I recently gave an interview to Trail Runner magazine for a forthcoming feature about hot yoga for runners. They asked me about ‘overstretching’ and what runners can do get the most out of yoga… here’s what I had to say!
Q: What is ‘overstretching’?
A: It can mean that you’re not engaging the correct muscles to lengthen the opposite muscles. For instance, if you forward bend you need to engage (shorten) the quads to lengthen the hamstrings. I’ve noticed with runners that they tend to not contract the quads. They relax the muscles at the front then when they try to lengthen the back they overstretch.
The other thing is going in at full force and not using the breath. Yoga breathing is a practice, if you don’t have the correct technique you are likely to pull a muscle – which is what runners often mean when they say they ‘overstretch’.
The majority of the runners I speak to get into trouble because they’re not breathing correctly and they’re not engaging the correct muscles. In yoga if you do a forward bend, back bend or a twist and you’re not engaging your core, hamstrings or quads, you’re going to injure yourself!
Questions about safe stretching? Ask in the comments!