Tag Archives: core conditioning

3 Helpful Core Exercises for Runners

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

All runners would agree that having strong legs is essential for their sport, but integrating core exercises into your overall routine is a must as you look towards becoming a more competitive runner. Full body, core and hip-focused exercises are a must if you want to stay injury-free and run to your best potential (Jon-Erik Kawamoto).

In a recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Gottschall et al., 2013) examined the difference between isolation-type core exercises, like crunches, and compared them to integration-type core exercises that incorporated distal trunk muscle activation, like the pushup plank with alternating knees. The researchers found greater core muscle activation during the integration-type exercises and concluded “an integrated routine that incorporates the activation of distal trunk musculature would be optimal in terms of maximizing strength, improving endurance, enhancing stability, reducing injury, and maintaining mobility.”

 Let’s get started then and integrate some of these helpful core exercises listed below into our own routine.

Exercises:

1) Superman’s

How to: Start lying face down on a matt. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold this contraction for 3 seconds. Tip: Squeeze your lower back to get the best results from this exercise. Repeat about 10 to 15 repetitions with multiple sets.  

2) Russian Twists

How to: Grab a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate and sit on the floor face up. Hold the weight straight out in front of you and keep your back straight (your torso should be at about 45 degrees to the floor). Explosively twist your torso as far as you can to the left, and then reverse the motion, twisting as far as you can to the right. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 – 15 repetitions, multiple sets.

3) Push-up plank with alternating knee tucks (to the abdomen)

How to: Go into the top of a pushup. Brace your abs and squeeze your butt to form a straight line from the top of your head to your ankles. Without moving your body, bring one knee into your chest. Do not round your back. Return the leg to the starting position and switch sides. Repeat 10 – 15 repetitions, multiple sets.

Sources:

Four Key Core Exercises For Runners – Linzay Logan http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/injury-prevention/four-key-core-exercises-for-runners_41874/4

The Crunchless Core Workout For Runners – Jon-Erik Kawamoto – http://running.competitor.com/2014/06/training/the-crunchless-core-workout-for-runners_78042/3

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3 Lower-Body Exercises to Improve Running Efficiency

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Running is a total body kinetic chain exercise; however, we know that sustaining and enduring through a run, holds a primary focus on the core and lower body. Greater strength does equal greater endurance.  In order to build what is now commonly referred to as functional strength as applied to running technique we need to emphasize low body conditioning with a focus on lower back strength, core strength, and the gluteus.

Below are three exercises to add to your overall lower body strength training routine.

 Exercises:

  • Supine Core Ball Leg Lifts:

Why do it: Builds lower back strength; towards preventing back injury. Boosts core strength and efficacy.

How to: Start by lying in the supine position (on your back) on a workout mat. The legs should be straight and the palms should be face down under the buttocks. This will assist the pelvis with leverage as you initiate the leg raise. Next, with the feet together squeeze the core ball w/ your heels and inner thighs lifting the legs approximately 15 to 20 inches off the ground. Slowly lower the legs to the starting position and repeat the exercise. Emphasize breathing out as the legs go up.

 

  • Supine Core ball Figure-4 Glute Bridge:

Why do it: Your glutes help stabilize your hips while running. This exercise is designed to wake up your gluteus and create a backside that is both strong and supportive of the upper bodies load.

How to: Lie face up with your arms pressed into the floor by your sides, knees bent, heels on top of the ball. Cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh, turning your right knee out to the side. Press your left heel down into the ball and raise your hips up as high as you can (focus on using your glutes to lift your body, not your hamstrings). Hold for 1 count and then slowly lower. Integrate this exercise into your total rep/set progressions and repeat with the right leg.

 

  • Internal Rotation Leg Press:

Why do it: This move works your abs, hip flexors, gluteus, quadriceps, and inner thighs to help you develop strength that will support your strides.

How to:  Lie faceup with your hands behind head. Bend your knees 90 degrees and flex your feet. Internally rotate your legs, pressing your knees together and turning your heels out to the sides as far as you can. Brace your abs in tight and lift your upper back off the floor. Extend your legs out into a wide ‘V’ position at about 45 degrees, pressing out through your heels. Bend your legs and squeeze your knees back together, keeping your upper back lifted, to return to the starting position.

 

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Sources:

– Brendan Brazier – Endurance Training and Nutrition

– Jessica Smith – The Ultimate Strength Workout for Runners