Core Exercises for Runners
How was your weekend? Mine was fine, you know…just ran a marathon.
I will be writing a recap on Friday but just know that the carb load was ridiculous. I have never done such an exaggerated preparation before. It is hard to feel like you are doing the right thing when you are doing the text book WRONG thing for any normal human (read: stuffing pancakes and cheerios and granola bars into your face like you haven’t eaten in weeks, never mind that you just finished eating an hour ago…)
Just know it paid off and I will be following the same procedure again!
I thought I would tackle a question that has been sitting in my inbox for an EMBARRASSINGLY long time. I received a reader question on what to do to prime your core for running.
Runners need a strong core because, beyond having a beautiful six pack, you want to ensure you have quality posture and speed. A strong core establishes strength for the rest of the body.
- A strong core means increased stabilization in the torso. Your core muscles keep your torso upright which allows the pelvis, hips, and lower back to work together more smoothly, with less rocking and as a result, less excess energy is expended.
- Core strength significantly improves balance, meaning that you recover quickly any running missteps.
- Core strength for distance runners is especially important. Towards the end of long runs or races, when you are extremely fatigued, your form begins to suffer. Poor form not only slows you down, it also opens you up to potential injuries. Building up core strength will help to maintain good posture, and reduce the pains that result from poor posture.
Core Exercises for Runners
Plank – Planks are especially great for runners because they really emphasize the dependant relationship between your core & your limbs. Planks will strengthen your abs, eretor spinae (the muscles that run up & down your spine), chest, shoulders, quads, and hamstrings. I like to do side planks as well. You can hold for a minute or do tabata style (hold for 20 seconds, rest for 10 x 8)
Pallof Press –
Attach a D-handle to a cable pulley, hold it at your sternum, and stand with your left shoulder pointed toward the machine—far enough away that you feel tension on the cable. (You can also use a medium-weight resistance band wrapped around a pole.) Keeping your shoulders and hips square, press the cable straight out in front of your body, resisting the tendency to rotate toward the machine. Hold the position for two seconds, then slowly return your hands to your sternum. Do three sets of 12 reps, and then repeat the press facing in the opposite direction.
Ab Wheel Roll Out – Kneel on floor or mat. Grasp handles on wheel to each side with overhand grip. Position wheel near front of knees and lean over wheel with arms extended downward, supporting upper body.
With arms straight, roll wheel out as far as possible. Lower body gently to floor extending arms forward. Raise body back up by flexing hips and pulling arms back to original position. Return until hips are extended. Repeat.
Reverse Crunch: To strengthen the entire ab area, lie on your back and extend your arms out to the side, or keep your hands behind your head if that’s more comfortable (top illustration). Raise your knees and feet so they create a 90-degree angle. Contract your abdominals and exhale as you lift your hips off the floor with control; your knees will move toward your head (bottom illustration). Try to keep your knees at a right angle. Inhale and slowly lower. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
What are your favourite core exercises for runners?