Friday, June 5, 2009

Yoga For Beach Ready Abs

When I hear the word ‘yoga’ I think of a means for reducing stress, relaxing and increasing flexibility. However, yoga is also a terrific means for increasing core strength.

Hollywood trainer Desiree Bartlett (Alicia Silverstone is a client) has been kind enough to provide Catapult Fitness Blog readers with some direction in regards to key poses for strengthening the core. The good news – not even one crunch is necessary!

If your cable station carries Exercise TV, check out some of Desi's fabulous yoga workouts!

Yoga for Core Training
By Desi Bartlett M.S., CPT, YT

Core training is an important component to any fitness regimen. Maintaining a strong midsection assists with many everyday activities, including postural alignment, improved balance, and greater freedom in functional activity (e.g.picking up your kids).

Most people do not associate Yoga with a super strong core, but the practice of Yoga can in fact, dramatically improve your belly and low back strength. Yoga is associated with longer deeper holds in a posture. So instead of doing 3 sets of 15 crunches, you might hold a posture, for 10-15 breaths.

This sustained isometric contraction can have amazing results for more than 1 muscle group. So for example, if you sustain a pose like Navasana (Boat pose, see picture) for 10-15 breaths, the main focus is the rectus abdominus (your 6 pack muscles).

Additionally, the oblique muscles are assisting, so your waist muscles are very active. Lastly, because you are leaning back in the pose, you are also working the erector spinae- the lower back muscles.

This one posture trains your entire core!

Don't forget that it is important to stretch the muscles that were the primary focus in any posture. In Yoga this is referred to pose and counter pose. So for example, after you have worked the rectus abdominus, you would then practice a back bend to stretch out that musculature. This is part of the reason why so many Yogis maintain a long and lean appearance.

A great counter stretch for Navasana (Boat Pose) is a variation of Vasistasana (side plank) that moves into a backbend (see picture). Begin in side plank, with one hand and one foot on the ground. Walk the top foot behind you and stretch the top arm back. This posture will stretch your entire belly and improve low back strength. It is a lot easier than it looks!

For more ideas on core training through the practice of Yoga, log onto and purchase a copy of 'Better Belly Yoga,' this is appropriate for all levels.

Desiree Bartlett M.S., CPT, has been teaching health and wellness for over 17 years. Her innovative approach to teaching is to tap into one's inner joy and let movement be an outer expression of that state. Originally from Chicago, she has earned a degree in Kinesiology, a minor in dance and her Master's degree in Corporate Fitness. Desi holds advanced certifications in Yoga, Personal Training, and Group Fitness. She is also a continuing education provider through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Council for Personal Trainers.

Learn more about Desi and her approach to fitness by visiting

Stay strong.



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2 Responses to "Yoga For Beach Ready Abs"
  1. Soma said...
    June 8, 2009 at 11:51 PM

    I hope this works before I will go outing with my friends. Girls will love my perfect abs. hehehe

  2. Health Care News said...
    June 17, 2009 at 6:47 AM

    Hey thanks for sharing this informative post. It really works? I would like to give it a try. Who would not want that perfect abs.


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