Is building a flat stomach or six-pack part of your fitness goals? If it is, you’re in the same boat as thousands of people. A flat, defined core is often viewed as a marker of physical fitness, as it exhibits your discipline and dedication to your fitness regime.
But how do you get there? Can yoga give you the abs you’re hoping for? While yoga can send you in the right direction, it’s not quite as simple as that. We’re here to explain, so stick around to learn more!
Can Yoga Help Flatten My Stomach?
Yoga can help flatten your stomach by strengthening your core. However, without changing other aspects of your daily routine, there’s a good chance you won’t see visible results. You might notice your core getting stronger as specific movements become more manageable, but the visual effects might continue to be ever-elusive.
So, while yoga can help flatten your belly with the help of a good diet, it won’t get you to the ripped six-pack famous in Hollywood by itself.
Will Yoga By Itself Give Me Abs?
Unfortunately, yoga alone rarely gives the shredded 6-pack you might be looking for. Although core training is a piece of the puzzle, a strong core doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have cut abs. So, to work toward those Baywatch-like results, you’ll also need to focus on other aspects of your life.
You can do hours of yoga in your spare time, but your work in the kitchen can easily dissolve your best weight-loss efforts. If you’re eating in a calorie surplus regularly, you’ll likely find the number on the scale continues to rise. Since you need to lose fat to expose your abs, this isn’t ideal.
So, be sure your diet matches your goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, focus on a slight calorie deficit (to match your expectations). Remember to incorporate plenty of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to power your body through your workouts.
And don’t forget to stay hydrated!
Other Types Of Training
Although a routine yoga practice and a healthy diet can send you in the right direction, you might not see results as fast as you’d like. So, to accelerate your progress, consider adding cardio and weight training to your routine.
These two types of exercise are a powerful combination when it comes to shedding fat and dropping the number on the scale. You can combine various types of resistance training with high-intensity interval training, which can work wonders for your fitness goals.
There are various workout programs out there that incorporate both types of training, so if you’re unfamiliar with these training styles, look for a guide. However, work within your limits if you add cardio or resistance training to your day.
Avoid doing too much every day, as this will likely lead to burnout, exhaustion, and possible injuries. When you start adding to your fitness regime, take it slow and listen to your body.
Plenty of sleep is an essential component of healthy living, and while it might not seem important in the weight loss scene, it’s vital. Numerous studies have demonstrated the correlation between a lack of sleep and decreased physical activity, poorer food choices, increased hunger and calorie intake, and weight gain.
So, as you work toward your six-pack goals, ensure you get plenty of sleep. Seven to nine hours of sleep each night is ideal for most adults.
How Long Does It Take To Build A Core With Yoga?
With a consistent, healthy diet and exercise routine, you should see results after eight to 12 weeks of work. While this might seem like a long time, it’s important to remember that you’re asking your body to build muscle, shed fat, and display lean definition.
This takes time. For some folks, it might be as short as eight weeks, but for others, it might take up to 12 weeks before the results begin to show.
Your progress hinges on the type of exercise you’re doing. For example, if you focus on strenuous yoga practices, like hot yoga or power yoga, you’ll likely see results faster than someone doing gentle, restorative yoga classes. If you add resistance training and cardio to your routine, you’ll see results even quicker, so it all depends on your exercise routine.
Of course, you’ll need to keep up the excellent work in the kitchen, ensuring you consume a healthy, balanced diet. On top of that, prioritize good sleep, as this can affect your progress.
Which Yoga Is Best For Abs?
Abdominal strength is a cornerstone of many types of yoga, as many classes incorporate challenging flows and sequences requiring core strength and endurance. The best kind of yoga to train your core varies, although most classes include some type of core work. So, to simplify things, let’s look at a few of the best yoga poses for your core that you might do in your yoga class.
One of the best exercises to train your core all the way around? Everybody’s favorite: planks! Holding high (weight distributed between hands and feet) and low (weight distributed between forearms and feet) planks is an excellent way to target your core.
The beauty of the plank is it targets all of the muscles in your core, including:
- Transverse abdominis (deeper core muscles associated with stabilization)
- Rectus abdominis (superficial core muscles that make up the 6-pack)
- Internal oblique (muscles of the side associated with hip and back stability)
- External oblique (located above the internal oblique)
So, if you’re hoping to train your core, planks are a great way to do it. Bonus: planks also incorporate muscles of the back, upper body (particularly the shoulders), and lower legs, so it’s almost a full-body exercise!
Once you’ve mastered the plank, switch things up with the side plank. This variation is similar to the low plank, but instead of remaining square with both forearms planted, you shift your body to one side. Your weight rests on one forearm, your entire body facing that direction, feet stacked (or splayed) for balance.
This pose targets the obliques, as they’re majorly responsible for keeping your body in a straight line. And although it targets the obliques in particular, it also works through various muscles throughout the body, including the glutes, back, and abdominal muscles.
Extended Boat Pose
The boat pose is a challenging exercise that forces your core to level up. Your body forms a “V” shape in this pose, with your bottom resting on the ground. You must engage your core to hold your body in this position, so it’s an excellent pose for the front of your core.
To start, sit on the ground with your legs in front of you, hands resting on the floor behind your hips. Lean back to a 45-degree angle, then lift your legs off the ground to create the “V” shape. For a slightly easier variation, place your hands just behind your hips to support your upper body.
If you feel comfortable, lift your hands off the floor and reach straight to the sides of your thighs. This eliminates the weight distribution through your hands, forcing your core to hold your body in this position.
If the extended boat pose is too challenging, bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle with your shins parallel to the ground. Again, place your hands behind your hips for extra support. When you’re ready, slowly add intensity by lifting your hands from the floor and straightening your legs.
Your core steals the spotlight in many balance-related poses, and it’s no different with this pose. In Warrior III, your core must remain taught and engaged to stabilize your body and keep it steady.
In this posture, balance on one foot with your upper body folded forward to create an “L.” Extend your non-supporting leg behind you, keeping the foot flexed. Raise this leg enough so it becomes level with your upper body, creating a “T.” Keep the knee of the supporting leg slightly bent to avoid overextending the joint.
Hold the pose for three long breaths, then switch to the other side. As you hold the pose, you’ll probably feel a burn throughout your body as you’re balancing. However, ensure you keep your core tight to maintain a stable form and protect your lower back.
Lotus Hip Lift
This deceptively simple-looking pose is much more complicated than it seems! In the lotus hip lift, you start in a seated position with your legs crossed in front of you or in the full lotus if your body can handle it. Your hands press into the ground on either side of your hips, and when you’re ready, you push through your hands to lift your entire body off the ground.
Since you’re holding your weight off the ground in a static position, you’ll feel the burn through various muscle groups, primarily your core. It’s an excellent exercise for strengthening your core and progressing, although it can be considered advanced, especially for beginners.