PILATES-STYLE CORE KILLER
Inspired by POP Pilates, I threw this little number together for my sister’s core session on Monday. It is killer, but a lot of the moves can be simplified to make it good for beginners! It’s roughly a 32 minute workout, perfect for a core day!
So let me talk you through the moves.
- Crossover Crunch - We’ve all done this one at some point, but for this workout we’re gonna mix it up a little. Get yourself on to your matt, back flat against the floor and core engage. You’re gonna bring your hands up behind your ears, elbows wide out beside you. Your knees are going to come up in to a 90degree angle off the floor and we’re going to ride it out. Unlike the photo, I don’t want your feet touching the floor, your leg is straightening out as the other crunches toward your chest and reach the opposite elbow up and over your body. To get the most out of this workout, make sure your back does not come off the floor and reach your elbow as far across your body as you can, lifting those shoulders off the floor. We’re gonna crunch it out nice and slow until you start to feel the burn and then push through 10 more quick reps on each side. But it’s not over yet, oh no. Back to your starting position but this time we want no bend in those legs, we’re going straight legged! And repeat, same as before but keeping those legs as straight as you can. This will work your obliques and rectus abdominus.
- Leg Lifts - Stay on the floor and bring your knees up just like when we started off the crunches. But this time your arms are coming flat by your sides, if you feel your back coming off the floor, lift your butt up a little and place your hands underneath it in a diamond shape and return your body down. We’re going to do two versions, following the same pattern as the crunches. Nice slow lifts with bent knees first of all, both legs lowering down and up, once that burn gets a little too hard to handle, blast out 10 more reps for me as quick as you can. Then stretch it out and begin again, but with straight legs this time. If you feel that back coming off the floor as you lower, just minimize the range of movement. Lower them as far as you can before your back starts to lift, then bring them back up. We’re working the lower abs here so keep that form tight!
- Eagle Crunch -You’re probably thinking, what the hell is that? I did too, but it’s pretty simple. Just twist your arms around each other and your legs, then crunch like normal, raising those shoulders off the floor and bringing your knees in toward your chest. Remember to exhale on the way up, inhale on the way down. This will really work those upper abdominals, so just take it to the burn, go a few more then rest.
- Spidermans -It’s time to feel like a superhero. Flip yourself over and push yourself up in to a plank position. You can do this move on your knees if you have to, just keep that belly button pushed in to your spine and maintain a neutral spine. In your plank pose, we’re gonna start off with simple bringing your left knee out and up toward your left elbow. Then return. Switch it over to your right side, out and up then return. Do this for about 20-30 reps, depending on how much it kills those obliques for you, before sinking back in to the child pose and stretching it out. You’re going to need it! After a couple seconds of stretching, get back in to position. But this time as that knee comes up toward the elbow, we’re going to sink down in to a half push up. 10 reps on each side and rest. We’re working obliques, abs, arms and shoulders here.
- Side Leg Raise -Oh my! This is a killer. For this one, we’re rolling on to our side and supporting our head and chest with our hands. Lock those legs together at the ankles and get ready! First section of this workout, you’re going to roll back off your hips and on to your butt. It’s crucial you do this, because you’re not going to get much movement in your legs otherwise. Now those legs are coming up together, pinching those upper obliques together and then lowering down. Roll back on to your hip for one rep. Slam out 10-15 reps for me, or as much as you need to feel that oblique working, then switch sides and repeat. But we’re not done yet! Get back on to the other side, we’re going to go one more time, but with a difference. Roll back on to your butt and stay there! We’re gonna lift those legs for 10 reps, stay on your butt, there’s no resting with this set! Once complete, switch it over and finish on the other side. Click here for a demonstration of this move.
- Plank w/ arm and leg extension -A nice breather for you here. Get yourself in to a plank position, either on your knees or feet, work at your own level. Extend your right arm forward then slowly raise your left leg out and hold for 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and switch it over, raise your left arm and right leg out. Make sure to really open up the body, stretch through to the tips of your fingers and toes and open up the chest. We’re going to repeat this one more time on each side and then we’re moving in to our last two exercises.
- Side Plank - Now you all know this one. Get on to your right side, forearm flat on the floor and elbow in line with your shoulder. Keep that chest nice and open and a straight line from head to toe. To make this move easier, bend the right leg with the left leg straight and lift up. Slowly raise your left arm from your side and up straight to the ceiling, open up your chest and turn your gaze to look up to your hands. Hold for 30 seconds and lower. To make this move harder, straighten out both your legs and come off your forearm and on to your hand. Switch sides and repeat for 30 seconds. That’s one set, repeat it one more time for me, lets feel those obliques burning ready for the final touch.
- Plank w/ pike - The finisher! Get yourself in to your side plank position, ideally with both legs straight out to get the best range of movement. From our side plank, we’re gonna take our extended arm and twist through the core and reach underneath. Return to start for one rep. We’re going to do 9 more reps before switching sides and repeating for one set. Now, if you’re zoomed your way through the above, you can repeat this move 1 or 2 more times if you want to, but hopefully it should all finish up on time.
And stretch, you definitely deserve it! Give those muscles some loving and wind yourself back down. How great was that?!
Tips for the playlist: It doesn’t matter what order they go in, but I like to start with Fun and end with Sam and the Womp, Sam and the Womp just gives you don’t little bit of fast rhythm and motivation to get you through the last couple of exercises.