Core Strength Training For Runners: 2 KILLER Exercises!

As runners, we’re ALWAYS searching for that correct running form. Enter core strength training for runners. All your needs are guaranteed to be met by this KILLER core workout! And remember: improved form means stronger running, faster running, and most importantly “frame-worthy” race photos 🙂

Core Strength Training For Runners: How Does It Help?

core strength training for runners

More like how DOESN’T it 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” 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!

Core Strength Training For Runners: The Happy Star

We can’t lie to you guys…you may not always feel so happy with this one 🙂

Luckily no matter how it makes you feel, it works.

A happy star is an extension of a “V-up”, a common gymnastics core training exercise.
We’ll break that down first and from there explain the “happy star”.

The V-Up:

Core exercises for runners

  • Sit on the ground.
  • Using your hands, tuck your knees to your chest, leaving 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 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: 

Core workouts for runners

  • 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.
  • 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.

So what on earth is a happy star? 

Killer core workouts

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 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.

Core Strength Training For Runners: The Arch Body Rock

Core and strength training for runners

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:

Core strength training exercises

  • You’ll start lying face down on the ground, arms extended out by your ears.
  • SQUEEZE your belly and butt, protecting your low back from the get-go.
  • Now lift your extended arms and legs off the ground, even if just by an inch or two.
  • The belly and butt 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 forward.
  • 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.

Core Strength Training For Runners: Here’s The Workout

You’re going to alternate between the happy star and the arch body rock for 5 full minutes.

You’ll find a variation of each that works for you, for the entirety of the workout.

Here’s how the 5 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.

And that’s it! Quite simple, VERY effective and without a doubt, our FAVORITE method of core strength training for runners.

The road to a straighter, more upright position in your running starts HERE.

Did you check out our super-popular running training programs, that 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!