In the 1980s, Callan Pinkney developed Callanetics, tiny and precise movements that focus on reshaping the muscles. A Callanetics stomach exercise can be performed while lying on a mat or carpet. According to Pinkney, all you need is about 1/4 inch, small, slow movements of each exercise to build a strong core and toned abs.
To perform the bent-knee reach, lie on the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat and your arms by your side. Raise your chest forward, lifting your shoulders off the mat, reaching your fingers forward and slowly lifting your arms off the mat about 2 or 3 inches. If you find this exercise to be difficult, try gripping your thighs as your lifting off the mat rather than extending your arms. In slow motion, round your shoulders and head toward your knees in small but moderate movements. This motion tones and strengths core and balance. Perform three sets of 20 to 30 pulses. You should feel resistance in your arms, abs and thighs.
These slow and contracted movements target your obliques while strengthening your core. Lie on your right side with your legs outstretched from the hips at a 30-degree angle. With your right arm resting on the floor, place your left hand behind your head. While your legs are straight, raise them off the floor, bringing your torso toward your leg, then with slow and controlled movement return to the start position. With each return to start position, breathe out. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
Single Leg Raise
Much like the bent-knee raise, this exercise works to firm your abs while increasing your balance. Keep your knee up in the air, creating a 90-degree angle at your hip and knee joints. Bring your torso forward, raising your shoulder blades off the mat. Reaching your fingertips forward toward your feet, perform three sets of 50 to 100 small and controlled pulses, exhaling through each pulse. If you want to kick up the intensity a bit more, extend your raised leg toward the sky.
Leg Over Crunch
With your arms on the floor, create a goalpost like position with your hands reaching to your ears. Tuck your knees to your chest, one knee at a time and slowly lower your bent right leg to the floor. Relax your right leg then slowly lower your left leg on top of your right leg. You will remain in this position for at least 30 to 60 seconds while your shoulders are on the floor as you breathe slow deep breaths. Perform this movement three times for 30 to 60 seconds. Place a cushion or pillow next to you to support the weight of your legs if you cannot lower your leg.
- Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images