In the ten-minute core strength workout for runners featured in the video above, Marcus and I demonstrate three simple core exercises you can do at home with no equipment to build core strength for running.
You can prevent running injuries by making time to incorporate core strengthening exercises into your regular training week.
Perform core exercises such as those shown in this video 2-3 times weekly alongside your running to improve your core control for stronger running.
When it comes to developing core strength, runners like you and I to be working on more than simply doing endless abdominal crunches!
We need to be training the core specifically for the demands of running (in this case focusing on asymmetrical loading, lateral strength, and extension control), also focus on strengthening the low back.
The lumbar region is often neglected when people simply focus on training their abs!
Three Core Exercises for Runners
When it comes to running core training, you should aim to perform 2-3 sets of each exercise in this core routine for runners as a workout 2-3 times per week to see significant improvements in core strength.
Personally, I’d do them as a circuit 2-3 times through, rather than all of one exercise, then all of the next exercise, and so on…
The side plank exercise is much more effective for runners than a standard forearm plank due to the focus the side plank position puts on lateral strength, using the oblique abdominals and muscles such as gluteus medius.
Both of these muscles are important when it comes to your running mechanics and avoiding running technique flaws such as a ‘hip drop‘ in your running form.
Aim for 2-3 sets of 30-60 second side plank holds on each side
When it comes to developing core strength and dynamic control of the pelvis, I really like the slow-controlled mountain climber exercise! You can perform this core exercises either from a ‘straight arm’ push-up position, or with your forearms on the ground.
Every time you lift the moving leg off the ground, an asymmetrical load is placed on your core – which also happens when running. We have to learn to maintain control of our pelvic and lumbar position while the hip os moving through a large range of motion. This type of disassociation of the movement of different areas of the body is hard for a lot of runners, and something to be worked on!
Your aim is to keep your torso as still as possible while you drive your knee towards your elbow in this mountain climber exercise.
As an added benefit, you’ll also find it works your upper body quite hard… another area lots of runners ignore!
Aim for 2-3 sets of 60 seconds performing slow mountain climbers
Runners are often guilty of neglecting their lower back muscles when it comes to strengthening. As I mentioned above, the term ‘core strength’ relates to much more than your abdominal muscles. Weakness in muscles such as quadratus lumborum can contribute to lower back pain in runners, especially during longer runs when fatigue kicks-in.
If you have a history of lower back pain, be careful with this exercise, and listen to your body! Of course, if you’re unsure, always see a physio for specific advice.
Aim for 2-3 sets of 10 x 10 second superman holds
Best of luck with this 10 minute core strength workout. If you know you’ve been neglecting your core work, I’m sure this will help your running considerably!