Many runners skip or overlook core stability workouts. Yet building a strong core is essential if you want to be the best runner possible. Here we show you three exercises you should do if you want to strengthen your core and improve your run:
You have all probably seen this before but the abdominal crunch is very good at isolating your abs (especially your top abdominals). Abdominal crunches are good because you do not have to do too many to get the benefits. Ideally, if you want to strengthen your core and become a better runner, you should try to include abdominal crunches into your program every couple of days. Remember to start off gradually or you will feel really sore if you jump in at the deep end. Do not rush a sit up as the whole point of these exercises is to effectively contract the muscles you are isolating.
This is another example of great flat stomach exercise. For this one, get into a push up position. Hold your body up by your toes and elbows. Make sure your entire body is as straight as possible. Tighten your abs and hold the position. Your goal for holding it is 30 seconds, but you may need to work up to that amount of time. Alternatively, you may be able to hold the position for longer. Whatever you do, make sure you work within your limits and don't risk injuring yourself. Repeat the exercise three times each day. This is a tough exercise, but it works wonders and is worth the effort.
Side planks are great for the obliques. As with the plank, you want to perform this exercise for 30 seconds (each side) to start off with. You can then add five seconds every week thereafter as long as you feel comfortable doing so. When doing this exercise try to concentrate on keeping your body straight. Like all of these exercises, there is no point in doing them unless you are doing them right.
How many core workouts should you do?
One good core workout a week is enough. You can always add individual core exercises during the week. It will never hurt to do some core exercises after an easy run or before you jump into a shower either. Even if you do just one exercise regularly, it is better than doing nothing and you will feel the difference! Again, remember you shouldn't do too much too soon. Instead gradually increase the amount you do over a few weeks.
What is the benefit of having a strong core?
Whilst there are many benefits to having a strong core, below are a few of the most notable benefits you'll enjoy:
- Improved balance
- Improved joint and body stability
- Improved posture
- Increased core strength
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improved sporting performance