Focus on Your “Core” Instead of Your “Abs”
To improve your running (and set that P.B.), you need to do more than run. You should train and strengthen yourself mentally and physically, too. Core stability workouts help to improve your running form, reduce injury risk, and boost your overall athletic performance. A weaker core also leads to faster fatigue. Here our sports performance experts provide 5 core exercises to make you a better runner.
What Exactly is the Core?
Your "core" isn't just your abs. It’s actually everything from your shoulders down to your hips. That means that your core also extends to include your shoulder girdle, mid-back, low back, obliques, glutes, hamstrings, and hips. When working your core during training, make sure to target these areas to prevent running injuries and perform at your peak.
How Often do I Need to Work My Core?
Clearly, the core is key to sports performance. But, how often do you need to be exercising these muscles? Many long-distance runners skip their core workout to go on a run for lack of time in their training schedule. However, many endurance runners have weaknesses laterally on the outer muscles. By correcting these muscle imbalances, you will run more efficiently.
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym doing sit-ups and crunches. In fact, you can skip those exercises as they won’t give you the functional strength you need to run. Core workouts can be effective even just done once a week for 30-minutes or so.
Even if you only have a few minutes, focus on integrated core exercises (check out five of our favorites below) to strengthen and stabilize the front, back, and side of your core in one move. That way you can make the most of the time you have!
How a Stronger Core Makes You a Better Runner
Your core impacts pretty much all parts of your body. When you run, you slightly twist your upper and lower body. Your entire body is involved in the movement. Since the twist motion originates in the core, you’ll want to focus your training to include core stability exercises.
When you do, you can expect to see some of these performance benefits:
- Protect your low back and lower injury risk
- Deeper abs (rectus and transverse muscles) produce more power and speed
- More stability and better range of motion
- Fewer muscle imbalances that can cause you to over- or under-stride your gait
- Overall improved form thanks to stronger responsive oblique muscles
Power up your workout with one of our three stability levels of support. CORESHORTS™ patented design improves optimal motion and is raved about by runners across the US and Canada. Shop now to see the why for yourself!
The Best Core Workouts for Runners
Try integrated core exercises that maximize movement. You’ll recall that your core has three dimensions (front, side, and back), and it’s more than just abs. These five exercise options aim to target all three areas of your core at the same time and are key to incorporate into your training plan!
A nice way to start or end your core training, the Superman exercise targets lower back muscles and helps maintain stability in your hips.
We love this exercise because there are so many options - regular plank, side plank, on your elbows or straight arm, even moving up and down! The power of planks is astounding. This exercise works your shoulders, back, and abs with no equipment needed.
Train your obliques and the transverse abdominis muscles. The rotational moves like this really target the muscles that keep you more steady for those long-distance runs!
This move works your low back and the top of the glutes, which are both areas where distance runners tend to get sore.
Windshield WipersAlso known as metronomes, this exercise works your external oblique ab muscles that cross like the “X” on our shorts from your ribs down to your pelvis. Windshield wipers work your lower back a little bit too! Endurance runners swear by this move for building rotational core strength, which is needed for your run.
These exercises are three-dimensional, integrated core moves so your entire core benefits from the movement!
Core Strength is Key for Runners
Remember, your core stabilizes every part of your body. The point of core strength isn’t to have six-pack abs, it’s to stabilize your spine and protect your back from injury while you run!
Integrate core exercises into your training plan. Do your own core workout, try integrated core workouts in a group, or do whatever best works for you - but make the time for them. Another key to assist your best performance? CORESHORTS TM - a functional stability system to optimize motion. Shop CORESHORTS™ now to find the pair best suited for your stability needs!
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*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in CORESHORTS blogs do not replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.