A hot topic among running enthusiasts is finding unique ways of maximizing your run. And at the core of having a better running workout (or any workout, really) are, in fact—you guessed it—your core muscles. The abs and the lower region are the most important tools for all athletes. Paying close attention to building these muscles around the spine and hips also helps reduce the risk of injury.
All you need are five to 10 extra minutes, and the following ab workouts will lengthen your run, while strengthening your abdominal muscles, obliques and spine.
This move will probably look awkward to you at first, but don't worry about that. Just focus on how amazing you'll look if you're consistent. Pull up a chair and get started.
How To Do It
- Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair (or platform). Make sure you're sitting up straight, then firmly place your hands on the edge with your fingers pointing in the direction of your knees.
- Tighten your abs and bring your toes a few inches off the floor (anywhere from three to five inches is fine). Next, elevate your butt off the chair.
- Stay in this position until failure, or as long as you can. Aim for at least 10 seconds (but at first, it would probably be more like five seconds).
- Lower yourself to the start position, and repeat.
- Continue this exercise for at least two minutes
Opposite Leg and Arm Raise (Bird Dog)
A great warm-up workout, this move can make anyone feel taller, steadier and balanced.
How To Do it
- Start on all fours, ensuring your knees are aligned under your hips and wrists are under your shoulders.
- Lift your left arm to shoulder height and your left leg to hip height.
- Pause for two to five seconds. Reach forward with your fingers and back with your heels.
- Repeat the same move on the opposite side.
- Do at minimum five to 10 reps, alternating to each side.
A simplistic, yet intense approach to an ab workout, this movement can be done anywhere.
How To Do it
- Start in a full pushup position with your shoulders squared, and palms on the floor beneath your shoulders.
- Pause, and hold for at least 30 seconds, contract your abs, and ensure your arms and legs are extended as your head is aligned with your spine
- Add complexity by switching from arm to arm, in a one-arm stable switching plank.
This is a really gentle but effective workout on the abs. It incorporates stretching, a key foundation before starting any intense workout.
How To Do It
- Start in the seated position on the floor. Extend your legs in front of you, pressing them together.
- Bend back at a 45-degree angle from the hips.
- Keep your abs engaged as you bring both your arms overhead like a ballerina.
- Slowly twist your torso, place your right arm on the mat, and keep your left arm arched overhead for a count of five.
- Repeat this move, and keep your left arm, butt and heels on the floor.
- Engage your abs by contracting them, to support your spine while you return to the center, and bring both arms over yourself.
- Alternate sides, and do at least two to four reps on each side