Have you ever thought about doing yoga for runners? Yoga has many benefits beyond maintaining flexibility. Yoga can help you sleep better, improve your focus, increase endurance, help you build muscle strength, improve your balance, and lower your resting heart rate.
All of these things can help runners perform better, by researching from International Journal of Yoga (Opens in a new tab) Finding that yoga can actually help athletes improve oxygen uptake and utilization during exercise, making the body more efficient.
Yoga is usually practiced on a yoga mat. The The best yoga mats (Opens in a new tab) They are comfortable for your Bonner’s joints and have a sticky texture to ensure that you are able to stay put when gripping situations.
But there is no right or wrong when it comes to yoga runners because many postures will benefit them. We’ve rounded up some of the best yoga poses for runners to help you get started, with the help of physical therapist Kelly Rotheram.
Amazon Prime Day savings on yoga gear
With over 15 years of experience in physical therapy, Kelly has extensive knowledge of working with elite athletes and the general public. She is passionate about her work and takes a holistic approach with her patients as she understands the physical and psychological impact of injury. She is co-owner of Top Toe Physiotherapy and Senior Physiotherapist.
1. The downward dog
Physical therapist Kelly Rotheram explains why a downhill dog is good for runners to train, “It works on flexibility and strength,” she says. The downward facing dog targets your upper and lower body at the same time, so you’ll feel it in your arms, shoulders, back, calf, hamstrings, and ankles.
“Not only does a downward facing dog provide great stretch in the ankle and leg, but it also strengthens a lot of the smaller stabilizing muscles in the foot. To protect yourself from injury while running, you want feet that can conform to the ground, react quickly to terrain and transfer weight effectively” .
Step 1 From four poses, place your hands in front of your shoulders and bend your toes. Spread your fingers wide.
Step 2 As you exhale, lift your hips up and back, making your spine long.
Step 3 You can keep your knees bent if your shoulders are round. You want to lift your shoulders up and out of it, with a flat upper back, pressing the floor away from you.
Step 4 – Take 3 deep breaths here. You can stay still or walk straight away, bending one knee at a time.
2. Low lunge
The low lunge is a must for runners. Rotherham explains: “As a runner, you can’t ignore the lunge, a movement that has many different forms and important training effects. The low lunge can train balance and body grasp and aid movement of the trunk, hips, and ankle joints. The low lunge stretches primarily the quadriceps, abdomen, and hip flexors and helps to Strengthening the glutes.”
Step 1 From the dog down, move your right foot forward between your hands, and lower your left knee to the floor. Loosen the toes of your left foot.
Step 2 You can place your hands on either side of your right foot. Keep applying pressure on your right foot and the top of your left foot as you breathe in in a lunge.
Step 3 – As you press into your feet, lower your hips forward and down to stretch the quadriceps muscles on the left leg. Take 3 deep breaths.
Step 4 Switch your legs, bring your left foot forward and your right leg back and repeat.
3. Intense side lift
The extreme lateral stretch pose is a deep stretch that focuses not only on the legs, ankles, and feet but on the spine.
Rothram offers insight into what this pose can do for runners, “This pose relieves stiffness in the legs and hip muscles and helps with movement in the hips and spine,” she says. The core muscles work while the head rests on the knees. The shoulders are pulled back, which helps correct round and droopy shoulders.”
Step 1 – Come to a stand with your feet spaced about your leg. Turn your right toes to the short side of the yoga mat and roll your left toes toward the center of your mat.
Step 2 – Inhale and raise your arms up, rotate your hips in the same direction as your right foot, and exhale the folds of your hips over your right leg.
Step 3 – Place your hands on your right leg or the floor, if you can reach it. You can also use yoga blocks under the hands for support, or wrap your arms behind you.
Step 4 – As you take 3 deep breaths here, keep turning your left thigh toward the right foot until your pelvis remains flat.
Step 5 – Inhale, press firmly into your feet, engage your thighs and raise your arms up, standing up. Repeat on the other side.
4. Reclining hero mode
Rotherham says there are many benefits from the reclining champ position for runners. “The reclining champ pose increases flexibility and encourages proper alignment in the hips, legs, and knees. It stretches the quads, encourages and trains internal rotation while also strengthening the lower back.
Step 1 Come to your knees and make your feet wider than your hips. Your knees may or may not be close together, do what’s best for your knees here.
Step 2 Roll your calf muscles with the help of your hands and sit between your heels. You can use a block or pillow under your buttocks here for support.
