Pilates 101- Ab Prep 2 (Chest lift) & Oblique Prep

Ab Prep 2 and Oblique Prep are two incredibly versatile exercises that can be used as a warm-up or added to for a greater level of work. They form the basis of many other exercises, such as the positioning for single and double leg stretch, or the movement of the trunk for criss cross, so are important to get right. As with other flexion exercises please do not perform if you have Osteoporosis or Osteopenia and if in any doubt consult your GP. Also as with any supine (lying) exercise, it should not be performed if you are over 4 months pregnant.

Have a watch of the video and see how to perform these exercises. Important things to remember:

  • Move on the exhalation
  • Keep your pelvis in neutral
  • Keep the weight of your head in your hands
  • Use the abdominal muscles to create the C-curve shape; don’t use your arms to pull on the head
  • Let the shoulders melt down your back, creating a length in the neck
  • Keep the lower body relaxed. If you feel anything in the hips you’ve probably come up too high and are engaging your hip flexor muscles
  • Peal yourself up vertebrae by vertebrae; so the neck (which moves the head off the floor) is the first to move
  • SMILE! 🙂

As you see in the photo, I often get people to firstly curl up with the mat or a towel to feel the shape the body should go in. It’s easier to then recreate this once your body has actually felt it. Also use your imagination to think of yourself curling up around a ball. Once you’ve got the hang of the muscle activation and the shape, you can add on in so many ways to these exercises, with and without props.

Hope you enjoy trying these, and if you have any questions about them, just pop them in a comment 🙂


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