Amy Dixon, an exercise physiologist and group fitness manager, has created this workout that builds muscle, improves flexibility, and melts away stress. Big bonus: these core yoga poses will fire up your abs.
These moves roll yoga and strength into one neat package. They’re so effective because each exercise calls on your entire core and requires balance (thanks to the yoga moves), so your whole body, not just the targeted muscle, works through its full range of motion. Tackle the moves two non-consecutive days a week and you’ll notice sleeker definition – and a calmer mindset – within four weeks.
Lateral Bend And Reach
This core yoga pose works the core, shoulders, hamstrings and inner thighs.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet about 1.2 metres apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Raise your right arm straight up above your shoulder, palm facing in (A). Brace your abs and bend to the left, lowering the left dumbbell to your left ankle (B). Rise back up, keeping your right arm overhead. Do 12 to 15 reps, then repeat on the other side. Do three sets, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.
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This core yoga pose works the core, shoulders, pecs, lats, back and hamstrings.
Stand a bit behind a Bosu. Bend into downward dog, placing your palms about 12 centimetres apart on the dome and lifting your hips towards the ceiling (A). Place your right hand a metre in front of the Bosu and place your right knee on it. Follow with your left hand and left knee (B). Do a push-up (C). Step back into downward dog. That’s one rep. Do two sets of 8 to 10, resting for 30 seconds between sets.
Rock The Boat
Works entire core.
Draw your knees towards your chest, lift your head and grab your legs below the knees (A). Rock up and balance on your glutes (B). Keeping your back long and chest lifted, straighten your legs and extend your arms (C). Hold for three seconds, then tuck in and roll back to start. That’s one rep. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.
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Dive & Roll
Works back and glutes.
Place a weighted bar half a metre in front of a Bosu. Lie face down with your hips and belly on the Bosu, feet hip-width apart on the floor. Place your palms on the bar and lift your legs as high as possible (A). Slowly roll the bar towards the Bosu as you lower your legs towards the floor (B). Roll back to start. That’s one rep. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.
Keep your neck in line with your spine throughout the move.
Crescent Lunge and Row
Works back, glutes, hamstrings and quads.
Grab a three-to-five kilogram dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. Lunge forwards with your left leg until your left knee is bent at 90 degrees. Lower your torso as close as possible to your left knee, as you raise your left arm out to the side to shoulder height, palm down. Allow the dumbbell to hang naturally (A). Row the dumbbell straight up until your right elbow passes your torso (B). That’s one rep. Continue rowing, without standing up, for 12 to 15 reps. Return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one set. Do three sets, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.
Keep your rowing arm close to your side.
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Works core, triceps, glutes, hamstrings and quads.
Grab a pair of two-to-four kilogram dumbbells and stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. Rest your right toe on the floor about half a metre behind you (A). Bend forwards from the hips and raise your right leg until your body forms a T. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells directly under your shoulders, palms facing in (B). Keeping your upper arms still, extend the dumbbells straight back (C). Curl them back to your shoulders. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 without lowering your leg. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Works shoulders, biceps, glutes, hamstrings, and inner and outer thighs.
Grab a pair of two-to-four kilogram dumbbells and stand with your feet about a metre apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees and, hips and shoulders facing forward, bend your left knee at 90 degrees. Extend your arms to shoulder height (A). With your upper arms parallel to the floor, do a bicep curl, bringing the dumbbells to your shoulders (B). Slowly re-extend your arms. Do 15 to 20 reps; rest for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.