Technique Tuesday — Yoga for Runners Hamstring Refresh

As much as we love running, we have to admit that sometimes there are days when the best part is when it’s over. With the shower beckoning and a growling stomach, taking time to stretch might feel like, well, a stretch. Remember, folks, it doesn’t take much. Just a few minutes spent lengthening your muscles is sooooo worth it later…

Try it: Post-Run Hamstring Refresh

While this Jasyoga sequence can be used pre- or post-run, we especially love it post-run to help mitigate hamstring and hip stiffness. The pair of poses below will re-lengthen your hamstrings to help maintain your muscle pliability — which is critical for a long, strong stride. They also stretch the muscles around your outer hips and even the hard-to-access calf and shin (shin splints, anyone? Ugh!). Plus knee stabilization for injury prevention is an added bonus.

Hold each stretch for 5 – 10 deep breaths. Do both on the same leg before switching sides.

You don’t even have to take your kicks off!

Hit the front —

hammie foot down

  • Come into a runner’s lunge with your right foot in front and your left knee on the ground — make sure your stride is long/just slightly out of your comfort zone (IE it should almost feel a bit too long)
  • Keeping your right foot flat, straighten that leg as much as you can without locking the knee — put blocks or solid water bottles under your hands if you can’t reach the ground
  • Press your right foot strongly into the ground — you should feel a stretch in the front of your ankle/shin, as well as in the hamstrings
  • Keep your spine long (rather than hunching down over the straight leg) — engaging your core will help
  • Without moving your right foot, try to take your right hip a little further “back” away from your right shoulder — this is a subtle adjustment but you should feel the stretch move toward your right outer hip
  • Scan your body and practice being as efficient as possible — focus on where you feel the stretch and relax everywhere else (neck, shoulders, etc. should be on vacation)

Now the back —

hammie foot flexed

  • Keep everything the same as in part one but flex your right foot so your toes point up — you should feel a stretch in your calf, as well as the hamstrings
  • Be sure your right knee isn’t locking and again try to take your right hip “back” — it’s kind of like your right heel is stuck but you’re trying to drag it toward you

Ready to take it a step further? Try both stretches with your back knee off the ground:

hammie foot down back knee up

hammie foot flexed back knee up

Erin TaylorComment