Step 3 You can start walking again on your hands, making sure that you do not feel any pain in your knees. You want to feel a stretch in your thighs, so bending the tailbone at the back of the knees may help with that.
Step 4 Keep going back until you reach the comfortable limit. You may end up on the hands, elbows, or lying all the way down. Find your difference and hold for five deep breaths.
Fifth step To get out, walk back up using your hands and raise your heels. Extend your legs out and shake them.
5. The bridge
Bridge pose is great for stretching after a long distance and improving hip strength. Rotheram comments: “Running can put pressure on your hips, which, over time, can negatively affect your performance.
“Fortunately, the bridge is here to help you build strength in the quadriceps. We know how important the glutes are for runners too, and this pose can really help target that posterior chain. It also engages your core and stretches the hip muscles.”
Step 1 Come to lie on your back with your feet on the floor close to your buttocks. You should be able to touch your heels with your middle fingers.
Step 2 Put your arms down at your side, palms facing the floor. Squeeze your arms and forearms and begin to lift your hips up with an inhale.
Step 3 Keep bending the tailbone to the back of your knees and lift your hips up. Your chest should move toward your throat.
Step 4 Take three deep breaths here before you exhale again. You can repeat this position several times.
6. Lay the bath reclining
From a physical therapist’s point of view, the reclining bath position has a range of benefits for runners.
Rotherham explains: “The lying bath position offers multiple benefits. It opens the muscles around the hips, lower back, and backs of the legs. When we don’t take the time to properly stretch the over-taxed areas, it can often lead to tightness and pain. Stretching these muscle groups Gently selected will allow your body to properly heal and recover from overuse.
“Because this pose is done on your back, it’s great to do as a warm-up pose or a cool-down pose. Since lying down doesn’t put any pressure on your hips or knees, it’s also a safer way to open up your hip if you’re working with any thigh instability or injuries. at the knee.”
Step 1 From the bridge position, keep your feet on the floor and place your right ankle in front of your left knee.
Step 2 Make sure your right knee is moving away from your right shoulder until you feel a stretch in your outer right hip. You can stay here with your left foot on the ground or if you don’t feel much in the outside right hip, try the next step.
Step 3 Inhale and lift your left foot off the ground. Pass your right arm through the middle of the legs and your left arm around the left side of the left leg until you can pull the back of your left thigh.
Step 4 Take five deep breaths here before changing to repeat on the other side.
7. Toe squat
This is not everyone’s cup of tea but it proves to be a must for runners. Rotheram explains, “Your foot and leg are subjected to tremendous pressure with each swift step you take while running. Stretching your toes and the soles of your feet can reduce the incidence of plantar fasciitis, which in turn ensures that your running remains bearable. This pose also works to stretch the muscles and connective tissues on the shin length to help prevent and reduce the pain of shin splints.
Step 1 – Come to a kneeling position. Put your hands in front of you and lift your hips off your feet.
Step 2 Bend your toes down and start bringing the weight of your hips back toward your feet. For some people, they can sit on their heels with their hands on their knees. For others, placing their hands on the floor and bending forward is enough to extend the feet.
Step 3 Take five deep breaths here before lifting and freeing the feet completely.
8. Head to knee position
Good Posture to Get into Practice, “The head pose for the knee stretches the hamstrings, hips, and quadriceps. Athletes and runners who need to run will benefit a lot from this excellent technique for tight hamstrings,” says Rotheram.
Step 1 Come to a sitting position with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your foot on the inside of your left leg.
Step 2 Inhale and place your hands on the floor next to your hips. Lift your chest up, extending your spine and loosening your shoulders away from your ears. Exhale here and inhale to raise the arms up.
Step 3 Exhale and fold forward, stopping from your hips to your left leg. Take three deep breaths here before changing sides.
Why should runners practice yoga?
It is common to feel stiffness after running a long distance. Runners are always advised to stretch before and after their run, but how many actually do it?
Stretching before running warms up your muscles while stretching afterwards helps maintain your flexibility – skipping running after stretching can reduce your mobility over time.
There is also the added benefit that stretching after exercise helps blood flow to the muscles to remove lactic acid. If we feel a buildup of lactic acid, we may feel pain or a burning sensation in our muscles. Doing some yoga after your run can be a great way to start the healing process for your tired legs.
“Running is repetitive in nature,” says physical therapist Kelly Rotheram. This can cause a musculoskeletal imbalance in flexibility or strength. Yoga helps restore coordination and balance to the body by improving flexibility and strength in the muscles and provides a full-body workout. Muscles of the arms and upper torso that are not normally used in running are called upon and strengthened.”