Pilates for a healthier midriff

Victor Southwell, owner of Evolve Studio says the best Pilates exercises for the waist and midriff involves stabilisation – or isometric exercises. Three simple but effective waist reducing exercises as recommended by Southwell that can be done in the comfort of your own home include:

  • The Plank – assume a modified push-up position with your elbows bent 90 degrees and both forearms resting on the floor. Position your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and look straight toward the floor. Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. Now hold this position. Start with three sets of 20 seconds, gradually increasing to one minute holds.
  • The Hundred – lie on your back with your feet in the air – legs bent at 90 degrees for beginners – lifting the chest and shoulders off the floor. Focus on pulling the belly button down flat so that the abdominals are as flat as possible. When this is accomplished, take five short breaths in and five short breaths out, beating your arms in time with your breath in a controlled up and down manner – a small but dynamic pumping of the arms. Be sure to maintain flat abdominals throughout the entire motion.
  • Side Plank – the side plank focuses more on the obliques (lateral abdominal muscles) which are important for creating a strong, toned waist and midriff. Lie on your side with your elbow directly under the shoulder. Your feet can be stacked one on top of the other for a difficult version, or staggered for an easier option. Lift your hips into the air, making a straight line through the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Be sure the shoulder does not end up by the ear. Instead hold the shoulder in its natural position to maintain the correct posture. Start with three sets of 20 seconds and gradually increase the holds to one minute in duration.

*In order to avoid injuring yourself it is always advisable to consult a professional trainer first.