What do abs have to with running performance? A lot more than you might think, shows a recent study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. If you don’t have a strong core, your running can be compromised. Fatigued core muscles can affect endurance, intensity and breathing. When the core is fatigued, the runner becomes fatigued. So boost your running with one of these five core workouts.
1. Twisted Core
Attack your core from all angles. Your core involves more than just your abdominals–it’s the entire trunk of your body. Moves like one-legged deadlifts, Russian twists, pikes, rotational planks, superman crunches and leg lifts attack the core with dynamic movements. Try TheGuardian.com’s basic core training.
2. Tabata Tune-up
Tabata workouts are pretty popular right now, because of their high intensity and brief workout time. Eight times in a row, you work hard at 100 percent for 20 seconds then take 10 seconds of recovery. That’s a four-minute workout. You can essentially choose the exercise you want to do, but for your core, try moves like sit-ups, Supermans, half burpees and flutter kicks. Will Lanier bookends this tabata core workout with planks to really target the core.
3. Pilates Perfection
Pilates can be an intense form of fitness for the core. Why? The small isolating movements really engage the muscles and can improve posture and overall strength, which is very beneficial for runners. Since the basics of every Pilates move is about stabilizing the internal core muscles, exercises like swans, leg pulls, kneeling side kicks, corkscrews and rollovers work the core along with the upper and lower body. Get your mat for this 5 Pilates Moves For Runners workout.
4. Thinking Outside the Crunch
Crunches and sit-ups aren’t always required for a good core workout. Switching things up can challenge muscles for better performance and growth. You can target the core with other moves like single-leg hip extensions, leg lowerings, banana rolls, side planks and sweep planks—and you don’t have to do a single crunch or sit-up. Consider this 5-minute no-crunch workout.
5. Challenge Yourself
If you’re new to exercising the core, you can work your way up to longer or more intense core workouts. The 30-day core challengers are a great way to see your progress. The idea is that you do an exercise for 30 days, increasing the hold time or number of reps daily. There’s a 30-day challenge for pretty much every move out there, including planks and crunches.
Don’t forget to keep running on days when you’re working your core, and give yourself a day of recovery after a strength-training day.