Yoga can be highly beneficial cross-training for runners. From strengthening glutes to speed up your sprint times, to stretching out your calves after a long run, yoga poses can serve as a means to strengthen and stretch muscles you use while running. Whether you are a marathon runner, hundred meter sprinter, or occasional morning jogger, here are the six yoga poses for runners you need to know.
Yoga Poses For Your Calves
Calves are one of the most used muscles during running. Your calf muscles propel you forward and get a little extra burn when running uphill. Try the following yoga poses for strengthening and stretching your calves:
To Strengthen: Warrior III
Warrior III is a great pose to help you feel the burn in your calves. To do this pose, start in Warrior 1, a high lunge position. Then, slowly shift your weight onto your front foot while you elevate your back leg off the ground. Slowly straighten both legs and reach your arms out in front of you.
To Stretch: Downward Dog
In Downward Dog, one of the most popular yoga poses, you will stand on all fours with your hands spaced shoulder width in front of your face, and your tailbone should high in the air. Feel the stretch in the pose through straight or slightly bent legs. For detailed instructions, check out Cody’s Ultimate Guide to Downward Dog.
Stretch and Strengthen Your Quads
Your quadriceps are another highly used muscle group for runners. This muscle group allows you to lift your legs up and forward, and absorbs a lot of the shock your body takes on when running. To show these muscles some love, try these poses:
To Strengthen: Chair Pose
Chair pose is one of many power yoga poses to build strength. To try this posture, start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Then, extend your arms above your head and sink down so your knees create a 45 degree angle. Stay there for a few breaths before standing straight again for maximum burn.
To Stretch: Camel Pose or Ustrasana
To try camel pose, also known as ustrasana, start in a kneeling position and let your arms fall to your sides. Slowly, reach each arm behind you and either let them hang behind you or grab your ankles for a deeper stretch. Relax your neck and shoulders and open up through your sternum.
Yoga Poses For Your Glutes
Last but not least, your glutes push you forward during your run. Having buns of steel will also put less strain on your calves and quads, while stabilizing your pelvis to help prevent injury. Try these two poses that target your glutes:
To Strengthen: Goddess Pose
If stronger glutes and deeper squats are your goal, Goddess Pose is a great place to start. To start this pose, take a wider-than-shoulder-width stance with your toes pointing out. Sink into a squat position, with a deeper bend in your knees for additional glute burn. Lift your arms so your biceps are level with your shoulders and make a right angle with your elbows. Open your palms and spread your fingers wide.
To Stretch: Lizard Pose
Once you have worked your glutes, lizard pose will help you stretch them out. Start downward dog and on an inhale, bend your right knee so your calf crosses your body. Slowly lower your knee so your knee cap is by your right wrist and your right calf lies flat across the ground. You can keep your upper body upright or reach your arms and hands in front of you.
For more running pro-tips and inspiration for yoga for runners from Cody, check out our Warm-Up Sequence for Runners.