5 Core Exercises for Runners

What’s Included?

  • What are they?
  • How to do them
  • Why are they beneficial?
  • Modifications

Planks

What Are They?

Planks are a simple, accessible, and effective exercise that ALL runners can incorporate into their routine.

How To Do Them

Starting in a lying position on your stomach, place your elbows directly under your shoulders with your forearm on the ground. Plant your feet into the ground with your heels in the air, holding yourself up with your toes. Keep your body in a straight line with your butt down and in-line with the rest of your body. Make sure you’re not dropping or raising your hips & squeeze your glutes to maintain form. Keep your stomach muscles and core muscles tight!

Why Are They Beneficial?

As a body-weight exercise, they are an easy one for ANYONE to incorporate anytime. They can also improve your core strength, balance, and posture – all of which lead to better running form and efficiency.

Modifications

  • For beginners – Knee Plank
  • For beginners – Full Plank or High Plank
  • To target your obliques – Side Plank
  • To add some cardio or challenge – Plank Jack
  • To add some challenge – Up & Down Plank
  • To add some challenge – Knee to Elbow Alternating Plank
  • To add some weights – Plank row with dumbbells

Single Leg Glute Bridge

What Are They?

A simple, unilateral, bodyweight exercise that ALL runners can incorporate into their current strength training routine.

How To Do Them

Starting in a lying position on your back, bend your knees and keep your arms at your sides. Your heels should be on the floor hip-width apart. Starting with your right leg, extend it straight into the air parallel to your left thigh. Engage and squeeze your core while lifting your hips up off the ground, aligning with your left knee. Hold for 2-3 seconds while squeezing your glutes & keeping your hips held strong. Lower your hips to starting position and repeat. Switch to the other side and repeat.

Why Are They Beneficial?

As a body-weight exercise, they are an easy one for ANYONE to incorporate anytime. This particular exercise also targets your hips, glutes, core, and back muscles – all of which will help you to improve running form, balance, stability, and power!

Modifications

  • For beginners – regular glute bridge
  • For beginners – regular glute bridge on the way up + single leg on the way down
  • For extra challenge – single leg glute bridge with weight on your hips

Runner’s Crunch

What Are They?

A simple bodyweight exercise that mimics the act of running while also working your core.

How To Do Them

Starting in a lying position on your back, extend your legs out in front of you on the ground. Bend your arms 90 degrees as if you’re running. Engage your core and lift yourself off the ground, bringing your right knee up to meet your left elbow. Lower back down. Alternate sides by bringing your left knee up to meet your right elbow. Repeat by alternating legs and arms.

Why Are They Beneficial?

As a body-weight exercise, they are an easy one for ANYONE to incorporate anytime. This particular exercise also targets your hips, legs, glutes, core, and back muscles – all of which will help you to improve running form, balance, stability, and power.

Modifications

  • For beginners – regular crunches
  • For beginners – reverse crunches
  • For extra challenge – bicycle crunch
  • For extra challenge – v-up crunch
  • For extra challenge – tuck crunches

Kneeling Paloff Press

What Are They?

A moderate core exercise which uses both rotation and anti-rotation to work many areas of the core. It can be done using a resistance band, cable machine, or dumbbells.

How To Do Them

Begin in a kneeling position with one knee down on the ground and one other in a 90 degree position. If using a dumbbell or kettlebell, hold it to your chest. Engage your core and push the weight straight out in front of you for 1-2 seconds. Pull back to chest. You can also add rotation by extending the weight straight in front of you & rotating to the left side or the right while keeping your chest and body facing forward in a locked position. Hold 1-2 seconds and pull back to the chest.

Why Are They Beneficial?

This particular exercise targets the obliques and the transverse abdominus – the deep core muscles. These deep core muscles stabilize our pelvis & spine, which is extremely important for stability, form, and strength as a runner. Without it, you may experience lower back pain after extended periods of running or walking.

Modifications

  • For beginners – standing paloff press
  • For extra challenge – lunging paloff press
  • For extra challenge – paloff press with overhead press

Leg Lowers

What Are They?

A simple bodyweight exercise which uses both legs to work your core muscles while also helping to improve hip mobility and stability.

How To Do Them

Starting in a lying position with your back on the ground, raise both legs into the air straight above you. Starting with your left leg, keep it in a straight and locked position while slowly lowering it to the ground until it is hovering just an inch above. Hold 1-2 seconds. Bring back up to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg.

You can also complete this exercise with both legs at the same time by bringing both legs down to about an inch above the ground, holding for 1-2 seconds, and then bringing them back to starting position.

Why Are They Beneficial?

This particular exercise targets the rectus abdominis muscle – which assists with posture & is also responsible for helping with the bending motion at the hips. It also helps to flex the vertebrae and bring the pelvis forward – such as when running!

Modifications

  • For beginners – bent knee leg raises
  • For extra challenge – banded leg raise with both legs
  • For extra challenge – add windshield wipers (side to side) between each rep

Amy Haas
Run with Aim, LLC
UESCA Certified Running Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach

Share:

Related