Flatten your belly, tone your abs, and strengthen your core with these simple Pilates-based moves. No crunches required!
By Kelly Marages
Exercise: The Flights
Targets: Upper abs and upper back
One Set: 5 reps
Starting Position: Lie on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you. Straighten your arms by your sides, palms facing your hips.
One Rep: Lift your head, neck, chest, and arms off the ground as high as you can, with your thumbs remaining on the mat, while keeping your neck in line with your spine. Then lower your body to the starting position in one gradual, fluid motion. Keep your hips and legs in place.
To Make It Harder: Adjust the starting position: Place your hands (palms touching the mat) below your shoulders with your elbows bent close to your ribs. Straighten your arms as if doing a push-up, but keep your lower body on the ground. Lift your head, neck, and chest off the ground, locking your elbows. Slowly move back to the starting position.
Wrong Way: Your eyes should face down to avoid neck strain. If doing the more difficult version, look straight ahead.
Originally published in the December 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.