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.
Squat (Garland Pose)
The Fix: Stretches the back, inner thighs, calves, and feet — everything that tightens up from running. Encourages a fluid range of motion and helps with plantar fasciitis and ITBS.
How to Do It: To get into the position, squat with your knees over your toes — legs at a 45-degree angle from the midline — and hold your hands together like you're praying. The heels don't necessarily need to touch the ground. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Credit: "The Runner's Guide to Yoga," by Sage Rountree (VeloPress, 2012)