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.
Low Lunge With Twist
The Fix: Stretches the outer hip and the IT band of the front leg, while relieving some tension in the lower back. Stimulates a fluid range of motion and helps with plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and ITBS.
How to Do It: From the low lunge position, twist your torso toward the front leg, putting one palm on the ground and the other hand on the knee. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Credit: "The Runner's Guide to Yoga," by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2012)