Top Yoga Stretches For Abs:
Truth is, for many, abs are a desirable feature of the human body. They are a beautiful set of muscles and can truly show off as an incredible physique. However, as great as they are to look at, they are even more important for quality of life. They are essential for everyday body function. Prior to discussing some of the top yoga stretches for abs, let’s talk about this area a bit more, shall we.
Let’s discuss a few “everyday” benefits of having a strong and flexible core.
How The Back Can Be Affected:
Firstly, having a strong core can take unneeded stress off your back. Consequently, this chronic stress can lead to back problems in the future (like pain). Furthermore, if the back is weak, the body relies on smaller structures, like ligaments for support.
According to Harvard Health, low back pain will effect 4 out of 5 Americans at some point in their lives. Pretty staggering!
By now, you’ve probably also gotten a dose of what the core can provide toward proper posture and stability. Surely, if you’re an athlete or hobbyist that takes part in recreational sporting activities, this concept has been drilled into your routine. In fact, physical activities in general depend on stable core muscles.
Furthermore, a stable core, can help protect the spine.
If you wish to partake in some additional fitness movements that can help strengthen the core without heavy equipment, here are 7 from ACE Fitness.
Many of us have stationary jobs. However, many professionals are also on the move. In the case of our profession, as nurses, it requires up to 12 hours/day being on our feet. In addition, lifting patients or moving equipment around. Particularly, with these movements, a strong core, helps keep our spine in a neutral safe position. Side effects of a weak core can result in over extension, or overly flexing the spine.
Overtime, this becomes a hefty burden. Consequently, it becomes crucial to engage and activate the core.
On the flip side, if you’re someone who does more stationary work, it becomes that much more important to find extracurricular activities to strengthen these areas.
Abdominals and the core, you see, are crucial for every person, everyday.
Top Yoga Stretches For Abs
It’s important to put into practice a physical training routine that allows each of the muscles of the core to work. This includes, smaller stabilizer muscles; to larger core muscle groups.
Below you’ll find 6 yoga stretches or exercises that can help with core strength.
These yoga stretches for abs can be done at home, or on the road. A yoga mat is all you need.
To say Plank only works the core is an understatement. However, it delvers a good concentration on the core. In addition to the core, Plank works the arms, shoulders, even the glutes.
Plank also helps improve core endurance, balance and overall body stability.
- Firstly, lie on your stomach flat on the mat.
- Then, lift your body by extending your arms. Help support yourself with your toes.
- Keep the back straight and the abs activated or contracted.
- Maintain the position for 45 to 60 seconds, then rest.
- Start with 3 repetitions and try to increase them consecutively.
This is a variation of the previous yoga stretch for abs. Alternatively, you’ll support yourself with the forearms.
- Get into position, like with Plank. Raise your pelvis, while keeping the back straight.
- Form a straight line with your body from head to toe.
- Then, rest on your forearms.
- Contract the abdomen and hold for 60 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise 3 times to failure.
Tree pose is another staple in a core yoga routine. It helps to activate the abdominal muscles, while enabling the yogi to focus on concentration and balance.
- Firstly stand on your mat.
- Then, lift your right knee up to your chest so that all weight is on the left leg.
- Grasp the ankle and place the sole of the right foot on the inner part of the left thigh.
- Maintain this position, contract the abdomen and join the palms of the hands at chest height.
- Then, gradually raise them until you can fix your gaze on a specific point.
- Take 10 deep breaths, rest and switch legs.
Be careful not to press into the thigh. This is just a resting point, you don’t want to place pressure on the knee joint.
This yoga stretch for abs consists of lifting the pelvis. Bridge pose helps activate both the abdomen and buttocks.
Bridge pose can be a difficult pose for some. Make sure to stay within yourself and body limitations, working your way to more difficult poses.
- Lie on your back, flex your knees, and grab your ankles.
- Inhale and lift your pelvis upwards.
- Then, contract the muscles of the abdomen, maintaining the position without taking your feet off the ground.
- Try to hold for 20 seconds to start, rest and do 5 repetitions.
With a bit of practice, Starfish pose will become easier to execute. Consequently, as you routinely carry out these poses and others, you will see gains in strength, endurance and balance.
- Lie down and stretch your legs and arms upwards, as if you want to touch the ceiling.
- Next, raise your head and lift your shoulders off the ground.
- Simultaneously, bring your arms and legs to the sides of your body (forming a star).
- Finally, lower your shoulders and head as you return to the starting position.
- Do between 6 and 10 repetitions.
Knees Towards the Chest:
This position acts as a great stretch and beginner point to this routine, or end point.
- Sit on the ground with your legs straight.
- Then, flex your knees and lift them towards your chest.
- Keep your calves parallel to the floor and inhale as you stretch slowly.
- Try to keep your back straight at all times and focus on contracting your abs.
With a consistent routine and proper diet, anyone can achieve better results. Consequently, it’s important to have realistic goals in mind. Don’t make things to simple, but don’t set yourself up for failure.
Finally, don’t be to harsh or critical on yourself. If you are true to yourself and the effort you put forth, you will progress with these asanas.