Strengthen your core and flatten your tummy with 6 yoga poses that reduce belly fat!
It takes hard work to strengthen your core and get a flat tummy. There isn’t one magic solution to washboard abs, but by incorporating more core work and yoga into your routine, you can help sculpt your midsection.
Yoga is a unique type of exercise since you need your core to support you through each pose. During a typical yoga class, you will engage your core while concentrating on your breathing and balance. Yoga not only increases core strength but improves flexibility, promotes recovery, and reduces stress and anxiety.
Yoga poses that can target your abdominal muscles and reduce belly fat include:
- Warrior III Pose
- Extended Boat Pose
- Dolphin Plank Pose
- Side Plank Pose
- Tree Pose
- Locust Pose
Having a strong core isn’t great solely because of the benefits to your physique’s look. Yes, doing these core strengthening exercises may make you look physically better in a bathing suit.
But, core strength is essential for your health. A strong core helps keep your spine in proper alignment and may reduce, or even eliminate, back pain.
I remember when I first started developing back pain. It was about half a year after I stopped training as often. In my teens and early twenties, I exercised up to seven hours a day. Then, once I cut back to an hour and a half every few days, my back began to hurt.
This sounds sort of counter-intuitive. Why didn’t my back hurt when I was exercising super often? Well, I had neglected to do core exercises, but I was still attempting to exercise at the same level as before.
It wasn’t until I began to really concentrate on having some sort of daily core exercise routine that I was able to get rid of my back pain.
Exercising rigorously with a weak core can do a number on your back. Even if you just sit at a desk all day without exercising, you may find that your back hurts. Your back needs those core muscles to stay in proper alignment.
Strengthening your core is about more than just toning your abs. Core exercises focus on the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen and allow them to work in harmony. This is a more holistic approach to strengthening your core that just lying on the floor to do crunches.
Training all of your core muscles can lead to better balance and stability and may even lessen nagging back pain. A strong core helps support your body and maintain control in all daily activities from hitting the gym to sitting with the right posture at your desk.
Core strengthening poses can help tone your abs and make it easier to meet your fitness goals. Although you need aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles, helping to flatten your tummy.
You need both. Running on a treadmill for 45 minutes each day won’t create abs. That’s why you should try to combine these six yoga strengthening exercises with cardio for optimal results.
In a comprehensive review of yoga and core strength, researchers found that Plank Pose and Warrior Pose were amongst the most effective poses to build core strength and flexibility. Yoga is also a great tool for helping to loosen up tight hips and relieve pressure from your lower back.
Often during yoga, there is a lot of focus on connecting with the breath and conscious breathing. Breathing is a method that allows you to feel present, but it also has an impact on your emotional state. Focusing on the breath is often used in calming techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.
Whether you add these poses into your daily yoga practice or focus only on these positions, always move in and out of them slowly. If you start to experience a lot of pain, back out of the pose. Use your yoga practice to efficiently target your abdominal muscles while finding your inner peace all at the same time.
The Best Yoga Poses for Flat Abs and Strong Core
Warrior III Pose
The Warrior III Pose really challenges your balance, increases your heart rate, builds full-body strength, and engages your core.
Start standing and shift your weight to your right foot. Be sure to center your weight over the second toe of your foot. This way you don’t accidentally injure the small muscles around your ankle.
Draw your left knee to your chest then extend it straight back behind you, toes pointing down. Bring your fingertips to the ground if you need more support. Reach your arms out in front of you so that your body is in a straight line from your fingertips to your feet. Stay here for three deep breaths then repeat on the other leg.
Extended Boat Pose
This challenging pose helps to build strength and endurance and is an effective way to achieve a flatter stomach.
Start sitting on the mat with your legs extended out in front of you. With your back long and straight, lean back slightly while lifting your legs off the floor. Engage your stomach, holding it up and in for the whole time. Reach your arms out to either side of your legs so that your body looks like a V. Hold this position for 10 deep breaths.
If you want to make this exercise more advanced, try straightening your legs where your toes point to the ceiling.
Dolphin Plank Pose
The Dolphin Plank Pose helps to strengthen and tone the core, thighs, and arms.
Begin on your hands and knees so that your wrists are underneath your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lower your elbows to the floor, keeping your forearms parallel. Curl your toes and step your feet back so that your body is in one straight line.
You want to be sure that you don’t let go of your core and let your spine dip while in this pose. If you do, you may end up hurting your back rather than strengthening your core.
Keep your hips lifted and engage your stomach towards your spine. Hold the pose while breathing deeply for five counts. Release the pose and lower to your knees.
Side Plank Pose
Use your abdominals to stabilize this position as you balance your whole body on one arm.
Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Put your left hand under your left shoulder and raise your hips off the mat. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Flex your feet and extend the right arm up to the ceiling. Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds, breathing deeply. Repeat on the right side.
This pose will engage your core so that you can stay grounded and supported on one leg.
Stand on the mat with your feet hip-width apart. You want to place your foot in the same manner as the Warrior III pose. Shift all your weight onto your left foot and draw your right knee into your chest. Be sure to keep your weight over your second toe. Grab your right foot and place and press the bottom of your foot onto your left thigh.
If you’re feeling confident and balanced, press your hands together at your chest. If you want the balance to be a bit easier, extend your arms out to the side. You should look like a human T. Engage your stomach muscles and breathe deeply for 10 counts. Repeat on the other leg.
It may look simple, but Locust Pose is surprisingly challenging. It takes a lot of effort to lift off the floor and hold the position. The pose helps to strengthen core and back muscles, open the chest, and lengthen the spine.
Lie down on your stomach, you can use a folded blanket under your hips to make this position more comfortable. Bring your arms to your sides with palms facing down and stretch your legs straight out behind you.
As you inhale, lift your head, chest, and arms off the floor, keeping your gaze forward. At the same time, use your inner thighs to slowly lift your legs off the ground, activating your whole body. Keep the pubic bone pressing into the floor. Hold the pose for five breaths and release on an exhale.
If you’re a beginner to yoga, remember to be kind to yourself and your body. Heading to your nearest yoga class is the perfect way to learn the basics and get started. Incorporate these poses into your daily yoga practice to build core strength and flatten your tummy. Even if you take just 10 minutes out of your day, focus on these key yoga poses to strengthen your core. Develop long and lean muscles that not only make you feel great but look toned.