Hip flexor woes slowing you down? It’s not surprising if those babies are cranky, since your stride repeatedly shortens and stiffens the front of your body — especially around your hips. Then, when you sit the rest of the day in your car/at your desk/on your couch, you’re further compounding the hip flexor tightening effects of your mileage.
The remedy? Re-establish space in the front of your body. Use this quick routine post-run, holding each stretch for 5–10 deep breaths before switching sides. Added bonus — your quads will get some relief along the way, too!
- From standing, step one leg back into a lunge and lower your back knee to the floor — pad your knee if needed.
- Make sure your front knee is directly over the ankle and frame the foot with your hands — place props beneath your hands if needed.
- Pick up your back knee, pull it back another inch, and return the knee to the floor, encouraging your stride (and hip flexors!) to lengthen.
- Gently draw your front foot and back knee toward each other without moving anything and instead of collapsing your hips toward the floor — this action helps to ensure you’re stretching the muscles rather than straining your ligaments.
- Stay there or place your hands on your front thigh, then reach the arm on the same side as your back leg up and slightly back to deepen the stretch.
- Come onto your forearms, bringing them parallel and shoulder width apart with your palms facing down.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bring your chest forward, as if you’re trying to drag yourself forward on the floor.
- Meanwhile take the back of your head back, rather than letting your chin come forward.
- Keep your booty relaxed.
PRONE QUAD STRETCH
- Lie on your belly and make a pillow for your forehead with stacked palms.
- Reach back and grab your foot with your hand on the same side.
- Keep your thighs close together.
- Gently press your thigh into the floor, rather than pushing your hip point (front of the hip) down, to help keep yourself more neutral.
- Keep relaxing that booty.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip’s width apart and parallel.
- Place a block (a couple of stacked books or pillows will work, too!) under your butt.
- Extend your arms along your sides with your palms facing up.
- Rest here for 2 minutes…
- Put a block lengthwise between your thighs and tightly loop a strap around your thighs — if you don’t have a block/strap, use a couple firm pillows that will keep your thighs hip width apart, and use a tie or belt.
- Once you’ve got your props set up and your strap/tie/belt secure around your legs (it should be tight!), lie on your back with your knees bent, feet parallel on the floor.
- Rest your arms along your sides with your palms facing up.
- Bring your attention to your low belly/low back/hip flexor area. Notice any tightness or tension in this area and encourage release.
- Rest like this for 10 minutes…
- FYI: Don’t search for a big “stretch” feeling in this pose because you probably won’t find it. Instead, “constructive rest” encourages the tops of the thighbones to drop back and down, which brings ease to the pelvis and, most noticeably, the psoas — your most powerful hip flexor muscle.
Use #jasyogaforrunners to let us know how it goes! For more tips to keep your running body in balance including quick pre- and post-run routines, check out The Yoga for Runners Collection at video.jasyoga.com.