Cinch Your Waistline With the Top 5 Mat Pilates Exercises for Your Obliques

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We’d all love to trim our waistline and improve our core strength, but it’s not all about the 6 pack. The obliques get forgotten about and they do so much for us. We wouldn’t be able to twist, bend to the side, or shake our hips without them! Taking time to add a few of these exercises to your workout is paramount for trimming down your middle.

5 Hip Twist

Sit with your weight behind the sit bones, using your arms as support behind you. Extend both legs up off the floor, feet to the sky. Keeping the legs together draw small circles in the air. Making sure to keep the pelvis stable with the abs, draw the circle bigger each time. Then reverse the direction of the circle, and repeat. Make sure to only draw your circle as big as you can maintain stabilization. If your pelvis tips off the mat, the circle should be smaller.

4 Side Bend

Sit on one hip, legs stacked on top of one another and support your body with the same arm. Knees are bent in front of the hips. As you inhale keep your arm supporting your body and extend your legs, planting your feet on the floor to create a rainbow arc with your spine in lateral flexion. Exhale to return to the starting position. Repeat several reps before moving to the other side. Complete 5-10 reps.

3 Oblique Roll Back

Sit up on your sit bones as tall as you can with your knees bent and apart, feet flat on the floor with you arms straight in front shoulder height. As you roll into lumbar flexion behind your sit bones, engage the lower abs and add a twist. Exhale as you open the back shoulder up, twisting to one side sweeping the arm down and behind you. Inhale and return to the starting position on top of the sit bones. Repeat on the other side. It’s important to maintain a lower ab connection in the pelvic tilt so the twist fires into the obliques. Complete 8-10 reps on each side.

2 Saw

Sit up on your sit bones and extend the legs, separating them just wider than hip width (if your hip flexors are too tight for this, criss-cross applesauce). Extend both arms out to your sides, shoulder height. Inhale and rotate the spine toward one leg, so your shoulders face the side. Exhale and articulate the spine one vertebrae at a time starting with the head and rounding down, feeling that oblique shorten as you reach your front arm down to your pinky toe. The back arm rotates the hand, thumb down. Stack the spine back up on an inhale. Exhale to rotate the spine to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Complete 5-10 reps.

1 Oblique Twist

Just like bicycle abs only slower and with more control. Laying on your back with your legs in tabletop position cradle your head in your hands, elbows out to the sides. As you lift your head and shoulders off the mat, extend the left leg while twisting both shoulders toward that leg. On an inhale return the leg and both shoulders center. As you exhale extend the right leg and twist the shoulders. Repeat this, alternating legs for each rep, remembering to engage the breath properly on each one. Aim your armpit to your knee, rather than the elbow in the twist. This will help you get deeper into the obliques. Complete 8-10 reps on each side.

Working the obliques can fight jiggle and love handles as well as increase mobility and stability for other exercises or activities. The obliques are the driving factor for twisting the spine, so make sure you work both sides evenly. Don’t put in all that work to come out lop-sided!

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