New AB strengthener

This is an Abs pattern from (pattern 15325)

I teach Pilates twice a week, and I have started a class in my garage (yep, that's what I said), called Hot Pilates. Similar to what some of you might know as Bikram Yoga, we take the temp. up to about 95 degrees (although Bikram recommends 105), and sweat like crazy! The moves are not Yoga moves, but in the high temperature, they become like pretzels and can really stretch those muscles after a few minutes. It's been very well received, and I really try to think up some interesting new ideas, as this is an advanced group of people.

Here is one challenging exercise: lay on the mat with the hands flat down by the side of the hips. First bend the knees and extend the legs up toward the ceiling, toes pointed, heels touching, and keep them as straight as possible. Hold for about 20 sec. (this is even challenging for many, so they can bend for a modification). Then, using the hands for support, slowly take the legs back toward the head and try to curl all the way back so that the legs are parallel to the floor. This can be done with no stress on the neck, but if they feel any pressure in the neck, tell them not to go as far.

Again, their arms are helping support them, but they can also modify by putting the hands underneath the lower back with the palms facing up, though this really takes a lot of the challenge out of the exercise, so really encourage them to keep the hands down by the hips.

Now, try to bring one leg back toward the ceiling so the legs spread into a 90 degree angle. AGAIN: WATCH THE NECK HERE! My class has no issues with neck pressure, but if they are bent back too far, this could cause an injury.

Then, just switch legs. The counts could be as follows: holding the legs back, bring one forward 4 counts and then back toward the floor 4 counts, then switch. I wouldn't stress the breathing in this exercise until they become quite familiar with it.

Finally, you can really challenge them by having them slowly spread their hands outward until they become advanced enough to roll back slowly and controlled with the hands down on the floor and out to the side. Even my most advanced members have difficulty doing these exercises with the hands out to the side.

Hope this isn't confusing--I tried to explain it the best I could. Feel free to write me if you have any questions!

Added by Nancy Lamb at 10:50 AM on Sunday, July 31, 2005 EDT. Add to favorites (view favorites)
From: Bloomington, Illinois (USA)
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