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 had signed up for other gyms in the past and never went or rarely went. Something always got in the way or I was just too tired and lacked motivation to go. This way I’ve made a commitment to Jon or Thomas and I try very hard to keep my sessions once I’ve booked in. JKC is different from other gyms that I’ve tried in the past because no one is there to be “seen”. We are all there to get a good workout in and go on with our lives. And it’s a small gym so you get to know everyone and it’s like a big family. When I joined JKC, I couldn’t do a chin up with an elastic band, but I’ve slowly worked up to 10 free hanging chin ups. That was big because I hate chin ups.

I had been struggling with work-life balance resulting in not exercising or playing hockey as much as I had been doing in the past. In addition to being out of shape, I was starting to experience some back/shoulder issues and realized I needed to make some changes. Around this time, a friend (who was also a client) recommended JKC and that’s when I started!

You really feel part of a community where everyone is welcoming and supportive. You get a program that is designed specifically to achieve your goals, with the ongoing coaching, progress tracking and support required to achieve them. The JKC team are very knowledgeable about fitness and conditioning, and very engaging with everyone to answer questions or discuss anything and everything training related. I also like the flexible scheduling and gym times that work for my schedule (I like early mornings and evenings).

I joined JKC because I wanted to better care for my physical health, but didn’t really know how, or where, to begin.  Seeking help from a trainer seemed like a wise choice, and I had heard great things about the staff at JKC. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate exercising.  So, I’ve only ever tried sticking with a gym routine twice in my life.  Each experience consisted of me wandering around, not knowing what to do, and settling for an elliptical machine or something else that seemed comfortable and non-threatening.  Each session was the same, and I felt like I was wasting my time.

Each session at JKC, however, is specifically crafted for me.  I don’t have to think about what to do, because I’m told what to do.  I don’t have to worry about how to do things properly, because I’m shown (sometimes multiple times!) how to accomplish each task.  I don’t have to be concerned about slipping into a comfortable routine, because Jon and Thomas won’t let that happen.

Courtney Sharpe

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For the past two months I have worked with the JKC team and have never felt better! In addition to a personal fitness plan, JKC’s holistic nutritionist, Julia, worked with me and around my busy schedule to educate me on healthier food options and meal planning. I maintain a daily food log which Julia reviews and provides feedback on and we also have weekly chats to discuss my nutritional goals and potential improvement areas. Julia also helped me to identify and work around dietary constraints which have caused digestion issues for years!

Julia and the rest of the JKC family have helped me get my confidence back! I love starting my days with a good sweat and a healthy breakfast. I understand what foods make me feel my best and my body is well on its way to becoming more lean, fit and happy! I would totally recommend Julia and the entire JKC team!

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