When the Pilates instructor has you doing sets of 20 pelvic tilts at a time, you hope the payoff will be the flat abs you desire. Because there's not much to a pelvic tilt exercise, you might wonder just how much good it can do your abs -- if any at all. Don't worry that you're wasting time doing these exercises. The pelvic tilt is actually an effective core exercise that can contribute to a more toned stomach.
If your ab muscles are flabby, they won't sit taut and the result is that little -- or not so little -- bulge at the bottom of your abdominal area. Pelvic tilt exercises target the muscles deep in your pelvis to help strengthen your ab muscles. The result is abs that sit flat on their own so you don't have to suck in a breath to hold them in.
Proper Pelvic Tilt
The most difficult part of a basic pelvic tilt is to concentrate on making your pelvic muscles do the work and not allow your glutes to take over, which is easy to do. Start by lying on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. With your hands flat, touch your thumbs and forefingers together to form a diamond shape, and rest your hands, palms-down, in this position on your lower abs. Breathe out as you roll your pelvis up and flatten your lower back so that it touches the floor. Then breathe in as you roll your pelvis back down and allow your lower back to come up off the floor. Don't over-arch your lower back and take care not to arch your upper back at all. Do at least two sets of 15 reps. For a more challenging pelvic tilt, hold a cushion between your knees as you perform the exercise.
Other Beneficial Ab Exercises
Pelvic tilts are an effective exercise to help flatten your abs. You'll see more improvement overall in your core, however, if they're part of a more complete ab routine that includes various styles of crunches, bench knee-ins -- sometimes called scissors exercise -- bench leg raises and elbows to knees, also known as bicycles.
The Importance of Cardio
Pelvic tilts will strengthen your ab muscles so they lay flat, but your abs won't appear flat if there's a layer of fat sitting on top of the muscles. That's why it's necessary to pair pelvic tilts with cardio exercise to get flat abs. In "Firm and Flatten Your ABS," David Grisaffi reminds readers that doing cardio as often as possible will keep your metabolism fired up to burn off fat so you can show off those impressive abs you've been working on.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.