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.
Despite its unfortunate name, the Locust is a simple and essential pose for distance runners. To do it, lay on your stomach with your hands by the hips, then lift your torso, arms, and legs simultaneously. Hold this for five to 10 breaths and repeat three times.
It's not as easy as it looks. This position strengthens the muscles in your neck, back, and the backs of the arms and legs. You'll find that it improves your posture, especially toward the end of a marathon-length run, when those core support muscles start to give way. Plus, you'll have a little more protection from lower back injuries that start to plague us in our thirties.
Benefits: Improves posture, helps prevent injury.
Credit: "The Runner's Guide to Yoga," by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2012)