I work with CrossFit, Yoga, and personal training, and there’s nothing I hear the most than “How can you do CrossFit and Yoga? The two are so different.” Its true, they are very different, and yet it’s the fact that they are so different which makes them so completely perfect for me. Over time though I have been able to study enough with the movements to see how the two are similar and compliment each other.
There are so many ways to exercise the core and yoga does a fantastic job of working the core from all angles, whether you are looking for stability, lateral and oblique strength, a 6 pack, or low back strength. Yoga puts you through a rage of isometric stretches and calisthenics that take your entire core through some intensive workouts!
A staticly held side plank is great for building stability in your oblique’s. This may be the additional stability you need steady out an over head squat.
Starting in plank, shift onto your right side, taking the left hand and foot up into the air. Then go to the other side.
These will help buildup the muscle in your oblique’s, which helps with Toes to Bar, and may be the weakness in any shoulder to overhead movement.
Side plank on your right, stacking the left hip over the right and left foot over the right, let your hips sag, and then lift them up high. Do this for a few reps and then switch to the other side.
Crow itself can be great, but getting into the arm balance may be tricky so there are a few variations to this which each promote a static crunch. Regardless of whether you are on your back doing this or in the air, anytime you hold a crunch for a period of time, you will start to feel it quickly.
Level1: Lie on your back and tuck your knees up into your chest. Take your arms up hands flat as if they were planted to the ceiling, then make sure your knees are touching your arms and hold here.
Level 2: Hands are on the floor for an arm balance, take your knees to the armpits, and press them in tight. Shift your weight forward, and lift the toes up so you are balancing on your hands, hold here.
Hand to Thigh Crunch
This can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. This is something that everyone can do in order to get into the static crunch and get all the same benefits from a crow on your back, but this allows you to intensify or modify as much as needed.
Lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor; take your hands to your thighs. Lifting the feet up off the floor, press your thighs into your hands. Begin to press back with your hands until you feel some heat building up in your abdomen.
Table Top Balance
Planks are great don’t get me wrong but in a plank the entire body is being used so much that sometimes it is hard to focus just on the core. Taking a tabletop position allows you to focus way more energy on the core, and can incorporate balance as well. This helps increase low back strength, abdominal strength, and core stability.
Hands under the shoulders knees under the hips, bring the knees together. Lift the right leg up and the left hand up. Hold here and then switch sides.
A traditional plank is great for all around core stability, and increasing strength not only in your core, but your entire body really. This type of balance is what you need when it comes to muscleups, any over head lift, and getting into a good squat or dead lift position.
Hands under the shoulders, knees up, hips stable. If you have wrist issues, take this to your forearms.
Want to intensify your plank, make it a low plank. This low pushup position you will hold, will be adding to your upper body strength while keeping the core engaged increasing your cardio, endurance, and pump!
From plank, bend the elbows about 90° and hold.
You have never seen yourself shake until you do boat. If you want to take your abs to the next level, try holding this bad boy for 1 minute intervals. Keeping the levers long by extending the legs straight and back flat is really the key to this. Plus the flatter you hold your back, the more low back action you will benefit from.
Sitting on the floor knees bent feet on the floor; straighten your back. Rock back slowly lifting the feet off the mat, until you are balancing on your bum. Straighten out the legs and try to lift them as high as you can without curving the back. Lift your hands up and hold.
Your core is not just abs, your low back is a huge part of your core, and something often over looked. Cobras are kind of like a modified superman.
Laying facedown on your belly inhale and lift the chest up. Do not press yourself up with your hands, just use the low back. Hold here.
Want to get more out of your boat pose. This variation is not necessarily harder, but it activates more in the core, by twisting while holding. This pose also incorporate some hips opening as well.
Take your right foot to your left hip. Keeping it there twist to the right until your right hand reaches the right foot again, and grab hold. Now lift the left leg up in the air and then the left hand. Hold here.
Legs up the Wall
This is supposed to be a super relaxing and restorative pose, but if you take the wall away, this becomes a killer ab workout and a great hamstring stretch all in one.
Start laying on your back. Lift the legs up straight, flatten the feet, and press the hips into the ground. Keep the legs active and straight the entire time. Lift the hands up too now keeping the shoulders on the ground.