Will Yoga Give Me Abs?

If you have ever been to a yoga class, especially a hot yoga class, and broke a sweat, you were probably shocked to find out that this seemingly simple rotation of poses is quite the exercise. Yoga is a practice that can both center your mind and is a form of exercise. Will it give me abs, though?

Yoga can give you abs if you frequently and repetitively practice poses that activate your core abdominal muscles. These poses include different variations of the plank pose and the boat pose that require you to tighten your core as you hold up your own body weight.

If you want to learn more about how the practice of yoga can give you abs and help you target the extra weight around your stomach, this article will talk about how yoga can help with that and how it is a great way to strengthen and tone your body.

Can Yoga Give Me a Flat Stomach?

Essentially, yoga can give you a flat stomach so long as you also make proper health-related choices outside of yoga.

Many different yoga poses will directly target your abdominal muscles, and as a result, will help you burn calories through the use of activated muscles. Also helping you strengthen and tone your core, which can result in also giving you abs.

Additionally, many other yoga poses also indirectly target your stomach as you are required to hold your core tight to stay balanced throughout your practice.

How Does Yoga Give Me a Flat Stomach?

Using yoga as a regular form of exercise and ensuring that you incorporate several different poses that target your core will likely show results such as burning fat, toning your stomach, and potentially giving you abs.

Some of the best poses for targeting your core and helping burn muscles in that area are:

  • The Plank: This pose is done by utilizing all the muscles in your core so you can hold yourself up. To do it, you start in a tabletop pose, bring your wrists right under your shoulders, push your feet out behind as if you were doing a push-up and hold yourself up. This also requires you to engage your arm and leg muscles.
  • The Dolphin Pose: This pose helps strengthen your core by forcing you to tighten it while holding it. It is a variation of the forward-facing downward dog, except you are down on your forearms instead of balancing on your hands.
  • Star Plank (variation of a Side Plank): This pose helps target your obliques or most commonly referred to as your “love handles.” To do this pose, you can move out of the above plank position and shift all your weight onto one side as you transition into a side plank and extend your one arm and leg up into the air into a star shape. You can also drop the bottom knee down to meet the other if this is too hard at first.
  • Twisting Boat Pose: This pose is killer when it comes to targeting the abdominal muscles as it requires strength and stamina from all of the muscles in your core. You start on your seat bone and will bend your legs slightly and lift them so your calves are parallel to the floor. You extend your arms straight out in front to form a boat pose. To feel the burn in your core and help target the stomach, twist your core from side to side.

If you want to follow a guided yoga session that is meant to target your stomach and help work your core, you can watch one here:

How Does Yoga Help Strengthen and Tone?

The practice of yoga comes with many benefits, including helping you strengthen and tone your body. Depending on the style of yoga you choose to practice, and the moves you choose to incorporate, all will determine which parts of your body will be worked the most.

Between the hundreds of styles of yoga poses that exist, there is one that will help target almost every part of the body as you are required to hold up your own bodyweight or defy gravity for long periods. For the most part, though, many different styles of yoga will help you build strength and tone the following parts of your body:

  • Core: Plenty of yoga poses exist that target every different abdominal muscle, including the ones that can give you a six-pack. These include side-planks and boat pose. Overall, though, yoga tends to require you to squeeze your core tight in many moves, contributing to building strength and toning your core.
  • Arms: While there aren’t always dumbbells in yoga, although some strength classes may have you use them, you still gain some serious arm strength by using gravity or your own body weight to strengthen them. Planks are a great pose to get them to work.
  • Legs: Many yoga poses require you to have adequate leg strength as you will frequently be bending with them and needing to balance your body weight for a lot of the session. Poses, including the warrior, require you to use your hips and quadriceps.
  • Glutes: Many of the yoga poses that help strengthen your legs also help strengthen and tone your glutes, including the warrior pose and different squat or bridge variations.
  • Back: On top of yoga poses helping relieve back pain, they can also help target some muscles you have in your back, as you will also use it for many of the poses that you hold up your own body weight.
  • Shoulders: In addition to helping you build your back muscles, poses such as handstands and side planks will also help build and tone your shoulder muscles.

Through the many movements you go through and poses you hold, you will constantly switch where you are holding up your body weight and which muscles are being activated. However, the intensity of the exercise you are getting will vary and depend on the style you choose, which is discussed below.

Which Style of Yoga Is Best for Exercising?

Each yoga style is slightly different, and some more than others tend to be the best for using as an exercise that helps to strengthen and tone different parts of your body.

The best styles for getting a good workout include:

  • Power Yoga: One of the best forms of yoga for building stronger muscles.
  • Bikram Yoga: This type of yoga is a form of hot yoga that consists of a set of poses. It is great for helping you work harder as you are in a heated environment.
  • Hatha Yoga: This style of yoga is great for establishing strength and flexibility that altogether promote improved balance.

All in all, you are likely to get a decent core workout no matter which yoga class you take. However, if you are lucky, the yoga studio you go to may even offer ones specifically for strengthening muscles, such as a Strength & Conditioning class, which usually means you will be burning your abdominal muscles.

Conclusion

Yoga is a great way to help target your stomach and improve your core muscles. You can develop abs without ever needing to go to a gym if you do it often and incorporate plenty of poses that activate your abdominal muscles, such as different plank variations and the boat pose.

By choosing the right poses and holding them, yoga proves to be a great alternative to exercise and is an amazing way to help you flatten your stomach and strengthen your core in a relaxing way.

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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