jon-erik kawamoto fitness coachGot 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,

-JK

I’m 30 — started at JKC Aug 2016. I moved to NL to open lululemon and we chose Jon as one of our store’s ambassadors, did one workout and have raved about it ever since! The JKC team can adapt a workout no matter what the situation — injuries, new goals, you name it! The trust and expertise can’t be matched!

I had spent a fair bit of time in gyms in my teens and twenties but I turned away from the gym to focus on activities that I enjoyed more. What keeps me at JKC is that I do really enjoy it. I always feel that I’ve accomplished something when I leave at the end of my workout. The environment is really positive and focused on challenging yourself whatever your level of comfort and fitness. I’ve also seen results that I’m really happy with; having someone who really knows what they’re talking about to guide your workouts makes them way more effective and focused than just “going to the gym”.

Shortly after I started at JKC, I sustained a fairly major injury that took me off my feet for several months. When I started to get back to activity, it was very difficult. Jon and Thomas worked hard to tailor my workouts to my goals and what I could do. With their help, I’ve been steadily building back strength and function.

Tara Rector-Whelan

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I started at JKC after a good friend recommended it to me. She had been coming for about a year and I was envious of her great results. I felt sluggish after failing to motivate myself with various home workout routines. I love the fun and relaxed atmosphere at JKC. It’s such a comfortable gym space and I enjoy knowing so many of the people I work out with. Jon and Thomas make an effort to introduce everyone to each other and with all the joking around,  it starts to feel like a family. Not to mention the awesome results. I’ve always liked to run on a treadmill but I’ve never had the drive to lift weights on my own. Going to JKC makes me accountable which was what I really needed. I feel so much stronger and healthier than I did 4 years ago when I started.

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I’ve always had upper back issues that became aggravated through work. I sought out other training and physio, but experienced little to no results. A client of mine happened to be coming to JKC for a similar issue and highly recommended it. I have had great success and haven’t looked back! I always feel like I’m getting programs tailored to my needs and I’m never bored. I’m 30 weeks pregnant now with my second child and have been able to workout through both pregnancies here at JKC. Even on my least mobile days, I felt safe to workout because my programs were specifically modified for my needs.

trap bar deadlift

A few of my wonderful friends and colleagues recommended JKC. I was told by one colleague that “It’ll be the best thing you ever do for yourself” and she was right! To be honest, I didn’t have much experience in any gym setting. And NO prior weight training experience. It was always so overwhelming! But from the first day, nothing was intimidating about JKC. Each workout is set up just for me, and with my specific skills and goals in mind. There are no stupid questions, you learn as you go, and what I really love, I always feel included and important, regardless of my skills/experience.

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