If you're looking for a single workout method that keeps its primary focus on your core to help you get a flat belly, look no further than Pilates. Few, if any, other workout methodologies place as much emphasis on effective core training, and I very often recommend Pilates to my clients as a supplement to traditional weight training or as a primary form of exercise, depending on their goals. That's why I'm here to share the #1 best no-equipment Pilates workout to get a flat belly.
This Pilates routine focuses on exercises that engage multiple muscle groups, enhancing stability, and improving posture—all crucial aspects for sculpting a toned abdominal area. When doing this workout, be sure to follow an overall healthy lifestyle, eat a diet high in vegetables and lean proteins, and get plenty of sleep and hydration.
Keep reading for the #1 best no-equipment Pilates workout to get a flat belly. And when you're finished working out, get inspired by more fitness content with A 69-Year-Old Fitness Trainer Shares the 6 Exercises That Keep Her Looking Half Her Age.
Engaging the core, especially the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis, the Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise that also stimulates the respiratory system and increases blood circulation. You'll challenge your endurance and coordination, too, as you synchronize your breath with the movement.
To perform this exercise, lie flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Lift your legs slightly off the ground, keeping them straight, and raise your head and shoulders. Vigorously pump your arms up and down while breathing in and out for counts of five. Focus on keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in toward your spine. Repeat this breathing and arm movement for a total of 100 arm pumps.
The roll-up effectively targets the deep core muscles and helps in lengthening the spine. This exercise is more than just an abdominal workout, but also enhances flexibility in the spine and hamstrings, promoting better posture and alignment. This move is an excellent way to engage the mind-body connection, requiring focus and precision to execute smoothly. Avoid "heaving" when doing the roll-up. Instead, focus on a smooth movement from start to finish.
To perform the exercise, start by lying on your back with your arms extended overhead and legs flat. Inhale, and bring your arms up over your head, then exhale as you curl your upper body off the floor in a "rolling up" motion. Reach toward your toes, keeping your spine rounded. Slowly roll back down, vertebra by vertebra, to the starting position. Complete three controlled sets of 10 to 12 repetitions with 90 seconds rest between sets.
This exercise is excellent for engaging the obliques, helping to sculpt the waist and reduce love handles. The criss-cross targets the obliques and enhances rotational mobility, which is essential for daily activities and sports performance. This exercise encourages proper breathing techniques, vital for core stability and effective Pilates practice.
To perform the exercise, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent into your chest. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, keeping your lower back pressed into the mat. Rotate your upper body, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee while extending your right leg out. Switch sides, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee and extending your left leg. Complete three sets of 20 repetitions (10 each side), with 60 seconds rest between sets.
The teaser is a challenging Pilates move that works the entire core, including the rectus abdominis and the obliques. It's particularly effective in improving functional strength, which is essential for better performance in daily tasks and other sports. The full core activation will help target your entire midsection, not just the front.
To perform this exercise, start by lying flat on your back with your arms overhead and legs extended. Inhale, then exhale as you lift both your upper and lower body off the ground, reaching your hands toward your feet. Balance on your sit bones, keeping your body in a "V" shape. Slowly lower back to the starting position without touching your feet to the ground. Perform three sets of eight to 10 repetitions. Pause briefly at the top for one to two seconds for the maximal core strengthening.
The plank strengthens the entire core, including the transverse abdominals, and improves posture and balance. Beyond core strengthening, this exercise also builds endurance in the shoulders, arms, and glutes, making it a comprehensive body stabilizer move.
To perform a plank, begin in a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core and glutes to maintain stability. Hold this position, keeping your breathing steady and even. Hold the plank for 30 to 60 seconds. Aim to complete three full sets of 60 seconds.