The temperatures are rising, pants are getting shorter, and vacation is getting closer and closer: hello summer and hello bikini figure! Anyone who may have nibbled a bit too much during the cold season will notice it now at the latest. Anyone who prefers the couch to sport, too.
However, that’s completely irrelevant! Bikini figure or not, feel good in your own skin because that’s what you radiate in the end. However, if you still want to get a little active and do something for your waist at the same time, I recommend the following Pilates exercises.
If you are doing Pilates for the first time, practicing with a trained trainer is generally recommended. You can read general information in our Beginner’s guide to Pilates.
It is important for all Pilates exercises that they should be performed as correctly as possible. Keep in mind what you want to achieve with the respective exercise and use your muscles accordingly. The powerhouse is activated at all times. As the saying goes: no pain, no gain! Breathing should also be taken into account (there are parallels to yoga). Focusing on the breath unconsciously leads to mindfulness and alertness. Therefore, you should always breathe consciously with the movements and never hold your breath. So, now grab a yoga mat and comfortable clothes, and let’s go!
1- Pilates Waist Exercises: The Hundred
The main aim of this exercise is to strengthen the front and side abdominal muscles and to control breathing. Start calmly with The Hundred as a warm-up exercise. It is important that the spine is kept neutral to avoid injuries to the back. After that, the focus is on the abdominal muscles. In other words, make an effort and get the muscles to work (it can pull in the stomach). During the exercise, attention should be paid to the connection between the shoulders and the torso. The shoulders are away from the ears and should not be hunched. Try to avoid rolling your shoulders forward and not letting your torso move. It is best to look at your stomach so that it does not bulge forward.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Stand with your legs hip-width apart, your knees pointing straight up, and your feet pointing forward. The arms are stretched towards the sky, the palms facing forward.
- Now slowly roll up vertebra by vertebra and stretch out your hands horizontally past your bottom. Your stomach should work here. Be careful not to tighten your core and keep your eyes forward.
- Now the legs are stretched forward, and the heels are pressed together. The toes aim at one point. If you already have a lot of stomach strength, you can now lower your legs a little further.
- Now you make a pumping movement with your arms (up and down) in a rhythm of five. You also adjust your breathing. That means you exhale five pumps and inhale five.
- You can do the exercise for as long as you like, but make sure you stay focused and don’t overload your abdominal muscles.
A thoughtful guide for beginners, too: In this video, The Hundred is shown to you in detail and explained:
2- Pilates Waist Exercises: Single Leg Circles
This exercise is good for strengthening the oblique abdominal muscles and building core stability. The hip flexor is also activated and consciously controlled. The exercise can be performed with the leg bent or straight. Make sure your back stays on the mat. The movement comes solely from the hips. The pelvis is kept neutral, and the neck is long.
- Lie on the mat with your arms at your sides.
- Raise your right leg straight as high as you can. The back remains long on the mat.
- Now create a large circle with your right leg across your body, down to the mat, then outwards and back up again (i.e., the circle goes from the inside to the outside).
- Perform 5 rounds, then switch legs.
- You can start the exercise with small circles and then slowly make larger ones.
- Exhale on the first semicircle (the inward one) and inhale on the second half.
3- Pilates Waist Exercises: Criss Cross
Of course, the oblique abdominal muscles are also strengthened here. The rotation of the spine is practiced, and the pelvis is stabilized. During execution, care should be taken that the neck is not tense or stretched out. Please be careful not to pull yourself forward with your elbows. The movement is guided with the front of the shoulder. The twisting movement comes from the waist. Do not bend over your upper body to the side.
- Lie on your back. The legs are placed at a 90-degree angle, the knees point upwards, and the feet are hip-width apart.
- Make a cup with your hands and put the back of your head in it. The elbows point neither too far up nor to the side. Ideally, you should still be able to see them out of the corner of your eye.
- Now activate your lower abdominal muscles and pull your right shoulder to the opposite knee. Your chest is now pointing towards your knees.
- Roll up until your shoulder blades lift off the mat.
- Hold the position briefly and then slowly roll back down. Now switch sides.
- Exhale as you roll up and inhale as you roll down.
- You can repeat the exercise as often as you like.
4- Pilates Waist Exercises: Spine Twist
The Spine Twist strengthens the lateral abdominal muscles and the back extensors. The exercise helps to improve sitting posture. Make sure your lower abs are tight throughout the exercise. The movement comes from the spine and not the arms. The pelvis remains neutral and does not move. Make your spine long all the time. The arms stay in line with the chest. The shoulders remain down and are not pulled up under any circumstances.
A thoughtful guide for beginners, too: In this video, the spine twist is shown and explained to you in detail:
- Sit upright on the mat with your legs stretched out long and closed.
- Next, extend your arms to your sides with your palms facing down.
- The turning movement now starts from the head, and the spine follows.
- So your gaze wanders to the right, and your upper body slowly rotates with you. But first, ensure your pelvis is still stably aligned forward!
- Now pause for a moment, straighten up a little bit and then slowly turn back to the starting position.
- You can push your heels a little further away from you, which will simultaneously stretch your legs.
- Switch sides and repeat the process as many times as you like.
- When you are in the neutral pose, inhale. Exhale as you twist.
What are your tricks to optimally prepare for the summer figure? We look forward to new suggestions and further tips!