Monday, April 29, 2019

Core Exercises for Runners

Strengthening your core muscles does more for you than give you a nice set of abs. Your core holds you up, helps you have good posture, and helps stabilize your body. Having a strong core also helps you in other exercises, like running. 

Most runners focus on strengthening their legs and not so much everything else.  But core muscles are super important for runners. Core muscles are what keep you upright while running so having strong core muscles will help you keep a good running form. And having good form helps you with your speed and endurance. 

When you're running with strong, engaged core muscles you can run more smoothly and stop wasting energy on swaying or twisting and can also help you recover faster from stumbling or tripping during your run. 

Check your form while you're running. Are you slouched over? Are you dragging your feet? Are you looking up? Are your arms moving side to side or front to back? If your form is off, there's a good chance that it's because your core muscles are weak and tired.  If you struggle with any of these things while running, you should add some more core workouts to your routine. 

  It's always a good thing to switch your exercise up every now and then. Different exercises target different muscle groups. Your core muscles are your back, abdominal and pelvic muscles.  You can target them all differently to strengthen each group. 

Plank: Planks will target several different areas and are great for quick core workouts.  I do a lot of planks because I do my core work at the end of my workout most of the time. And by that time I'm tired and ready to be done. Planks are good because they can be done pretty simple and quick. Start with a small amount of time, 30 seconds-1 minute and add time on as you get stronger.

I've been asked a lot about my favorite ways to work my core that don't involve sit-ups or planks (I actually really like planks but some don't like it as much as I do). I wrote a post about core workouts that don't include planks HERE if you are someone who doesn't like those.  

Supermans: these are one of my favorite back exercises.  There's no equipment needed and you get a good workout without a ton of effort, and you get to lay down. 

Flutter kicks: Flutter kicks are great for your lower abs and pelvic muscles.  And, again you get to lay down.  If you need a modification option for flutter kicks, I also like toe touches. You lay with your back on the ground, legs up and knees bent at 90 degrees. You bring your feet down and touch your toes to the ground and then bring them back up. 

100's:  I learned this one in the only pilates class I ever took. And it stuck with me because I saw a lot of improvement in my abs.  I would suggest not to do these every time you work core though.  Sometimes you can strain your back by focusing too much on your abs. 

There are so many different ways to exercise your core muscles. If you ever need to make sure you're doing an exercise right or just need ideas on what kind to do, there are a lot of ideas on youtube.

What is your favorite core workout?

What's your favorite thing about summer?

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