Why is Core Strength Important?

What’s Included?

  • Why is core important for runners?
  • What are the core muscles?
  • How can you work each area of the core?

Why is Core Important for Runners?

When most of us think about strength for runners… I’m sure we immediately think lower body. While lower body strength is important, in order to be a well-rounded and strong runner, we must also focus on both our upper body and CORE.

Our core is an absolute powerhouse. It’s responsible for our posture, stability, mobility, and much of our overall strength. We need our core in order to walk, to run, to bend over and touch our toes, even to simply hold ourselves up in a standing position.

For runners specifically – the core is even MORE important. A strong core will help you to develop stronger running form & more efficiency when running. When your core is strong, your body works together like a well- oiled machine: your hips, your back, your core, your glutes – they all work in sync to help you move more freely and more efficiently – so you can spend LESS energy stabilizing yourself & spend MORE energy on running faster & further!

A strong core also helps to prevent injuries – especially once you’re already tired. When you get fatigued, your form begins to suffer – this can lead to overcompensation from other areas of the body, which can quickly lead to injury. A strong core can help you prevent these injuries by providing stability & posture while running – so you can stay in control.

What are the Core Muscles?

Our core has MANY muscles, but it can be broken down into some main areas: our abdominals, obliques, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, diaphragm, hip flexors, and glutes.

Most ab exercises tend to target the abdominal or “six pack” muscles – mainly the rectus abdominis. While these muscles are important for running and walking, true strength requires us to focus deeper than that. We should also be putting time into the deep inner core muscles including the transverse abdominis, pelvic floor muscles, and your diaphragm.

How Can You Work Each Area of the Core?


Otherwise known as the “six pack” muscles.

  • Crunches
  • Reverse crunches
  • Plank
  • Dead bug
  • Hollow body hold


Otherwise known as the “corset” muscles – deeper than the rectus abdominis.

  • Leg raises
  • Pallof press
  • Plank knee taps
  • Dead bug
  • Plank shoulder taps


These support bladder control and are very important for women.

  • Glute bridges
  • Bird dog
  • Single leg bridges
  • Toe taps
  • Clamshells


Allow us to flex, bend forward, lift, and arch the lower back. Important in supporting the glutes and providing overall stability to your body.

  • Superman
  • Swimmers
  • V-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Marching glute bridges
  • Glute bridges


Otherwise known as your side abs – they help to rotate the body during movement.

  • Oblique crunch
  • Side plank
  • Russian twist
  • Bicycle crunch
  • Dead bug


Assist with flexing the hip and raising the legs – essential in movement like walking and running. They also help to maintain stability & provide posture.

  • Leg raises
  • Glute bridges
  • Mountain climbers
  • Single leg bridges
  • Single leg raises
  • Squats


Help to keep us upright & provide support for all movement like running and walking. They also support the lower back when lifting. Strong glutes can help to prevent knee pain & injuries.

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Glute bridges
  • Step-ups
  • Kick backs
  • Deadlift

Looking to build strength but not sure where to start?

Check out our strength training plans to see if we have one that would be a good fit for you!

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