Fitness

The 11 Best Yoga Poses For Core Strength

Turn that vinyasa flow into your ab day.

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While yoga seems like it's all about flexibility and relaxation, it’s also a great way to build core strength and stability, says yoga teacher Mikah Horn. Read on for the best yoga poses for core strength that’ll hit your abs, obliques, and lower back so you feel stable AF.

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Boat Pose

Yoga pro Janet Parker recommends this move to light up the core.

- Sit on floor, hands behind you for support.

- Put both legs up in the air to create a "V" shape.

- Squeeze your abs.

- Reach your arms up long towards your toes.

- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

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Dancer Pose

Parker also likes this backbend to engage the abs.

- Stand.

- Press left foot into ground.

- Grab right ankle with right hand.

- Reach left arm forward, gaze ahead.

- Push top of right foot back into hand.

- Reach left arm forward, right leg back.

- Hold 3 breaths.

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Triangle Pose

Yoga pro Claire Larson says this move improves posture and core strength.

- Step legs wide.

- Extend arms into “T” shape.

- Stretch front arm forward and down.

- Lift back arm straight up, reach toward ceiling.

- Slight bend in knees.

- Hold for 3 breaths per side.

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Chair Pose

Chair pose helps you develop core awareness, says Larson.

- Stand with feet hip-width apart.

- Press weight back into heels.

- Reach arms overhead or bring to heart.

- Squeeze low belly into spine.

- Tuck tailbone.

- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

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Side Plank

Hit your abs, obliques, and back muscles.

- Start in a plank.

- Bring a supporting hand towards middle of mat.

- Shift feet together.

- Lift other arm to ceiling, rotate chest open.

- Option: Rest bottom knee down.

- Keep hips lifted.

- Hold 3 to 5 breaths per side.

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Halfway Lift

This transitional pose is really good for the core, Larson says.

- Start in a forward fold, feet together.

- Inhale, squeeze naval towards spine.

- Lift torso, pull shoulders back.

- Connect hands to ground, thighs, or block.

- Keep back flat.

- Hold 3 to 5 breaths.

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Warrior III

Balance poses are great core strengtheners, says yoga instructor Joanna Rajendran.

- Do warrior I, back foot grounded.

- Shift weight over front knee.

- Straighten front leg.

- Reach arms forward, lift back leg.

- Engage core to balance.

- Hold for 3 breaths per side.

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Balancing Table Pose

Horn also likes this full-body move.

- On all fours, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips.

- Extend right leg back, toes down.

- Keep hips square.

- Extend left arm, thumb up.

- Drag ribs into spine.

- Stay for 5 to 8 breaths.

- Repeat on other side.

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Knee To Nose

Horn says this move works the deep transverse abdominis muscles.

- From downward dog, extend one leg up high.

- Exhale, draw knee in towards nose.

- Round back, draw abs in.

- Inhale, lift leg back up.

- Exhale, bring knee to nose.

- Do 5 rounds on each side.

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Forearm Plank

ClassPass teacher Erin Archibald is a fan of this pose.

- Start in tabletop.

- Drop to forearms.

- Spread fingertips wide, push elbows into mat.

- Step both feet back to plank.

- Hold for 5 breaths.

- For a challenge, lift hips into dolphin pose.

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Bridge Pose

Yoga pro Jason Deutchman recommends this move, adding that the glutes are part of the core.

- Lie on your back.

- Place feet shoulder-distance apart under knees.

- Engage your core.

- Press into feet, lift hips off mat.

- Pull chin to chest.

- Hold for 5 breaths.