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Fortifying “Core” Training for Runners
Getting more bang for your buck out of your core strengthening program.
Alright, folks, it’s time to shy away from energy-related posts for a bit and discuss some basics around these parts.
Let’s discuss the good old “core training” concept relating to runners.
How many of you think you have a weak core? Raise your hands folks. I know you’ve mentioned it before, whether it be to your friends or your healthcare provider.
I cannot tell you the number of times in a day I hear runners say things such as, “I do core exercises all of the time but I still have back pain” or “My core is so weak, I need ways to strengthen it.”. Sheesh, give yourselves more credit! If you can rock & roll on a run, I promise you that your core isn’t the biggest issue you have. Also, you also don’t need rock hard abs to have a strong core.
Runners LOVE strengthening their abdominals. Why? Well, a stronger lower abdominal wall does help carry over to running performance. Also, most “core strengthening” exercises are body weight related (a runner’s favorite). However, did you know that those simple exercises may not be doing as much for you as you think? Let’s chat.
We all know that many runners avoid weight training like the plague, but what if we made it all simpler for you?
As a runner, you need to remember that your “core musculature” isn’t solely made up of your abdominals. It includes your diaphragm, pelvic floor, gluteals, hip musculature & more. To get stronger means that sometimes you need to lift some external weight from time to time. So how can you help improve your training and strengthen your core? Let’s start with these 5 simple exercises.
- The Single-Leg Bridge is a great exercise to incorporate into any runner’s program. Not only will it help you develop core stability, but also hamstring and gluteal strength. Throw in 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps to start. Mastery is a hold for 30 seconds maintaining height and a neutral pelvis!
- Side Planks with Hip Abduction are a great plank variation for runners. On top of strengthening your lateral core, you will also strengthen your hips! During this exercise, the gluteus medius (an integral muscle for runners) fires at 100%! Start with 5 repetitions of 20 seconds and progress to static holds for 45 seconds-1 minute! Mastery is holding 45 seconds for women and 55 seconds for men!
- Marching Suitcase Carries are a great addition to core strength programming. Running requires upright and forward movement like marching. So, why not add a march that adds abdominal and gluteal strengthening & balance into your program? Holding a weight in one hand, march in a forward direction for ~ 50 meters. Each time you take a step, remain in the march position for~ 2 seconds. Repeat this several times in each arm. Mastery of this is to perform a single-arm carry with march with ~50% of your bodyweight in one hand for ~50m.
- Goblet Squats are a versatile exercise for runners. The Goblet Squat is known as a quad and lower limb development exercise. What most people forget is to squat well you must engage your abdominal musculature! Carry a weight in front of you as if you’re getting ready to drink from a large goblet like a Viking. Drop into your squat maintaining a neutral spine and push out through your shoelaces. Add in 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps and get more bang for your buck in your core routine! Mastery of this task depends on your prior abilities! If you’re comfortable lifting weights, grab something a little bit heavier than normal. 🙂
- Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) are a great addition to all runners’ programming. Adding these into your core routine will help you develop a stronger core and balance. It will also help you improve your hamstring and lower limb resilience. Try 3-4 sets of 8-12 of these! Similar to the goblet squat, mastery of this depends on your prior abilities.
Add in these five things and your “core” musculature will thank me later.
As always, if you have any questions, just throw them in the comments below!