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3 core exercises for Runners

A common misconception around ‘core’ exercises is that they are designed to provide photogenic abs, make you look good in swimwear or give you that celebrity ‘6-pack’. You need to think deeper than that to really develop a strong trunk. The muscles from your low back to the front of your abdomen are all classified as core muscles, which consist of multiple layers. They activate to hold you upright against the weight of gravity, keep you stable when lifting things off the floor or in the sporting context, they allow you to transmit force efficiently through your body to enhance your power and speed.

Abdominal crunches are useful for helping you get out of bed or if you compete in an impact sport e.g. a boxer getting punched in the stomach will contract their abs to protect themselves. As runners, we want to train the underlying muscles so they continually work on an involuntary basis while we run.

There are hundreds of exercises to choose from with various levels of progressions and modifications but we will share with you 3 exercises that you can start today.

Dead Bug:

Simple but effective. Lie on your back with your arms straight and pointing towards the roof. Bend your knees to 90º and lift your feet off the ground so that you calves are parallel to the floor. Keep your lower back in contact with the floor throughout the exercise. Tap your heel off the floor and return to your starting position. To progress, bring one arm back over your head while taping the floor with your opposite heel.

Picture of Dead Bug Exercise

Front Plank:

Lie on your front, position of elbows under your shoulders and lift your hips up off the floor. Only your knees and elbows/forearms should be in contact with the floor. Engage your lower abdominals and hold your back in a neutral position. You can progress this exercise by having your toes and elbows/forearms in contact with the floor only.

Picture of half plank exercise

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Side Plank:

Lie on your side with your knee bent to 90º. Lean on your elbow and lift your hips off the floor. Try and keep a straight line between your shoulders and hips. To progress this, try and balance on the side of your foot and hand with your elbow straight.

Picture of half plank exercise

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