MOVE: The Ballet Twist from Side to Side From Mary Helen Bowers of Ballet Beautiful (and Natalie Portman’s trainer for “Black Swan.”):
WHAT IT DOES: Works the obliques, the sides and the center part of your abdominals. “I love the way this exercise lets me quickly connect to my center,” says Bowers.
ME: This move was particularly hard for me because my stomach muscles are basically non-existent—during pregnancy, your abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate your growing belly, losing strength and tone. At first, I was barely able to complete these, and cheated by putting my arms behind me. After a few sessions, though, I was able to complete the full set. Progress!
HOW TO DO IT (watch the moving image for a visual!)
- Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, knees slightly bent, arms in first position (coming together in a crescent over your knees) and your stomach pulled in tight.
- Extend back 30 degrees, twist your upper body and pull your stomach in tight, scooping your belly button in toward your center.
- Keep pulling your abs in as you change sides, rotating from left to right. “I find that moving a bit more slowly and taking a beat on each side to truly pull in and connect to my abs makes this exercise more challenging and rewarding,” says Bowers.
- Repeat, doing four sets of ten.