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Yoga Poses for Strengthening Abs

Nadia Santiago
Yoga Poses for Strengthening Abs

Improve your practice and tighten your belly with yoga poses for strengthening abs. These asanas directly target your midsection to help you master challenging arm balances and improve your fitness. For quick and lasting results, add each one to your routine two to three times a week.

Seated Twist

Performing the seated spinal twist is a gentle way to work your obliques. Hold this pose for one to two minutes on each side before moving on to the next posture.

Dynamic Reclining Twist

The reclining twist is usually performed as a gentle way to wind down during yoga class. It's known to be great for reducing sciatic pain and encouraging bowel movements. The post can also activate the obliques if you make it dynamic.

  • Lie down flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Rotate your knees from one side of your body to the other without touching them down on the ground.
  • Continue for 10 full rounds of breath (10 on each side) or for one minute.

Cat Pose Progression

Cat is another low impact pose that lightly engages your abdominals. You can make it more challenging in two ways.

  • Lift your knees off the floor as you draw your belly in and round your back on your exhale.
  • Bring them back down as you inhale.
  • Keep your knees off the floor for the entire movement.

Whatever option you choose, repeat it for 10 to 15 full rounds of breath.

Plank

The front plank is a great way to fire up your entire front body. Challenge yourself by holding it for at least five full rounds of breath. You can also try a few plank variations.

Mountain Climber

The yoga mountain climber provides a solid combination of isometric and dynamic ab work.

  1. Begin in downward facing dog.
  2. As you inhale, lift your right foot up, extending it toward the top corner of the wall behind you.
  3. As you exhale, rock forward into a single leg front place and draw your right knee in toward your chest, lifting your hips and rounding your back.

Repeat five to 10 rounds, then switch to the other side. If it seems too difficult to complete multiple repetitions on one side, alternate sides for a total of 10.

Side Plank

The side plank targets your obliques. This pose can be challenging, so for beginners, it might be best to modify.

  • If you are unable to hold the full side plank, bring your bottom knee to the floor.
  • For sensitive wrists, perform the plank on your forearm instead of your hand.

Hold for eight to 10 breaths or a full minute before switching to the second side.

Extended Triangle

Triangle pose opens the hips and stabilizes your trunk. Extended triangle is a challenging progression, perfect for enhancing abdominal strength. From triangle pose, simply extend both arms alongside your ears. Hold for five to ten breaths, then switch to the other side.

Boat Pose

Boat pose works the lower abdominals while helping to increase posture and leg strength. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths, then transition to a new pose.

Half-Boat

Woman doing Half-Boat pose on mat at home

Take your ab work up a notch with half boat pose, which is a more challenging progression.

  1. Begin in boat pose.
  2. Release your ankles.
  3. Lean back slowly, extending your arms forward and bringing your feet to hover just above the floor.

The more you can lean without touching your back and feet down on the ground, the harder this pose will be. Hold for 10 breaths, rest for three to five, then repeat the pose two more times.

Crow

Crow is an advanced posture that takes balance as well as chest, shoulder, and core strength. It works your lower to mid abdominal region and is a great pose to add to towards the end of your practice, once your body is warm and ready.

Hold the pose for as long as you can maintain stability. When you come out of it, stretch your shoulders for a minute or so, then try it again. Complete crow two or three times before you slow down your practice.

Firefly

Also for advanced practitioners, firefly works most of your upper body muscles, including your chest, shoulders, triceps, inner thighs, and abs. Complete three repetitions, holding for as long as possible before releasing to the floor.

Strengthen Your Abs Through Yoga

You can get in shape and enhance your routine by practicing yoga poses that will help strengthen your abs. Aside from achieving a tighter belly, the benefits of strength training like this include injury prevention, increased flexibility, and better stress management. Add a selection of these poses to your daily yoga flow two or three times a week to begin seeing the results you desire.

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Yoga Poses for Strengthening Abs