Challenge a runner to a toe touching contest and you'll probably bend yourself into a pretzel before they make it past their shins. That's because running can tighten muscles like your hamstring, IT band and calves if not properly stretched and cross-trained. But lucky for you (and us!) we got the top five yoga poses Andrea Orbeck, fitness consultant and Heidi Klum's secret weapon uses to train the supermodel to celebrate the launch of HealthyChic.com, a new site for yoga and fitness lovers to find curated gear from pros like Orbeck, yoga instructor Anita Goa, track and field coach Scott Cohen and others. Below, Orbeck explains why all runners should start incorporating these poses into their cross-training routines.
"When training Heidi or any runner, I focus on poses that open up the muscles that tend to make us tight from repetitive habits, like sitting all day or exercise-induced tension," she says. "By working on poses that open the hips, lengthen the psoas (the only muscle that runs from front to back and top to bottom and is usually the culprit for back pain), stretch the hamstring and open and lengthen the lumbar. When these muscles are properly opened and lengthened, we dodge back pain and can continue to run and do our favorite exercises."
5 Yoga Poses Runners Must Do:
- Child's Pose: When our tailbone is seated on our heels and our arms are outstretched, it opens up the lumbar spine and gently opens our quads, too.
- Happy Baby Pose: This makes for a happy runner! It opens up the lumbar spine and hamstrings and when legs are open to the sides, stretches inner thigh muscles.
- Pigeon Pose: My personal favorite! This can bring immediate relief to tight glutes, groin, back psoas, and even the shoulders and pecs. Everyone from a runner and a model, to a mogul and mom will know the stress from these muscles.
- Warrior Pose: This movement provides some hip flexor stretch, but also activates the quads and core. Holding it before transitioning out bears weight on the quads statically and is great for balancing and conditioning.
- Goddess Pose: For runners especially, this is a great way to open up the inner thigh muscles and chest while letting gravity give you some much deserved "me" time.