And a strong core not only means better alignment, it also means you’re more equipped for running effectively over different terrains, will be able to run faster for longer periods of time and will lower your risk of injury and fatigue.
So what’s the best way for a would-be runner, or seasoned pro looking to smash their next run time, to strengthen their core? Well, the good news is that it doesn’t mean 100 crunches daily.
In fact, the worst thing you can do is follow fitness fads and strength training practices that include over-training those superficial abdominal muscles (yep sit-ups, we mean you). Instead, you need to train ALL the supporting muscles of your core, while specifically targeting your deeper abdominals to get results. Variety is also important, so mix it up and train your core in many different ways.
A conditioned core will support your run training and improve your race time.
CORE TRAINING TIP 1: Include exercises that promote stability – think plank and side plank. These moves strengthen your deep abdominals and obliques, helping to counter rotation and wasteful movement. This means you’ll run more effectively.
CORE TRAINING TIP 2: Step it up by continually progressing your moves. Use swiss and medicine balls, BOSU discs and balance pads to make your regular moves trickier. Mix it up by using multi-plane cable moves to challenge your core. Try lifting opposing arms/legs when in plank, or elevate your legs to provide extra resistance. Change your routine every 4-6 weeks and incorporate new moves to see real results.
CORE TRAINING TIP 3: Don’t move too fast! To build real core strength, you need to use slow and controlled movement and work your muscles continuously. So no rushing!
CORE TRAINING TIP 4: Remember that “core” doesn’t just mean “abs”. When you’re running a lot, the muscles of your lower back and spine are ultra-important… and weak glutes can mean marathon death! Make sure your core training always includes a few exercises that strengthen your butt and back. Supermen, back extensions, plank with alternate leg raises, hip bridges and deadlifts will all help to take your core training to the next level.
Bondi BUF was founded by Libby Babet and is a collaboration of some of Bondi Beach's top health and fitness trainers, coaches and consultants. Read more from Libby and her team at bondibuf.com, or get in touch for a few sessions at Bottoms Up! Fitness or AGOGA.