How to get sexy abs and a strong back

Improve your posture and agility with these Pilates-inspired moves that will flatten your belly and strengthen your core.

Roberto Caruso

Roberto Caruso

Roberto Caruso

Roberto Caruso


1. Flat-Back Hinge
Sit with arms extended, shoulders back, spine straight and feet on the floor. Breathe in, then lean back to a 30-degree angle as you exhale. Hold position as you breathe in for one breath. Return to starting position as you exhale deeply. Do six to eight reps.

Perfect your form: Draw your navel toward your spine to keep your core engaged.

Dial it down: Return to starting position without pausing for a breath.

Amp it up: Pulse arms 20 times after you lean back.

2. Side Leg Lift
Lie on side with legs and arms outstretched, as if you were diving into a pool. Lift feet so that only your hips and shoulders touch the floor. Keeping both legs raised, lift your top leg up and down 10 to 15 times. Switch sides and repeat.

Perfect your form: Engage the glute muscle of the top leg as you lift it.

Dial it down: Keep bottom leg on the ground.

Amp it up: After lifting your top leg up, use it to draw 10 small circles in each direction before lowering it back down.

3. Arm Slides
Lie on stomach with arms lifted at a 90-degree angle, ensuring elbows are in line with shoulders. Hold for two seconds. Then stretch arms forward, bringing fingers into a diamond shape above your head. Hold for two seconds. Return arms to starting position. Do 8 to 10 reps.

Perfect you form: Roll shoulders down and away from ears.

Dial it down: Rest arms on ground for a few seconds in between reps.

Amp it up: Lift arms in five-second increments.

4. Rotating Side Plank
Start in side plank, resting one forearm on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, then rotate your pelvis and shoulders and reach your top arm under your bottom hip. Return to starting position. Do 10 reps on each side.

Perfect your form: Make sure the elbow supporting you is in line with your shoulder. Avoid resting ear on shoulder.

Dial it down: Skip the rotation and hold side plank for 10 to 30 seconds.

Amp it up: Hold your rotated position for two seconds before returning to start.

Calorie-Burning Bonus: For an added challenge, do mountain climbers for 20 to 60 seconds after each exercise.