Core Exercises Every Runner Should Do

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It’s no secret that the best way to improve your running is to run more. The rule of training specificity still applies—you practice what you’re looking to improve.


There’s no way around that.


But that doesn’t mean other workout plans don’t have a place in your training program. Cross-training the right way helps improve your overall athleticism and prevents injury. Unfortunately, most runners are well aware of this fact but often choose to ignore it, which is a big mistake.


And as far as I can tell, one of the best forms of cross-training for runners is strength training, especially core training. Your core muscles are, after all, some of the most important muscles in your body. Yet, they are often ignored when it comes to running training programs.


That’s why in today’s article, I decided to share with you a list of the most efficient core exercises that can help improve your running game. But before I get into that, let’s discuss basic core muscle anatomy as well as the benefits of core strength for runners.


Sounds great?


Let’s get started.

What Exactly Is The Core?


Let’s break down what the core is all about.


Contrary to popular belief, your core isn’t just your abs. It’s a complex set of muscles extending well beyond the six-pack.


The core includes the whole series of muscles connecting the pelvis, spine, and trunk to each other and the rest of the body. Stretching from the diaphragm and pelvis to the hips and back, these interconnected core muscles provide stability, strength, and power to your upper and lower body.


More specifically, the core involves five main areas.


  • Transverse abdominis—interval core muscles that wrap around your spine and sides
  • Erector spine—your lower back muscles
  • Obliques—both the external and internal muscles on the sides of your abdomen
  • Rectus abdominis—what most people assume when they hear the word “abs.”
  • Other muscles include the glutes, scapula, flexors, and pelvic floor.


The Benefits of Core Training for Runners


Why is core training so important for runners?


Many reasons, actually. Let’s briefly discuss a few.


Deep Abs Help You Run Faster. If you have powerful rectus and transverse muscles—mainly the lower and deep abs — you’ll be able to generate more speed and power as you push off the ground.

Maintain Stability. When you neglect proper core work, you increase your risk of inefficient movement. This can create an imbalance like under striding or overstriding in your gait. Such dysfunction can only lead to trouble down the road.

Cor Muscles Protect Your Lower Back. Research shows that a strong core can reduce lower back pain and lower the risk of injury to this vulnerable area.

Hello Six-Pack Abs. Since your core includes all of the abdominal muscles working within your midsection, strengthening them is vital if you want to get the body you’ve always dreamed of.

Reduce injury risk. Research has reported that a strong body is more resilient to injury. And as far as I can tell, the muscles of the core are some of the most important muscles in your body that not only ensure performance but also keep your body structure together.

Keeps going strong. A strong midsection will help you power through the late stages of a tough run or race, keeping form and drive throughout the run/race.

Note: The information listed is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits that core training offers, but it should give you a clear idea of what you stand to gain by adding a few simple core exercises each week.


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