Inner Strength Pilates' new exercise for strengthening the abdominals

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MD and coach of Australian Pilates company Inner Strength Pilates this week released a new article and video post outlining a way to work the abdominals, stretch the spine and get a flat stomach – and all in one easy exercise routine.

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The secret of this exercise is to make sure that your core is switching on the whole way throughout the movement.

In order to begin the exercise it’s necessary to obtain a mat or blanket to lie on.This should go on the ground with the individual then seated on it, making sure their spine is stretched skywards. The toes should then be flexed back and pointing towards the chest area.

Next step is to ‘switch the core on’ ie engage with the main stomach muscles.

“Switching on your core is not something that you can learn over a video. It should be learned with help from a Pilates instructor," said Gollan in her post Pilates Spinal Rolldown - Strengthening the Abdominals.

"It’s so essential to know how to do that – for this Pilates exercise and lots of others. That’s because if you don’t have the core correct stability then you can often injure yourself with Pilates.”

Carrying on with the exercise routine, Gollan advises using ankle weights or some other heavy object on the ankles to assist in preventing the feet lifting up during the exercise. She then advises taking a deep breath all the way in the ribcage then exhaling while at the same time switching on the core and rolling down through the spine.

The toes should remain reaching back towards the chest until the body is flat on the floor. On the exhalation breath the body should roll back up slowly, one vertebrae at a time.

In her video How to Strengthen the Abdominals with Spinal Rolldown Pilates Gollan advises breathing in and counting to six then exhaling, switching on the stomach muscles, lifting the pelvic floor muscles, keeping the chin in towards the chest and exhaling to come back up.

For those who find the exercise too easy it’s possible to make it more difficult by removing the weights from the ankles. Other exercise accessories such as Therabands can also be used to keep the feet down and to add support for those whose core muscles still are not developed sufficiently enough for the exercise to prove comfortable.

Gollan adds: “The secret of this exercise is to make sure that your core is switching on the whole way throughout the movement. Do this by imagining that you have a spike in each vertebrae and that you can only plant one spike down into the mat or the ground at a time.

“It’s important to really tuck and curl the spine so that there is lots of articulation there. Meanwhile, the slower you go, the tougher the exercise is.”

Gollan says it’s possible to vary the exercise by introducing a hamstring stretch where the individual grabs onto the toes and reaches forward between stretches. It can also be made more difficult by rolling down only halfway and holding the position.

For more Pilates exercises take a look at Inner Strength Pilates’ website. The company runs various Pilates and Barre exercise classes from their three studios in Adelaide’s King William Road. Classes can be booked online by consulting their exercise timetable.
Find out more information from the Inner Strength Pilates Facebook page or their two Google Plus accounts.

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Tamara Abdilla

Tamara Abdilla
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