Yoga Moves for Runners With Tight Hips

Yoga Moves for Runners With Tight Hips

Yoga runners
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As a running coach, one of the most common ailments I hear about from runners is, "My hips are so tight!"  Yoga is an excellent way for runners to improve their flexibility and strength, especially when it comes to opening up and stretching out our hip muscles.

Post-run is a great time to do these beneficial yoga poses, since the muscles in our hips tend to get tighter as we run. Make sure you don't force any of these poses. If you're too tight to reach the recommended position, just go as far as you can before it becomes uncomfortable. As you continue to do the poses week after week, you'll find that your flexibility will improve.

Low Lunge

low lunge stretch
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The low lunge stretch will help stretch your hip flexors (hip muscles you use to lift your knees), which commonly get tight during running. It helps release some tension in your hips and really opens them up.  Note: This move can be intense on the knees, so be careful if you have knee pain.

Here's what to do:

1.  From a standing position, step forward with your left leg and place your right leg behind you. 

2. Focus on sinking your right knee to the floor as you slide your right foot behind you.

3. Your left leg should be in a fixed, bent position. Be sure to keep your left knee over your left ankle and don't let your knee go past your toes.

4. Make sure your torso is upright and your shoulders are back. Slowly move your head back and look up. You can either leave your arms at your side or raise them up and reach.

5. Hold for 30 seconds, then carefully release and do the same thing on the other side.

Garland Pose

garland pose
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The garland pose is another good one to help loosen up your hip flexors. Here's what to do:

1. Get into a squatting position. Place your feet as close together as possible, while still keeping your heels on the floor.

2. Spread your thighs so that they're a little wider than your body.

3. Place your elbows on the inner side of your knees and bring your palms together.

4. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds and then release from this pose.

Modification: If back problems or another issue prevent you from squatting, you can perform this pose while sitting in a chair. With your feet planed on the ground, sit towards the end of the chair and lean your upper body toward your thighs. The follow steps 2 to 4.

Pigeon Pose

This move will really open up your hips, relieve stress and tension in that area, and stretch your quads (front thighs).

Here's how to do it:

1. Get into the low lunge position and place your hands on the ground in front of you for support.

2. Slowly lift or slide your front foot over so that your ankle is behind your opposite wrist.  Slide your back leg behind you as far as your hips will allow.

3. Move your hands back toward your torso as you straighten your back and keep your body vertical over your hips. 

4. If you are very tight, you can hold this position for 30 seconds.

5. Or, try to move your hands forward and place your forearms on the mat and hold the position there for 30 seconds. If you're very flexible, extend your arms and body out on the floor in front of you.

6. Repeat the same steps on the other side.

Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Yoga Pose
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This yoga pose relieves post-run tightness in your lower back and hips. Here's what to do:

1. While sitting on the ground, bend your knees and bring your soles together.

2. Relax your shoulders and slowly bend toward your feet. Try to keep your spine straight.

3. Keep your hands on your feet and press down your knees with your arms, or extend your arms out in front of you.

4. Hold for five breaths and then sit back up.


More Advice for Tight Hips

Still need help with tight hip muscles?   Get tips for foam rolling your IT band and how to do pre-run warm-up exercises.

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