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The Number One Core Exercise for Runners


2017 YMCA Turkey Trot

Running is one of the most physically demanding things we ask our bodies to do. Upon impact, we subject our joints and muscles to almost three times of our body weight with each step. Multiply that by the 8000 steps you will take during this year’s Turkey Trot and it can be quiet a beating. Want to know the best way to minimize the effect of all that impact?


Your core is your first building block needed while running. Think of your core as the foundation of the home. It does not matter how strong you build the roof, windows, or walls because if your foundation is crumbling, everything else will too. I realize that sounds a bit dramatic, but I cannot stress to you enough the importance of supplementing your running with a few minutes of core strengthening.

The key the maximizing your efforts while minimizing your injury risk is to make your strength routine “sport specific.” The good news is your days of countless crunches and sit-ups are over. Forcefully flexing through your spine (A.K.A performing a sit-up) is not something you do while running. During impact, your core helps to keep your spine straight or neutral (A.K.A performing a plank).

Don’t forget to strengthen your lower abdominals as well! While sit-ups mainly target your upper abdominals, planking or mountain climbers will target your lower abdominals. While running, your leg extends backward, acting as the primary driver to propel you forward. Your lower abdominals help to keep your spine in neutral and control that backward propulsion. Without the lower abdominal muscles controlling that backward motion, the spine will get yanked around (Red Flag Alert: injury looming).

Want to know which exercises will be the most effective for you?

Check out the video below!

1. Leetun D, Ireland ML, Willson J, Ballantyne B, Davis IM. Core Stability Measures as Risk Factors for Lower Extremity Injury in Athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36(6):926-934, 2004.



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