Yoga for Runners: 4 Poses to Build Your Backside for Running

Ready to build a stronger backside to improve running performance? Yoga for runners can help you go the distance.

When we think about the action of running, we think of a forward-moving motion. 

The strength to move forward comes from pushing off, using the muscles on the backside of the body, the... 

  • Feet
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes, and...
  • Back

🧘‍♀️ Yoga provides effective ways to strengthen the backside of the body to...

  • Improve running posture 
  • Improve the pushing-off action to propel oneself forward while running
  • Create symmetry within the body when combined with poses that strengthen the front body and side body
  • Minimize injury by keeping the pushing-off muscles strong and healthy 
  • Increase longevity of your running career (that’s what we all want, right?)

⌚ When to practice the poses

They are best practiced after a yoga warm-up and before a cool down or within a body or weight-based strength routine.

Warm-ups can include yoga salutations such as these:

The poses can also be done after a run.

  • If choosing to do so, slowly jog around to bring the heart rate down and get the breathing under control.
  • Perhaps do a few of the above sun salutations, and then practice the poses. 
  • It helps to bring a towel or yoga mat to the trailhead, track or park if running somewhere other than from your front door. Be sure to stretch afterward.

👉 How to practice the poses

  • Option One: Hold each pose for 30 to 60 seconds (five to eight breaths) before switching to the next set of poses. Do one to three sets of each pose, choosing different versions each time or the ones that work best for your body.
  • Option Two: If practicing within a yoga class, these poses are often woven throughout a class incorporating many other types of poses, and held for one round of breath. 

1. Locust Pose (four versions)

Locust Pose, arms along the sides (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Locust Pose, goal post arms (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Locust Pose, airplane arms (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Locust Pose, leg and arm lifts (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)

Instructions

Within each version:

  • Lie flat on the belly with legs stretched out behind you
  • Touch the big toes together 
  • Roll the inner thighs up and in to create space in the low back
  • Lift the head, chest and legs off of the mat
  • Draw the shoulders down and away from the neck to create space and traction along the cervical spine

The Four Versions:

🧘‍♀️ Arms along the sides (photo one):

  • Reach the arms along the sides, palms face down

🧘‍♂️ Goal post arms (photo two):

  • Bend the elbows to 90 degrees and lift them out to the sides while squeezing the shoulder blades together

🧘‍♀️ Airplane arms (photo three):

  • Reach the arms straight out to the sides and lift them as high as the shoulders

🧘‍♂️ Opposite leg and arm lifts (photo four):

  • Reach the arms forward with the biceps along the ears and palms facing down
  • Lift the left arm and right leg at the same time
  • Switch, lifting the right arm and left leg at the same time
  • Keep switching, with one breath per movement, or hold each round for five to eight breaths
  • Work up to 30 lifts per side

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the back, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and glutes 

2. Bow Pose (two versions)

Bow Pose, no hands (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Full Bow Pose/ Dhanurasana (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)

Instructions

The Two Versions: 

🧘‍♂️ No hands (photo one):

  • Lift the head, chest and chin off the mat
  • Bend the knees, keeping them hip-width distance apart
  • Flex the toes back toward the knees so that the soles of the feet are flat to the sky
  • Press the soles of the feet up to the sky
  • Reach the arms back along the sides 

🧘‍♀️ Full Bow Pose (photo two):

  • If it feels easy to reach back to hold the outer edges of the feet, do so
  • Keep the knees no wider than the hips
  • Kick the feet into the hands to lift the chest 
  • If holding the feet feels forced in any way, stick with version one (it is actually more difficult!). No pain should be felt in the low back - if so, skip it, or continue to roll the inner thighs up and in to broaden across that area. 

