Many runners don’t do as much strength training as they should.
Yours truly included.
But if their is one area that runners really make an effort to address is building a strong core.
A strong core will do more to help you improve as a runner and safeguard yourself against injury than any shoes, coaching, or “miracle cures” out there.
Yeah, it’s that important.
Why a Strong Core is Important for Runners
When you’re running, you’ve got moving parts everywhere.
Your arms and legs are obviously moving, but your hips and shoulders are also rotating with every stride.
The synchronous movement is made possible by the stabilizing influence of your core muscles.
If you want to run faster or run farther, one of the first things you need to do is strengthen your core muscles. A strong core allows your other muscles to do what they are supposed to do, namely help you get to where you’re going as quickly as possible.
A strong and stable core also helps to mitigate the risk of some common running injuries by helping you to maintain good form while running.
How to Build a Strong Core
Stop doing abdominal crunches!
Ok, you can still do crunches once in awhile, but when it comes to building a strong core you can do so much better than sit-ups or crunches.
Why? Because your core is much more than just your abs.
Your core is made up of a number of different muscles, but for the sake of simplicity let’s combine those muscles into three categories: your abs, your lower back, and your obliques.
See why doing crunches isn’t enough to strengthen your entire core?
Instead of focusing on crunches, focus on the core as a whole.
Performing exercises such as planks, bridges, and the countless variations of these exercises help build your entire core instead of just one part of it. (Click here for my post with video outlining some of the best exercises for building a strong core for runners.)
And if you’re going to continue doing crunches, make sure you’re doing just as many reps and sets of exercises that target the lower back and obliques so you’re strengthening the entire core as a unit instead of creating a muscular imbalance where you least want one.
Start building a strong core today, and it won’t be long before you’re reaping the rewards on the roads or trails. I promise.
(Not sure where to start? Download my guide to the best core exercises for runners now.)
How Often Do You Work Your Core?