Next time you're searching for a great core workout, try Pilates. You'll become stronger, run more efficiently and reduce injures.
Renee Metivier Baillie's Pilates Routine
Start with one set of each exercise and work up to 2 to 3 sets. Remember to do only as many reps as you can correctly.
The Real Bicycle
Lay on the floor with your back on the ground and your legs bent at 90 degrees. Clasp your hands behind your head and rest your elbows on the ground. Your forearms should make a straight line on the ground. Imagine that there is a bar behind you, keeping your arms in this position. Crunch up with your chest up and twist to each side, moving your legs like a bicycle. Do not bend your arm in so you can touch your knee with your elbow. Twist as much as you can while keeping your arms in position. You'll notice the difference in how much more of your core you'll use to get your elbow as close as you can. Do 20 reps for each side.
Lie on your side on the floor propped up on one forearm. Make sure your body is in a straight line and your core is tight and straight. Move your feet up a few inches, keeping your legs and back straight. From this position, cycle the top leg slowly in an exaggerated running stride, focusing on keeping your upper body as motionless as possible. Extend your leg as far in front and as back as your hips allow without changing your hip position. Do 10 reps in each direction, then switch legs and repeat.
Using a medicine ball, stand on one leg, with the other leg bent at 90 degrees in front of you and your hands holding the medicine ball straight overhead. Keeping your hips aligned, slowly lower the ball to come down diagonally to the hip with the raised leg. Raise the ball back overhead. Then bending at the hip, bring the ball to the ground while extending your bent leg out behind you.
Focus on keeping your hips straight and your knees aligned. Rise back up with the ball overhead and your leg moving back to 90 degrees in front of you. Use a mirror to help you and rest if needed. Do 2 to 3 sets of three reps per leg.
Inner/Outer Thigh Torture
Grab a physio ball or coffee table of similar height, and lay on your side on the floor. Make sure your body is in a straight line, and then place both legs on the ball into a modified side plank with your upper body on the ground. Focus on keeping your body tight and straight at the core, then raise your top arm straight above you when you are stable. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds on each side. After completing the movement on each leg, move on to keeping only the top leg on the ball and bending your lower leg at 90 degrees so it is off the ball. Remember to keep everything tight with hips up and straight. When you have mastered this exercise, try raising your top arm. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds per side.
Find a Pilates class.