All Entries For abs

Another Reason to Try Pilates: Sculpted Arms


I love Pilates. Having practiced the method for more than five years, I can't imagine my workout routine without it. My once-persistent back pain is virtually nonexistent these days, an improvement that I attribute to the core strength I've gained from my twice-weekly sessions.

While most people think of Pilates as a core workout—and it definitely is one—it offers so many more benefits, from increased flexibility to the mood-boosting effects of mind-body exercise. And thanks to a recent study, we can now we can add upper body strength to that list of perks.
Posted 6/4/2010  7:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 49 comments   20,529 views
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6 Good Reasons to Try Pilates


I never thought Pilates was for me. I saw the videos, infomercials and classes at the gym, often full of older women in leotards, lying on their backs, moving their legs around in the air. It sure didn't look hard. Where was the challenge, resistance, or weights? And it didn't look very fun either, just lying on the floor for so long. I decided that it wasn't for me and that was that…or so I thought.

After I had been teaching fitness classes for a few years, I started to get bored with my usual strength and cardio classes. I needed something new to keep my interest and enthusiasm. What started as a weekend Pilates workshop for inexpensive continuing education credits (necessary for every certified trainer or instructor) turned into a new passion for me. While I took the training course just for credits, I found out that I really liked this Pilates business, and the more I trained, the more benefits I experienced.

I believe that every person can benefit from Pilates—men, women, athletes, couch potatoes. People of all body shapes and weights. People of all levels of fitness and coordination. It truly does offer something for everyone.

In a new dailySpark series, I'll give you plenty of good reasons to try a variety of fitness endeavors that you may have never considered before. First up: 6 good reasons to try mat Pilates.
Posted 5/20/2009  11:15:18 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 191 comments   56,555 views
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You Asked: How Do I Tone My Lower Abs?


SparkPeople member BUTTERFLIY recently asked a very common fitness question: "I have a lot of weight under my belly button! How and what can I do to work the lower part of my belly?"

This is a very common complaint for women. We naturally hold a little bit of extra fat on our lower bellies—it's a lot more common (and normal) than you might think. But at the same time, we see so many (albeit unrealistic) images of flat and toned abs on women—and we think there's something wrong with us for not looking the same way. Body image issues aside, there is a two-part answer to this question that might actually surprise you...
Posted 11/14/2008  10:01:26 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 68 comments   35,544 views
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You Asked: Can You Train Your Abs Every Day?


Who doesn't want six pack abs? Well REIGNWATER recently asked a great fitness question related to these muscles: "Does Pilates count as ab work? How often can it be done?"

Want to hear what I had to say?
Posted 9/5/2008  4:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 50 comments   50,166 views
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For Men Only: Are You a Mirror-Muscle Guy, or the Real Deal?


If you spend much time in the gym, you’re probably familiar with the “mirror muscle” crowd. They’re the guys who spend most of their time doing exercises that work the upper body muscles you can see while looking in the mirror—chest, abs, shoulders, biceps & triceps, and upper traps. They don’t do nearly as many exercises for the opposing muscles—the lats, lower trapezius, rear deltoids, rhomboids, or lower back. You might see them on the leg press or Smith machine once in awhile doing a little lower body work, and maybe they’ll spend 15 or 20 minutes doing cardio a couple times per week. But you won’t see them doing lunges up and down the aisles between machines, or find them in the yoga, pilates, or fusion classes—that stuff’s "just for women." Big mistake!
Posted 8/28/2008  9:26:23 AM By: Dean Anderson : 14 comments   13,809 views
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Does It Really? We Test the Bender Ball


You may have seen late-night infomercials for the Bender Ball and its accompanying workout DVDs, which promise to deliver amazing results for your abs. In fact, one of their selling points is a big graph that says the Bender Ball is 408% more effective than crunches alone. So does it live up to its hype? Find out what I thought after putting it to the test this past weekend.
Posted 8/19/2008  5:57:59 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 310 comments   107,986 views
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Confession: I Don't Have a Six Pack


Last week, I was leading a group of my SparkPeople co-workers through a 10-minute core workout. Since I teach fitness classes (including Pilates) regularly, most of the exercises we do as a group are pretty easy for me since I’m used to doing them (and usually for much longer than 10 minutes).

The next day my co-worker Rachel, after telling me how she was sore from some of the moves, said, “Your core is so strong! I can’t believe you don’t have a 6 pack!”
Want to hear my reply?

Posted 8/15/2008  6:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 201 comments   22,000 views
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