Six Yoga Poses for Triathletes

By Briana Roehling | June 06, 2019, 11:18 a.m. (ET)
I began my yoga journey a few years before my triathlon journey and looking back, I feel like the yoga has been a key component in keeping me relatively injury free.  Sure, I’ve had some aches, pains and tight muscles that have slowed down my training at various times, but (knock on wood) I’ve never been completely sidelined by an injury.

Below are my favorite yoga poses that I believe can benefit all triathletes.

Pose:  Windmill Armswindmill
Lay on one side in a fetal position with your arms straight out in front of you and stacked on top of each other.  Take the top arm and make a big circle, moving the arm toward and above the head.  When you get there, flip the palm toward the ceiling as you continue the circle toward your hip.  When you get to the hip, flip the palm back down until you complete the circle.  The trick is to keep the hand on or as close the floor as you can during the entire circle and to keep your hips stacked the entire time (don’t roll the hips back as the arm goes behind you).  

Do 4-5 circles on one side and then repeat on the other side.

This is great for getting the full range of motion in your shoulders for the swim.

Pose:  Sphinx Posesphinx
Lay on your belly with your forearms on the floor parallel to each other and your elbows directly under your shoulders.  Lift the chest up for a nice stretch through the front body and a slight back bend in the back body. 

Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

This pose feels great after getting off the bike.

Pose:  Pigeon Pose

There are two ways to do this pose, depending on your body and what feels best to you.  The traditional way is with your belly toward the floor.  From a plank position, bring the right knee behind the right wrist and rotate the leg so that the right ankle moves behind the left wrist.  Lower the leg to the ground and sink into the stretch.  You can pigeonkeep the chest up for more of a stretch in the left hip flexor or lower the chest to the ground for more of a stretch in the right hip.

You can also do a Reclined Pigeon.  Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet close to your rear.  Cross the right ankle over the left knee as if you are sitting in a chair.  Press the right knee away from you.  If you need a bigger stretch, lift the left leg off the ground and pull it closer to your body.

Hold on one side for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.

This pose is great for stretching out hip flexors and the piriformis muscle after getting off the bike or after running.

Pose:  Runner’s Lungerunners lunge
From a plank position, step the right leg forward and place it on the outside of your hands.  Lower your left knee to the ground.  Sink the hips forward and, if able, lower to your forearms for a bigger stretch.  

To stretch your quadriceps muscle from this pose, bend the left leg and reach back to catch the foot with either hand.

Hold for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.

This pose is great for stretching the hip flexors after getting off the bike or after a run.

Pose:  Head to Knee Pose
hand to knee
Sit on the floor with both legs extended straight in front of you.  Keep the right leg there and bend the left leg, keeping the left knee on the ground.  Place the left foot against your inner right thigh.  Fold forward over the right leg trying to bring your belly toward your right thigh.

Hold for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.

This pose is great for stretching out tight hamstrings.   

Pose:  Plank

Of course, I had to add a sixth pose because everyone should be doing planks.  This is one of the best ways to build core strength.  Plus, if you do a forearm plank, it’s almost like being in aero position!plank

For a straight-arm plank, make sure the wrists are under your shoulders.  If you are on your forearms, the elbows will be under your shoulders.  Try not to sag in the lower back or lift your hips higher than your shoulders.  You can do this with knees down or on your toes.

Work up to holding a one-minute plank.

In addition to being a USAT Level I Triathlon Coach, Briana Roehling is also an IRONMAN U Certified Coach, a RRCA Certified Run Coach, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, a 200 hour experienced registered yoga teacher and owner of Seigga Multisport, LLC.  She can be reached at