I'm a Pilates Instructor and This Is the Exercise That "Finally Gave Me Lower Abs"

It's great for your core—and shockingly simple to do.

All bodies are different. If you don't have six-pack abs, there's more harm in beating yourself up over it than there is in a few extra inches of cushion around your middle. That said, exercise is pretty much always worthwhile as part of a healthy lifestyle, and if the thought of having a leaner abdomen motivates you to move your body, more power to you.

When it comes to toning your abs and strengthening your core, there are a few key exercises that can help you make serious headway. In fact, Pilates instructor and content creator Rachel Andrews recently shared one exercise that she says gave her the lower abs she's "always wanted"—and it's astonishingly simple to do. Ready to get started? Here's everything you stand to gain by trying Pilates at home, and a step-by-step guide to her easy, ab-defining workout.

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Pilates is an ideal core strengthening workout.

Woman practicing leg raises in white pilates studio
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If you're looking for a new exercise routine to strengthen your core, build muscle, improve your posture, and give you a toned look in the process, Pilates is ideal. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this style of body conditioning exercise is also great for improving your flexibility, preventing or healing injury, and providing broader health benefits.

"Pilates is a form of strength training, but it doesn't look like some of the other strength training exercises you might be familiar with," Clinic experts write. "Pilates focuses more on improving muscle tone than building muscles, but the result is similar: greater stability and endurance."

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It can also help you slim down and tone up.

Man doing bicycle crunches on wood floor
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Pilates can work wonders for your health, but many people gravitate toward the workout for its aesthetic results, which differ from those of weight lifting or other strength training methods.

"Pilates isn't going to bulk you up—if anything, it's designed to cultivate a longer, leaner look," the Cleveland Clinic explains.

A pilates instructor recently shared her ab-defining workout.

Female trainer in sportswear, practicing yoga asanas, doing the reverse plank
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Andrews is known for posting multi-day workout challenges for her followers on social media. In a recent TikTok post, she broke from her usual format to share a single, simple exercise that she says transformed the look of her enviable abs. In a written caption, she credits the move for being "the Pilates exercise that helped target my deep core/lower belly and finally gave me [the] lower abs I've always wanted."

In a separate TikTok video, she shares that Pilates is an especially accessible form of exercise, which may help you remove barriers to getting started on your fitness journey. She notes that Pilates can be done anywhere and anytime, is just as effective as hitting the gym and can save you money since it requires no equipment or gear.

Here's how to try it at home.

Young fitness woman in red sportswear doing reverse plank knee tuck exercise on a mat
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In the seven-second video clip, Andrews demonstrates one of the key exercises that helped shape her toned core. Positioned in a reverse plank with her hands facing toward her feet and her toes pointed, the pilates instructor alternates lifting each leg from the ground toward her middle. One at a time, she brings her knees upward towards her chest until her thighbone is perfectly vertical, then returns each leg to the ground before switching sides. "This exercise is a game changer," she wrote.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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