Beginner yoga poses may look easy at first glance, but after holding your body still and feeling your muscles burn, you'll realize these poses are the ticket to rocking your swimsuit. Here are seven beginner yoga poses to strengthen and tone your bikini body.
Inversions already work your core, since the ab and back muscles are what help to hold the lower body steady and balanced. To work your core even more, here's a strength-training yoga move that will tone your entire torso as well as your upper body — you just might give up traditional crunches forever!
- Begin on your hands and knees. Lower your elbows to the floor and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinkie in front of the other pinkie, forming a semicircle with your hands.
- Place the back of your head against your palms, and the top of your head on the mat, so your skull is vertical with the floor. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk you feet toward your face as far as you can.
- Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift both legs into the air, coming into Bound Headstand.
- Stay in Headstand for five breaths, relaxing the jaw as well as the shoulders away from the ears. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, slowly lower both feet toward the mat so they are parallel with the floor. Hold here for another five breaths.
- Inhale and then exhale to raise the legs back up into Headstand. Repeat four more times.
Up for a bigger challenge? See an advanced variation after the break!
Nina Dobrev's trainer Steve Moyer told us that the actress "likes to hit the abs." And it shows! Here are three of her favorite moves to strengthen and sculpt your midsection. We love the creative variation on the traditional plank. Watch the video to learn the exercises, and then try them on your own.
The infamous lower-belly "pooch" plagues plenty of women, but finding the right moves to target this problematic area is easy. Whether you're a barre buff, yoga star, or gym rat, there's an exercise on this list to suit your taste.
For anyone who grew up dancing, you'll be well acquainted with the ab scissors that rock your lower abs while lifting your booty:
- Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms so they're against the sides of your body with your palms pressing into the floor, or bend your elbows and place your palms under the back of your head. Bend your knees and draw them into your ribs. This will make it easier to pull your navel in toward your spine and actively press your lower back flat on the ground.
- Lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling, continuing to engage your abs and pressing your lower back into the ground. Keeping your core strong, slowly lower your right leg down toward the ground until it is a few inches above. Then slowly scissor your legs, lifting your right leg back up as you lower your left leg down toward the ground.
- You may not feel this until you do it for a while, so repeat this move for a total of 20 to 30 times on each leg (or more if you're still not feeling it).
Beauties who love a good ballet barre workout will love the high curl:
- Sitting up, place an exercise ball between your upper thighs. Pull behind your knees with your fingertips as you inch your heels closer to your seat.
- Then roll your lower back down toward the floor, and use your abs to lift your chest closer to the ball.
- Complete 15 to 20 reps.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
For all the yoginis out there, a few rounds of Boat Pose will challenge your strong core and tighten up those lower abs:
- Begin sitting on your mat. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your tush. Keep the spine long and straighten the legs as much as you can without rounding the back. If this is too hard, then keep the knees bent — you're still working your core.
- Perform six rounds of Navasana, holding the pose for five breaths each. Or challenge yourself and try to hold for 30 seconds to one minute without a break!
Keep reading for one more all-ab exercise.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Shape here on POPSUGAR Fitness.
There's nothing like bikini season to motivate you to trim down and tone up your mid-section. Luckily, these seven moves can be done without any gym equipment at all, just another summer essential: a beach towel. So grab some terry, and get ready to sport your favorite two-piece.
How it works: For best results, do these moves as a circuit (back to back with little rest in between), repeating the entire series 2 to 3 times in total, after a cardio session or within your strength routine up to four non-consecutive days per week.
You'll need: A beach towel (or full length bath towel)
Refresh your workout by adding some dance and yoga to your sculpting routine with these five signature moves from Yoga Booty Ballet. The founders of Swerve Studios created this ultimate hybrid workout fusing yoga, cardio dance, and booty sculpting. These moves are so fun you won't realize how much your abs and glutes are working until you're done. Watch this video to learn a handful of exercises perfect for your home workout.
There are tons of health benefits linked to a healthy sex life including better sleep, stress relief, and a stronger immune system, but you can reap the benefits of sex without actually doing the deed. While the big "O" is usually experienced behind closed doors, there are many women experiencing it in the gym.
No, I'm not referring to a naked yoga class. This astounding fitness phenomenon is known as the coregasm, and it can happen anytime, anywhere. Just as the name implies, women can experience orgasms when working their core muscles, whether they're doing crunches, strengthening leg lifts, or backbends in a yoga class (talk about an enlightening experience!). And even better news? It's actually pretty common.
It happens when women tap into the muscles in their deep core, quads, or thighs. They end up automatically squeezing the pelvic muscles, which triggers nerve impulses, and voilà — a coregasm is born. One squeeze won't necessarily work, but if you're doing many repetitions that much stimulation can cause intense pleasure. After experiencing your first coregasm, you'll see crunches in a whole new light, and if that doesn't get you to the gym, then I don't know what will!
Push-ups are one of the most effective exercises to target your upper body, and mixing in some variations to the basic move will help tone your abs, legs, and butt. Here's a circuit workout combining six different dynamic variations of the basic push-up. If you're unsure how to do each one, check out the description below.
Basic Push-Ups: Come into plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet hips-width-distance apart. Keep your core engaged as you bend your elbows out to the sides, lowering your torso toward the ground, then straighten the arms. Do regular push-ups for 30 seconds.
Wide-Arm Push-Ups: Separate your hands so they are slightly wider than shoulder-width-distance apart, and do 30 seconds of push-ups in this position.
T Push-Ups: From plank position, do one regular push-up, but as you reach the top of the push-up position, lift your right arm up toward the ceiling, stacking your shoulders and creating a T-shape with your body. Release your right arm back to plank position, do another push-up, and as you reach the top of the push-up position, lift your left arm up toward the ceiling. Alternate like this for 30 seconds.
One Elbow In, One Elbow Out: From plank position, as you lower, bend one elbow behind you, brushing it against the side of your torso, and bend one elbow out to the side like you're doing a regular push-up. Repeat push-ups like this for 30 seconds on each side.
One-Legged Push-Ups: From plank position, lift your right foot a few inches off the ground. Keep that thigh engaged, and do 30 seconds of push-ups in this position and then 30 more seconds with the left foot lifted.
Backbend Push-Ups: Roll over onto your back, coming into Wheel Pose. As you exhale, bend your elbows and lower the top of your head toward the floor, stopping before it touches. Then inhale to straighten your arms, coming back into Wheel. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Complete this four-minute circuit four times. If your upper body isn't strong enough to do push-ups with straight legs, then do this circuit with your knees resting on the ground — you're still working your upper body.
If that bit of flesh that hangs over your jeans is nagging you to work out, we have a handful of moves to help tone your muffin top. Along with regular cardio, these five exercises will also get your heart rate pumping to burn calories and work all the muscles in your middle. Press play and bid farewell to your love handles.