The Top 5 Yoga Poses For Before Your Run

The Best 5 Yoga Poses for Runners: Pre-Run

In this blog, I show you the best yoga poses for runners BEFORE a run. We all know that stretching after a run can help to reduce soreness the next day, but did you know that doing specific yoga postures before you run improves your run? The reason why this is effective because what you’re doing with the yoga postures below isn’t stretching – it’s muscle activation. By turning on inactive muscles, you help to correct imbalances caused by inactivity, such as sitting at a desk or driving, and ensure that your body is functioning at maximum efficiency! I’ve selected 5 yoga poses that target the most critical muscles utilized by runners in exercise. The whole routine will take you less than 5 minutes, but you’ll notice a difference immediately! Try it out now. 🙂 Watch the video below or scroll through to read full descriptions and see photos for each pose.

5 Poses Before A Run

#1 – Standing March Hold

I recommend this is the first posture you do before you go for your run. It requires absolutely zero warm-up, and does quite a few things for your body. It helps to activate your hip flexors, turns on your core, ankles, and gets your stabilizing muscles engaged. Balancing postures like this one are awesome because they recruit more muscle fibers, and when that happens you increase your muscle efficiency. Do this simple Standing March Hold balance posture to activate your hip flexors, warm-up your entire lower-body (hips, knees, and ankles), and turn on your core. It even helps to improve your posture to make you keep your chest open, which leads to better breathing! Hold this for 30 seconds, and repeat for both sides.

Standing March Hold - Yoga Poses for Runners


#2 – High Lunge

The High Lunge is a great exercise for turning on your glutes and thighs. It also gives a modest stretch for your hip flexors, and with your arms lifted overhead as shown here, it adds a great chest-opening element, helping to improve your breathing. When you’re doing the high lunge, try and focus on the strength building and muscle activation aspects of the pose. In other words, don’t go as deep as you possibly can go into the lunge. Focus on the squeezing your butt and thigh muscles instead. When doing yoga before a run, this should be the focus – rather than trying to improve your flexibility and go as deep as you possibly can (you can do that another time). Hold this one for about 30 seconds – just long enough for the hips to modestly open, but not enough to wear you out.

High Lunge A Great Yoga Stretch for Runners

#3 – Deep Squat

The Deep Squat is important because it gets you to turn on your glutes and core. Without these critical muscle groups activated, your lower-back will make up for the lack of muscle activation by overworking, and this can lead to back pain or discomfort. Get your glutes and your core working beforehand with this deep squat, and you’ll have a smoother, more efficient run for sure! Hold this pose for about 20-30 seconds.

Deep Squat A Great Warm-up For Runners

#4 – Standing Side Stretch to Standing Back Bend

Wait, why are we doing a posture focused on your upper-body before a run? Isn’t running all lower-body? The Standing Side Stretch and Standing Back Bend are in this runners pre-workout posture list because it helps you breathe better. Not only that, it also helps to improve your posture, keeping you more upright, and using your core more. The standing side stretches help to activate your obliques, while the standing back bend is awesome for engaging your other abdominal muscle groups. The immediate results are improved cardiovascular ability, an activated core, and reduced pressure on your lower-back, so you can run faster and longer! Hold this pose for 30 seconds in all 3 positions (right, left, back).

Side Bend A Great Yoga Stretch For Runners

Back Bend

#5 – Warrior 2

While many of the other postures on this list don’t look very yoga-y, Warrior 2 is the most yoga-esque posture we’ve got on this list. We’ve added this to the list mainly for the glute activation involved, but also for the hip mobility, chest opening, and core activation benefits that it provides. This is another one of those postures in which you should focus on the strengthening and muscle activation aspects, rather than trying to get as deep as possible into the pose. There are many elements involved in this posture, which make it ideal in terms of bang for your buck. Warrior 2 engages your glutes, turns on your inner thighs (knee stabilizers), modestly opens your hips, engages your core, improves your posture, and even stretches your ankles. With all of the benefits that come from doing this one posture, how could we resist? Hold Warrior 2 for 20 – 30 seconds.

Warrior 2 - A Quintessential Yoga Stretch for Runners

Improve your running efficiency, increase muscle activation, reduce strain on your ankles, knees, and lower-back, and run better! Just incorporate these simple postures into your pre-running routine, and you’ll notice the difference immediately. I hope you got something out of this!

Looking for A Program?

If you’re looking for more yoga workouts to help your running, then Man Flow Yoga has you covered with on-demand structured programs that complement your lifestyle and schedule. Sign-up below to try our 7-Day Challenge!

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Additional Resources

You might be interested in relieving neck and shoulder pain, strengthening your glutes, or learning how to decompress your spine, so check out these 3 blogs!

About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.

Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.

Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.

Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.

Dean And Dog

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1 thought on “The Best 5 Yoga Poses for Runners: Pre-Run”

  1. Hi Dean,
    This is great information! I think a lot of runners still think that they only need to stretch properly after they have run. So a short but effective routine will benefit them.

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