Stronger Core, Better Run

September 29, 2014

 A common (and costly) mistake among runners is negligence of core muscles. Leg and cardiovascular strengthening tends to be the only focus for many runners. 

Whether one is a marathon runner, Olympic sprinter or just a casual jogger, strengthening core muscles helps improve running in more ways than one. reports on its website that strengthening one’s core results in improved performance and reduction in injuries. 

Muscles involved in core strength training include: back, stomach and hips. If one doesn’t condition these muscle groups properly, the likelihood of an injury increases. reports that one problem area, responsible for injuries like lower back pain or a pulled hamstring, is the pelvis. A misaligned pelvis can spell trouble for runners. Strengthening core muscles helps keep the pelvis in its proper place.

Stability is another benefit of core training. Doing core exercises helps keep one in better balance. Better balance equals better running times. 

Listed below are three exercises to help strengthen core muscles, improving running performance. 

The first is a classic core exercise that can be done anywhere that has minimal floor space: planks. To begin this exercise, lie stomach down on the floor. Next, raise yourself up onto your toes and forearms. Straighten out your body and make sure your abdominal muscles feel tight. 

The duration you should hold your body in this position varies from person to person. When first starting, try three sets for 30 seconds. If you’re feeling too sore while running or training the next day, reduce the duration.  

Another great core workout, borrowed from the Huffington Post, is the modified bicycle. With your back square against the ground, lift either your right or left leg into the air. The thigh should be perpendicular with the body and shin parallel to the ground. Then, lift the alternate leg a few inches off the ground. Hold this pose for several second then alternate legs. 

Again, duration of workout varies from person to person. Experiment with times and figure out what works best for you. 

The final core muscle workout is “the superman.” Simply lie on your stomach, lift your upper body and legs off the ground. This sounds a bit easier than it is. Don’t be careless. Listen to your body when doing this exercise. 

Whether one is training for a running event or just wants washboard abs, these core exercises are among the most effective.


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