7 Smart Ways to Work Your abs Without Neck or Back Pain

Pilates Toe Taps

On the mat with your feet flat on the ground, take a deep breath in. Then exhale as you draw your naval in towards your spine, slowly bring your right knee up to a table top position. Draw your lower ribs down towards your hips, and tighten your core as if you were wearing a corset. From here, lower the right leg down to tap the toe onto the ground while maintaining the engagement of the core. There should be no movement above the hips, and the back should stay gently pressing into the ground while the abs are pulling in tightly. Exhale as you lower the leg down, and inhale to bring it back up. Repeat 10 times and then switch to the left side.

Pilates Lower & Lift

Lying on the mat, bring your legs straight up towards the ceiling. Tilt your pelvis so that your lower abs pull in (as if you are zipping into a tight pair of jeans) and your back presses gently into the ground. Maintain this core engagement as you exhale and lower the legs down a few inches towards the ground. Inhale to bring them back up. Be sure to keep your back connected to the mat throughout the entire exercise by drawing your naval in towards your spine.

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