Runners are well-conditioned, strong athletes—and that’s across the board from sprinters to marathoners. However, that same repetitive running motion can also compress joints and stresses the body. Not only do these two disciplines counteract the other, but yoga is critical in helping runners build upper body strength and prevent injury, too.
Interestingly, yoga is also able to help show runners where they have any muscle imbalances and and weaknesses in the body. “Unlike running, which favors the larger, more dominant muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings, many yoga poses have you actively recruit smaller, often ignored muscle groups,” says Laurenn Cutshaw, VP of Marketing and Branding for Yoga Six in San Diego. We spoke to Cutshaw, along with Yoga Instructor and Endurance Sports Coach Sage Rountree and Yoga Instructor and Lycored Brand Ambassador Kristin McGee for the best yoga poses for runners. Try these moves after your next run, and aim to do them all at least three times a week.
The Fix: Lengthens back and stretches everything from the arches up through the shoulders. Builds upper body strength, improves a fluid range of motions, and helps with plantar fasciitis.
How to Do It: Start on the hands and knees, with your knees below the hips and the hands just in front of the shoulders. Then, walk your knees back six to 10 inches, turn the balls of the feet to the floor, spread your fingers wide against the mat, and lift your hips into an upside-down V. Hold for 10 breaths.
Credit: "The Runner's Guide to Yoga," by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2012)