Core exercises for runners are for everyone, but does everyone agree? The other day…inside my favorite Coffee Shop…I almost barked at my smartphone screen like a crazy person. I was browsing through an online discussion forum for runners, and some silly person said:
“Top runners are weaker than your average couch potato.”
This virtual ignoramus (harsh?) went on to advise against core workouts, advising to just do dead lifts instead. I was taken aback, and — for a second — felt like typing in a quick one-two punch rebuttal…explaining the core exercises for runners that work like back-saving magic for me…
And how the person… with all due respect… is a dummy. But I restrained myself… And instead, imagined floating past this person in my next 5K, fueled by a rock solid, powerful core.
Everyone’s body is unique — but for me, working out my core has brought tremendous results like:
- Neutralizing sharp side stitched (especially in shorter, more vigorous runs)
- Keeping an upright posture, and maintaining proper form (which by default gets rid of other pain and fatigue from hunching over)
- Eliminating much of the throbbing lower back pain I used to experience daily
Let’s be clear: to get better at running, you have to run.
But sometimes, it’s confusing. There’s infinity plus one articles promising “a shredded 8-pack in only 30 minutes!”
And that’s not the point, anyway. I’m here to give you runner-specific tips that get your body moving as nature intended it to.
So today let’s dig into # of overall complete core exercises for runners to help reduce your risk of injury.
These first 4 are what I’ll refer to as overall core strength (next time I’ll show you glute/hip specific core workouts)
4 Overall Core Exercises for Runners
You can use this routine to complement your weekly runs, and create a synergistic strength building platform to rocket past old personal records, and lower your risk of injury. This a simple body weight core workout.
Sets, reps, and intensity: cycle through these exercises do 2-3 sets at first, until you feel comfortable pushing it harder. Each set should take about a minute.
- Modified Bicycle: Not a biker? No worries. Rest flat on your back on a workout mat or soft surface, and lift one leg so your thigh is at a 90 degree angle from your body, and your shin is parallel to the ground. Lift your other leg (but keep it straight) and hold it 3-4 inches off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, and switch legs. Do 3 reps per leg, for a total of 6. This should take a little longer than 60 seconds, and will probably.
- Bridge: Lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Raise your hips to create a diagonal, straight plank from shoulders to knees. Put one leg straight out, hold for 10 seconds, then return it to the starting position and switch legs. Don’t let your hips or your booty dip to the ground. To learn the final 2 exercises and read the full article click here (LINK) to read it on our website.
- Plank/Side Plank: ugh, boring! You probably already know the plank, so I’ll just remind you to try and hold a straight line from your head to feet. Ok, onwards. The side plank, however, is new territory for some. First, prop yourself up on your side, resting on your forearm (which is pointed perpendicular to your chest). Keep your shoulder directly over your elbow. Contract your abdominals, and lift your hips off the mat. You can hold your other hand against your hip for balance. Again, don’t let your hips sag and keep your neck and spine in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
- Modified Bird Dog: (this one gets the bum burning too!) Get into a table position on your hands and knees, and lift your right arm up parallel to the ground. At the same time, lift your left leg up until your quad is parallel to the ground, keeping the knee at a 90 degree angle. Hold for 3 to 6 seconds, and switch sides. Repeat for a total of 5x per side.
That’s it. Do these 4 straight forward low impact core exercises for runners a couple of times a week and you’ll notice a nice change in short time. Not only will it improve your Running, but it will help in your day-to-day life as well.