Three Post-Run Yoga Poses to Target the Tightest Muscles in Runners

As any serious runner knows, running regularly makes your body tight! Having a post-run stretching routine will help prevent your muscles from becoming painfully tight and allow your body to be more comfortable for the day ahead, especially if it involves long hours of sitting.

Making it to a yoga class may be the best way to stretch out those muscles, but a convenient small-set of exercises that are easily accessible gives you fewer excuses not to do them.

The following 3 easy post-run yoga poses target some of the most commonly tight muscles in runners and can be done using the back of a park bench, the back of a couch or a regular height dining table.

1. Standing lunge with modification

Muscles targeted: psoas, tensor fascia latae (TFL), rectus femoris, the deep fascia of the torso and hip

How to do this pose:

Take a lunge stance with one foot forward and the other one back. Be on the ball of your back foot so the heel comes off the floor. Drop your back knee so that your thigh is in line with your torso. Tuck your tail(rotate your pelvis backwards) to increase the focus of the stretch on the deep hip flexors, such as the psoas muscle. You will feel it in the front of your hip.

To include the TFL and fascia, lean your torso away from the leg that is back behind you. Reach that arm up, to the opposite side and back. Make sure you keep your tail tucked throughout these steps to keep the stretch in your hip and not collapse into the joints in your lower back.

Hold for 45 seconds to a minute. Repeat on the other side

Post Run Yoga Pose Standing lunge with modification Physio

2.Standing pigeon

Muscles/structures targeted: gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, piriformis, deep hip stabilizers, hip joint capsule

How to do this pose:

Stand facing the back of a park bench, or other structure of similar height (back of a couch, dining table, etc). Lift the leg of the side you want to stretch up and place your shin horizontally along the back of the bench. Keeping your standing leg straight, hinge forward from your hip over the bent leg on the bench. Keep your back straight through this and your core on to keep the focus of the stretch in your hip. Remember to breath, even if the stretch is uncomfortable! 😉

Hold for 45 seconds to one minute. Repeat both sides.

Post Run Yoga Pose Standing pigeon alaia physio

3. “Walking” Downward Dog

Muscles targeted: calf muscles(gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior), hamstrings, quadratus lumborum(QL), latissimus dorsi

How to do this pose:

Stand facing the back of a park bench or wall. Place your hands on the back of the bench and walk your feet backwards and bend forward at your hips, until your body makes an “L” shape.

Press your hands into the bench and send your sit-bones straight back. Keep your knees as bent as you need to if your hamstrings are tight, but make sure your spine is straight. Slowly bend one knee, wagging your tail(moving your hips) to the bent knee side, while keeping the other knee straight.

You will feel the stretch mostly on the side with the straight leg, in your lower back (QL), back of your thighs (hamstrings), and calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior).

Peddle your feet alternately, holding each side for 3 deep breaths and repeating 6 times per side.

Post Run Yoga Pose Walking Downward Dog Alaia physio

Want more? Consider seeing one of our physiotherapists for an assessment of your tightest areas and we’ll design a program just for you on our online exercise app.

There are also a few great yoga teachers in Vancouver teaching yoga classes specifically for runners. Check out competitive runner Katherine Moore’s Running Into Yoga.

Cover? by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash