Core Strength Training for Runners

by Mackenzie M. | January 2nd, 2012 | Core, Strength Training

Core strength training is a popular activity for many fitness enthusiasts. Did you know that there are certain types of strength training for your core that can actually improve your running form and abilities? In fact, there are several types of core training exercises that use an exercise ball that are designed specifically for runners, which contribute to overall form, stamina, and running ability. Below I have listed a few of these exercises that will not only tone your core, but will also contribute to a better running ability.

Ivana Nisaro, of Carmichael Training Systems, recommends doing the following exercises five times per week, for 15-minute regimens. She recommends starting with two sets of 15 reps, and to add more sets whenever time and strength permit. These exercises are perfect for the “time-crunched” runner.

Squats. This exercise requires a stability ball. Simply rest the ball between your back and the wall, and then squat slowly until your knees are bent to a 90-degree angle. This exercise will tone your core, legs, and even butt.

Push-ups. This exercise will require a little more core strength when beginning. This is much more intense than a regular push-up. Rest your knees, shins, and/or toes on the ball. Then complete the push-up as you would a normal one. The push-up using the ball will double the effects on your core, and it will contribute to better balance and breathing.

Lunges. Again using the exercise ball, rest your back leg on the ball and bend and straighten your front knee. This exercise is amazing for building your glutes, and will strengthen your core in no time. This exercise will improve your balance after only a few short weeks.

Sit-ups. This is the quintessential core strength work out. Put your feet flat on the floor, relax your neck, and complete a rep of sit-ups using the exercise ball as your base, instead of the floor. For this exercise, your abs should be doing the majority of the work. This is the perfect way to tone your abs, and it is the standard exercise runners use to build up core strength.

Back Extensions. Using the exercise ball, rest your torso on the ball and put your toes solidly on the floor. With your hands behind your neck, lean forward and then straighten your back, with your abs resting on the exercise ball. Think of this as a reverse sit-up. It is perfect for building abs, as well as toning all of your core muscles.

The preceding exercises should be done at least two to three times per week, and will quickly build your core strength. Let me know how this works for you, runners!

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.