5 go-to yoga poses for trail runners

Written by Josh Douglas-Walton, a writer for ATRA corporate member HFE (Health and Fitness Education).

Whether you’re completely new to trail running or have years of experience under your belt, chances are that you’ll have contended with sore muscles, aches, pains and even potential injuries on more than a few occasions. There’s nothing worse than a setback, especially when you feel like you’re on a roll. When it comes to combating problems, a training program is one of the first places we should look.

A usual training model might look something like this: A runner will increase the volume and intensity of training as an event draws closer, this causes the body to continually adapt and improve. Then if an injury occurs, a runner might lower intensity and introduce alternative exercises to aid rehabilitation until fully recovered.

A more effective model for trail runners would be to focus on pre-habilitation, take the necessary steps to improve form and function and stop injuries from occurring. Without a doubt yoga has a crucial role to play in pre-habilitation for trail runners and here are five highly effective poses.

Downward-facing dog

  • Start on all fours with hands ahead of the shoulders, tuck the toes under and lift the knees from the floor into an inverted ‘V’.
  • Arms, legs and back should all be straight.
  • Push the hands through and ease the heels down the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 10 breaths.

Head-to-knee pose

  • Sit on the mat with the left leg extended straight out.
  • Bend the right leg, placing the sole of the foot onto the left inner thigh.
  • Ease the knee down towards the floor to open up the hips, folding forward to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold for 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Hero pose

  • Start with knees together and feet just outside the hips, soles should be facing the ceiling.
  • Push the feet down into the floor and release.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • This pose can be modified for comfort by using a yoga block, cushion or pillow below the hips.

Extended Triangle pose

  • Begin with the feet a meter apart and then square the hips to the front.
  • Pivot the right foot, knee and thigh outwards to 90 degrees and turn the left foot slightly inwards.
  • Inhale whilst extending upwards, reaching the right hand towards the right toes.
  • Raise the left arm towards the ceiling with the palm facing forwards.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Legs up the wall

  • Sit sideways against a wall and bend the knees, allowing the upper body to relax.
  • Swing the legs up the wall and turn the body into a supine (face up) position.
  • Lengthen the spine, open the shoulders and place the arms by the side of the body.
  • Hold until completely relaxed.

Josh Douglas-Walton is a writer for HFE (Health and Fitness Education), the UK’s most popular provider of personal trainer, yoga, Pilates and sports massage courses.  Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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