Runners pay a great deal of attention to warming up, stretching and cooling down but often go easy on strengthening their core. While warm up and cool down sessions are definitely crucial, one cannot ignore the importance of having a strong core.
In fact, in recent times, most trainers talk about the importance of core training for runners and athletes alike. Whether you’re training for a sprint, a marathon or simply running to get in shape, you will do yourself a world of good if you do the right exercises to strengthen your abs and workout your core.
Your ‘core’ is called so for a reason, and that’s where you should ideally begin your workout.
If you are doing everything right, and still not getting the desired results while you’re running, try working on your core first. Strengthening your abs will not only improve your performance significantly, but also prevent injury.
Let’s look at the 3 best core exercises recommended for runners —
A Plank most definitely is the obvious choice for working out your core. However, most trainers will agree that straight planks are not what runners should be opting for. Side planks are what you need to go with.
Here’s how you can do a side plank. Lie on your right side. Slowly, prop yourself on your right forearm touching your elbow on the ground. Divide your weight across your forearm. Place your legs, knees, and toes one on top of the other. Raise your hips to form a side plank. Tighten your abs and hold for 30 seconds. Do the same thing on the left side. Repeat.
As you reach advanced levels, you can increase the duration of your planks and try and raise one leg at a time and hold for 15 seconds. Return to the starting position gently
The Dead Bug
While this sounds easy, in reality it’s a killer abs workout. To do this, lie flat on your back and stretch your hands above your chest in line with your shoulders and bend your legs to form 90 degrees. Next, stretch your right leg and your left arm at the same time. Your right arm and your left leg will be in the starting position. After 30 seconds, return to starting position. Now extend your left leg and right arm. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.
This picture gives you kind of the right idea, just make sure that the arms and legs are at 90 degrees, and make sure you support your head!
1 Arm 1 Leg Plank
Get into a good front plank and make sure your head is up and you’re not bending your back. Your feet need to be a bit wider than your shoulders. Raise your right leg and extend your left hand. Suck your belly button in and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the same using the opposite hand and leg.
The woman in the picture got it almost right, just make sure you extend the opposite arm to the leg (in case op this picture, the right arm.)
Just a few days of these core strengthening exercises will help you run that extra mile and that too, in great speed, shape and form!