Use yoga to strengthen and stretch major running muscles in a matter of minutes.
You already know that strong abs, hips, and back muscles help you run more efficiently with less risk of injury. But time can be tight – especially if you’re ramping up mileage – and when it feels like something has to give, strength- training is often the first to go. Instead of scrolling through Facebook or Instagram post- run, wind down with this eight- pose, eight- to 10- minute core routine, which targets all the layers of your abdominal muscles, back extensors, and glutes. Slotted in along the way are some stretches to give you a break and improve range of motion in your hips. The moves take only a short time, but they’ll help you log hours of injuryfree running.
1. Boat Pose
Keeping your spine long and legs together, come into a V-sit. For the easier version, bend your knees or keep your feet on the ground. Make it harder by straightening your legs and lifting your arms. Hold for five to 15 breaths.
2. Cross-Legged Forward Fold
Cross your ankles and fold your torso over your legs, stretching your outer hips for 10 to 15 breaths.
3. Twisting Boat Pose
Return to your V-sit, and keeping your spine long and legs together, exhale to twist to one side. Inhale to centre, then exhale to the other side. Continue for five to 10 rounds.
4. Cross-Legged Forward Fold
Cross your ankles with the other shin in front, and fold your torso over your legs for another 10 to 15 breaths.
5. Listing Boat Pose
Return to your V-sit and rock onto your right glute. For more of a challenge, lower your legs and upper body closer to the ground. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.
6. Cobbler Pose
Bring the soles of your feet to touch and lean forward, stretching your inner thighs for 10 to 15 breaths.
7. Bridge Pose
From your back, knees bent, press your hips up and your hands down, engaging your glutes and hamstrings while stretching your hip flexors. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.
8. Locust Y Jumping Jacks
Roll to your belly and lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Move through slow ‘jumping jacks’: inhale, spread your arms to a Y, and squeeze your legs together; then exhale, bring your arms together, and spread your legs to a Y. Repeat five to 15 cycles.