Quads, Quads, Quads!
I was quickly reminded how increasing mileage feels on the legs when I ran a 10 miler on Saturday. Wow, hard work can hurt! My 10 miler was spontaneous; inspired by all you Boston Marathon runners.
I started out on my regular running route planning to do a 5 miler (which is on the marathon course) and literally ran into my brother who was on his long run. He had 6 miles left to go and I had just run 4 and felt great, so I thought to myself why not just do it? I was so pumped to be out on the course, the weather was an amazing 50 degrees and I didn’t want to stop. Those roads were just buzzing with excitement and energy.
6 miles later, I was ready to stop even though inspiration was still high. My quads were shot and my body was in need of major love, yoga love. Here are some quad opener poses I did post run to counter that long run achy and stiff pain.
Thanks for all the inspiration Boston Marathon runners! I hope to see you all this Saturday at the House of Blues for Lululemon’s Runner’s High event!
- Come to sit on your skins.
- Place a block or a couple blocks in between your ankles (the long way).
- Bring your thighs together. Lean slightly backward so your shoulders are over your hips. Relax the shoulders.
- Shine the crown of your head towards the ceiling.
- Hold for 20 rounds of breath.
Broken Toe Pose
- Take your hero pose but instead of having the tops of your feet flat on the ground, tuck the toes.
- Shoot for at least 10 rounds of breath. Groaning counts as breathing! Warning, this one’s a toughie!
Spinx (grab for back foot)
- Start in spinx pose by coming to lay on your belly.
- Place your forearms on the ground shoulder distance a part.
- Make sure your shoulders are right over your elbow creases.
- Spread the collar bones wide and open your chest. Hold for 10 rounds of breath.
- Now time to grab that back foot. From spinx, place your left forearm at a diagonal in front of you.
- Bend your back right knee and take your right hand and grab a hold of the top of the foot.
- Press the foot in towards your butt. Hold for 10 breaths and switch sides.
Low lunge (grab for back foot)
- Come into your low lunge by stepping your right foot forward next to your right thumb (from downward dog) and placing your left knee on the ground. Make sure your knee is over your ankle.
- Place your left hand to the inside of your right foot. Press your hips forward and bend the back left knee.
- Take your right hand and grab a hold of the back left foot. Try to grab the razor edge of the foot and open the chest and ribs towards the ceiling.
- If you’re not able to get the foot, place a block under the left hand and back left knee. You can also place a strap/towell around the foot. Feel free to let the right foot come on its side and to open the right knee off to the side.
- Hold for 10 breaths and then switch sides
Two options of where you can take this pose.
- First option, reach the left arm along side your left ear.
- Take your right hand and place it along the inside of the foot with the thumb facing up (this allows the chest to open).
- Press the knee down towards the ground and find a nice stretch down the right quad.
- Hold for at least 10 breaths and switch sides.
- In the same position, begin to tilt your torso forward.
- Activate the back foot and start to send it up and back behind you.
- This variation of the pose will give you the quad stretch and will also strengthen the lower back and open the chest.
- Make sure you are hugging the inner thighs in towards one another and are not crunching or feeling any pain in your low back.
- Hold for at least 10 breaths and switch sides.
- Make sure your body is warm before coming into this pose. I would recommend some core exercises, hip opening poses and a few of the quad openers above before jumping into this one. If you have any existing lower back pain, do not attempt this option of the pose.
Bow Pose & Half Bow Pose
Just like option 2 dancer pose, make sure your body is warm and that you have done some hip openers and quad openers (shown above) before coming into this pose.
*after each of these poses below (half bow and bow), make sure you cool down and counter these poses with some twists. Here’s a recommended sequence (steps 4, 5, 6)
Half Bow Pose
- Before coming into your full bow, come into your half bow.
- Come to lay on your belly. Reach your left arm out in front of you and bend your back right knee.
- Take your right hand and reach for the outer ankle of the right foot.
- Lift the chest off the ground (lift from the upper spine, right between the shoulder blades) while also lifting the left arm and back leg up.
- Activate the back foot by sending it upward and back. Hold for 5 to 10 rounds of breath. Repeat once to two more times and switch sides.
- Taking your half bow a little deeper, take both of your hands and place them outside of your ankles.
- Once again lift your chest up, send the heart forward and activate the feet.
- Hold for 5 to 10 rounds of breath and feel free to rock forward and back or side to side.
- If you have any existing lower back pain, make sure you try half bow first before attempting this pose.
- Repeat once to 2 more times.