Running is an excellent weight-bearing, full body cardio exercise. It can also cause a lot of tightness in the hips, calves, knees, hamstrings, and front body, which is why it’s important to stretch regularly after running (and any workout for that matter). So here are 4 of my favorite yoga poses to do after a run that hit all those tight places! Each pose should be held for 10-30 seconds and done 2-3 times.
For camel, sit with your knees and feet about hip width apart. Place your hands on your lower back for support. For a deeper stretch, you can move your hands to your feet as you lean back. It’s important to lengthen up through the spine and engage your abdominals before leaning back. Tuck the hips slightly to avoid compressing the lower back. Push your chest up to open the front of your body. And remember, this stretch is all about lengthening, NOT about how far back you can go. Never compromise the integrity of your spine in order to lean further back. You should feel this stretch through your chest, back, and biceps. You may feel it in your hips as well.
2. Hero or Reclined Hero
This is one of my favorite poses, and is a great release for the knees and IT-band. Begin by sitting upright with your knees together and your feet angled outside your body. This may be plenty! If this is too intense, you can modify by sitting on a block or blanket. For a deeper stretch, recline back onto your elbows or lie all the way down like shown in the photo above.
3. Downward Dog
Downward dog is a fundamental yoga pose that stretches your calves, hamstrings, and back while engaging and strengthening the core and shoulders. To get into this pose, you can start either in plank and push up into an upside down v-shape, or in a forward fold and walk your hands or feet out. While in this pose, engage your shoulders and abdominals to prevent compressing your spine, press your heels toward the ground, and lift your hips toward the sky to lengthen the back of yours legs and your spine. Press your fingertips into the ground to lift out, and take pressure off, of your wrists. Externally rotate your arms so that your triceps face slightly inward. Let your head hang loose to release any tension in your neck.
Triangle pose is a great hip and side body opener. Stand with your feet wide apart. Turn your front foot to face to the side while keeping your back foot facing forward. Your feet should be perpendicular to each other with the heel of your front foot in line with the middle of your back foot. Begin by reaching out to the side and over your front foot to lengthen the spine. Place your bottom hand on your shin, a block, or the ground for support and continue to lengthen through the spine and side body. Like with camel, do not compromise the integrity of your spine to get deeper into the stretch or closer to the ground. It’s more important to lengthen. Push your back hip forward to stretch the hip, and rotate the top shoulder back to open the chest. You can look up like shown in the picture if your neck feels comfortable, otherwise look forward or down. For a deeper stretch, wrap your top arm around your back and rest your hand on your front thigh.
Of course, these poses can be done any time, not just after a run. But they are especially beneficial for runners! Let me know what you think in the comments! And feel free to like and share this post 🙂