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7 Challenging Chair Yoga Abs Exercises for Adults and Seniors

Tell us honestly, are you enjoying yoga? Maybe you haven’t even practiced it after having heard the following opinions: “yoga is only effective when performed on the mat”, “only flexible people can do it”, “seniors should avoid yoga poses”, etc. 

We often narrow down our possibilities based on our sex, age, and fitness levels as we assume the only exercise we can engage in is walking or running from the neighbors’ dogs. However, we always forget one thing – almost every sport, including yoga, can be modified to personal fitness skills and age. 

This is where chair yoga comes in. It’s a low-impact activity that enhances your flexibility, mobility, and strength, particularly in your core. 

Chair yoga offers a gentle yet effective way to strengthen your core, enhance your balance, and improve your flexibility without intense exertion. Contrary to the misconception that using a chair diminishes effectiveness, these exercises can yield remarkable results. 

Today, we’ll explore seven challenging but approachable chair yoga ab exercises that are suitable for any senior and young adult. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or just starting out, these movements can be practiced comfortably and conveniently in your own home.

Can Chair Yoga Strengthen the Core?

As with traditional yoga, chair yoga can absolutely strengthen your core. Chair yoga utilizes many poses and movements that provide a challenge to your core stability and strength. As you become stronger and more experienced with your chair yoga practice, you’ll find that you’re able to perform more challenging poses without losing form, mostly due to your improved strength and engagement of your core musculature.

See also
21-Day Chair Yoga for Core Strength:  A Beginner's Guide

The core is a complex network of muscles that help support posture, balance, and overall body stability (3).

Core strength is essential for daily activities, athletic performance, and injury prevention.

Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is easily accessible for people with balance issues or limited mobility and those who are recovering from injuries.

Chair Yoga for Men and women effectively targets the core muscles through a series of poses and sequences.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Isometric Contractions. Many chair yoga exercises require you to hold muscles in a contracted state without any visible movement. This created isometric contraction helps build strength and endurance in the core muscles (3). 
  2. Stability and balance. Many chair yoga poses challenge your balance and stability, forcing the core muscles to engage and work harder. For example, the Seated Tree Pose requires the activation of the core muscles for proper alignment and stability. 
  3. Breathing techniques. Breathwork in chair yoga is always present. Mindful breathing helps activate the diaphragm and other core muscles, which is good for core strength and stability (4).
  4. Dynamic movements. Chair yoga encompasses dynamic movements that challenge the core muscles. Great examples of such movements that activate lower abdominals and other supporting muscles around the core are seated marches, knee lifts, or leg extensions.

Does Chair Yoga Work for Belly Fat?

Chair yoga, or any other type of exercise, will not specifically target belly fat. This is because body fat cannot be spot reduced. However, chair yoga can be a useful component of an overall weight loss regimen where you lose fat throughout the body, including the belly area. There are many efficient and effective Chair Exercises for Belly Fat that are suitable for younger and older adults. 

See also
What Is Chair Yoga? Benefits, Poses And More

Chair yoga should not be utilized as the exclusive remedy for fat reduction as there are numerous factors that contribute to your body fat percentage, including: 

  • Food you eat
  • Beverages you drink
  • Quality of your sleep
  • Lifestyle
  • Hydration
  • Age
  • General health level
  • Genetics

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In addition to incorporating chair yoga into your weight loss regimen, it’s important to integrate other positive lifestyle factors to ensure you reach your goals. Such changes include: 

  1. Eliminating sugary drinks 
  2. Eating fewer refined carbs
  3. Consuming lean protein sources
  4. Consuming more fruits and vegetables
  5. Choosing healthful fats
  6. Eating low-calorie foods
  7. Integrating strength training and/or high-intensity interval training
  8. Boosting your overall activity (1)
  9. Sleeping better
  10. Staying hydrated 

If weight loss is your goal, no amount of exercise can make up for bad eating habits. With a well-rounded calorie deficit diet, regular physical activity including aerobic, strength, and flexibility practices, and other positive lifestyle factors, you’ll be moving in the right direction. 

See also
Chair Yoga Routine for Stress Relief and Relaxation

chair yoga abs  

Can You Get Toned with Chair Yoga?

A toned appearance involves improving muscle definition while decreasing body fat. So, yes, chair yoga can certainly contribute to helping you get toned. There are endless variations of strengthening activities included in chair yoga. These, combined with maintaining a healthy body composition, can lead to a toned appearance. 

Here are seven chair yoga poses that will provide muscle activation throughout the body: 

Pose #1: Chair Twisted Seated Pose

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Sit with your feet flat on the floor. 
  2. Inhale deeply. As you exhale, turn to your right side, placing your left hand on the outer side of your right thigh. 
  3. With your spine straight, turn your head to look over your right shoulder. 
  4. Hold the twist for a few breaths, then release and repeat on the other side. 

