Yes, it's entirely possible to lie down on the floor and strengthen your core muscles while you're at it. Sadly, this isn't an excuse to marathon five episodes of Orange is the New Black while clenching your abs. That won't work. There's a simple solution: pilates videos. You can do these within the comfort of your home, even if you only have 20 minutes to spare. All you need is a speedy and hearty WiFi connection. Thanks to Cassey Ho (Blogilates), a popular pilates instructor of YouTube fame, you can gradually build your core strength with a few of her Blogilates videos for abs. The thing is, Cassey has been making pilates videos on YouTube for quite awhile: almost eight years. There are a lot of her videos to choose from. We made it easy for you. If you follow Blogilates, or even if you're just becoming acquainted with the world of pilates, we put together a list of the best Blogilates videos for abs, and which moves you should look out for. These videos are perfect if you're starting Day 3 of PumpUp's #ChallengeMe series.
Abs on Fire (13 mins) | Difficulty Level : HARD
This video is no joke. You'll be shaking involuntarily throughout most of the static postures that you'll be asked to hold. Don't worry if you need to take small breaks if it's your first time doing this video, because you'll probably need them. Just hit pause and never doubt the power of Blogilates videos for abs. Your lower abs will be working overtime for most of the thirteen minutes.
Move to watch out for: Runaway Abs
Lie down on the floor with your back pressed to the mat. Your hands will rest on the nape of your neck to support your head. Your elbows will be set wide and your feet should extend straight out in front of you and off the ground, your head raised slightly. You'll make small flutter kick movements while keeping your legs straight the entire time. This move isn't too challenging, but it's laughably difficult to perform immediately following a full body crunch called Eagle Pose Abs. Beware.
Playa del Plank (7 mins) | Difficulty Level : Beginner/Moderate
This is a perfect way to start your morning without waking your downstairs neighbours up with stampede-like HIIT moves. You'll be maintaining some variation on the classic plank position throughout the entire video. It isn't too long, and you'll feel like you won your country an Olympic Gold Medal for planking once you finally rest your knees on the floor. There aren't any 'breaks' during the workout (but hey, it's only seven minutes). Instead, expect to 'rest in plank' as you switch between more dynamic postures.
Move to watch out for: Beach Reach
You'll be in a raised plank position. Make sure your shoulders are in line with your wrists and that your hips aren't too high or too close to the ground (find a happy medium). Lift an arm off the ground and extend it forwards. Plant it back on the ground and reach your other arm straight out in front of you. As you perform more repetitions, this move really challenges your body to stabilize itself in a steady position. This means that your core muscles will be working overtime to maintain proper form.
Intense Ab Workout (10 mins) | Difficulty level : Moderate/Advanced
Some of Cassey's oldest Blogilates videos for abs are the most effective. Put succinctly by one YouTube commenter, "It's the equivalent [of] getting punched in the gut repeatedly by an angry Mayweather...and I'm not even mad." It targets all sections of your core: your upper abs, lower abs, transverse abdominals, obliques, and your lower back. The best thing about this video is that Cassey goes slowly, emphasizing correct form with (relatively) fewer reps per move in comparison to her more recent videos.
Move to watch out for: Cheerleader "L" Pulses
You'll be lying down on the mat with your hands resting on the temples of your head. One leg is extended out straight and forward, the other leg will be straight and raised towards the ceiling, making an "L" shape. You'll hold this movement for a bit, then switch sides. Next, you'll be raising your neck and shoulders off the ground to pulse up into the movement. These really kill your upper abs by isolating your core muscles and incorporating pulsing motions as you focus on each side of your body.
If you're still reading this sentence after finishing the workout, congrats. You're a survivor in every sense of the word. Cassey throws all of her most difficult moves from her arsenal of Blogilates videos for abs and ties it into one nasty routine. You'll be focusing on performing many repetitions right off the bat, then you'll move on to challenging static postures that will have all of your muscle groups working to maintain proper form.
Move to watch out for: All of them, but especially the Triple Crunch
Almost nearly one third of the workout will have you perform a variation of the same movement. You'll start with your back on the ground, legs raised and knees bent into a ninety degree angle. Pulse your neck, head and shoulders up three times with your hands behind your head and elbows out wide before you lower your upper body down. After doing this several times, you'll raise your legs straight into the air to do the same pulsing motion, then you'll extend the legs straight in front of you and crunch either leg towards your body so that you'll target your obliques. This move is pure torture, but the repetitions are worth it. You'll sincerely feel it so much the next day, that it'll hurt to laugh.
Never say that you don't have time to exercise. You definitely have five minutes in your day to fit a quick pilates video into your schedule. The wonderful thing about this workout is that it's much easier to complete the entire video without pausing between moves. She previews all the moves at the beginning of the video so that you can see if it's a good fit for you. Feel free to repeat the entire video if you have time later on in the day. It's a great sequence to perform if you're tired from cardio, but still want a quick fix for your abs.
Move to watch out for: Single leg jackknives
Begin by lying on the floor with both legs on the ground and your arms raised straight overhead. Lift one leg and your upper body at the same time, keeping the other leg flat on the ground. Crunch the leg in between your arms, then lower down to the floor with control before you raise the other leg up for the 'jackknife'. This move is difficult, but very effective at isolating the muscles on each side of your core.
Loved these Blogilates videos for abs? We want to know what your favourite pilates moves or videos are in the comments below! If you're doing Day 3 of PumpUp's #ChallengeMe fitness series, you'll score points for every 15 minutes of pilates that you do.