Strenuous Pilates for the Abs

This is an Abs pattern from (pattern 12697)

Okay, just to start--this is NOT a relaxing exercise, but I will explain a couple of modifications.

Lying on your back, lift both legs up into Pilates V (heels together, toes softly pointed, knees straight and turned away from the body, calves and inner thighs pressed together or as closely together as you can get them). Slowly, peel the head and shoulders off the floor and look down toward the navel. Now, inhale through the nose 4 slow counts and on the exhale, bring the right leg down slowly, keeping the leg straight and the knee turned away from the midline of the body. Then, on the next inhale, bring the right leg back up, and continue with the left leg moving downward on the inhale and up on the exhale. Try to keep the non-moving leg as straight and as still as possible. Do not rock on the hips as one leg is moving down and up. If the lower back lifts off the floor, you have gone down TOO FAR. If that means much less range of motion, please continuously remind members of this. It's okay. Simply having the legs in V and in the air is already working the abs, so just a few inches will even test their strength.

One modification: keep the upper body on the mat. And, again, just lower the leg a few inches if the abs are already exhausted. I have a couple members that can keep perfect body alignment and take the leg all the way to the floor without the back lifting. This is OK, as long as they do not hold the leg. Just keep the movement continuous. Make sure the legs stay in the V position, even when the one leg is lowering and raising. Make sure that knee is straight and turned away from the body, so the adductors and quads will work too.

Some of you may be familiar with the double straight leg stretch similar to this, and as challenging as that exercise is, I found this to be even more so.

Any questions, feel free to email me.

Added by Nancy Lamb at 10:45 AM on Thursday, January 23, 2003 EST. Add to favorites (view favorites)
From: Bloomington, Illinois (USA)
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