Core Exercises for Runners

First, it's important for us to specify what we mean by core exercises for runners. We're referring to moves for the central part of your body.
Core Exercises for Runners

Last update: 10 August, 2018

Training for runners doesn’t just involve leg exercises. In fact, it’s very important for them to also strengthen other complementary muscles. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of this area and the core exercises for runners.

Your core includes the muscles that make up your center of gravity. It stretches from the lower part of your navel to your glutes. Therefore, it comprises the following muscles: abdominals (abs and obliques), lumbar muscles, deep muscles of the spine, pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus muscle, hip flexors and extensors, and glutes. In this article, we’ll explore core exercises for runners.

The importance of the core for runners

So, why is this muscle group so important for those who run? Among the many reasons, they:

  • Provide stability when you move
  • Allow you to develop balance and coordination
  • Improve body posture
  • Help you breathe better
  • Are important for preventing injuries
  • Boost your performance, since they increase your strength and resistance

Five core exercises for runners

1. Downward dog pose

Downward dog is a yoga pose that’s ideal for stretching and activating your back, hips, and glutes. In addition, it’s a basic pose that’s easy to do.

How is it done? First, get down on your knees with your hands beneath your shoulders, keeping your hips straight. Then, lift your knees while stretching out your legs.

While supporting your body with the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands, lift your hips up as much as possible. Also, look at your navel while gradually tucking your head between your shoulders.

When finishing this movement, your body should form an inverted V shape, with your hips being at the highest point. Remember to keep your back straight while doing this exercise.

woman doing downward dog on a mat

2. Planks

Planks are a classic way to target your abs. They provide your body strength and stability by strengthening your abdominals.

Doing a plank is very simple. First, lie face down on the ground using only your forearms and the tip of your feet to support your weight. Stay in this position for 20 to 30 seconds, making sure to keep your hips, torso, and neck in a straight line.

As you become more advanced, hold it for longer and do more sets. You can also try different versions with weight on your back or by supporting your weight on the palms of your hands. You can also try this with your feet apart, or on a step platform, among other options.

3. Bird dog

This exercise is a perfect alternative for working on your balance and flexibility. First, get down on your knees with your hands beneath your shoulders, keeping your back straight.

Next, lift and extend opposite limbs. So, extend your right hand while extending your left leg and vice versa. Extend as much as you can and hold for a few seconds.

4. Lunge twist

This next example from our core exercises for runners, is very effective since it also targets your legs. First, start out as if you’re about to do a normal lunge. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your back straight, arms at your sides, and palms facing forward and shoulder-width apart.

Then, step forward and lunge down; both of your knees should be at a 90 degree angle. Furthermore, the one to the back should touch the ground. Most importantly, make sure your opposite knee doesn’t go over your toe line.

Next, turn your torso to the side and hold for three to four seconds. Finally, return to the center position and repeat on the other side.

woman outside doing knee to elbow plank core exercises for runners

5. Mountain climbers

This is one of the most challenging core exercises for runners. It’s known for its aerobic qualities but it also strengthens your abs.

To do it, hold your bodyweight with the palms of your hands and your legs stretched out. Your hips should stay raised.

Next, bring your knees to your hips, one after the other without pausing. Do 20 repetitions or do them for a set amount of time. You’ll see how effective they are!

In conclusion, you’ll boost your performance and fitness levels by practicing these core exercises for runnersAnd as you’ll find out, your body is made up of different muscles, with each one playing a role in the function of your body.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.