5 Core Strengthening Workouts You Might Actually Do
Core strength for runners is VERY important! Your core muscles hold the trunk of your body firm so kinetic energy isn’t wasted as it’s transferred from one foot to the other when you run. Those 15 sexy muscles that make up your abs, hips, lower back and pelvis are critical to helping you becoming a stronger, faster, less injury prone runner.
Yet you’re probably neglecting them!
I’m lazy when it comes to working on my core. I can put hundreds of miles into a marathon plan, but lack the basic discipline to do more than 10 crunches a week. Not knowing exactly what to do doesn’t help either. All it would take is an extra 15 minutes, 2 – 3 times a week to make a big difference. If I’m going to set a new marathon PR this year, I need to get to get on this.
Core Strengthening Made Easy
If you Google, “core strengthening workouts for runners“, you’ll get about a million results. I wanted to find some that were reputable, based in some science, quick and easy. I need to sustain it both during base miles and embarking on my big audacious goal. I don’t have a lot of extra time, so I needed to find core strengthening exercises that could be;
- completed in 15 minutes or less.
- completed using easily accessible items.
After scouring the inter-webs, I found a plethora of options, but narrowed it down to the five that met my criteria.
Top 5 Core Strengthening Exercises for Runners
Pick one of the routines below, and do each of the exercises listed for 30 seconds, then rest for no more than 10 seconds. As you get stronger, increase the time to 45 or 60 seconds. Start with 1 set, and add another as you see fit. If you don’t know how to do one of the exercises listed, click the links for more specifics.
1. Neila Ray, 100 Core Workouts
If you like variety and creativity in your core work, checkout core workouts from Neila Ray. She has created a huge collection of no equipment fitness exercises in easy to follow, creative guides that work every muscle in your body.
Just pick one and go!
2. Runner’s World – Lolo Jones Workout
Greg McMillan, a running coach and exercise scientist in Flagstaff, Arizona has created this runner specific core workout used by world champion hurdler Lolo Jones.
- Plank Lift
- Side Plank
3. Key Core Exercises For Runners
After doing a deep dive into the Competitor.com vault of running wisdom, I found two similar core workouts for runners that I’ve combined into one. They incorporate some leg exercises as well.
- The Hollow Rock
- Single-Leg Deadlifts
- Russian Twists (without medicine ball)
- Single Leg Squats
4. 13 Essential Core Exercises for Runners
Here are 13 Essential Core Exercises for Runners. My favorite of the bunch are these 7 exercises that work slightly different core muscle groups from the ones above.
- Side Plank
- Bicycle crunch
- Iron Cross
5. Core H from Jay Johnson
This is by far the hardest set of core strengthening exercises of the bunch. I recommend watching this video to show you how to do them properly.
- Prone Elbow Stand
- Running V-Sit
- Lateral Plank Left
- Back Hyper and flutter kick and crawl with arms
- Lateral Plank Right
- Flutter Kick V-Sit
- Back Hyper Scissor Breaststroke
- Sit ups with elbow to opposite knee
- Indian Sit Crunches
- Scissor over/under V-Sit
For a more intense, premium core solution, checkout Strength Training for Runners via Runners Connect. It’s $79, but gives you a complete strengths training plan for whatever race distance you’re planning.
February Core Strength Challenge
In February of 2014, we held the February Core Strength Challenge. We challenged runners to do one of the above routines every other day during the month of February and record it here (along with miles). See the results.
What are your biggest challenges to working on your core strength?