When I played lacrosse in college, I would always make sure to do at least 10 – 20 minutes of yoga after practices and games so that I could minimize the ouch in my body the next day. Playing over 50% of the game as a midfielder takes quite the toll on the body. There are a few poses that I always make sure to do after a run or a game to help me recover so I can make it back on the field, yoga mat, or gym as soon as possible. Here they are.
1) Wide-legged forward fold
This pose is fantastic for the lower back, the hamstrings, and the lower legs. Running really tightens up your lower back and this helps to release a lot of that pressure.
2) King Lizard
Ouch. The king of the psoas stretch. This stretch deeply targets the quads and hip flexors (two of your most active muscles in running or sprinting) to provide some instant and intense relief to those sore muscles.
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Your glutes need this – they are the largest and most used muscle in sprinting, and if you don’t take care of them how will they take care of you? Embrace the deep stretch in pigeon.
Yes, the rock of vinyasa, downdog. This exercise relieves tightness in your upper back, shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, and calves. Is it an exact counter to everything that is happening in running or sprinting, when your muscles are contracting and contracting. Do it.
5) Seated Forward Fold
Lower back. Lower back. Lower back. Focus on your lower back while in seated forward fold, and then work into the hamstrings once you’re feeling the stretch in your lower back. Most of our cores get tired when we work out, and as soon as that happens our body goes to the lower back for support, so you need to take care of your lower back. This is the best (I said it, the best!) stretch for your lower back.
6) Pyramid and Revolved Pyramid
I usually like to do these poses in conjunction with one another to help deepen the stretch. Pyramid helps to relieve stress in the lower back and hamstrings, and revolved pyramid helps turn it up a notch to really lengthen the spine and also stretch out the IT band (the outside of your leg). Your IT band is one of the keys to knee health, so don’t neglect this!
There ya’ go. Six poses that you should be doing after your workout. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes, and your body will thank you for it – trust me. The best athletes are the ones that understand how important recovery is, so make sure that you don’t neglect the post-workout stretching that will help speed up your recovery and repair your body.
You might be interested in some tips on starting off your yoga practice, so read on! 3 blogs covering some basics.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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