Loosen up your hips and lower body muscles with these six yoga poses

Runners love to run, and sometimes only run. But it’s important to add variety to your routine through other forms of exercise. So today we’re doing yoga! Just remember, yoga doesn’t have to be a fancy flow of perfectly strung together poses. It can just be holding a few of these poses to help you loosen tight hips, hamstrings, and calves. Because every runner knows those can be trouble areas. Now with that being said, let’s get to it!

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Downward-facing Dog Pose—Adho Mukha Svanasana
Runners are notorious for having tight hamstrings, especially from hill climbing and speed work. Downward dog is a great way to give those muscles a good stretch. Start by lifting your hips as high as you can with a slight bend in the knee, then slowly straighten your legs. Once your legs are straight, let your heels sink into the mat.

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Lizard Pose—Utthan Pristhasana
Runners are famous for having tight hips. Lizard pose helps open up the gait, stretching your hips and pushing your flexibility (something runners aren’t known for being the masters of). Start in a lunge and drop both hands to the inside of your foot, then lower to your hamstrings if your flexibility allows it. You can easily modify this pose by dropping your back knee to the floor.

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Butterfly Pose—Badhakonasana
Open up your inner thigh muscles with this basic stretching pose. Actively press your knees toward the floor with your hands or elbows. If you want a deeper stretch, pull your heels in closer to your body.

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Cow Face Pose—Gomukhasana
Get two for the price of one with this yoga pose. Open up both your shoulders and hips at the same time. Reach one arm over and the other under to clasp your hands together behind your back. If your shoulder flexibility doesn’t allow it, try using a small towel or a yoga strap to give your body something to lightly pull against for a deeper shoulder stretch.

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Triangle Pose—Trikonasana
Another great hamstring stretch is this basic yoga pose. Triangle pose is a yoga staple, and it’s perfect for runners. Focus on forcing your hip backward, and opening your chest toward the side wall, staying long through your spine. Also, make sure your feet are perpendicular to each other.

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Reclining Bound Angle Pose—Supta Baddha Konasana
After you’ve put in all the hard work, logging all those miles, this is a pose you can just relax and enjoy. Reclining bound angle pose is a great way to passively stretch your inner thighs and hips. Let the weight of your legs pull your knees down toward the floor.

Hopefully there are a few poses that can help improve your running performance, or at least help you feel a little better. Don’t underestimate the power of a good post-run stretch.

Good luck and stay fit!

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer