If you’re looking to sculpt some killer abs and increase your core strength, you might first turn to crunches. Hey, it’s a habit. Instead, roll out your yoga mat and try these standing yoga poses to sculpt, tone, and strengthen your side abs—and improve your overall yoga practice. Not only will you see a difference in your body, but more importantly, building those obliques will make you feel stronger, more balanced, and have better mobility.
How yoga works your obliques and side abs
If you’re thinking that Side Plank Pose is the only way to work your side abs, think again. As much as I love this pose (and consider it an all-time oblique-strengthening favorite), there are tons of other poses that effectively work your side abs.
Tiffany Cruikshank, the founder of Yoga Medicine, says poses that engage your rib cage are beneficial to your obliques and side abs. This means that many yoga poses, including some standing twisting postures, can be great options for working your obliques. “This hovering action and rotational motion of the ribs is what helps target the obliques,” she says. And those small movements and rotations? They can lead to big changes in the strength of your side abs and obliques.