Top Pilates Exercises for Amazing Abs – The Pilates Ab Series of Five

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Core. Six Pack. Abdominals. Torso. Waist. Midsection. Mean Abs. 07Lean Abs. Abs abs abs.

There’s a reason that people seem to be obsessed with working out that portion of the body between the chest and the hips – it makes a big difference in the total way that the body feels and the way it looks. A toned midsection will change the way that you carry yourself, can relieve back pain and make clothes fit dramatically better. Strong abdominal muscles are the heart and soul of a powerful body, as nearly every movement that the body engages in comes from this part of the body.

The Pilates series of five

Pilates offers an amazingly effective method to get those abs toned and feeling great. Pilates focuses on the core as a principle of the discipline, and every Pilates workout offers some level of work on the abdominal muscles. However for those who want even more of a boost on the core, the Series of Five is the absolute perfect answer. These five exercises also allow for you to grow and challenge yourself as your core gets stronger. Work for control always, pushing your body to become leaner and more still through the series.


Series of Five #1 – Single Straight Leg Stretch

10 reps per leg

  1. Lie down on your mat face up, legs together and arms to the side.
  2. Roll your shoulders and upper back up off the mat as you bend your knees up to your chest and pause for a moment.
  3. With control, straighten both legs at the same time up toward the ceiling, consciously drawing your abs to the floor as you create a “V” shape with your legs and arms outstretched.
  4. Gently reach out both hands to your right leg as far up as you can, either to the thigh, calf or ankle. Left leg extends down toward the floor, remaining straight.
  5. Continue to pull your leg gently toward your face, keeping your neck relaxed but your abs engaged.
  6. Switch legs, repeating the detailed movement with your left leg.
  7. Use this “scissoring” motion as you repeat.

Series of Five #2 – Double Straight Leg Stretch

10 reps

  1. Lie down on your mat face up, legs together and arms to the side.
  2. Roll your head and upper back off the mat, being careful not to draw tension into your shoulders and neck. At the same time, draw your knees to your chest.
  3. With control, extend your legs up toward the ceiling with a slight bend at the knee.
  4. Again with control, slowly lower your legs toward the floor in small increments of about an inch, being careful to pull your bellybutton down towards the floor while keeping your lower back flat on the mat.
  5. Raise your legs back to the starting position slowly and continue to the next rep.

Series of Five #3 – Criss Cross

10 reps

  1. Begin by lying on your back on your mat with your knees to your chest.
  2. Roll your neck forward, bringing your chin to your chest and placing your hands behind your head, lifting your upper back off of the mat. Work to keep the shoulders active but not tense.
  3. Pull your belly button down to the ground to engage your abs, then pull from your core and draw your left shoulder to your right knee, twisting slightly to the right.
  4. As you pull forward, extend your left leg out and up, foot pointed and leg at a forty-five degree angle off of the floor.
  5. Breathe in as you come back to neutral and then out as you switch sides. Both sides constitute one rep.

Series of Five #4 – Single Leg Stretch

10 reps

  1. Lying on your back on your mat, hug your knees to your chest while pulling your abs in toward the floor.
  2. Place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on your right ankle.
  3. Stretch your left leg down and out, keeping it nearly straight but with a slight bend. Lower your left leg as far toward the floor as is comfortable.
  4. With control, switch legs so that you’re hugging your left knee to your chest and your right leg is extended out. You’re now holding your left knee with your right hand and your left ankle with your left hand.
  5. Continue switching sides in a measured rhythm, and be patient with yourself especially when you first try this one, as it can be an exercise in coordination.
  6. Be sure to hold your torso still throughout this exercise, abdominals fully engaged and back arched toward the floor. Both sides constitute one rep.

Series of Five #5 – Double Leg Stretch

10 reps

  1. On your mat, lie down flat on your back and bring your knees to your chest.
  2. Engaging your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button down towards the floor, reach down to grab your ankles (or knees) with both hands.
  3. As you inhale, slowly straighten your legs into a “V” shape. While doing this, reach your arms up until they are parallel with your ears. Both your legs and arms should be around forty-five degrees from the floor.
  4. As you exhale, draw your arms down and around towards your ankles while you bend your knees back to your chest.
  5. Grab your ankles again for a moment before repeating the entire cycle for each rep.

Using the Pilates series of five for your abs

This classic series has been used by countless Pilates practitioners, but perhaps the best part is that it takes less than two minutes once you get the hang of it. You can incorporate it into every workout, no matter if you’re doing a Pilates based workout, a half mile run or a weight based workout. Another option is just to make this part of your daily routine apart from your workout, jumping into this super quick series in the morning before your shower to get your body away and feeling strong for the day ahead.

However you decide to incorporate this marvelous series into your life, you’ll be so happy you did when you’re feeling centered and powerful, straight from your core!

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