The BEST yoga poses for runners. Stretch your hips, hamstrings, quads, and back. Gain flexibility, and help prevent injury with this quick yoga sequence.
Unfortunately, summer here is Minneapolis is starting to come to a close. Every morning when I wake up it becomes just a bit cooler out for my morning run. Some days I even started wearing long sleeves!
Holloway Sportswear sent me a new pullover just in time, and it’s absolutely perfect for this in-between weather. It’s lightweight and not too warm. Perfect for morning runs!
One of the things I love most about the pullover are the thumbhole sleeves…am I the only sucker for anything with thumbholes?!
As I had mentioned a few posts back, with fall around the corner, it’s a time for everyone to get back into their “normal” routine. And part of my normal routine is getting to yoga classes.
With all the traveling I did this summer, I was not as consistent with my yoga practice as I would have like to have been. I normally go about 3 times per week, and I was lucky if I made it once a week…and my body can tell! My hips are tight and my low back is screaming to move more!
But, even though I wasn’t making it into class as much, I still did poses on my own to help me stretch out after my runs and at least maintain my flexibility.
I put together some of the best yoga poses to help YOU after your runs. These are the poses that saved me this summer, so I hope you enjoy! 🙂
Yoga Poses for Runners
Complete these poses after your run to help keep your muscles loose and to help prevent injury. No need to have a mat, just simply find a soft patch of grass and cool down after a long run. Hold each pose for at least 30-60 seconds.
- Downward Dog – This is a great pose to stretch out the calves, hamstrings and lower back. Start in a full plank position on your hands. Then shift your hips back and up, keeping your back as flat as possible. Try to press your heels down, or “peddle” the heels one at a time to increase the stretch, one leg at a time. You should also feel a nice stretch in your shoulders and possibly even your chest.
- Cobra – From your downward dog, shift forward back into a plank and lower all the way to the floor as if lowering into a push up position. Press firmly into your hands to peel your chest off the mat, either straightening the arms or keeping them slightly bent, depending on your flexibility. Aim to open the chest and pull your shoulders down and back. You should feel a stretch in the spine, but it shouldn’t feel like your “crunching” it, instead think about lengthening it.
- Low Lunge with Twist – Start in a runner’s lunge with your RIGHT foot forward and your hands on the mat on either side of your front foot. Lower your back knee and shin to the floor. Then lift your RIGHT hand up to the sky, to rotate towards your knee. This will help to open the chest and stretch out your lower back, hip flexors, and hips.
- High Lunge – From your low lunge, simply bring both hands back to the ground, and tuck your back toes under to lift the back knee off the floor back into your runners lunge. With control bring your hands up to your front knee. Then extend your arms up towards the sky, lengthening your spine. Sink the hips down to get deeper into the stretch. You should feel the stretch in your back hip flexor, and your front hip.
- Side Angle Pose – Bring your hands back down to the ground with your RIGHT hand either on the outside or inside of your front foot (mine is pictured on the inside). With your RIGHT foot forward, twist open away from the front knee. Then reach your top arm to the sky or over head. Then lower your back heel to the floor slightly, rotating your toes to open out to the side as well. Think of lengthening through your spine and getting it as long as possible. You’ll also feel a nice stretch in your back inner thigh.
- Triangle Pose – From your side angle pose, you can straighten the front leg to get a nice deep stretch in your RIGHT hamstring. Or you can come up to standing and reset your legs, then reach forward as you lower down into triangle pose. Continue to keep the length through your spine and to get your back as flat as possible.
- Forward Fold – Stand up tall, with feet together, and take a few breaths to lengthen through your spine. Then when your ready, reach both arms behind your back and clasp the hands together. Hinge at your hips, then bring your arms up and over behind your back. You’ll feet a nice stretch in your hamstrings and your chest and the front of your shoulders. Allow gravity to pull the crown of your head lower to the floor to get deeper into the stretch.
- Thread the Needle – Come down to the grass and lay on your back and cross your RIGHT ankle over your LEFT knee as if making a figure “4”. Keep your hips grounded and your lower back pressing into the mat. Pull the LEFT knee in towards the chest, then thread your RIGHT hand between your legs. Clasp your hands underneath your LEFT knee to help pull the knee deeper into the stretch.
- Half Splits – Come back into a runner’s lunge position with the RIGHT foot forward, and lower the back knee down to the floor. keeping the hands on the ground, shift the hips back to straighten the front leg. Flex through the front foot to get a very deep stretch in the front leg. Focus on pulling the RIGHT hip back and shifting your torso over your front leg. To deepen the stretch, keep the back as flat at possible.
- Half Pigeon – Come back forward into your runner’s lunge and both hands on the mat on either side of your front foot. With most of the weight in your hands, slide your front foot over towards your LEFT hand. Lower your knee to the mat over to the RIGHT. Place the outside of your RIGHT calf on the mat so that it’s parallel to the front of your mat. Then, slowly lower your back knee and shin to the floor. Square your hips as much as possible to the front of the mat. For a more moderate stretch, keep your arms straight and hands flat on the floor. To increase the stretch, you can lower to your forearms, or lay your torso down over your front leg. You should feel the stretch on the outside of the RIGHT hip and in the glutes.
Make sure you complete all the single sided poses on the OTHER side as well. I like to run through the entire sequence a seconds time on the other side. That way I can get a bit deeper into some of the poses. 🙂
Download your FREE printable version HERE.
What are your favorite runner stretches?