Five Core Exercises for Runners
Unlike a lot of people out there, runners do not have “bulk up” found anywhere on their priority list. But runners shouldn’t steer clear of strength training because of the unwanted “bulk”. It’s true that increased weight slows you down, but it’s also true that both speed and endurance rely on strength and power. Both strength and power originate in your hips and legs, and your hips combined with your low back and abdominals make up your core. Thus you need to train your core to increase your strength and power so you can run faster!
Core Training for Runners – and Everyone Else
Core workouts for runners are the same for any other type of person. The core is (in my opinion) the most important part of the body to strength train and you can read more about why the core is so important here. In this article I plain on posing some more challenging exercises to step up your core workouts, so if you are just beginning a program incorporating core exercises for runners a good place to start might be reading 10 Exercises To Get You On Your Way To Great Core Stability.
Five Exercises to Step up Your Core Workouts
Remember that with any strength training program, it is best to build gradually, to breathe throughout the exercise, and focus on quality over quantity.
1. Side Plank With March: This exercise builds on the regular side plank. Begin on your side with your body in a straight line and your elbow beneath you. Raise your hips up off the ground creating a straight line from your shoulder to your ankles with your weight supported on your elbow. Now bring your bottom knee toward your chest, hold for about 2 seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat this with the top leg by bringing your knee to your chest, pausing, and then returning back to the starting position. To perform this exercise right, your hips should not sway or sag while marching. You have just performed one repetition of a march while in the side plank. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions and then switch sides.
2. Tummy Tuck: This exercise requires an exercise ball. Begin with your shins on the exercise ball and your hands on the floor in a push-up position. Bring your knees to your chest by rolling the ball in and then return back to the starting position by extending your legs. Control is accomplished by contracting the abdominals and gluteals. Do 3 sets of 10 tummy tucks.
3. Mountain Climber & Cross-Over Mountain Climber: For the mountain climber begin in the push-up position. Bring one knee directly to your chest and then extend it again so you are back in the push-up position, then alternate legs. For the cross-over mountain climber you also begin in the push-up position; however, instead of bringing your knee directly to your chest you want to cross it over your chest towards your opposite shoulder and alternate legs. Perform these exercises correctly as quickly as you can for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each exercise.
4. Burpees: This is not just a core exercise but I’m throwing it in because it works the whole body and really steps up your core workouts. For this exercise you perform a series of movements of which you begin with standing. The first movement is squatting down and placing both hands on the floor (like the leap frog position). Now you jump both of your legs out behind you (at the same time) to land in the push-up position. Next, perform one push-up and then jump your legs back to your hands so you are squatted with your hands on the floor in the leap frog position again. Lastly, explode out of this position by jumping straight up as high as you can and reach your hands high above your head. Once you land back in the standing position you have completed one burpee. To really get the full effect, perform 5 burpees.
5. Hip Raises With Adduction and Knee Extension: This exercise builds upon the basic hip raise. Begin on your back with your knees bent and your feet about 12 inches from your bum. Place a pillow or a ball in between your knees and squeeze your knees together to keep your object in place as you lift your hips up off of the ground. Raise your hips until your shoulders, hips, and knees create a straight line, but your shoulders should still be on the ground. Now as your hips are still up off of the ground lift one foot from the floor and completely straighten it – be careful not to let the pillow drop or your hips lower. Place your heel back on the ground and repeat with the other leg. Once you have extended both legs one time you may lower your hips back to the ground; you just completed one repetition. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions for this exercise.
There are tons of ways to work your core! If these exercises aren’t advanced enough for you, make up your own by adding an exercise ball to basic movements and see what you come up with.