Functional Training – The Chair Pose for Runners and Cyclists

Posted on 25 June 2010

The following functional training exercise is from RaceTwitch Pro-Team member, Kata Gemes.   Kata lives in Budapest, Hungary and has extensive experience  coaching athletes with functional training programs including:   Pilates-method, yoga, body art, Berczik-method, weight training and cross training.   The coaching focus is to prevent injuries and overload.   Other aspects of her coaching include core training and generall nutritional consulting based on an evolutionary views.

A useful yoga exercise for runners and cyclist.

This yoga aszana, called utkatasana or chair pose is a very useful functional exercise which improves the strength of both the larger muscle groups of the leg and the smaller, stabilizer muscles. It’s a static exercise so you have to hold the proper position or aszana.  You will feel your muscles work dynamically while you trying to keep the balance and lower the position. It improves the strength of the peroneus and other small muscles around the ankle, knee and in the sole. The strength of these muscle can help avoid overload of the heels/sole alignments while you run,  and help during the “pulling up” while you cycle. Strong peroneus muscles can improve the efficiency of trail running and avoiding injuries of the ankle.

  1. Start in a standing position (barefoot). Find the neutral position of your pelvis, keep your spine straight and try to stretch it from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes. (I will describe this proper standing position in my next blog). Arms stretched over your head. (Picture 1)
  2. Bend your knees as you try to do the deep squat exercise. Raise your arms in a horizontal position before your body. Exhale. (Picture 1)
  3. While you inhale elevate your heels as high as you can, keep your spine vertical, stretch up from the top of you head. Try to keep the position as low as you can, but keep your heels elevated (as high as you can). Don’t sit on your heels, keep the position from your leg muscles. Pull your shoulders back, don’t let them fall forward. (Picture 2)
  4. Hold the position, then relax and start again. Do 20-25 inhale-exhale cycles altogether. While you inhale stretch your spine, while you exhale try to lower the position. These are small, but important movements harmonized with your breathing.

If its too hard to keep your balance then keep your soles down on the floor. Start the exercise in a higher position and then try to lower your hip and elevate your heel as high as you can. Do this asana after a dynamic exercise such as a deep squat exercise to calm down your heart rate.

3 Responses to “Functional Training – The Chair Pose for Runners and Cyclists”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Most of the time I can’t stand chair pose, but my legs and butt always thank me later! I never felt like I was doing it completely right, but I saw Leeann Carey’s free yoga video on chair pose and it really breaks it down well. I thought your readers would like to check it out:

  2. Wayne Kurtz says:

    Excellent, have never heard of the Soul Seat, definitely will have to check it out as I am a Yoga fan, thanks!

  3. 123aaron456 says:

    I recently got this amazing yoga chair called Soul Seat. I’ve never felt better at the end of a long work day. It lets me focus on keeping my hips flexible all day long. I no longer lose the ground that I had gained the day before on the yoga mat. In fact, I've been working at the computer now for hours and can hop right up without the usual stiffness in hamstrings or quads!

Leave a Reply