4 yoga workouts that will improve your run
Yoga can benefit your run by working on your flexibility, posture and strength. Here are four yoga workouts designed especially to improve your run performance…
Yoga can improve and strengthen a lot of the muscles you use when running, including your core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. Holding poses can also help your endurance and ability to endure discomfort.
These four techniques focus on the legs and hips; the last being a dedicated Achilles stretch. I chose this as the Achilles is definitely a potential trouble spot for runners but can be awkward to find.
However, if you only have time to do one running stretch, grab a towel, sweatshirt sleeve or long sock, loop it around your foot and settle into the Hamstring Strap Stretch. It’s also the perfect excuse to take the weight off those feet after a hard run.
To focus more on the calf, slide your strap onto the ball of the foot, tilt the heel up and hold for an additional 20 seconds.
Best yoga exercises for running
Hold each static stretch for 20 seconds or longer. Repeat each dynamic (moving) stretch x4.
1. Wide Legged Forward Bend
Aim: Stretch the hamstrings and adductors (inner thighs)
Method: Step your feet wide and place your hands on your hips. Tip forwards, keeping your back straight. Place your hands either just above your knees or on the floor, depending on how deep you want to go into the stretch.
To exit, bend your knees, place your hands on your hips and rise back up.
2. Twisted Lizard
Aim: A multitasking stretch targeting the hip flexors and outer hip (glute medius).
Method: Start in all fours. Step your right foot up to the outside of your right hand. Position your left hand on the floor out to the left and place your right hand on your right thigh.
Turn to look over your right shoulder and allow your left hip to sink a little towards the floor.
3. Achilles Stretch
Aim: To isolate the Achilles; a potential trouble spot for runners.
Method: Start in a kneeling position. Step your right foot up so that it is positioned alongside your left calf. Lean forwards and rest both hands on your right knee. Stay here, gently pressing your right heel down towards the floor.
4. Hamstring Strap Stretch
Aim: Stretch the hamstrings in a relaxed, accessible way. With an option to target the calves.
Method: Lie on your back. Bend your left leg. Loop a yoga strap (or dressing gown belt, long sock or sweatshirt sleeve) around your right foot and straighten your right leg (or keep a bend in the knee).
To switch focus to the calf muscles, shuffle the strap onto the ball of your foot and tilt your heel up towards the ceiling.
These exercises were taken from Lexie Williamson’s book Yoga for Runners, by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Top image credit: Getty Images