Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Basic Yoga Poses For Triathletes, Cyclists and Runners

This article shows you 7 yoga asanas that efficiently help cyclists, triathletes and runners with stiff muscles.

If you are doing a lot of running or cycling, it is also common that you have stiff legs. This stiffness in the legs, ranging from the foot up to the gluteus maximus, can cause different problems as for instance the iliotibial band syndrome. Other problems that can arise from stiff leg muscles are back problems. Please check my blog for more posts about knee problems and their prevention.

These poses are particularly good for newcomers to yoga. They will help you getting more flexible leg muscles. Every asana is described with its English and Sanskrit name, so that you can find videos and pictures of the poses on the web or in a book. I mostly find the asanas on YouTube.

When your legs are more flexible, they can perform with less resistance. It will be possible to run or cycle more efficient. It will also help you to avoid overuse injuries as iliotibial band syndrome. I have noticed that when I started doing yoga or stretching, I didn't get any knee pain anymore.

It is normal for beginners to feel a light sensation of pain when trying to get into the different asanas. Don't give up! Through regular stretching you will gain flexibility and it will be much easier getting into the postures. In the end you will really enjoy them.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana): This is a very good stretch for your hips.

Standing forward bend (Uttanasana): This pose will flex your hamstrings, gluteus maximus, medius and minimus as well as your spinal muscles. People with back injury should approach this bend very cautiously. Gravity should do the work, don't push your body into the pose. It is recommended to bend you knees if your hamstrings are very stiff. That will increase the stretch.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I): Warrior I is a very good posture to stretch you hip flexors, which is a weak point in many runners and cyclists. It increases flexibility in the hips, back and front groins.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): This is another pose that will stretch your hip joints. It will also open the groins and stretch the inner thigh muscles.

Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana): Stretches the back side of the legs and opens the groin. It will also stretch the upper body. Is a very good follower to the Warrior II.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana): A follow up of the Warrior I posture. Above all the hips are getting worked on here.

Intense side stretch (Parsvottanasana): This pose work on your hamstrings and gluteus maximus. It gives you a more intense stretch for your hamstrings than you get in the standing forward bend.

Wide stance forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana): For stretching your hamstrings and gluteus maximus, this is a very good asana. The difference to the standing forward bend is that in this pose you have your feet wider apart. It is also called wide-legged forward fold.

To get the most of the asanas described above, stay for five deep breaths in position. By doing the poses regularly you will open up your groin and increase the flexibility in your legs and hips. This will reduce the risk of getting problems with overuse injuries. I recommend doing these asanas at least three times a week and when you have done them for 2 months we can go to the next level.

I hope these Yoga asanas will help you enjoying your sport!


Gunnar is a two time triathlon finisher and has a blog about triathlon training and Yoga for athletes.

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