Kirsten Kupras, PT is a physical therapist and certified yoga instructor with MovementX in Portland, Oregon.
Our Top Yoga Poses for Runners: 9 for Mobility and 4 for Strength
A lot of people in the Pacific Northwest are moving their exercise routines outdoors. From biking and dog walking to running and hiking, people are excited to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.
But with all this moving and shaking, we must also be aware of what a long day at your desk or office can do to our body. Prolonged time spent sitting could lead to some unwanted joint stiffness and muscle fatigue when we go out for that first run.
Yoga is the perfect compliment to running in that it stretches muscle groups that can often feel stiff while also strengthening muscle groups like the gluteals and abdominals that are essential for good running mechanics.
In this article, we’ll outline 9 mobility-focused and 4 strength-focused yoga poses for runners to help you stay running fast, strong, and pain-free.
9 Mobility-Focused Poses
Here are our nine favorite yoga poses for runners that are beneficial for stretching tight muscles and mobilizing stiff joints…
1.) Low Lunge(Crescent Variation)
This is another great yoga pose to alleviate lower back stiffness and prepare the hamstring muscles before going out for a run.
This not only strengthens your glutes, quads, and core, but is also a great rotation mobilization for your thoracic spine.
Begin in Tadasana, mountain pose. Bring big toes to touch with heels slightly apart, reach arms up overhead. Sit your hips back bringing weight into the heels and keeping knees over the ankles, knit the low ribs in and lengthen the tailbone to the floor. Bring hands down to heart center, inhale, then exhale twisting to the right bringing the left elbow outside of the right knee. Lengthen through the top of the head as you inhale, exhale and twist a tiny bit further by pushing your elbow into your knee and your knee into your elbow. Stay for 5 breaths on each side.
4 Strength-Focused Yoga Poses
Stretched out by now? Let’s shift our focus to our 4 favorite yoga poses for strengthening muscles to help you run fast and with proper form…
This improves shoulder stability, and strengthens your gluteus medius, obliques, and transverse abdominals.
Start on your side with your hand under your shoulder or just slightly in front. Stack your hips and feet, inhale push through your hand, engage the low abdominals, and lift the hips. Top hand can reach up to the ceiling and eyes can look down at the hand on the floor or up to the top hand. Push through the hand on the floor to engage around the shoulder joint. Keep the hips lifted to maintain a straight plumb line through the spine to the feet. Modify with bottom knee bent or top foot on floor as shown.
The balance of strength and flexibility is one we should always strive for. To schedule with one of our doctors of physical therapy who specializes in the treatment of runners or yogis, request a session today.
About the Author
Kirsten Kupras is a physical therapist and certified yoga instructor with MovementX in Portland, OR. Having grown up as an athlete herself, Kirsten Kupras is passionate about sports and helping her patients recover from injuries and optimize their performance. She is trained in women’s health and pelvic floor treatments. Kirsten Kupras also enjoys running with her dog (Dozer), yoga, cycling, cooking, and traveling the world.
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