Improve Your Running Form with Warrior 2 Pose

Dr. Chloe with 1 foot in front of her, kinee bent, the other leg behind facing perpendicularly to the front foot. Keep your arms open and in line with the front leg to stretch the adductors and improve running form

I want to be faster, smoother, stronger, better, healthier.  These hopes are what we hear echoed from the runners in our office.  Poor running form can lead to inefficiencies, wasted energy, and increased risk of injury. That’s what this 4-part yoga series is specifically designed to improve.  We tackle overall running form taking a physical therapy approach.  Our hope is that this series should help keep your out of our office and running on the roads and trails that you love.  The final installment of our 4 part series Yoga for Runners is all about running form.  Let’s put together all the pieces we’ve been working on.  This week, we’re focusing on the Warrior 2 pose, a powerful stance that can directly benefit your running gait and help you tackle those challenging hills with ease.

The Benefits of Warrior 2 for Running Form

The Warrior 2 pose is a lateral standing posture that requires you to move your hips independently from each other and the rest of your body. Even though this motion doesn’t  mimic the natural hip movement that occurs during running, it teaches you the same principles.  Ultimately this pose helps you develop a smoother, more efficient stride.

Dr. Chloe demonstrating how the hip needs to hinge to get into warrior 2 for a more efficient running stride and warrior 2 pose

Additionally, this pose provides an excellent stretch for the inner thighs and adductor muscles. These often-neglected muscle groups play a crucial role in running, particularly when tackling hills or powering through tough terrain. By improving adductor flexibility and strength, you’ll be better equipped to conquer those challenging inclines with ease.

Incorporating Warrior 2 into Your Routine

In this week’s routine, we’ll be using the Warrior 2 pose as both a pre- and post-test to assess your progress. Then, we’ll move through a circuit of three stretches designed to improve your mobility and enhance your Warrior 2 form:

Warrior 2 Pre-Test

Challenge the flexibility and mobility of your hips to move independently and hinge all in one powerful pose.  

Dr. Chloe with 1 foot in front of her, kinee bent, the other leg behind facing perpendicularly to the front foot. Keep your arms open and in line with the front leg to stretch the adductors and improve running form
  • Widen your legs more than hip width apart and turn your front foot open (front foot should be bisecting your back foot)
  • Hinge at the front hip (hip of the foot that’s turned out) 
  • Let your front knee glide forward as you push it over your front ankle
  • Keep a slight tuck of your pelvis so you’re not overarching your back
  • Press evenly through your feet to make sure your arches don’t fall
  • Extend your arms to be in the same line as your front foot (bisecting through your back foot)

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

This stretch targets the hip flexors, while also introducing the ability of your hips to move independently.  With one foot in front and one foot behind, you need to hinge at the front hip while extending through the back hip.  

  • Get into a split stance hinging at the front hip
  • Keep both hips square
  • Slightly tuck your pelvis
  • Stretch your back leg behind you while pushing your heel towards the wall
  • For a more difficult option try to straighten your back leg
Keeping both hips facing the same direction, Chloe is in a split stance with her left leg in front and her right leg behind. She keeps a tucked pelvis and her back knee bent as a more modified version of the stretch

Squat Stretch

By incorporating a deep squat stretch, you’ll teach yourself how to hinge from your hips while stretching through your inner thighs, groin, and even challenge some ankle mobility.  This will help you improve overall lower body mobility, which is essential for maintaining proper running form.

Dr. Chloe with her toes facing outward, hinged at the hips, and squatting down to stretch her adductors for her running form
  • Begin with your toes pointing out
  • Hinge at your hips to lower down
  • Get into a deep knee bend while pushing your knees out over your toes
  • You can use your elbows to help your knees stay out to the sides
  • Focus on keeping your chest up

Lateral Lunge Stretch

This dynamic stretch targets the adductors and inner thighs, complementing the Warrior 2 pose and preparing your body for lateral movements.  This is important because you’ll continue working on hinging your hips while feeling the difference between your individual legs!

  • Widen your legs more than hip width apart.
  • Hinge at the hip and glide one knee over to the outside of your foot.
  • Keeping the other leg straight you’ll feel this stretching in your inner thigh and groin
With legs wider than hip width apart, Dr. Chloe has one leg straight and the other knee bent and stretching through the inner thigh of the straight leg for improving running form
  • Keep your chest upright
  • Switch up how this feels by lifting the toes of the straight leg and resting your heel on the ground

We’ll repeat all 3 exercises circuit style for 3 rounds.  Afterwards we go back to Warrior 2 for our post test.  You should feel a difference in the ability of your hips to move as well as sink down lower into it!  Make sure to do both sides!

Watch our Follow Along Video To Improve Your Running Form with Warrior 2

By consistently practicing this routine, you’ll not only improve your Warrior 2 form but also enhance your overall running efficiency, reduce the risk of injury, and potentially even boost your speed and endurance.

How To Use This Series

It’s important to focus on what aspect of your running you want to improve the most, however we are using each week as a post run cool down!  We are cycling through week’s 1-4 after each run.  That will make sure we’re tackling everything we need to improve our running form on a holistic approach.

Remember, proper form is key to unlocking your full potential as a runner. By incorporating yoga poses like Warrior 2, Camel, Pigeon, and Down Dog into your training regimen, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a smoother, more powerful stride, better breathing, and reduce your risk of injury.

Check out the rest of our series Yoga for Runners!  

🐪 Week 1 – Running Posture (Camel Pose)
🐦 Week 2 – Hip Openers (Pigeon Pose)
🐕 Week 3 – Power and Push Off (Down Dog)

Need More Structure?

Are tweaks and twinges holding you back?  If you’re tired of always being sidelined we have the solution for you.  Over 4 weeks, our systematic approach helps you improve your mobility and strength for running.  You’ll focus on key areas of the body like your knees, hips, and ankles to keep you running all season long.  The best part is that you can incorporate it into your training because it’s only 15 minutes a day. Don’t let another frustrating day go by where you’re not achieving your running goals but waiting for your tweak to calm down.  Start MDRx Runner today.

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