With the end of the year just a few short months away, you may already be thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions, and if you’re like many people, getting fit will be at the top of the list. (After all, we’ll need to find a way to work off all that Halloween candy we’re currently gearing up to eat!) From yoga to running, there are plenty of ways to stay fit, but if you’re looking to tone your muscles and sculpt your body like never before, Pilates is one of the best ways to go. Curating a great Pilates routine can help you target a number of goals, especially when it comes to strengthening your core and trimming off some unwanted fat on your sides.
To discover some of the best moves to do just that, we spoke to certified Pilates instructor Jacqueline Hinton. She gave us the run-down on some of her go-to moves for targeting your abs and sides. Get ready to feel the burn!
#1 Plank with a Twist
The plank is one of the exercises most notorious for bringing the burn to your core—which means it’s also one of the best! Hinton offers a Pilates move that will take a basic plank to the next level by adding a twist to the mix. Here’s how it’s done:
“Balance on your forearms and have a steady base with your legs reaching straight behind you, hips lifted off the ground with your body in a straight line,” she instructs. “Hold this pose for up to one minute while twisting your hips right and left. Focus on engaging the muscles in your core.” Then, rest for one minute (phew!) and repeat 3 times.
No, we aren’t actually telling you to jump in a pool in swim laps. Swimming is one classic Pilates exercise that can help you tone your muscles and slim down—and, unsurprisingly, it incorporates similar motions to those you’d use in the water. However, you’ll do this one from the floor.
To begin, Hinton says you should “lie on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out. They should be opened a little wider than hip distance.” Then, “Lift your upper body and lower body off the floor, including your arms and legs. Your head should be in line with your body so that you are looking at the floor. Keep the back of your neck long. Begin to kick your arms and legs like you’re swimming.” She says you should do this for 8-10 counts and repeat 3 times.
#3 Teaser with a Twist
A teaser is another Pilates exercise that will really put your abs, your legs, and even your arms to the test. When you throw in a twist, it’s one of the best toning moves for both your sides and your core. Hinton told us how it’s done:
“Lie on your back with your legs straight and squeezed together,” she says. “Extend your arms out into a ‘T’ position on the floor. Lift the head off the floor looking towards your toes. Sweep your arms into your hips as you roll all the way up, lifting your upper body and lower body into a V position, balancing on your tailbone.” Next comes the twist! “Twist your torso to the right then come back to the center. Scoop the stomach in to peel back down to the start position.” You should repeat this one 10 times—our bodies are sore already!
No matter what sort of fitness routine you have in place, there’s no time like the present to start sculpting your body with these Pilates moves. Although they may feel difficult at first, with a bit of persistence, you’ll be well on your way to a tighter core and slimmer sides!