Whether you sprint or jog on the hard pavement or hit the treadmill, consistent running can be harsh on your body. It’s vital that you properly warm up for a run.
Try adding the five yoga poses detailed below to your pre-workout routine and let us know if they ease your muscles after a run.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-Facing Dog is one of those ultimate poses that’ll warm up your entire body before a run. This poses lengthens, strengthens the hips, quads, calves and hamstrings, which is ideal for avoiding shin splints and knee and foot problems. In addition, it does wonders for the arms, shoulders, and back.
To begin, come to all fours with your knees stacked under your ankles and your hands pressed under your shoulders and then lengthen your hips to the ceiling with a soft bend in your knees. Press through your thumb and pointer finger and rotate your shoulders away from your eyes. Lengthen your spine. Add more rigor by pedaling through the feet, bending one knee and then the other.
*Hold for 30 seconds to a minute
2. Upward-Facing Dog
High Lunge will light-up your core, shoulders, and arms, while strengthening your legs. It’s a great pose for runners since they tend to neglect their upper bodies, which can hurt their performance.
From Downward-Facing Dog, hinge forward to a high plank. Your option is to hold here for a few breaths and then on your exhale. Lower halfway as you squeeze your shoulders into your ribs, moving through Chaturanga. Curl your toes and lift your chest into Upward Facing Dog, allowing the eyes of your elbows to face each other. From here, move back into Downward-Facing Dog.
*Allow this flow to take around 30 seconds.
3. Seated Forward Fold
Any form of a forward fold will give you the benefits, but Seated Forward Fold will allow you to stretch the arches of your feet and your IT band—perhaps one of the tightest muscles for runners.
Come to seated and stretch your legs out in front of you. Remove any cheek from your sit bones. If you’re particularly tight, you’ve got an option to bend your knees and then lengthen your spine and reach for your toes. On every inhale, focus on lengthening your spine. Once every exhale, bend a little bit deeper.
*Hold this pose for at least 25 seconds.
4. Figure-Four Stretch (Reclining Pigeon)
This pose will stretch the hips, spine, glutes, and hamstrings, while keeping the knees safe, unlike other hip-opening poses.
Begin by lying on your back. Bend your knees and cross your left ankle over your right quad and flex through the balls of your feet. Draw your legs toward you for a stretch in your left glute and hamstring. Repeat on the other side.
*Hold this pose for one to two minutes on each side.
5. Bridge Pose
This pose will stretch the spine, shoulders, and the front of the body, while stretching the core. It’s also a great counterpose to running and reverses the spine to prevent hunching forward.
Begin by lying on your back. Extend your arms to your side with your palms facing the earth. Bend your knees and stack your knees under your ankles Lightly graze the back of your feet with your middle finger to ensure that your alignment is correct. Slowly lift your hips. There’s an option to keep your hands by your sides of interlace your hands, creating a shelf for your heart. Gaze up and keep your chin and your forehead in one line.
Remember to always listen to your body to strive for sensation rather than pain when trying this sequence. Enjoy your run!