I received an email the other day from one of my newsletter subscribers asking about Pilates and if it is possible to use this form of exercise to “bring out” your abdominal muscles. Using Pilates for abs can do wonders for your core strength but can it get you those six pack abs you are after? There is no short answer to this question.
I will do my best to give you as much information on Pilates for abs and what it is useful for as far as weight loss is concerned in this article. Let’s begin with a brief overview of what exactly Pilates is…
Pilates are basically stretching exercises that concentrate on working individual core muscles, you can use Pilates for abs, back, and pelvic areas. Pilates exercises help increase flexibility and strengthen your muscles; toning your body through controlled, gradual movements. It is one of the most recommended forms of exercise and is especially useful for people who aren’t fit enough to pursue highly intense cardio and weights sessions.
Following a Pilates exercise routine can have dramatic results, helping you to transform the way your feel and look - your posture will improve and you will build strength and flexibility. The simple movements Pilates offers can even help rid you of back pain and work those core abdominal muscles close to the spine that other exercises just can’t reach.
If you are troubled by aches and pains when you do hard exercise you may well find that Pilates is the answer, it is a low impact, joint friendly stretching and toning routine which can be performed with nothing more than a mat. There is no worry about bulking up your body with Pilates - it promotes longer and more flexible muscle tone helping establish postural alignment and symmetry and torso stability.
So there is absolutely no question that Pilates is a great way to get in shape but whether it brings out your abs is another matter entirely and one that I will answer next.
To look like those buff Hollywood celebrities and infomercial models you need to do more than workout on the Pilates machine. You’ll need a long-term commitment to quality diet and nutrition as well as the determination to train hard regularly using both strength and cardio workouts. Trust me, it’s hard work. You can throw a Pilates for abs workout in there as well but Pilates alone isn’t going to give you the stomach you want.
When it comes down to it, if you are looking for a six pack you have to aim for entire body transformation. Period.
Have you ever seen someone with fat hips, thighs or arms who has a six pack? I didn’t think so. That is because it is nigh-on impossible to attain localized fat loss - your body burns fat from all over and you have no control over where you’ll lose it first. Usually the area you tend to put on weight first will be the last to go.
Ultimately, a six pack of defined abdominal muscles comes down to decreasing your body fat levels to the point where the layer of fat over your stomach is decreased to such an extent that your muscles show, Pilates for abs exercises will not get you there alone.
In general you’ll have to get your body fat percentage down to around 10% for men and about 14% for women before you start seeing any definition. These figures are by no means set in stone, everyone is genetically different and these figures could be slightly more or less depending on your own individual body composition.
Everyone has abs, its just that layer of fat covering it that causes the problems. There are several fantastic Pilates for abs movements that work the core muscles extremely well but to build and develop your abs to the necessary levels you’ll need to utilize some resistance or strength training.
The following 3 keys should be followed if you are serious about achieving that illusive six pack:
1.) Create a calorie deficit so that you are eating below your maintenance level on a regular basis. Utilizing a quality diet program such as Fat Loss 4 Idiots can help!
2.) Perform a regular cardio routine focusing on intense interval training.
3.) Start strength training your whole body - use heavier weights and make your sessions intense.
Along with these three keys you can continue with your Pilates for abs workouts to help you increase flexibility, range of motion and decrease the chance of injury.