CORE STRENGTH FOR RUNNERS
How important is it and how do you develop a strong core?
Runners usually start off with a good strength & conditioning routine as they’re learning about and growing with the sport, but in many cases, they get away from it as their mileage increases. I’ve seen it happen many times. Sometimes they forget to add it to their training plan and sometimes they feel like they should be running more instead of doing some of these other things, but the truth is, these other things are just as important!
One of the ways you can train yourself to become a better runner is by working on your core. This specific strength & conditioning component is vital to running because it has a variety of benefits, including:
- Supporting your lower back & hips and reducing your chances of injury
- improving your posture while running
- Improving your running economy and efficiency
- Generating power to help propel you forward
Not to mention, a strong core usually means a flatter stomach and who doesn’t like a flatter stomach!
One of the most effective core-strengthening exercises (and one my absolute favorites) are plank exercises. Planks are like a compound exercise for your body. They target a variety of muscle groups all at once including:
- Your rectus abdominis (commonly referred to as “abs”) as well as your transverse abdominis (TVA) which are deeper core muscles used to support your internal organs.
- Your upper and lower back muscles
- Your lattisimus dorsi (or “lats”)
- Your glutes and upper hamstring muscles
- Your quadriceps
- Your front and back shoulder muscles
...so as you can see, there is no denying the many benefits AND time-saving quality of plank exercises.
So how do you do these glorious exercises and for how long??
Our good friends at Performance Physical Therapy put together a cool little instructional video that demonstrates how to get into both forward and side planks as well as how to maintain the proper form while doing them. As we all know, form is everything!
Next week I will introduce front and side plank exercises into your plan (yay!) and outline how long and how often you should be doing them, so enjoy this “off” week!
See you at the park!!
Run Better. Run Smarter. Run for Life.