This is a powerful duo in targeting your lower abs which results in the flatter tummy everyone desires.
The Chest Lift creates a deep curve of the abdominals down toward the mat. It is done very slowly with the breath and no momentum is used.
The Single Leg Stretch teaches you to move from the centre. It trains the abdominals to initiate movement, and to support and stabilize the trunk as the arms and legs are in motion. Especially helpful in targeting the lower abs, good coordination is achieved as well.
When you build abdominal strength and understand the lengthening move of the Pilates Chest Lift, you will have a good foundation for working with many of the forward flexion Pilates exercises like the Single Leg Stretch and The Hundred.
- Lie on the back with both feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Adjust shoulder blades so that they are lying flat on the floor. Inhale to prepare. On the exhale, draw the navel in toward your spine and lift your head, shoulders and feet off the floor.
- Place the right hand on right ankle, left hand on right knee, and keep the elbows lifted on the inhale.
- Exhale and extend the left leg straight in front of left hip, as close to the floor as possible without letting the back arch away from the floor or the hips sway away from centre.
- Inhale and switch legs, but be sure to keep your belly scooped inward as you do this.
- Clasp left hand on left ankle and right hand on left knee as you make the switch.
- Repeat 10 times.