This Boat Pose Variation Will Fire Up Your Core & Obliques In Minutes

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

boat pose side crunches

From better posture to better digestion, having a strong core can improve many areas of your overall health. But if you're getting tired of the same old crunches and planks in your abs routine, consider adding a unique boat pose variation to your workout.

Boat pose alone is a great move for your core, and this version adds a side crunch component, to fire up your lower abs and obliques, too.

Here's how to do it correctly and effectively, demonstrated by mbg staffer and certified yoga instructor Amanda Quadrini.

How to do boat pose side crunches:

  1. Begin seated with your legs out in front of you, bent so the soles of your feet touch the ground.
  2. Bring your arms behind you, placing your hands in line with your shoulders, fingers pointing toward the front of the mat.
  3. Engage your core and begin to lean back, lifting your feet off the floor, balancing on your sitz bones.
  4. With active legs, bring your thighs to a rough 45-degree angle and shins parallel to the floor.
  5. Squeeze your legs together and shine your chest upward, keeping your spine straight.
  6. Bring your hands to prayer above your knees, with active triceps. This is center.
  7. On an exhale, slowly twist to the right, pointing your hands to the right with active arms. Let your left big toe touch the ground.
  8. Inhale and come back to center, repeating on the other side. This is one rep.
  9. Complete three sets of 10 reps.
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Helpful tips and tricks.

With boat pose, and in this variation, there can be a tendency to hunch. Focus on keeping your spine straight. When you twist, imagine as if you're twisting up instead of down.

If you want to work this move even more, consider adding in low boat between sides: When you come back to center, bring your arms to the sides of your shins (boat pose) and on an exhale, slowly lower your torso and legs down to a hover, with only your bottom touching the floor. Inhale and squeeze up back to center.

Why it's so effective.

Having a strong core will improve nearly every aspect of your fitness. From stability to balance, there's a reason it's called your "core"—it offers foundational support.

A stable center can also help reduce back pain, which happens to be the leading cause of disability worldwide. Not to mention, this pose also works your hip flexors, quads, and arms.

So, toss some boat pose side crunches into your next yoga flow the next time you want to work your side body and abs, or take a few rounds whenever you want to get your blood pumping. Your obliques will feel it in no time.

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