It’s well known that strengthening the core is essential for daily living. So, why do many runners neglect this area of training? If you want to perform at your best, you need solid groundwork. The core is comprised of the abs, lower back, and glutes and is the foundation for all movement. A strong core equals a strong runner. Improve these muscles and you’ll improve your stability, power, and endurance. You’ll also experience fewer injuries. With strong lower abs and back muscles, you’ll be able to maintain proper form, especially when fatigued, and put less stress on the hips, knees, and shins. Do my runner’s core workout twice a week and I guarantee you will feel the results in your running. If you are bored with regular crunches, I challenge you to try this.
Runner’s Core Workout
Leg Raisers: Lie flat on the floor with the legs straight and arms down at the sides. Relax the head and neck and lift the right leg straight into the air until it is perpendicular to the floor. Lower it back down until the ankle is a couple inches off of the ground. That is one rep. Do 12-15 reps and then switch legs. Try to do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps on each leg. Tip: concentrate on using the lower abs to pull the leg up.
Alternating Leg Raisers: Do the same as the above exercise, except alternate the legs. This is a little harder because the feet never touch the floor throughout the move. Do 2-3 sets of 15 seconds.
Supermans: Lie flat on the floor with arms stretched straight out in front of you and legs straight. Lift the shoulders, left arm, and right leg off of the floor and hold for a count of 3, then lower back down. That’s one rep. Do 12-15 reps and then switch sides. Do 2-3 sets. Tip: To make it harder, you can lift both arms and legs off of the ground at the same time and hold for a few seconds, or alternate sides without touching the floor.
Plank Leg Lift: Get into a front plank position on the forearms and keep the body in a straight line. Lift the right leg a few inches off of the floor and hold for 5 seconds while keeping the hips low. Keep the abs tight during this move. Lower the foot back to the floor. That is one rep. Do 12-15 reps and then switch sides. Do 2-3 sets of these.
Side Hip Rise: Get into a side plank position on your right forearm, with the legs stacked and the body straight. Hold this position and use the obliques to lift the hips up and down. Do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side.
Knee to Arm: Get into what would be the top of a push up position. Keep the back straight and hips in line with the body. Bring the left knee into the chest and turn the hips slightly so that the knee touches the right arm. Then return to the starting position. That is one rep. Do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps and then switch sides. You can also do this with alternating legs. Tip: Focus on using the obliques and lower abs to bring the knee in and over.
Bridge: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Leave the arms straight at the sides. Lift the butt up so you form a straight line from the chest to the knees. Hold this for a few seconds, and then lower back down. That is one rep. Do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.
Check back next week to see pics of me demonstrating each exercise.
P.S. You don't have to be a runner to reap the benefits from these exercises!
Written by Coach Genie Bianchi