Pilates Ab Finisher

Want to strengthen your core and back and get a toned stomach?  Forget crunches and sit-ups!  They not only won’t get you the results you’re after, you’re quite likely to hurt your back and damage your spine.

We want to build a strong core – that’s all the muscles, not just your “six pack” muscles (rectus abdominis) and we want all those core muscles to work together to stabilise the spine and provide strength and stability as the body moves and rotates around it.

We need to exercise the important core muscles that wrap around the torso, lie alongside the spine, and to the sides of the core. And that’s what you’ll get with this ab finisher –  a smarter way to train your abs as part of a full body workout.

Here’s a quick but comprehensive Pilates inspired core workout you can use at the end of your workout or for an off-day short workout.

Set your timer for 45 seconds of work with 10 secs transition time.

Side Hover Right
Side Hover Left
Side Raise with Pulse Left
Side Raise with Pulse Right
Leg Raises
Lying Alternating Single Leg Extensions
Rotating Plank

A couple of words of warning with some of these exercises.  Be mindful with your movement, if something causes pain – don’t do it!  Check your set up and technique and ensure there is no twisting at the lumbar spine – rotation comes from the feet or upper back, not the lower back.

Try and maintain a neutral spine with all exercises.  Imagine that you are standing tall through the crown of your head, ears directly above your shoulders and shoulder blades pulled gently down your back.  You’ll maintain a gentle abdominal bracing and that means you can breathe comfortably while pulling your belly button towards your spine.  Your hips should be every so slightly tucked (don’t stick your tail out!).

Imagine that set-up and then apply it to how you lie on your back or on your side or stack up in a plank.  You’ll keep a better neck and shoulder position for it and be less likely to sag your lower back when you get tired.

Watch the video and keep an ear out for my tips to get the best out of your workout.  Modify where appropriate.


Want to train your core with more smart workouts like this one?  Get your nutrition right and use these workouts  to  activate your core and shrink your waistline fast.