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Get Your Abs & Butt on the Ball: The Plan

Do these exercises 3 or 4 times a week, performing 3 sets of 8-10 reps for each move. If you're new to the ball or to Pilates, start with 1 set of each exercise twice a week and progress gradually. Focus on the quality of your movement.

Be sure to include upper-body strength exercises in your workout program, along with 30-45 minutes of cardio activity 3 or 4 times a week.

6 secrets of Pilates power

Traditional strength training often involves working your muscle groups separately, but Joseph H. Pilates created a practice to treat the body as one integrated unit. These principles reflect the discipline's focus on movement quality rather than quantity.

1. Breathing Breathe deeply to clear your mind, enhance focus and increase your power and momentum.

2. Concentration Visualize the movement.

3. Centering Imagine that all movements emanate from deep inside your core.

4. Precision Note your alignment and focus on what every part of your body is doing.

5. Control Seek to have power over your movements. Working with a ball is a special challenge since it sometimes seems to have a mind of its own.

6. Movement flow/rhythm Find a comfortable pace so you can do each move with fluidity and grace.

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