Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Guest Post: The No-Crunch Core Workout

Flashback story: My husband drove an hour in a snowstorm to propose to me. I had no idea he was coming, and when he called me outside of my apartment complex, I ignored him because I was in the middle of a Pilates workout. Had I known he was standing outside in the freezing cold, I would have let him in. Someone else ended up letting him in and he knocked on the door, completely scaring the crap out of me and ending my workout. And then I got the surprise of my life.

Moral of the story: Pilates is awesome and so are surprise proposals. Which brings me to today's Workout Wednesday. Allyson, the certified yoga and Pilates teacher behind nthefitzone, put together a no-crunch core workout for you that's totally great. I'm filing it away for post-baby ab repair. Check it:

I find that when the word “core” is mentioned, people often think of just the abs. Well, it is not all about the abs or the six pack. The core is a complex group of muscles. To keep it simple, think of it as everything besides your arms and legs. It is true that a tight midsection feels and looks great, but to me, it is more important to have a strong, functional, stable core to feel the best and to prevent injury. This is why I love mat Pilates so much. In Pilates, we work the powerhouse (the abdominal muscles, low back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips, and the glutes). You focus and concentrate from the center of your body with a wide variety of moves that are crunch free.

Mat Pilates can be done anywhere.
All you need is a little time and practice on the six principles of Pilates.

1) Concentration: Mind-body awareness.
2) Centering: Attention to the powerhouse.
3) Control:  Slow/steady moves with precision.
4) Breathing: Breath control with deep exhalations.
5) Precision: Practice proper form.
6) Flow: Moves are smooth and graceful.

The following video is a quick five moves/five reps routine. I demonstrate each move on one side. For a full routine, practice this on both sides. To increase the intensity, it can be repeated. When done correctly you will get a great core workout in a short amount of time. Endless, repetitive and boring crunches are in your past.

(In addition to the video, Allyson provided a pinnable image with all the details.)

Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

For more from Allyson, visit nthefitzone and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition to her Pilates and yoga practices, she posts a lot about running and clean eating. A little something for everyone, if you ask me. 

Question: Are you a fan of Pilates? Why or why not? What is your favorite core exercise (besides the plank)?

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