Are you ready to pump up your core strength with an easy workout that can be done in 15 minutes or less? If so, try out these five yoga poses to build “summer abs!” Then prepare to show them off!
First, need some jams to get you going through your workout? Check out this playlist.
Locust Pose. Start by lying on your stomach on a mat or other soft surface. Push up with your upper body so that your head, chest and upper abdominals are lifted off the ground. Keep your arms extended behind you, along the sides of your body. Allow your lower body (you’re your quadriceps to your toes) to push up off the mat as well. Let your legs hover above the mat so that not you’re balanced solely on your stomach, with your abs engaged. Do this lift several times. For an extra stretch, move your arms up and down each time you lift up. Remember to pull in your core when lifting upwards, being careful not to strain your lower back.
Plank Holds. Plank holds not only engage your midsection but also sculpt your arms at the same time. Simply get into a push-up position, with your legs extended behind you, your body in a straight “plank” position (keeping your stomach pulled in). Your arms should be straight under you. Keep your shoulders over your wrists and your arm straight but not locked. Hold here for 1 minute. On the first set, you’ll really feel the burn. Fight through it and allow your body to drop after the minute.
Cat-Cow. Cat-to-cow is a basic warm-up sequence in yoga. To get into cow position, start on your hands and knees with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Spread your fingers out wide and bring your tailbone toward the ceiling and lift your head up looking towards the ceiling (arching your back) while inhaling. Then, flexing in, bring your belly in towards your spine, curving your back and dropping your head so you’re looking at the ground. Exhale as if you’re an “angry cat.” Continue to flow through this series, from Cow pose (inhaling) to Cat pose (exhaling).
Tiger Stretches. Tiger stretches are excellent for building core strength. Start on your hands and knees (as in cat-to-cow) with your shoulders over your wrists, fingers spread apart. Keep spine in neutral position with your back flat. Inhale, lifting the tailbone as you extend one of your legs out behind you (aim to lift your leg up into the air if you can). Lift from the hips, bending your leg as you pull it in towards your chest. Hold for 20 to 40 seconds. Do this sequence several times, repeating on the other side.
Forward Fold. Believe it or not, a basic forward fold works the core, so long as you pull up from the core while bending. Start standing with your feet hip width apart and your palms together at your heart center (in mountain pose). Take a deep, cleansing breath, allowing your body to steady. Inhale, bringing your arms overhead. Sweep your arms forward, while you bend your upper body (from the core) over your legs. This pose is like bending forward to pick something up. Make sure you’re bending from your waistline, keeping your legs straight, while taking care not to injure your back. Repeat several times, flowing up through mountain pose as well.