2 Simple Moves That Will Feel Amazing Post-Abs Workout

Lia Bartha - Boost Gut Health with a Pilates Ball

Image by Hannah Schwob / mindbodygreen

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For me, fitness and movement are about so much more than what you look like on the exterior. They also need to be meditative and restorative practices that help every part of your body—inside and out. That's why I created B The Method, my Pilates-based method, which focuses on turning our attention inward—mentally and physically and strengthening our bodies from the inside out.

While many of the exercises in my method target specific muscle groups—like the core or legs—I also like to incorporate moves that could assist with other elements of physical well-being, like gut health.

The two restorative moves I demonstrate below may be beneficial for your gut because the ball is placed in your pelvic region and massages the digestive tract. By moving forward and back, the ball rolls up to your stomach and back down to your pelvic floor, targeting the gut.

This type of self-massage or abdominal massage has roots in traditional Chinese medicine and ayurvedic practices. It's also been studied in a clinical setting. One study found that abdominal massage was effective in treating symptoms of bloating for cancer patients, and another study indicated it may help alleviate chronic constipation.

These moves are also very complementary to my method because they help massage the abdominal wall that has been worked very deeply during the abs exercises in my classes.

To get started, you'll need a Pilates ball and a mat. I recommend doing these exercises every day, either in the morning before you eat or right after completing my routines, for best results. (Note: If you're pregnant, don't attempt these exercises.)

1. Child's Pose With Pilates Ball

Lia Bartha - Boost Gut Health with a Pilates Ball

Image by Hannah Schwob

How to: Start by kneeling on your mat, and hold a Pilates ball against your stomach. Pressing the ball in between your stomach and thighs, lower down and bring your seat to your heels. Stretch your arms away from your body and press your forehead to the floor. Hold this position, or move your torso in different directions to massage the ball around your belly.

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2. Plank With Pilates Ball

Lia Bartha - Boost Gut Health with a Pilates Ball

Image by Hannah Schwob / mindbodygreen

How to: Start in a forearm plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your elbows. Place a Pilates ball underneath your stomach. Allow your stomach to rest on the ball. Hold this position, or move your body forward and back, to roll the ball along your stomach.

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