Pose #2: Chair Plank

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Place your hands on the seat of the chair and walk your feet back to form a straight line from your head to your heels. 
  2. Engage your core and avoid sagging in the lower back. 
  3. Hold this position for 10 seconds, ensuring you breathe slowly and evenly. Release, and return to the starting position. Repeat for five cycles.

Pose #3: Chair Eagle Pose

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Sit on the chair with your feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Cross your left thigh over your right thigh, wrapping your left foot around the back of your right calf. 
  3. Cross your left arm over your right arm, bend at the elbows, and try to touch your palms together. 
  4. Hold this twisted position, and breathe deeply. 
  5. Release and switch sides. Repeat five to 10 times. 
See also
Chair Yoga Routines For Every Age And Ability: A Comprehensive Guide

Read more: 21 Day Chair Yoga: Reasons To Add This Challenge To Your Routine

Pose #4: Chair Warrior III Pose

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Stand in front of the chair pushed up against a wall and hold onto the seat for support. 
  2. Lift one leg behind you and lean your torso forward, forming a straight line from head to lifted heel. 
  3. Engage your core and push through the full foot with your standing leg. 
  4. Return to the starting position and switch legs. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Pose #5: Chair Boat Pose

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Sit sideways on the edge of the chair. 
  2. Slightly lean back, lifting both legs off the floor to a 45-degree angle. 
  3. Extend your arms parallel to the floor with your spine straight and your core engaged.
  4. Hold the pose, breathe deeply, and lower your legs to release. 
  5. Repeat for three cycles of 15 seconds.

Pose #6: Chair Side Stretch

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Sit on the chair with your feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Raise your left arm overhead and lean to the right side. 
  3. Hold for a few breaths, keeping your core engaged. 
  4. Return to the starting position and switch sides. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
See also
Chair Exercises For Weight Loss

chair yoga abs  

Pose #7: Chair Seated Leg Lifts

How to perform the pose: 

  1. Sit on the chair with your back straight. 
  2. Hold both sides of the chair for support and lift one leg to hip height, trying to keep it straight. 
  3. Lower it down without touching the floor and then lift it again. 
  4. Switch legs after your set.
  5. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Make sure you consult your physician before you start your chair yoga practice, particularly if you’re a senior or have health conditions that may be affected by exercise. 

BetterMe app will provide you with a host of fat-frying fitness routines that’ll scare the extra pounds away and turn your body into a masterpiece! Get your life moving in the right direction with BetterMe!

FAQs

  • Can you build abs while sitting?

Chiseled abdominal muscles, better known as a “six-pack”, are actually primarily a result of low abdominal body fat. Low fat in the abdomen makes the rectus abdominis muscle visible, which is responsible for this aesthetic. While increased muscle mass in the rectus abdominis is responsible for a more visible six-pack, you’ll reach your goal of chiseled abs more effectively if you adopt lifestyle habits that promote a healthy body weight.  

Chair yoga can provide an effective form of exercise to engage and strengthen the abdominal muscles, which should be paired with other forms of exercise, a proper diet, and other positive lifestyle factors. 

  • Does yoga strengthen abs?

Yes, yoga is an effective way to strengthen your core. In addition, a strong core is good for stability and balance, which reduces injury risk. 

  • Does yoga tone your stomach?

Yoga can be a beneficial component of an overall healthy lifestyle that contributes to a toned midsection. A toned appearance relies on a low body fat percentage and muscular definition, both of which yoga can contribute to. However, yoga cannot create any aesthetic on its own and must be paired with a proper diet, aerobic and strength training activities, adequate sleep, and other healthy lifestyle factors. 

  • How do you get abs in a chair?

Whether you perform exercises in a standing, lying, or sitting position, you can challenge your abdominals (and any other muscle group) with a little creativity. Working your abs can be achieved in chair yoga through various movement patterns that often involve stabilizing your core while incorporating dynamic movement of the extremities. Many times, the chair can be used more as a stability tool or prop during chair yoga, allowing it to help with setup and sequencing. 

The Bottom Line

We have uncovered 7 challenging chair yoga abs exercises for adults and seniors. Generally, chair exercises can help you strengthen your core through breathwork, isometric contractions, dynamic movements, stability, and balance. 

In addition, chair yoga can be used for belly fat reduction accompanied by a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and good sleep. 

Chair yoga is an accessible form of exercise that can be utilized by just about anyone. As with any new physical activity, make sure you consult your doctor before you start a new training program and modify any movement to better meet your needs.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES

  1. 11 natural ways to get rid of belly fat (2024, medicalnewstoday.com)
  2. Chair Yoga Poses (2024, webmd.com)
  3. Core Muscle Activity during Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Diaphragmatic Breathing (2022, clevelandclinic.org)