I have always said that posture and core strength are the roots of all exercises. By incorporating Pilates and core training into your routine, you will be more aware of your body and more aware of your form in all the exercises that you do. This will translate into better results, as well as more stamina and less incidences of injury. Here are the top 10 core exercises for women from my Fitness Answer Workout Plan. As always, consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.
Abdominals with legs on the exercise ball - 3 sets of 15-20 reps (rest one minute between sets):
Lie on your back with your knees bent and legs resting on top of the ball. Bring your hands behind your head for support, keeping your head in a neutral position with your chin pointed toward the ceiling. Inhale through the nose then start to exhale through the mouth. Allow that exhale to begin to contract the abdominals and lift your head slightly off the floor. It does not matter how far up you lift, only that you’re using your abdominals and not your neck. *Note – Keep your head in a neutral position the entire time you’re performing this exercise.
Reverse crunch with ball
Lie on back on floor and bend knees at 90 degrees resting legs on ball. Place hands at your sides. Get a good grip on the ball with your legs and lift your lower body off the floor. Slowly lower ball back down.
Crunches seated on ball -3 sets of 15-20 reps
Sit on ball and walk your feet forward until the ball is resting under your mid or lower back. Place arms behind your head. Contract your abdominals as you exhale and lift your torso off the ball. Lower yourself back down,
Obliques - 3 sets of 15-20 reps each side
Lie on back with one knee bent and foot flat on floor. Other leg should be straight out, heel resting on ball. Place arm bent knee side behind head. Roll ball in until foot is flat while bringing opposite elbow to your knee. Do 15-20 reps, then repeat on other side.
Lying leg lifts 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Lie on your back on the floor with your legs extended out and bring your arms straight out to the sides.