You’ll have washboard abs in no time.

By Health.com
Updated: July 10, 2019

Summer is in full swing, and that means you’re probably stepping up your workout game—and what better way to get bikini-ready abs than pilates? Pilates can be an incredibly effective workout, but because it’s a flexibility and balance-oriented workout, it can be hard to keep the proper form for every move. Karen Lord, a pilates instructor and founder of Karen Lord Pilates Movement in Venice, California, showed Health the three moves most people do wrong during their pilates workout. 

RELATED: 5 Exercises to Tone Your Arms and Lift Your Butt at the Same Time

The Plank

Align your shoulders over your wrists and your heels over your toes. Draw your belly button in toward your spine to engage your core, and keep your gaze a few inches in front of your hands to keep your neck aligned. In plank pose, you can imagine drawing one long line from the bottoms of your feet to the top of your head. 

One of the most common misalignments for this pose is letting the pelvis drop while holding your plank. To fix this, push up between your shoulder blades and keep your back in one long, non-arching line. 

RELATED: Tone Your Arms and Butt in This 10-Minute Workout With Obe Fitness

Criss Cross

Criss Cross sit-ups, like normal sit-ups, involve crunching your abdominal muscles by lifting through your shoulders. To do a criss cross sit up, lie on your back, twist through your core each time you crunch upwards, bringing each elbow to the opposite knee and kicking the other leg outward. 

Karen demonstrates the misalignments for this move, including keeping the chin tucked into the chest and bringing the knees too close to the face. To fix this, widen your elbows and keep your gaze to the ceiling. Aim to lead your armpit to your knee, rather than using your forehead to lead the crunch. 

RELATED: How to Master a Chin-Up In 3 Easy Steps

Scissors

Lie on your back and keep your legs straight above you, pointing your knees to the ceiling. Alternate bringing each leg back down to the floor, stopping just a few inches before it touches the ground. Keep your shoulders off the ground and your gaze to a natural spot in front of you.

Keeping your chin tucked to your chest is a misalignment for this move. To fix this, lift your head, neck, and shoulders away from the mat. 

These three core-centric moves are the perfect triad of ab workouts for your everyday workout routine. Plus, you don’t need any gym equipment, so you can use these moves anywhere you go this summer. 

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter