This week, it’s all about those abs. One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is to be a solid runner, you can’t just run. I did this for awhile… but there are plenty of other muscle groups that you need to pay attention to in order to finish a race strong.
The importance of strong abs for runners
So, what exactly do strong abs do for runners? Well, a few different things:
- Better running economy: Want to get faster? Spend more time on your core. With stronger abs, your body spends less time trying to stabilize your muscles and can run more efficiently because it takes less effort for your muscles to work together the way they should.
- Reduce your chance of injury: A lot of times, a misaligned pelvis and associated muscles can result in injuries in your hips and other parts of the body. A stronger core can make sure your pelvis is strong and stays in place, so it doesn’t need as much support from your other muscle groups.
- Improve your balance: Especially for trail running (like I found out last weekend), having good balance is important to make sure you aren’t falling after any misstep. I am a klutz, so this is a big bonus for me. 🙂
What are some good ab exercises for runners?
There are a lot of good ab exercises out there, but which ones are the best for runners specifically? Some of my favorites include:
Planks are so versatile, and I love that you can basically make these work for you no matter your fitness level. Go down on your knees and elbows for something a little easier. Add variations like jacks (plank jacks! my favorite!), oblique twists and the spider move to make them harder and work more muscles.
OK, the reason why I love these so much is a really big slacker reason. I like it because I feel like you don’t work that hard for these and love how sore they make me! Basically you lie on your stomach with your arms straight in front of you and your legs straight behind you. Lift both off the ground and up by using your core muscles… and feel the burn!
These ALWAYS make my ab muscles burn, just a few reps in. Basically, you lay in the superman exercise position, only on your back. Raise your arms and legs, keeping them straight, to the sky and contract your abs. Seriously. The burn is for real.
These are just a few that I love, but you can also go with some more traditional exercises like bicycles, oblique twists and side bends. These are great for building strong abs for runners! If you’re looking for an ab workout, check this one out:
Strength training: Love it or hate it? How do you stay motivated to do it?
What’s your favorite core workout?
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