Recover Quicker and Build Strength with These Yoga Poses for Endurance Athletes
article by Skratch Labs’ Dan Carbonell
You’re busy. As an endurance athlete, the thought of adding anything else to your already jam-packed schedule seems outta reach. Your alarm usually goes off at 4 a.m. and when you’re not ‘adulting’ (working, taking care of the kids, family, and other responsibilities), you somehow manage to fit in 10+ hours of training a week.
We’ve got some good news for you: you don’t have to get your namastay on at a yoga studio, or spend an extra hour of your day practicing. Yoga Teacher, Dan Carbonell, picked out yoga poses targeted specifically for endurance athletes so that you can get all of the benefits (build strength, recover quicker), without eating up your time. Neat.
Downward Facing Dog
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings, calves and achilles tendon. Reopens the posterior chain of the legs after the repeated contraction in endurance sports.
Endurance athletes spend a lot of time pounding the pavement, so in order to counteract that compression on your spine, downward facing dog will give your back natural traction.
Where you’ll feel it: hamstrings, calves and achilles tendon
Crescent Moon w/ Side Bend
Benefits: Stretches hip flexors (especially psoas muscle) and obliques. Brings balance to athletes that repeatedly engage their hip flexors to lift their thighs.
Where you’ll feel it: hip flexors and obliques
Benefits: Stretches glutes; improves mobility through the hip joint to promote a more efficient stride/cadence. Runner’s Lunge also increases stamina and strength in the arms, back, hips and legs.
Where you’ll feel it: glutes and hips
Note: place hands or forearms on a yoga block or rolled-up towel.
Twisted Monkey Lunge
Benefits: Stretches hip flexors, quads, and abs; opens the front of the body to balance cycling position.
Where you’ll feel it:abs, hip flexors and quads
Benefits: Opens plantar fascia in feet; helps mitigate plantar fasciitis and increases ankle joint mobility to create a more efficient stride/cadence.
Where you’ll feel it:backs of feet and toe joints
Benefits: Strengthens glutes and muscles that support the spine; improves running posture and strengthens the muscles that stretch on the bike. Working the upper back muscles improves posture and helps relieve stress and fatigue caused by slouching forward.
Where you’ll feel it:: glutes and back muscles
Benefits: Strengthens transverse abdominis; creates a stronger and more stable core to improve force transfer during exertion. This pose strengthens your abs, core, and legs. It’s also good for stretching the arches of your feet as well as your calves, hamstrings, and shoulders.
Where you’ll feel it: abs and shoulders
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings; improves mobility through the back of the hip joint and neutralizes pelvic tilt.
Where you’ll feel it: hamstrings and obliques
Seated Figure Four
Benefits: Stretches “deep six” muscles (external hip rotators); improves mobility through the hip joint to promote a more efficient stride/cadence.
Where you’ll feel it: hips
Benefits: Stretches gluteus medius/minimus, tensor fasciae latae (thigh muscles), IT band; reopens the outer hip muscles that stabilize the body during exertion.
Where you’ll feel it:hips and glutes
Supine Big Toe Pose Variation
Benefits: Stretches tensor fasciae latae and IT band; helps mitigate IT band syndrome and improves knee/hip joint mobility.
Where you’ll feel it: ITs
A lifelong athlete, Dan first came to his yoga mat looking to build core strength and improve flexibility for his other endeavors. However, it only took one vinyasa class for him to understand the practice’s transformational power. A successful thirty-day challenge followed and he was hooked. After bouncing around a few studios in the Washington, DC area, Dan moved to Boulder, CO and jumped head first into its amazing yoga community. When not immersed in the world of yoga, you can find Dan climbing, running, and enjoying all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer.
Dan’s classes are accessible to practitioners of all ability levels and he loves guiding students down the difficult, but rewarding path of extraordinary consciousness and self-empowerment. For Dan, yoga isn’t about flexibility, yoga is about meeting the sensation of your own inflexibility with compassion and using the breath as a vehicle for cultivating bodily awareness. For this reason, Dan’s classes place a high emphasis on the breath practice and he encourages his students to come to their mats with an open mind, a light heart, and most important a willingness to have fun! In Boulder? Attend one of Dan’s classes at Yoga Pod.
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