As runners, we’re ALWAYS searching for that correct running form. Enter core workouts for runners. All your needs are guaranteed to be met by this core workout!
Running is a fantastic way to get in shape, build endurance, and reduce stress. To maximize the benefits of running, it is important to supplement your training with core workouts that keep your posture and balance in check.
Core workouts are a great way to strengthen the abdominals, back, and hips, which are essential for stability when running. Core workouts also help reduce the risk of injury, as well as increase agility and power.
Below, we’ll walk you through our favorite core workout for runners, which includes 2 power-building exercises.
The Best Core Workout for Runners
How Do Core Workouts Help Running?
More like how do core exercises NOT help?
Your core connects your upper and lower halves. Your core STRENGTH:
- Determines the efficiency of your arm swing
- Affects your ability (and stamina) to stay “upright”– keeping your body in a straight line– for miles on end
- PROTECTS your smaller joints, tendons and upper/lower extremities from overuse and unwanted injury
So let’s get that core STRONGER than it has EVER been!
Killer Core Workout
Happy Stars and Arch Rocks are two core strength exercises that can improve running technique and performance—although you might not feel so happy when doing them.
Progressing through each exercise step by step ensures proper form and engagement of the correct muscles. The Happy Start is a variation of the V-Up, so let’s start there first.
- Sit on the ground.
- Using your hands, with your knees bents and tucked into your chest, leave your heels resting on the ground.
- Find your balance on your tailbone, and gently peel the heels off the ground, keeping chest and back upright.
- From here, rock back and release hands from legs to find a mildly extended position.
- At the end of the extension, return to tucked, balanced position on the tailbone.
After a few reps like that:
- See if you can repeat the same extension to tuck, WITHOUT putting the hands on the legs for support.
- You can leave the arms low and extended by your hips for both extension and tuck.
After a few reps like that:
- Try extending the arms out by the ears on each EXTENSION.
- You’ll extend a bit further with this one, with more of your back touching the ground.
- You’ll sweep the arms back to the legs for the tuck position.
And finally, once you’ve got there:
- Extend, and LEAVE legs extended for the extension AND return to the top.
- The entire “extend to fold” motion will happen with both arms and legs straight.
- Your tailbone will continue to be your main point of support and balance.
1. The Happy Star Exercise
A happy star could be considered a “split and crossed” V-up.
- On the “extension” motion you’ll find a big X position, with arms and legs separated apart from each other, but still raised off the ground.
- The low back and tailbone will still be rounded and pressed firmly into the ground.
- Now, instead of folding up arms and legs in one piece, you’ll separate it into two parts.
- From your X position, your extended left leg will fold up to meet your extended right arm.
- You’ll extend back into the X position.
- Now switch sides and your right leg will fold up to meet your left leg.
These are happy stars.
Remember! At no point are you laying flat on the ground! Your core should be turned on the ENTIRE time.
2. The Arch Body Rock
This one is pretty simple…in theory 🙂 And like the happy star, it is one of our favorites in core strength training for runners!
Let’s break it down:
- At the starting position, you’ll be lying face down on the ground, arms extended out by your ears, similar to a superman position.
- SQUEEZE your belly and butt, protecting your lower back from the get-go.
- Now lift your extended arms and legs off the ground, even if just by an inch or two, so you are supporting your bodyweight with your arms and legs.
- The belly and glutes should still be totally engaged.
- Once you’ve got this position locked in, bring your palms down on the ground next to your hips, fingers pointed forwardthis should be working your upper body as well as your core!
- From here, you’ll fire the hamstrings and find a small rocking position forward and back.
- You can use the palms of your hands on the ground as the initiation point for each rock.
- Once you’ve got some momentum here, try extending the arms back out by your ears and continuing to rock.
- This is going to be a challenge, but if you INITIATE from the tops of the hamstrings and keep your belly and butt “on” at all times, you’ll find much success in building those abdominal muscles.
How to Do These Core Exercises for Runners
You’re going to alternate between the happy star and the arch body rock for five full minutes to build a strong core. You’ll find a variation of each that works for you for the entire exercise.
Here’s how the five minutes will be broken up:
- Complete happy stars at a pace you can control (with good positions!) for 20 seconds.
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Complete arch body rocks at a pace you can control (with good positions!) for 20 seconds.
- Rest for 10 seconds.
- Repeat until 5 minutes is up.
*As a bonus, add in 10 push up, 10 lunges, and 30 seconds of mountain climbers for an advanced workout! You can also try russian twists while holding a medicine ball to add to your core strength workout.
And that’s it! Quite simple, VERY effective and without a doubt, our FAVORITE method of core strength training to improve running performance.
Build a Stronger Core for Runners
We get that core strength is foundational to your running performance, and that’s why we make it an integral part of your holistic training program.
This core workout for runners is one of many strength training exercises you can do to better your performance and reduce injury.
Did you check out our super-popular running training programs and our new mobile app that can help you prepare for strength workouts, mobility exercises, marathon training, injury prevention & a lot more? If you are looking to CHANGE THE GAME for your running, you must check them out to learn more about them!