Pilates Flat-Ab Get a tighter tummy at home, thanks to this innovative workout.

Flat-Ab Pilates
You’ve probably read about celebs extolling the
virtues of Pilates (lean legs, a supertaut tummy!),
or maybe even heard the hype from mat-class–
obsessed friends. If you’re still skeptical, keep
reading: “Pilates puts your muscles—especially
the smaller, stabilizing ones—under constant
tension over a large range of motion to create that
enviable long, lean look,” says Lauren Piskin,
owner of Physicalmind Studio in New York City.
What’s more, one study found that women who
swapped their usual routines for two 60-minute
Pilates sessions a week saw significant increases
in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility,
and upper-body muscular endurance.
Problem is, these perks often come with a
hefty price tag: A few sessions a week (typically
using a bed-size contraption called a Reformer)
can set you back hundreds of dollars. So Piskin
created this at-home total-body workout, which
gives your abs some extra love without damaging
your bottom line. All you need is a Pilates ball.
“The ball mimics the resistance of the machine
to challenge your muscles as you move through
fluid movements,” says Piskin. Do the following
sequence two or three times a week. Starting
with the first move, do eight to 10 reps of each
exercise with little to no rest between exercises.
Focus on form and
control through
each move for the
sleekest results.
Body Language Sportswear bra,
Zobha leggings
w o m e n ’ s h e a lt h
Get a tighter tummy at home,
thanks to this innovative workout.
By Jen Ator
photographs BY Chris Shipman
A Pilates
> Piskin
the Stott Pilates
Mini Stability
Ball ($9,
.com). Don’t
have one? Any
semihard ball
(around the
size of a soccer
ball) will do.
Mermaid with Ball
Sit with the ball at your left side, and bend your left leg in front of you,
your right leg behind you. Place your left hand on the ball, elbow slightly
bent, and extend your right arm out to your side at shoulder level (a).
Brace your core and roll the ball out to the left as far as you can while
reaching your right arm over your head (b). Hold for two or three seconds,
then roll the ball back toward your body and return to the starting
position. That’s one rep. Finish all reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Styling: Thea Palad, hair: vassilis kokkinidis/ford artists, makeup: carlo longo/bryan bantry; moves: beth bischoff, styling: thea palad, hair and makeup: emily kate warren, new balance bra , lululemon athletica leggings, somnio sneakers
Lie faceup on the floor or an exercise mat with your
arms at your sides, palms down, legs straight. Lift your
legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor, feet flexed
(a). Keeping your shoulders relaxed and legs straight,
brace your core and raise your hips, slowly reaching your
legs behind your head as far as you possibly can and
pointing your toes behind you (b). Slowly reverse the
movement to return to start. That’s one rep.
Quick Tip
Keep your feet
off the floor
the move, and
reach back
only as far as
you comfortably can.
Footwork on Ball
Lie faceup, arms by your sides, palms facing
down. Bend your knees and place the balls of your
feet on top of the ball, heels together and toes
pointing slightly outward in a small V shape (a).
Engage your core and contract your glutes to lift
your hips an inch off the floor, then roll the ball
away from you until your heels are on the ball (b).
Pause, then bend your knees to roll the ball back
to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Quick Tip
As you roll down, think of your spine
as a string of pearls. Lower your body
one pearl at a time until the biggest
pearl (your head) touches the floor.
Swan on Ball
Lie facedown with your legs extended
shoulder-width apart behind you. Position
the ball under your chest and rest
your forearms on the floor, palms down,
elbows close to your body (a). Bring your
shoulder blades back and down, press your
palms lightly on the floor, and slowly lift
your head and chest as you lengthen your
spine (b). Hold for two or three seconds
(imagine trying to create as much space
between your ears and toes as possible), then
return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Roll Back and Up
Sit with your legs extended straight out
in front of you, feet flexed. Hold the ball in
front of you at shoulder level, arms straight.
Keep your chest up and back straight
(a). Contract your core and glutes, then
slowly roll back until your back is flat on
the floor and the ball is directly overhead
(b). From that position, bring your chin
to your chest and slowly roll back up to the
starting position. That’s one rep.
Quick tip
Keep your core engaged
throughout the movement
to prevent putting pressure
on your lower back.
Back Arm Rowing
Sit on your left hip with your left leg flat on
the floor, knee bent 90 degrees, and your left
palm on the floor. Bend your right knee toward
the ceiling and place your right foot flat
on the floor in front of your left foot; rest your
right arm on your right knee (a). Shift your
weight onto your left arm and straighten
both legs to raise your hips toward the ceiling
while extending your right arm directly over
your head (b). From this position, twist your
torso down and to the left, reaching your right
arm underneath your body (c). Reverse the
movement to return to the starting position.
That’s one rep. Finish all reps on that side, then
switch sides and repeat.
w o m e n ’ s h e a lt h
Coordination with Ball
Mermaid with Twist
Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the
floor about hip-width apart. Extend your arms
straight in front of you, palms up. Your back
should be straight, your chest up (a). Brace
your core, curl your tailbone under, and slowly
lower your upper body to a 45-degree angle.
At the same time, bend your arms to bring
your elbows close to your body, closing your
hands into fists and pulling them toward your
shoulders at eye level (b). Pause, then reverse
the motion to return to start. That’s one rep.
Lie faceup with your hips and knees bent
90 degrees; hold the ball with both hands,
arms straight. Bend your elbows and lower the
ball toward your chest, pressing your hands
firmly against the ball (a). Brace your abs,
extend your arms in front of you, curl your
shoulders off the floor, and straighten your
legs (b). Hold for one or two seconds, then
reverse to return to start. That’s one rep.
Work out on the go!
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