Core Strength for Runners
Most runners will benefit from mixing in some strength training with their running program. It’s important to build a strong core because having a stable core allows your big prime mover muscles to keep your moving rather than using energy to keep you stable. Working all of the muscles in your torso and hips from all different angles will ensure that you core is as strong as it can be. Here are a few quick exercises you can add to the mix. These exercises can be performed at home with minimal equipment so you can fit them in just about any schedule.
Side Plank- 2-3 sets of :30 + per side
The side plank is a great exercise to build strength through the core. Start on your side with your elbow propped up directly beneath your shoulder and your legs stacked. Bend your bottom knee and keep your top leg straight. Pick up your hips to create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
If you can hold this position for more than 30 seconds, try it with your legs straight.
Still too easy? Try picking up your top leg. Shoot for at least 30 seconds on each side and make sure to work both sides for the same amount of time.
Bicycle Crunch- 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps per side
Start on your back and contract your core to press your lower back into the floor. Gently place your hands on the sides of your head, taking caution to not pull on your neck and lift your knees to form a 45 degree angle. Move your knees in an alternating fashion while touching your elbow to the opposite knee.
Clamshells- 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps per side
Lay flat on your side with your knees bent and ankles together. Keep your ankles together and raise your top knee. Lift your top knee only as far as you can go without turning your torso. Your upper body shouldn’t move through the exercise.
V-Ups- 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps
Lay flat on your back and engage your core your press your lower back into the floor. Pick your feet straight up into the air and at the same time, sit up and reach for your toes. The straighter your legs are, the more difficult the exercise. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
Bird Dogs 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps per side
Start on all fours. Engage your core to keep a flat back and slowly raise your right arm and left leg. Reach out with your right arm in front of your body and extend your left foot as far behind your body as you can. Hold this position for a 2 count, slowly return to the floor and repeat with the other side. The goal is to minimize movement through the torso.