side of the body.

5- Swimming or swimmer

To work a fundamental portion of the middle body or core area such as the lower back or lumbar area, this exercise that imitates the gesture of a swimmer can be of great help.

For its execution, we lie on the floor face down, with our arms extended forward and with the palms of our hands flat on the floor.

We raise slightly from the ground the upper part of our trunk helping us with the elevation of our arms and lift our feet at the same time, activating our buttocks well.

From there, we alternately move our hands and feet up and down, as if we were swimming.

With all these Pilates movements we can effectively strengthen the middle area of the body, being able to execute each of these exercises at home or wherever we are since they do not require equipment for their realization.

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