Most runners love running miles, miles and more miles. As a consequence of this any activity outside of running, such as strength and conditioning, tends to fall to the wayside. This can lead to muscle imbalances, meaning one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle.

This is particularly true for areas that are under constant stress from running, including the lower back and hip flexors. Muscle imbalances in these areas can inevitably lead to injuries. To try and avoid issues with the lower back and hip flexors, runners should look to the practice of yoga.

It’s a great activity that won’t take up a huge amount of time and will help improve strength and balance all over the body. There is an array of different yoga poses that you can do, but to help with lower back strength, hip flexibility and balance try the five below.

1. Cobra

How to do it
– Lie facing the ground with toes stretched out.
– Lift your upper torso up and spread your hands on the ground hugging the elbows and shoulders back.
– Hold for twenty seconds and repeat three times.

2. Warrior 2

How to do it
– Step your feet wide apart and turn your right leg out at 90 degree angle.
– Bend your right knee, but not further than the top of your ankle.
– Stretch arms out in opposite directions.

– Hold and breath for thirty seconds.

3. Downward facing dog

How to do it
– Firstly have your feet hip width apart and fold over, placing your hands flat on the ground.
– Walk your feet back to almost a press up position.
– Lift your hips up and push back, keeping your back straight.

– Breathe and hold for twenty seconds.

4. Warrior 3

How to do it
– Balance on your left foot and fold forward to a 90 degrees angle.
– Lift your right leg and stretch it back.
– Extend both arms out.
– Try and balance for thirty seconds before switching to the opposite side.


5. Pigeon – alternative

How to do it
– Start on all fours, with the knees below your hips and your hands slightly under your shoulders.
– Slide the right knee forward, bend and angle your right shin under your torso.
– Slide your left leg backwards keeping it straight and aiming to hold the front of the thigh close to the floor.
– Straighten up your torso and stretches your arms up into the air.
– Hold for thirty seconds before switching to the opposite side.
– If you have any injuries or feel uncomfortable consult your physio.