You already know that strong abdominals, hips and back muscles will help you run more efficiently and with less risk of injury. But time can be tight – especially if you're ramping up the mileage – and when it feels like something has to give, strength-training is often the first session to go. So here’s a fast and effective solution: instead of scrolling through your social feeds immediately after your run, wind down with this eight-pose, 10-minute core yoga routine that targets all the layers of your abdominal muscles, back extensors and glutes. Slotted in along the way you will find some stretches to give you a break and improve range of motion in your hips. The moves take only a short time, but they’re great way to finish a run and they’ll help you log hours of injury-free running.
1/ Boat pose
Keeping your spine long and legs together, come into a V-sit. For the easier version, bend your knees or keep your feet on the ground. Make it harder by straightening your legs and lifting your arms. Hold for five to 15 breaths.
2/ Cross-legged forward fold
Cross your ankles and gently fold your torso over your legs, stretching your outer hips for 10-15 breaths. You will also feel a stretch in your back, but only fold over as far as is comfortable.
3/ Twisting boat pose
Return to your V-sit and, with your spine long and legs together, exhale to twist to one side. Inhale as you return to the centre, then exhale to twist to the other side. Do five to 10 rounds.
4/ Cross-legged forward fold
From a seated position, with a long spine, bring your legs towards your body and cross your ankles (place them directly under your knees, if possible). Slowly fold your torso over your legs for another 10-15 breaths. To enhance the move, stretch your arms out in front of you.
5/ Listing boat pose
Return to your V-sit and shift position onto your right glute. For more of a challenge, lower your legs and upper body closer to the ground. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat the move on the left side.
6/ Cobbler pose
Sit up tall, with a long spine. Bring the soles of your feet to touch, let your knees fall out to the sides (don’t force them) and lean forward, stretching your inner thighs for 10-15 breaths.
Related: A runner's guide to yoga classes
7/ Bridge pose
Lying on your back, with your knees bent, press your hips up and your hands down, engaging your glutes and hamstrings while stretching your hip flexors. Hold for 10-15 breaths.
8/ Locust ‘Y’ jumping jacks
Roll onto your belly and lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Do slow ‘jumping jacks’: Inhale, spread your arms to a Y and squeeze your legs together, then exhale, bring your arms together and spread your legs to a Y. Continue for five to 15 cycles.