Three Abdominal & Pelvic Control Exercises for Better Running Technique

In today’s training video, I take us through a progression of three relatively high level functional exercises to train abdominal and pelvic control in runners. These builds on the concepts introduced in this video about pelvic control being one important foundation of running technique.

To me, the term ‘core control’ doesn’t simply refer to a runner’s ability to activate the deep abdominal muscles (TvA etc…), more so the ability to maintain an appropriate pelvic position and posture throughout movements that are functional to their chosen activity. This ability is exactly what we’re challenging and training with the exercise progressions above…

N.B. These are higher level exercises. I’d suggest that that runners should already be able to display good lumbro-pelvic control during floor-based and quadruped type exercises. These weight bearing exercises form an important progression from non-functional to functional exercises for any runner.

Last updated on March 2nd, 2021.


  1. Excellent functional and true core strength exercise. Thank you for not showing yet another plank exercise! Will pass it on to my runners!

  2. Bosch and Klomp in Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology Applied in Practice advocate forward pelvic tilt to increase the range the foot moves backwards before toe off (p4-6) this is in direct contrast to what are saying re maintaining a level pelvis during stance…..
    Thoughts and comments?

    1. Hi Malcolm,

      Thanks for the comment. Please appreciate that we do of course expect (and need) to see pelvic motion in all three planes during human walking and running gait. The point isn’t about cutting out anterior pelvic tilt all together, more controlling this pattern to maintain appropriate pelvic positioning throughout gait… appropriate position does’t mean stuck in place! But it does mean controlled.

      I’d certainly expect to see ~5-10o of oscillation in pelvic position in the sagittal plane as the hip moves through flexion and extension. This oscillation is all part of the ‘bigger picture’ movement pattern. The problem comes when we see (as I often do) excessive anterior tilt coming with poor hip function and associated overuse injury somewhere in the kinetic chain.

      The comment “keeping a level pelvis” is more a coaching point than a absolute clinical objective marker. Easier for the athlete to understand than “just reduce ant tilt by 3o” 🙂

      Proximal control by definition isn’t about restricting movement, but developing the control of functional movement patterns.



      1. Thanks a lot James for the clarification. The danger of course within any advice is that taken too literally it can then create another problem

        1. Too true… My pet hate on this topic is when runners are advised to actively try posterior tilting as they run!!

          When are you next in the UK with your workshops?

          1. I’m actually up in your neck of the woods next Thursday evening…do you have time for a pint and a wee chat?

  3. James. Your coaching videos are second to none. So much sense. I have been running for years and have changed my style after following your tips.
    Have you got anything on becoming younger?

    Thanks very much.