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8 Best Core Strengthening Exercises for Runners

A strong core prevent injuries and improves overall physique. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
A strong core prevent injuries and improves overall physique. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
Ruby khanna

If you are serious about running and want to enhance your pace and endurance, you should work on strengthening your core muscles. These muscles include your abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, hips and obliques. Strengthening your core is very important for your overall running performance as it prevents injuries, improves your running form, and makes you a more efficient runner.

Core strengthening exercises should become a major part of your everyday workout routine, especially if you are a runner. The exercises target all your core muscles that help prevent running injuries and improve your endurance so you can run great distances even more efficiently.

It is important to note that neglecting your core muscles will not only sabotage your running performance but will also impact your health and well-being.


Best core exercises for runners

1) The plank

Instructions:

  • Lay down on your stomach on a flat surface. You may use an exercise mat for extra cushion and comfort.
  • Slowly lift yourself onto your elbows or hands and toes.
  • Keep your body stable and in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  • When performing the plank exercise, do not bend or dip your body.
  • Lower your body in slowly, rest for a few seconds and then perform the next repetition.

To make this exercise even more challenging, try and move yourself up and down from your elbows.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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2) Superman

Instructions:

  • Lay down on a flat surface or an exercise mat on your stomach.
  • Extend both your arms forward. Keep your palms down and your legs extended backwards.
  • Make sure your neck is straight and your abdominal muscles are fully contracted.
  • Now lift your chest, legs, head and arms together as high as you can off the mat.
  • Try and stretch your body as hard as you can, and stop once you can’t extend them any farther.
  • Make sure to keep your limbs straight and tight.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and release your body to the mat.
  • Take the initial position and complete the desired number of repetitions.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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3) V-sit ab

Instructions:

  • Sit straight on a flat surface.
  • Place both your hands on the floor directly behind your back.
  • Now engage your core and raise both your legs to a 45-degree angle.
  • If possible, try and reach your hands towards your shin.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and balance yourself.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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4) Bird dog

Instructions:

  • Take a position on all fours with your hands and knees.
  • Place your hands on the floor at a shoulder-width distance.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles.
  • Slowly raise one leg upwards and hold it behind you. As you do this, make sure not to drop your hip lower than the other.
  • Once you’ve raised your leg and your body feels stable, extend your opposite arm out in front of you simultaneously.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower your arm and leg together.
  • Repeat the move with your other arm and leg.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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5) Bicycle crunch

Instructions:

  • Lay down on the floor on your back.
  • Raise your knees and put your hands behind your head for support.
  • Now curl your left elbow towards your right knee and bring them together over the center.
  • Lower your elbow and knee and repeat the move with your right elbow and left knee.
  • Make sure you breathe easily throughout the exercise.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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6) Hip bridge

Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor or on an exercise mat on your back. Keep both your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Your arms should be at your sides.
  • Now contract your abdominal muscles and lift your hips off the floor to make a straight line from your chest to your knees.
  • Hold the position for at least 5 to 8 seconds and lower your body back down to the initial position. As you build strength, hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Complete the desired number of repetitions.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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7) Single leg bridge

Instructions:

  • Lie down on a flat surface on your back. Bend your knees, keep both your feet straight on the floor and put your arms on your sides.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and make sure to tighten your buttocks.
  • Now slowly lift one leg straight up in the air and push your hips off the floor with your opposite hip.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, and then lower your body back to the floor.
  • Repeat the move with your other leg.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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8) Pallof press

Instructions:

  • Stand straight parallel to a cable machine. You may also stand parallel to the anchor point of a resistance band.
  • Hold the handle or the resistance band with both hands tightly.
  • Make sure your upper body is front on.
  • Now bring both your hands towards the centre of your chest and then slowly press out.
  • Return to the initial position and repeat.

Here’s a video for your reference:

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Summary

Core strengthening should be a primary part of any runner’s workout routine. A strong core not only improves the quality of your running but also enhances your stability and helps prevent running injuries and strains down the road.

However, always remember to begin slowly with these exercises and work your way up as you become stronger and more confident. Initially, start with a few numbers of repetitions and focus on your form.


Edited by Sabine Algur

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