3 Areas that beg for mobility in a runners body include (but are certainly not limited to!) Hip Flexors, Glutes and Hamstrings. This may seem obvious…hopefully it does if you are a runner!! This week, I offer these three poses for increasing your pliability and mobility.
Hip Flexors…Crescent Lunge
Glutes…Seated Spinal Twist
If you are familiar with these poses, add them post run as a means of cooling down and helping ‘unwind’ some of the tension you’ve created from running. While using them as a cool down, try to find the most passive version of the pose. Use props, keep yourself grounded, and allow yourself to relax the pose…finding the ease of the pose or the sukha.
Another option for working these poses into your routines is to add them into your warm up. Work a dynamic version which means moving through a range of motion versus holding a static posture. Be aware of gravity and avoid letting gravity control your range of motion. Remain muscularly or actively in control as you move.
A cross-training option uses these poses as “strength work”. Perform them on off days when you would normally perform some version of cross training whether it be lifting or cycling etc. Using the same poses, you would focus on the work. Become aware, as you move into the pose, what muscles need to activate in order to bring stability or strength to the pose. Hold the (manageably) toughest version of the pose for 30 seconds to a minute and continue to increase your time from there!!
If you are unfamiliar with these poses, check out the descriptions below!
Crescent Lunge…Separate your front foot and your back foot by 3 to 4 feet. Have both feet pointing in the same direction and allow your back heel to lift off the floor as you ground yourself down through the 4 corners of the front foot. Sink into a front knee bend seeking out 90*. Keep your back leg as straight as possible and think of pressing or extending through your back heel. Raise your arms overhead and reach strongly through your fingertips. For a moderated version of this pose, allow the back knee to rest gently on the mat. Keeping your toes tucked under or flattened against the mat should be experimented with! Perform on both sides!!
Seated Spinal Twist…Sit on the floor with your left leg extended in front of you. Bend the right leg and place the foot on the outside of the left leg just above the knee joint. Twist to face the right leg, placing your right hand behind your hips. Your left arm can wrap around your right leg and pull it close, or you can place it against the outside of the right knee. Focus on twisting as deeply as you can. Assist the twisting action by pulling your navel to your spine with each exhale. Sit as tall as you can.
Pyramid Pose…Place one foot 12 to 24 inches in front of the other with both feet pointing forward. Keep both heels down on the floor. With your front leg bent (and perhaps with props such as blocks), fold forward until your hands are anchored. Once hands are in contact with the floor or blocks, begin to extend your front leg until you feel a comfortable stretch in the hamstring or back of the thigh. Think of pulling your front hip back, and your back hip forward.
Note: if you have a sensitive back, focus on keeping all rounding out of the back, just keeping the flexion or the folding at the hip joint. Think about reaching the crown of your head toward the front of the room and keeping your torso parallel with the floor.