Beginner Core Workout: 20-Minute Yoga Workout for Killer Abs

I never realized how sore your abs could be from practicing yoga until I actually started practicing.

But, I never really focused on ab workouts or my abs in yoga in the beginning. At least, until I was told how important it was to focus on strengthening your core to support your spine.

So, I started looking for a beginner core workout that I could do that would help build strength in my core muscles.

Beginner Core Workout: 20-Minute Yoga Workout for Killer Abs
Beginner Core Workout: 20-Minute Yoga Workout for Killer Abs

Did you know that a lot of ab workouts don’t really target all areas of your abs?

Doing core training doesn’t have to take long.

In fact, a lot of HIIT workouts incorporate ab workouts into their routines. Most HIIT workouts last anywhere from 4 to 30-minutes.

1 (Mountain Pose) Tadasana

Mountain pose is one of the foundational poses in yoga, and most yoga sequences start in Mountain Pose.

Tadasana

Benefits

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Firms abdomen and buttocks
  • Relieves sciatica
  • Reduces flat feet

To Practice:

Place your feet together with your big toes touching. If this feels uncomfortable you can separate your feet a few inches.

Lift your toes up off the ground and try to ground all 4 corners of your feet down on the grounds. Once you feel all corners touching lower your toes gently back to the ground. Start to engage your leg muscles by drawing your kneecaps up towards your belly (obvs they won’t reach that high but you get what I mean).

Engage your core and breathe deeply as your arms are at your side. You can place them on your legs, face your palms forward or hold them outward a little like in the photo.

Time : Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) for 1 full minute.

2  (Forward Fold) Uttanasana

This pose might be one of those where you ask, “how does this pose help to build abs?”

And, honestly, most people don’t practice this pose right. They’ll fold forward but won’t engage their core.

Uttanasana

Benefits

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips
  • Strengthens the thighs and knees
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces fatigue and anxiety
  • Relieves headache and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

To Practice:

From Mountain Pose, bring your palms together at the center of your chest and on your next inhale reach your arms overhead stretching towards the ceiling. On your exhale, fold forward and try to reach your fingertips towards the ground. Remember to keep your belly pulled towards your spine as you fold deep into the pose.

Keep your legs engaged here as well.

Time : Keep breathing for 1-minute as you stay in this pose.

3 (Plank Pose) Kumbhakasana

Plank is an excellent pose for building strength in your abs, but it also works your arms and shoulders too.

Kumbhakasana

Benefits

  • Strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine
  • Tones the abdomen

To Practice:

From Forward Fold pose bend your knees and place your hands to the ground. Step your feet back into Plank pose and get ready to hold.

If you’re new to Plank or your core strength isn’t that great then this is one of the best ab workouts out there. It works the core by targeting all muscles and not just targeting individual muscle groups.

It can also be one of the hardest ones to keep for long periods of time.

Remember to breathe through any discomfort and try to keep in plank for the full minute.

Time : 1 full minute

4  (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) Chaturanga Dandasana 

Like Plank Pose, Chaturanga is a great pose for strengthening your abdominal muscles.

This pose works your abdomen by you keeping it engaged and because you’re basically balancing on your hands and toes while lowering to the ground.

Chaturanga Dandasana

Benefits

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists
  • Tones the abdomen

To Practice:

From Plank Pose shift your weight forward just a little and slowly lower down until your chest is a few inches off the ground and your upper arm is parallel to the ground.

Try to go between Chaturanga and Plank as little as possible. But, doing push-ups between Chaturanga and Plank can also build strength in your arms and your shoulders too.

Time : 1-minute of holding Chaturanga without having to push back up into Plank.

5 (Downward Facing Dog) Adho Mukha Shavasana

This pose is a lot like Tandasana or Mountain Pose in the fact that it’s a passive core strength builder. It’s also a resting pose and is important to be added to any yoga practice.

Adho Mukha Shavasana

Benefits

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

To Practice:

From Chaturanga push back up into Plank Pose and then push back into Downward Facing Dog.

Either keep your feet hip distance apart or move them closer together. Reach your sitting bones towards the sky and lengthen up the length of your back. At the same time (I know so much to do) press down through your heels and try your best to reach your heels to the ground.

Don’t worry if your heels can’t touch the ground. That.Is.Ok.

Time : Downward Facing Dog for 1-2 minutes.

6 Warrior (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior 1 is another balancing pose that engages many muscled all at once. Nearly all muscles should be actively engaged in this pose to help build strength and stamina.

Keep your breath even as you stay in this pose. It can be easy to want to step back into Downward Dog when your legs start feeling that good burn.

Virabhadrasana I

Benefits

  • Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
  • Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back
  • Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles

To Practice:

Once you’re finished with your Downward Dog pose you need to step your right/left foot forward into a lunge position. Press up into a high lunge position and reach your arms overhead clasping your hands together at the top.

Try to keep your knee from going out over your toes in this position, but try to get your thigh as parallel to the ground as possible. Your back foot should be at a 45-degree angle to keep your hips from being pained.

Shift your hips to be in a straight line and facing forward while simultaneously reaching as high as you can and lengthening through your spine.

Time: 30 seconds to 1-minute.

7 Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

It’s one of the most common yoga poses, which makes getting it right extra important. Check back in with your form this foundational pose.

Upward Facing Dog is a great pose for stretching the front body muscles while engaging the back muscles and glutes.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Benefits

  • Improves posture.
  • Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists.
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen.
  • Firms the buttocks.
  • Stimulates abdominal organs.
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica.
  • Therapeutic for asthma.
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