The word is out: Core strength is important for runners. Yeah, we are talking about core strength, AGAIN. Trust me, I am well aware that you have read about the importance of a strong core enough times to make you roll your eyes at ANOTHER article about it. This one is different, I promise!
The purpose of this article is to show a variety of core strengthening exercises which you likely have not seen in the past. While planks and bridges are excellent exercises for runners, they can get, for lack of a better word, boring. The key to finding the right core workout for you is finding exercises that are challenging, effective, and have enough variety to keep you interested.
Before we get to the exercises, it’s important to understand WHY core strength is so important. Core strength will benefit you in two ways.
Strong Core= Improved Performance
Your core is comprised of your abdominals, glutes, back muscles, and pelvic floor. The main function of your core is to act as a stable surface to control and generate force through your limbs. Think of your core as the foundation of your legs and arms to move. The more sturdy the foundation, the easier it is to move. It’s easier to run on the hard (read stable) road than it is running on a soft (read unstable) sandy beach.
Why is this important to you? Core strength and stability increases the maximal power and efficiency in your legs and arms (1). Improved force output, coupled with less energy leakage (compensatory movements from core weakness) can lead to faster splits and longer runs!
Strong Core= Fewer Aches and Pains
The most common areas of core weakness lie in the lateral hip muscles and lower abdominals. Lateral hip weakness has been correlated to increased risk of ankle sprains (2), iliotibial band syndrome (3), and patellofemoral syndrome (4). A healthy runner will always beat a runner who is unable to make the start line due to injury.
Now that you understand the importance of strengthening your core, check out this week’s video for a few new exercises to add to your routine! Don’t forget to join me for “Run Your Best Turkey Trot!” During this one hour class we will practice the exercises you learned in the video AND teach you a few more!
For more details and to sign up click here!
Free Class for Runners
Your Best Turkey Trot
1. Hibbs, Angela E., et al. “Optimizing Performance by Improving Core Stability and Core Strength.” Sports Medicine, vol. 38, no. 12, 2008, pp. 995–1008.
2. Friel, Karen, et al. “Ipsilateral Hip Abductor Weakness After Inversion Ankle Sprain.” Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 41, no. 1, 2006, pp. 74–78.
3. Bolgla, Lori A., et al. “Hip Strength and Hip and Knee Kinematics During Stair Descent in Females With and Without Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 38, no. 1, 2008, pp. 12–18.
4. Bolgla, Lori A., et al. “Hip Strength and Hip and Knee Kinematics During Stair Descent in Females With and Without Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 38, no. 1, 2008, pp. 12–18.