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.
Legs Up the Chair
We've been seeing a lot of people wearing compression socks. It's something of a fad at Ironman. But not without good reason: The legs swell, sometimes for a few days, after long runs. Another way to help the body recover is to move your seat to the base of a chair or coffee table and rest your calves on top of it so that you have 90-degree angles at the knees and hips. Stay there for 20 breaths or more. This will help with cramped, swollen legs, and will also encourage relaxation after an intense run.
Benefits: Helps with recovery and reduces swelling.
Credit: "The Runner's Guide to Yoga," by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2012)