Got your attention didn’t I?
If you’re like most runners on the internet, you probably were Googling:
-best core exercises for runners
-runner’s core exercises
-core stability training for runners
…or something along those lines.
If you’re like most in this regard as well, you’re probably looking for the most advanced, “coolest” core exercises to add to your routine.
Here are 3 advanced core exercises you can do to help strengthen your core so you can run faster and stronger.
But before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to have an understanding of how the core muscles work when running.
The function of a runner’s core is to prevent excessive movement when running.If you look at it like this, it might help your understanding: blood has to be pumped by your heart to your legs, which are highly metabolically active when running (duh!). If you’re racing, it’s a fair assumption that you’re running your fastest to hopefully finish in the fastest time possible. What if your upper body has unwanted movement – in your arms, shoulders and torso? Well, the muscles creating these movements are also metabolically active. It’s also fair to assume that your breathing muscles are working like crazy to get air into your lungs – the diaphragm and accessory breathing muscles. They are also highly metabolically active.
So, if you have additional metabolic activity in muscles that shouldn’t be too active when running, you’re stealing blood from your legs and sending it else where. This can have a negative influence to your race performance.
I’m not telling you not to breathe, that would be stupid! It has been shown in research that the breathing muscles require roughly 15% of the blood pumped from your heart during maximal exercise – so blood is going to feed your breathing muscles regardless. However, you can control or at least try to improve your running efficiency so you can maximize how much blood can feed your legs.
Basically, reduce the excess movement and always strive to run with the most economical running gait possible. This will strongly differentiate you from the person running beside you if you both have the same VO2-Max.
What does this have to do with your core? Your core muscles reflexively stabilize your torso with each stride. They also minimize excess torso and shoulder rotation – so train your core muscles to minimize movement, rather than create it. For example, sit-ups create movement, whereas planks challenge you to keep neutral spine (normal arch in the lumbar spine). Here are 3 ADVANCED CORE EXERCISES FOR RUNNERS that challenge you to keep neutral spine and not move.
Single Arm Pushup
This exercise is very challenging not only to the upper body to perform the movement, but to the trunk muscles to prevent and resist movement. Spread your feet wide and place one hand in the middle of your chest. Brace like hell, and lower yourself to the ground. Stay tight and press yourself back up.
Go for 3 sets of 5 per arm.
Power Wheel Roll Out for distance
The Power Wheel is an amazing tool. From a kneeling position, pack your shoulders, stick out your chest and brace your abs. Roll forward reaching far above your head. Resist the urge to excessively arch your back. If you feel compression in your lumber spine, you’re not maintaining the correct spine position.
I like 3 sets of 12-20 roll outs depending on ability. (I also like doing this exercise from the feet with really strong runners)
Side Plank with Band Row
Set up a band around a squat rack cage or a machine. Set up in a PERFECT side plank and slowly row the band while squeezing your upper back muscles. Don’t move and resist the force the band is placing on you to move. Try to perform this movement so you complete 30 seconds per side. Do 3 sets.
Give these exercises a go in your core training program and let me know how it goes.
Thanks for reading and RUN STRONG,