Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Basic Yogilates Exercises For Your Abs

Yogilates or Yogalates (an exercise combo of Yoga and Pilates moves) offers many health benefits. Aside from helping you achieve a calm state of mind, it can also increase your core strength and flexibility. And speaking of core strength, this form of exercise can help you achieve that envy-worthy stomach you have always wanted! Check out these three Yogilates moves that will make your abs look better than ever.

1.) Hammock

This exercise is great for toning your abdominal muscles as well as your arms, chest, shoulders and buttocks. Sit tall and bend your legs. Your feet should be positioned flat on the floor. Put your hands on the floor behind you at about a 45-degree angle and lean back. Keep your arms straight. Inhale as you slowly lift your hips up to the front of your body. Your knees and shoulders need to be aligned in one straight line.

As you lower your hips to the floor, straighten your legs out in front of you as you assume a sitting position. Now place your hands next to your thighs and lean forward. Pull your abs in toward your spine. Push down using your hands to lift your hips off the floor. Hold this position for a couple of seconds. Beginners may have a little rough time performing this exercise but keep practicing until you get comfortable with it.

2.) Double Leg Stretch

English: Abdominal muscles on a woman's belly.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This low-intensity exercise will help strengthen and tone your abs. It also engages the muscles in your lower back, legs and arms. To get into the starting position, you need to lie on your back, bend your legs (90-degree angle) and elevate your bent legs in the air. Your legs should be parallel with your body and your toes should point outwards. Lift your head and keep it just a bit higher than your chest. Extend your arms forward towards your legs.

Now inhale and stretch your legs out until they are completely straight at a 45-degree angle with your body, at the same time as you extend your arms back by your ears. You should be able to form a wide "U" shape with your body. Hold this position while pressing your ribs down toward the mat. Bring your legs and arms back to the starting position and repeat the move for 5 to 10 times.

3.) Side Twists

The side twist is great for working all abdominal muscles, particularly the oblique muscles. Lie on your back and extend your arms out at your sides. Bend your knees and position your feet flat on the floor. Lift your bent legs to form a right angle. Make sure you keep both legs together and your shoulders should press into the floor. Now twist and drop your legs to the left and down towards the floor. Bring your knees back to the center, twist and lower them to your right but do not bring them all the way to the floor. Return to the center and repeat 5 times per side. Move slowly and with control throughout the exercise.

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