Stand at the top of your mat, feet hip-distance apart, arms at your side and shoulders relaxed. Take a giant step back with your right foot, turn the foot to the side while keeping the left foot pointing forward. The right foot should be approximately three feet behind the left. The heel of the front foot should be inline with the arch of the back foot. Turn your hips towards the right side of the mat. Inhale, taking your arms out with the left arm forward and the right arm reaching back, your palms facing down. Exhale and hinge forward over the left leg, as though someone were pulling your left hand. Keep the feet grounded. As you hinge, ensure your spine and side body remain long and lengthened. Inhale again, reaching the left hand towards the left shin, and extend the right arm towards the sky, leaving your arms in a “T”. Tuck your pelvis under and draw the lower belly in. Breathe three to five breaths before coming out of the pose. Repeat this on the other side of your body.
Triangle pose has so many benefits. The pose results in an intense stretch of both hamstrings as well as in the gastrocnemieus and soleus muscles. As a runner, you can use triangle pose to help lengthen and strengthen many of the key running muscles. The pose helps to stretch muscles of the legs, knee, ankle, hips and groin while strengthening the legs, abs and back. When holding triangle pose, we are forced to engage our core and practice balance.
Below is a breakdown of how this pose activates and works muscles which runners use most.
In triangle pose, both of your quadriceps are contracting, powerfully stretching the lower part of your hamstring, while strengthening your thigh muscles. As you press the ball of your front foot into the ground creating balance, the muscles on the outside of your shin (the peroneus longus and brevis) are activated.
Groin and Hips
To extend your hip, the glute maximus (buttocks) of the back leg is contracted. When we run, particularly on uneven ground, our hips can become tight due to constantly contracting muscles stabilizing our bodies. In this pose, the psoas of the front leg and the glute maximus of the back leg wing across the pelvis and help to stabilize you while gently opening your hips.
Ankles and Feet
Your ankles will be stretched and stabilized in this pose as the tibialis anterior of the back leg dorsiflexes the ankle towards the shin. To create stability and strengthen the muscles across the top of the feet, press each foot into the mat.
As you turn your chest, opening it towards one side, the oblique muscles are activated. This not only helps lengthen the obliques but strengthens the entire core as your hold the pose.
This pose is best practiced after each of your runs to help lengthen the muscles you just used. Once you have perfected reaching your lower hand to your shin, try extending your arm to the floor, further opening your hips and chest.