Running Yogis

Length + Strength

Those are two words to perfectly describe these poses that all runners should consider working into their training.

Pounding the pavement or even the trail makes us stronger, but can have some adverse effects as well. The repetitive landing puts pressure on the spine, ankles, knees. They are built for it, but it still doesn’t hurt to give them some love and lengthening!

Runners have a tendency to ignore upper body strengthening; but having strong core and arms benefits your run game, especially for endurance athletes getting tired into their long runs.

Here are 3 of my favorite moves to keep the body strong and stretched as I up the mileage!

Cobra Pose / Upward Facing Dog

(Bhujangasana / Urdhvamukha shvanasana )

Strengthens: Wrists, back (erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, infraspinatus, rhomboids), shoulders (serratus anterior, deltoids), triceps, biceps, gluteus maximus.

Lengthens: Spine, abdominals, tibialis, psoas major/iliopsoas, pectineus, soleus.

Things to Note:

  • Keep the shoulders locked down and back, away from the ears.

  • Gaze forward or up, but only up if your neck is comfortable.

  • Tops of the feet are on the ground (don’t tuck toes under).

  • In Upward Facing Dog, knees must be lifted fully off the floor.

Bridge Pose

(Setu Bandhasana) – several options in variation

Strengthens: Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, rhomboids, rotator cuff, triceps (long head), posterior deltoid, adductors, biceps, brachialis

Lengthens: Rectus abdominals, quadriceps, psoas, iliacus, spinal extensors, thorax, pectoral major/minor

Things to Note:

  • Protect the neck by keeping it long and neutral.

  • Lift hips towards the sky as high as possible, flexing glutes for lift.

  • Arm placement is for stability and support, but be careful of too much weight on the wrist joint. If more support is needed, opt for yoga blocks over wrists.

  • Knees stacked over ankles.

Sugar Cane Pose (Half Moon variation)

(Ardha Chandra Chapasana)

Strengthens: All muscles of the standing leg, ankle joint (balance work), Gluteus maximus, hamstrings, back (erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, infraspinatus, rhomboids), rotator cuff/ deltoids, adductors

Lengthens: Spinal extensors, rectus abdominals, tibialis, psoas major/iliopsoas, pectineus, soleus, pectoral major/minor, hamstrings

Things to Note:

  • External rotation of the lifted hip is necessary for a deeper stretch and back strengthening.

  • Balance work is imperative for a runner (especially trail runners). Working balance helps event out imbalances and keeps you more responsive on the run to avoid falls.

  • Let your lower hand float/hang, or find the ground if you’re able to stretch adductors that wide. No forceful movements allowed. Listen to the bod for when to stop.

Have a favorite pose to keep your run game smooth and injury-free?


When in doubt, get tips from the coach. She always knows best.

#runneryoga #yogaposes #yogaforrunners #runningyoga

My Journey of Fitness and Fueling

Fitness Instructor, triathlete, OCRer, backpacker, yogini, and vegan foodie to keep me energetic.

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