As it turns out, you can combine these three elements into one workout to save a ton of time during your jam-packed training schedule. Enter: this yoga-inspired ab workout created by Amber Rees, senior instructor at Barry’s in New York City and cofounder of the Brave Body Project.
“Throwing yoga into your routine will only benefit your flexibility and enhance your recovery,” Rees tells Runner’s World. “Taking the time to slow things down with this core/yoga flow will help with muscle recovery, build range of motion, and strengthen your core, which will prevent poor running form and lower risk of injury.”
How to do it: Perform each movement one right after the other for 60 seconds each. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat the sequence for a total of 2 times.
Each move is demonstrated by Rees in the video above so you can master the proper form. A yoga mat is optional, but recommended.
Start on hands and knees with wrists directly under shoulders, and knees hip-width apart and directly under hips. Move into cow pose by inhaling as you arch your back and drop your belly toward the mat. Lift your chin to gaze up toward the ceiling. Draw shoulders back and away from ears, chest proud. Exhale, to move into cat pose by rounding your back and drawing your belly to spine. Release the top of head toward the floor. Repeat the sequence.
Modified Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
Start in high plank position, looking forward with shoulders over wrists to create a straight line from head to heels.
Keeping the elbows close to the body, exhale as you bend elbows to lower body to the mat. Untuck the toes to let the tops of your feet press into the floor. As you inhale, lift through the top of the head, look ahead, and draw shoulder blades back to come into cobra (elbows bent) or upward-facing dog (arms straight).
Tuck toes as you exhale, lifting the hips up and back into downward-facing dog, chest reaching between shoulders. Keeping heels hovering above the mat and maintaining length in the spine, let the head drop between your arms, feeling length from hips through the neck. Looking between your ankles to feel the stretch through the back of the neck. Leave your knees slightly bent to allow the back to be long.
Return to high plank position and repeat the sequence.
Lunge Pose to Crescent Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana to Ashta Chandrasana)
From a high plank position, step your right foot forward between your hands so your right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Sweep your arms up overhead and lift your torso. Your right knee should still be bent at a 90-degree angle, and your left (back) knee should have a slight bend. Keep left heel off the floor. Place most of your weight in your front (right) foot. Bend forward at the hips to place both hands on floor and step feet back to high plank position. Repeat the sequence on the other side and continue alternating.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) With Rotation
Start standing with feet hip-width apart, hands down by sides. Hinge at the hips to bring your torso forward, to a position parallel to the floor and bring your weight into your right (forward) foot, keeping a slight bend in your right knee. Sweep your arms up so your biceps are next to your ears. Your left leg should be lifted and extended straight back. Lift torso up to return to starting position, while still balancing on right leg. Place hands behind your head and twist your upright torso to the left. At the same time, raise your left knee and rotate so left knee meets right elbow. Return to starting position, and repeat the sequence on the other side. Continue alternating.
Three-Legged Down Dog Pose (Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana) to Knee Drive
Start in a high plank position, then lift hips up and back into downward-facing dog. Lift left foot off the ground as high as you can into the air while keeping left leg straight. Then, as you come back into high plank position, drive left knee in toward the outside of left elbow. Immediately lift left knee back up into the air into three-legged down dog pose. Repeat for 30 seconds on left side, then perform for 30 seconds on right side.
Boat Pose (Navasana) to Hollow-Body Hold
Start in a seated position with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your feet off the floor, keeping your knees bent. Straighten arms out in front of you, next to knees. Your torso will naturally fall back slightly, but don’t let your spine round. This is boat pose, your starting position. From here, extend legs straight out, lowering feet a few inches off the ground, and extend your arms above your head, biceps next to ears. Engage your core—think belly button to spine—while pressing your lower back into the mat and looking straight ahead. Return to boat pose, then repeat the sequence.