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens the back, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes, as well as the chest in version two

3. Reverse Tabletop Pose (two versions)

Reverse Tabletop Pose (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Reverse Tabletop Pose, leg lifted (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)

Instructions

The Two Versions: 

🧘‍♀️ Reverse Tabletop Pose (photo one):

  • Sit on the bottom
  • Place the soles of the feet on the mat
  • Place the hands shoulder-width distance apart about one foot behind the hips
  • Press into the hands and feet to lift the hips so that the chest, hips and knees are about parallel with one another
  • Press into the two big toes
  • Look straight up at the sky, keeping the neck neutral
  • Keep a microbend in the elbows to avoid hyperextending 

🧘‍♂️ Tabletop Pose, leg lifted (photo two):

  • From version one, root strongly into the left foot
  • Lift the right leg straight up to the sky
  • Press into the left foot to keep the hips from sagging

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens the back, arms, hamstrings and glutes

4. Reverse Plank Pose (three versions)

Reverse Plank Pose (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Reverse Plank Pose, knee to chest (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)
Reverse Plank Pose, leg lifted (Photo/Colleen O’Neil)

Instructions

The Three Versions: 

🧘‍♂️ Reverse Plank Pose (photo one):

  • For a bigger challenge than Reverse Tabletop, move to Reverse Plank Pose
  • Sit on the bottom with the legs stretched out straight
  • Place the hands shoulder-width distance apart about one foot behind the hips
  • Press into the hands and bottoms of the feet to lift the hips and legs off the mat
  • Press the two big toes down into the mat, rolling the legs in toward one another
  • If the arches of the feet cramp, flex the toes back to the knees
  • Look straight up at the sky, keeping the neck neutral
  • Keep a microbend in the elbows to avoid hyperextending 

🧘‍♀️ Reverse Plank Pose, knee to chest (photo two):

  • Press strongly into the right leg while lifting the left knee to the chest
  • Hold for five to eight breaths
  • Switch sides
  • Do one set, or repeat, working up to as many repetitions as you’d like

🧘‍♂️ Reverse Plank Pose, leg lifted (photo three):

  • Begin with one knee to the chest
  • Straighten the leg up to the sky
  • Keep lifting the hips high to the sky to avoid sagging
  • Hold for five to eight breaths
  • Switch sides
  • Do one set, or repeat, working up to as many repetitions as you’d like 

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the back, arms, hamstrings, glutes, calves and feet

More on yoga for runners

Rate This:


Share This:

Subscribe

and never miss our new running content!
(you also score chances to win gear)
500
Brynn Cunningham
Ambassador

Trail runner, ultrarunner, white water boater, cyclist (mostly MTB), swimmer, backcountry skier, yogi, mom and writer. www.inhaleexhalerun.com

Comments

Yoga Adi Our 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh is perfect for those who want to deepen their practice and become a certified yoga teacher. We offer hatha yoga teacher training, vinyasa yoga teacher training, and a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. All of our courses are led by experienced teachers who will help you develop your skills and knowledge. Visit for Details: https://www.yogaadi.com/yoga-teacher-training-200/

Yoga Adi 200 hour yoga teacher training is available in India. The most popular programs are Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. These programs provide a comprehensive education in yoga, including the history and philosophy of yoga, asanas (yoga poses), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation. After completing a 200 hour program, students will be able to teach yoga classes with confidence and knowledge.
Visit for Details: https://www.alakhyog.com/200-hour-yoga-teacher-training-rishikesh-india/

Brynn Cunningham Thanks for the info, but I have my 230-hour registered yoga teacher certification from Asheville Yoga Center.

Brynn Cunningham

Brynn Cunningham

Login to your account to leave a comment.

Related Articles

Trending WeeViews

User uploaded image of Alhambra Pumpkin Run 5k
User uploaded image of UltrAspire Essential Bottle Pack Belt
User uploaded image of Fresh Foam More
User uploaded image of Zoom Fly 4
User uploaded image of Philadelphia Marathon
Full Review

Join the Community

It’s FAST and FREE. Create a short profile and link any desired social media accounts, personal websites or blogs.

Search