Core Workouts For Runners: 2 KILLER Exercises!

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 KILLER core workout! And remember: proper form will make you a better runner, help you run faster, and most importantly, get more “frame-worthy” race photos 🙂

Core Workouts For Runners: 2 KILLER Exercises!

Core Workouts For Runners: How Does It Help?

core strength training for runners

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!

Core Workouts 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 muscle 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, 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: 

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.
  • 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.

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 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.

Core Workouts 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

  • 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.

Core Workouts For Runners: How to Do It

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.

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

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!