The “Runner’s Lunge” exercise or pose is great for building strength and endurance in the lower body, while also requiring minimal flexibility. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for runners to help correct muscle imbalances caused by the repetitive stride motion.
Target Area: Hips, Core, Glutes, Thighs
- Improves endurance, muscle activation, and strength in glutes, hips, and thighs
- Relieves pressure on knees and reduces risk of injury
- Improves hip mobility
Considerations – who should be careful?
- Anybody with a lower-body injury. Don’t aggravate the injury further. Do exercises for your upper-body or lay on your back and do non-weight bearing exercises instead.
Runner’s Lunge Pose Technique Walkthrough
- Start on all fours, then step your left foot up between your hands into a Low Lunge stance.
- Bend your left knee to 90 degrees with the knee above the ankle.
- Slide right leg back until you feel a stretch in your hips.
- Rest fingertips on the floor.
- Tuck your back toes and squeeze your back thigh to lift the knee.
- Press down firmly through your left heel, keeping your knee directly over your ankle and hips squared forward.
- Squeeze your inner thighs toward each other.
- Pull your chest forward and up to form a straight line from back heel to head, using your core to maintain the position.
- Hold the posture, inhaling as you lengthen the body, and exhaling as you sink deeper. To challenge your core and balance, hover your hands above the floor, intensifying core and hip engagement.
- Repeat on the other side.
How to Make It Easier (Runner’s Lunge Modifications)
Bring your feet closer together, use 2 blocks and rest your hands on those.
What should you be feeling?
- Engagement of hips, glutes, thighs, and core
- Stretch in right hip flexors and left inner thigh
- Weight centered in hips and core
What you shouldn’t feel.
- Excessive weight in the front knee; if so, shift weight to hips
- Weight in hands; if so, lift hands slightly to shift weight to core
- If your back is rounding in order to keep your fingertips on the floor, rest your hands on blocks placed on either side of your front foot to help you form a straight, neutral spine.
Common Errors & How to Avoid.
- Knee passing over ankle in front foot. Make sure shin remains perpendicular to the ground.
- Weight shifting into the knee, not squared in the hips. Squeeze your legs toward one another and drive down through the heel of the front foot to improve hip engagement.
- Craning neck to look forward. Make sure the spine stays in a straight line, and you look slightly down and forward (not just forward).
- Rounding through your back to compensate for lack of hip mobility. Lift your hands away from the ground or rest your hands on blocks to straighten your spine.
What if I feel this mostly in my knees (and not in the hips)?
Most likely, your front knee is moving too far forward. You also want to focus on pushing down through your front foot more, and squeeze your legs toward one another. It could also be glute weakness.
Why do I have trouble holding this?
It’s a tough posture, and it takes a lot of strength and endurance. As you practice yoga (and lunge-like postures in particular) then you’ll be able to hold it for a longer time.
Why do I feel my lower-back straining in this posture?
It’s most likely because you are rounding your back. Focus on pulling your chest forward and up, sink deeper into the posture, and bring your feet further apart from one another.
About The Author
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. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, as well as Physical Therapists in Texas.
Dean is a successful published Author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 25,000 copies worldwide, 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, Men’s Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.
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