Fire up your core with five of my favourite yoga-inspired core burning drills. Theses exercises will help you build strength, power up your practice and work up a sweat. No need for gym equipment, just roll out your mat and put on some awesome tunes.
If you’re looking to get into arm balances or inversions or hold them for longer, then strong core muscles are key. They also can help alleviate back pain, give you better posture and keep your stomach toned. This fiery sequence builds your core from the inside out. Focus on moving mindfully with your breath and keeping a strong core to help you control the movements. Modifications are there if you need, listen to your body and take it to the level that is right for you.
Main muscles targeted: Deep core, quads, glutes, hamstrings and shoulders.
Starting at the top of the mat, feet slightly wider than hip width and at 45 degree angles.
Exhale and slowly sit the hips down towards the mat into a ‘yogi squat’. Keep the chest lifted and the core engaged.
Place the hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder distance apart.
Jump the feet back to plank and then jump straight back into the yogi squat (keeping the core strong and a gentle bend in the elbows). Option to modify to step the feet instead of jumping if required.
Inhale and pushing through the balls of the feet and engaging the glutes, come back up to stand.
Repeat 10 times.
Chair to Warrior 3
Main muscles targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, deltoid
Starting in chair pose, sitting the hips back and squeezing the glutes.
Inhale lifting the right knee up towards the chest.
Exhale sending the right foot back behind you, folding the torso forward until the right leg is fully extended behind you, leg fully engaged and hips square to the floor.
Straighten the left leg, pressing firmly into the big toe and spreading the weight over the whole foot.
Keep the heart open and core strong.
Inhale the right knee forwards bending into the left leg and returning to one legged chair with hands at the heart centre.
Exhale returning the foot to the floor and arms above the head into one-legged chair.
Repeat 10 times and then switch legs and repeat.
Down Dog Flow
Main muscles targeted – core, quads, hamstrings, calves, lats and shoulders.
Starting in downward facing dog, lifting the sit bones up, keeping the spine long and moving the chest towards the thighs. Draw the heels towards the ground and actively press into the whole hand, externally rotating the upper arms widening the shoulder blades away from the spine. Engage the core by hugging navel to spine, keeping the ribs drawing in.
Inhale and reach the right leg to the sky pointing through the toes engaging the glute and keeping the hips square. This is “three legged dog”.
As you exhale pull the right knee in towards the nose and hinge the weight forward so the shoulders are over the wrists. Push the ground away, rounding the back and keeping the core super strong.
Inhale back to three legged dog and repeat 10 times.
Return to downward facing dog and repeat with the left leg.
Side Plank Leg Lifts
Main muscles targeted – Glute med, external obliques, deep core and shoulders
Begin in side plank left arm to the sky. Stack the hips and draw the waist upwards, pushing firmly through the right hand to stabilise the shoulder. Option to drop the lower knee if required.
Keep the hips facing forwards and stacked as you inhale and lift the top leg up and exhale to lower the leg back down.
Repeat for 10 reps then repeat on the opposite side.
Main muscles targeted – deep core, deltoids, hip flexors.
Start on your back with the arms raised up, fingers pointing to the ceiling.
Bring the knees up over the hips, bent at 90-degrees with the shins parallel to the floor.
Engage the core. There should only be a small gap between the lower back and the floor which should stay the same size throughout this exercise.
Exhale and at the same time, slowly lower the right arm backwards and the left leg forwards and down extending the knee, until they are both hovering off the floor. Keep the core strongly engaged making sure the lower back isn’t overarching and the stomach is not doming. If it is too intense. Drop one foot to the ground and do one side at a time.
Inhale and slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite side.
Repeat 10 times on each side.
By Health and Fitness Specialist, Hannah Barrett
NB: Always contact your GP or health practitioner before embarking on any new fitness regime, especially during or straight after pregnancy.
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