Entry Level Core Work for Runners

Whether or not you are a seasoned runner or just starting off, building up a solid core is extremely important. Believe it or not, a strong core is super beneficial to running, especially sprinting or generally faster running. A tight core enables a more efficient turnover and can even increase stamina. The following article will explain some core exercises for entry level runners (please note that even if you are a seasoned runner who doesn’t do core, some of these exercises are a great place to start!).

I will start the workout with a traditional exercise, the sit-up. The sit-up I do personally, and the only type of sit-up I really suggest, is called the modified ab crunch. Lay down on your back, feet flat on the floor. Keeps your arms straight and slowly sit up, thus sliding your hands up your leg to your knee. Once you get past your knee, hold it there for a quick “one mississippi” and release (I usually tap my knees quickly five times instead of saying “mississippi” over and over again). The key to is tighten the abs and breathe out upon release.

Another great and simple exercise to do is called the plank. Lay down on your stomach, straighten your body, and bring your arms parrellel to each other just past your sides. Using your ab muscles and arms, lift your entire body off the ground, except for your forearms and toes. The key is to keep your glute down, back straight, and entire body level. Tighten the ab muscles. After a few seconds, you may begin to shake. Not to worry; this is normal.
There are also three other ways to plank: on either side or on your back. These are much more difficult, so we won’t worry about those just yet!

The last great entry level core work exercise to do is one of my favorites: the kick out. This exercise can be completed sitting up or, if you have back pain, laying down. The key is to keep your feet together and kick out, making sure to never touch the ground. Kick out to full extension and recoil back in. If your are sitting up, try to keep your hands crossed over your chest, but balance might become an issue. If balance does become an issue, feel free to put your hands on the floor, but be sure to do more repetitions because this will make the exercise significantly easier.

If you have an questions, comments, or other great ab exercises to add to my list, feel free to post a comment! Good luck, runners!

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