3 Easy Mat Pilates Exercises You Can Do To Get Abs Like Lori Harvey



Lori Harvey is this generation’s IT girl. There’s no denying that she has a specific look, charm, and charisma that excites the public. Another advantage she has over others is her commitment to discipline via her workout routine – and she doesn’t delight in gatekeeping her exercise secrets. Just last year, she revealed the key to her fitness success… Pilates. The entrepreneur shared her workout plan during a red carpet interview with ESSENCE at the 2022 Met Gala; the then 25-year-old model credited her banging body to diligently committing herself to the practice. “It’s Pilates. It changed my life.” 

Since she shared her revelation about the benefits of Pilates (for Harvey, it was shedding 15 pounds of relationship weight to gain rockhard abs), women, especially Black women, couldn’t help but hop onto the trend, myself included. Pilates is a challenging, low-impact workout that can be a game-changer for toning muscles, improving postural alignment, increasing flexibility, and priming your core for flatter, stronger obliques. 

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In a TikTok video last year, she spilled the tea on her Pilates routine. “I’ve been consistently doing Pilates for the past year,” Harvey shared, “I’ve done it for a few years but I’ve been really consistent the last year.” 

She continued, “Pilates alone is not going to make you lose weight. It’s just going to give you long, lean muscles. So yeah, that’s how I did it.” 

If you’re interested in building abs similar to Harvey’s and working out in the comfort of your home. Try some of these Mat Pilates movements, part of 34 Pilates exercises detailed by creator Joseph Pilates. The benefits of the original 34 pilates exercises are the following: 

  • Increases flexibility and mobility
  • Greater strength
  • Prevents and rehabilitates injuries
  • Increases core strength
  • Balances muscular strength
  • Improves posture
  • Increases energy
  • Boosts your mood

The hundred: This movement is commonly practiced at the beginning of a Pilates sequence and serves as a total-body warm-up, getting its name from the 100 arm-toning pumps you’ll do while you extend your legs off your mat in a Pilates stance. 

How to do the exercise: 

  1. Lie down with your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Draw your knees into your chest. 
  1. Curl your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat toward your knees.  
  1. Stretch your legs out at a 45-degree angle in a Pilates stance. 
  1. Squeeze the back of your thighs together and scoop in your abdominals. 
  1. Lift your arms up to hips level and start vigorously pumping them up and down — five pumps while inhaling and five pumps while exhaling. 
  1. Continue ten times for a total of 100 arm pumps. 

The Pilates Roll-Up: This is the second exercise in the classical Pilates sequence; it not only lights up your core but also requires you to put this control into practice. 

How to do the exercise: 

  1. Lie on your back and stretch your arms above your head. Point your toes and keep your heels together and toes apart in the Pilates stance. 
  1. Inhale, lifting your head, neck, arms, and shoulders.
  1. Exhale and peel your spine up and off the mat, one vertebra at a time, and reach forward past your toes, making a “C” curve with your back. Lower your head below your arms. 
  1. Curl your tailbone under and slowly roll down one vertebra at a time until you are supine on the mat again.  
  1. Repeat. 

Single Leg Circles:

For this exercise, you’ll work your core muscles to maintain control and proper alignment while you raise your leg and draw small circles with your flexed foot. This movement helps improve hip mobility and pelvic stability while strengthening your abdominals and glutes. 


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