scottcraft

Strengthening abs?

30 posts in this topic

I need to focus on ab/core strength in addition to my regular yoga practice. What do you guys do for core or what do you recommend?

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGqw2PFMY34

These videos are pretty good for core. 

In terms of exercises, chatarungas and planks are always a good bet.

Also, going onto a hard floor, taking a blanket under your feet. Start in plank pose and slide your feet towards your chest and back. Maintain the integrity of your plank pose as best you can. This can be pretty intense.

Also doing arm balances/inversions. One of my personal challenges is lifting my body up from a seating position (position like seated forward fold) and attempting to jump back. Here's a video that not only helps you work on more advanced transitions, but also really works your core. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ0n2JxBWzM

Always be sure you are engaging your core. Mostly everything works your core in yoga. Keep the belly in in balances/chair pose and be sure you engage your whole core when doing back exercises like dhanurasana or cobra. 

scottcraft and Hildegard like this

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Thanks for those links! I'll check them out so I can try them tomorrow. I can't do inversions right now, I need to work on upper body strength also. 

afriske likes this

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Not an expert, but the where the legs are isn't as important as the work your abs will get. 
You'll know the abs are working because they'll quickly start yelling at you!

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Try starting with the simple and easier versions. Boat Pose - bend the knees. Dolphin Pose - bend the knees.

There are dozens of muscles in the torso, 'core' muscles. It is important to work all of them to have balance.

Bridge Pose, Locust Pose and Cat Cow (kneeing or seated) are very good to start as well.

I will put something more together when I have a moment.

Hildegard and scottcraft like this

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Try starting with the simple and easier versions. Boat Pose - bend the knees. Dolphin Pose - bend the knees.

There are dozens of muscles in the torso, 'core' muscles. It is important to work all of them to have balance.

Bridge Pose, Locust Pose and Cat Cow (kneeing or seated) are very good to start as well.

I will put something more together when I have a moment.

Thanks! I appreciate the info!

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To get started we need to know where you are at now.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
What other exercise do you do?
Name a few poses that you find comfortable and easy.
Do you go to classes and have a knowledgeable teacher that takes the time to fully explain the poses? If not, do you have a source to fully explain the poses? What is it?
Do you have any injuries?
 
Your original question was how to strengthen your core. You already know ‘core’ strengthening is important for yoga, daily life and health.
These poses are the basics and it is important to learn them properly to continue further and most important not to injure ourselves. For example; if a person practices a pose that focuses too intensely on a specific muscle group and their back is not yet strong enough to properly support that particular version of the pose they can injure their back. Then we hear things like yoga is a terrible thing because I injured myself. Which isn’t true at all, it was just not learned properly and safely.
 
I will be away for a couple of days and will check this topic when I get back and hopefully we can continue.
Edited by Anahata
scottcraft likes this

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I've been practicing yoga around four months. I attend classes twice a week at my gym that are yoga and Pilates. The instructors are ok at explaining the poses, but it's not a setting like I understand a traditional yoga studio is. I'm trying to think of poses we do that are relatively easy, but that's kind of hard to say. Warrior two isn't bad. I can do planks ok, but I can't hold them for a long time. (Assuming I'm doing them correctly). Poses that require hamstring flexibility are pretty tough as my body is still fairly tight all over. I also do YouTube videos at home by Candace and sarahbethyoga. The only other exercise I currently do is the elliptical two or three times a week. 

The areas I struggle with are flexibility, core strength and upper body strength in that order (pretty much the whole body). I'm currently focusing on flexibility when I do yoga at home, but I want to add core workouts and start on my upper body strength. 

EricaKaye likes this

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This is a favorite core strengthening exercise with a block. If you don't have a block you can use something else - a book, a small box. It'll also help w flexibility - so just bend the legs a bit if you need to and you can put the block between the knees. And here's a 20 minute core strengthening flow.

Thanks Candace! I have a block, so I'll try out that exercise. I'll add that video to my playlist also!

YogaByCandace likes this

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I've been practicing yoga around four months. I attend classes twice a week ...

It looks like you have a good start. You have some classes to go to and videos that you like. It is important to have something that you like so you do it, instead of dread it and then not do it. All these general types will give a good balance for strengthening your entire torso and increasing flexibility. We should think of our core as our entire torso not just one muscle group, the ‘abs’.
 
These are a couple of beginner core videos.
These will be a little easier to get started. Then try something more challenging when ready. Modify the poses to make them work for you. If you are not sure of the modifications look them up or ask us in a new topic. We all love helping others with yoga, it is kind of the yoga thing to do.
 
