We all know that to improve our running, we have to do much more than just run. Having strong legs is crucial, but to become a more resilient runner, making sure you have a strong core is key.
Core muscles include the postural muscles, which includes the muscles of the back, stomach, and hips. By adding a series of core exercises to your training plan, you’ll be building your strength, stabilizing your body while running, and improving your form when you get tired.
There are lots of core exercises out there, but some of them are definitely better for runners than others. Here are five effective core strengthening exercises that you can do without stepping foot in a gym – all you need is a little floor space!
Lie on your stomach and prop your weight on your toes and forearms. Place your toes about hip distance apart with your elbows resting on the floor right under your shoulders. Keep a straight line from your head to your feet and be sure that your abdominal muscles are engaged.
Hold this position for 30 seconds. Increase the number of repetitions and the length of time you hold the pose as your core strength increases.
Lying on your right side, lift your body and balance on your right elbow and outer edge of your right foot. There should be a straight diagonal line from your feet up to your head.
As an advanced form of the exercise, you can do lateral leg raises, by slowly lifting your left leg to a 45-degree angle and lowering it back down to the start position.
Start by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips until there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Extend one leg straight out, knees together, and hold for a few seconds. Return to the initial position and repeat on the other side. During the exercise, make sure you don’t drop your hips.
With a five to fifteen pound weight on the floor next to you, sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to floor, making sure to keep the spine straight and not rounded and you feel your abs engage. For a greater challenge, lift your feet ever-so-slightly off the floor. Slowly rotate round to the right and pick up your weight. Holding the weight, slowly rotate all the way round to the left as far behind as you can.
The Superman Pose
Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Start by lifting your right arm with the left leg, then alternate sides. You can practice variations of this move by only lifting the arms or only lifting the legs. The most advanced version of this exercise is holding both arms and legs off the ground at one time. Hold each of these poses for 20 to 30 seconds.