"A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. " Stephen Wright
Runners tend to do one thing well…. RUN. They often leave out other forms of workouts to enhance their fitness levels and provide them with the opportunity for better performances for workouts as well as any events they might be training for.
One key muscle group that should be focused on is the core. Having a solid core will lead to a more efficient runner. It will help alleviate any posture issues and/or back problems. And a solid core really comes into play for the longer type events where the body tends to break down over time.
There are a zillion routines out there for people to look up and try.
I like a simple 5 minute routine that can be changed to any duration. This routine is easy to follow and can be done anywhere that there is a flat surface.
For the 5 minute routine I am going to describe, each exercise is done for 30 seconds.
We start out with a basic crunch. The crunch is the most common of core exercises. You start off by lying on the floor with your knees bent. Your hands can be cross behind your head or over your chest. I prefer the back of your head to support your neck. Your motion is simply to raise your chin towards the sky till you feel a contraction. You do not need to fully come up. Do not pull your neck to lift up. Or the work is done at the abdominal and shoulder level.
We then go to a side crunch. You again start off lying on the floor with your knees bent. Take your knees and bring them together to one side in sort of a twisting position. Your hands this time should be crossed behind your head. You are going to lift up towards your knees while squeezing your sides, also known as your obliques. Again, don’t lift or pull from your neck. Your shoulders should be guiding you upwards. Once more, it is a pinch/contraction and then back down.
Repeat this movement by taking your knees to the opposite side they were just on.
For the next exercise, we will be doing leg lifts. Lying on your back, place both hands under your buttocks to support your lower back. Then lift your feet off the ground two to six inches. After feeling a contraction, return to the starting position but don’t let your feet touch the floor.
We are 2 minutes into the routine as this junction.
Repeat these 4 exercises.
Now we are 4 minutes into the routine.
We wrap up the final minute with side planks. One for the left and one for the right. You start off by lying on your side and resting on your forearm. Your elbow should be close to being underneath your shoulder. From this position, gently lift off the ground and keep that line in place. Your arm supporting you should be at a very slight angle to your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch over to the other side.
You just completed a five minute ab workout. As I mentioned earlier, you can make this any duration you want to. In the end, make it your own. The purpose of this post was to keep it as simple as possible while introducing you to a core workout that can be executed easily.
With that, there are a number variations that can be added or changed. Such as using a stability ball, implementing a bosu, utilizing weights and/or TRX bands. All great stuff.
My suggestion, is that if you want to see a change in your times and make a big leap in your performance, start with a core program. You are guaranteed success.