With many classes and videos the intention of the video is to have something to follow along. Putting the poses together in a sequence, a nice teacher to follow :). They are not really meant to thoroughly teach individual poses. It is assumed that the person following the class or video already mostly knows the basics.
 
The one main thing I see that you are missing is learning the individual poses really well. Don’t try to do this all at once. The full learning of a single pose is very long and involved. If you were to learn one or 2 poses per week that would be plenty and a lot of work. It is actually most important to learn the most basic poses really well. The more complicated poses simply build on the basics.
 
Go to this link http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/ Type in the name of a pose into the search in the upper right corner. There is also a search down lower in the center of the page try both for different results. Start with the easiest poses and don’t skip any. For example type ‘bridge’, do not type the word pose behind bridge. And you will get a page like this http://www.yogajournal.com/?s=bridge Read and practice a few of the articles for each separate pose. Learning the poses really well will give you much more benefit now and in the future. You will understand the purpose of the pose learning this way. I like to give links to the Yoga Journal because they have checks and balances to make sure they are giving good information. There are other good sources as well. A random search may not be good information.
 
If you need more just ask.
yogafire, Hildegard, Kerri and 1 other like this

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It looks like you have a good start. You have some classes to go to and videos that you like. It is important to have something that you like so you do it, instead of dread it and then not do it. All these general types will give a good balance for strengthening your entire torso and increasing flexibility. We should think of our core as our entire torso not just one muscle group, the ‘abs’.
 
These are a couple of beginner core videos.
These will be a little easier to get started. Then try something more challenging when ready. Modify the poses to make them work for you. If you are not sure of the modifications look them up or ask us in a new topic. We all love helping others with yoga, it is kind of the yoga thing to do.
 
With many classes and videos the intention of the video is to have something to follow along. Putting the poses together in a sequence, a nice teacher to follow :). They are not really meant to thoroughly teach individual poses. It is assumed that the person following the class or video already mostly knows the basics.
 
The one main thing I see that you are missing is learning the individual poses really well. Don’t try to do this all at once. The full learning of a single pose is very long and involved. If you were to learn one or 2 poses per week that would be plenty and a lot of work. It is actually most important to learn the most basic poses really well. The more complicated poses simply build on the basics.
 
Go to this link http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/ Type in the name of a pose into the search in the upper right corner. There is also a search down lower in the center of the page try both for different results. Start with the easiest poses and don’t skip any. For example type ‘bridge’, do not type the word pose behind bridge. And you will get a page like this http://www.yogajournal.com/?s=bridge Read and practice a few of the articles for each separate pose. Learning the poses really well will give you much more benefit now and in the future. You will understand the purpose of the pose learning this way. I like to give links to the Yoga Journal because they have checks and balances to make sure they are giving good information. There are other good sources as well. A random search may not be good information.
 
If you need more just ask.

Thanks for the information! You are correct about the poses. I find a get more detailed instructions from the YouTube videos I watch than the class i attend. I attribute that to the nature and format of the class. I have found a yoga studio in town and I'm going to try it out next week. I won't be able to go often, but I'm going to try to supplement my usual class this way. 

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I like planks for core and there are plenty of variations so you never get bored ;) Here is a link with 47 (!!) variations of plank exercises: 

http://greatist.com/move/plank-variations-for-core-strength

Boat pose is a favorite,  as others have mentioned. Again, lots of variations as you move from beginner to more advanced options as you get stronger. 

I also like Russian twists/Mason twists (with or without holding a weight) and those lovely leg drops (double or single leg) which are great for the lower abs and also make you feel like your abs are ON FIRE! I love the exercise Candace shared, I have never tried with a block though. I use one of those big exercise balls. The kids like to try to smack the ball out of my feet while I'm doing it (no fun for mom) so I'm thinking the block may be a better option! lol!  

yogafire and scottcraft like this

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Wall sits :angry:

Yeah, angry face! Me, too. I was working on them primarily to strengthen my quads to prevent knee pain, and then in class one day, the teacher asked us to put a block between our shins. Now that definitely activated my core!

EricaKaye, Jasmine and Kerri like this

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Well you guys lucked out! My son turned nine today, so with all the birthday activities I got home too late to do mean things to my core. It's on tomorrow though!

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This is a favorite core strengthening exercise with a block. If you don't have a block you can use something else - a book, a small box. It'll also help w flexibility - so just bend the legs a bit if you need to and you can put the block between the knees. And here's a 20 minute core strengthening flow.

I just did the pushup party (couldn't quite complete it) and the block exercise for ten reps. You are not a nice woman!!!! Just kidding!

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