Runners should be focusing on running and train for it, right? Well it sounds right but in reality runner should also focus to build core strength to become faster and stronger runner. The question is should you spend hours in gym to perform workouts which will help you to tighten your core? Well no. You should be concentrating more and spending more time on running because this is what you do. Having said that you must, however, spend some time to exercise to have stronger core to become stronger runner. Just remember when you are running your core muscles don’t get worked enough. You will find here some of the most important and effective workouts to strengthen your glutes, hips, lower back, hamstrings and oblique muscles.
Carl Leivers, an Atlanta-based running coach explains it this way,“ Core muscles are vital and they don’t always get worked enough with just running.” “If you don’t have hours to spend in the gym it’s always best to focus on core muscles, and not just abs. Back muscles are just as important and are often ignored,” added Carl Leivers.
There is a common misconception that core means abs only. Core includes other parts of your body such as hamstrings, glutes, hips, lower back and oblique muscles. Strong core will not only help you to become better runner but it may also prevents injuries.
Here are the 9 workouts to strengthen your core and make you better, faster and stronger runner.
Lie on your stomach and prop your weight on your forearms and toes. Keep a straight line from your head to your feet, and hold this position for the entire exercise.
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips so there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Extend one leg straight out, hold for several seconds, then put it back down on the ground and repeat. Make sure your hips don’t dip and don’t allow your butt to sag to the ground.
3. Side Plank:
On your side, lift your body so your weight is resting on one forearm and the side of one foot. There should be a straight diagonal line from your head to your feet. I usually do 10 lateral leg raises during this exercise as an advanced form of the exercise.
4. Modified Bird Dog:
In a table position, lift your left arm so it’s parallel to the ground. At the same time, lift your right leg so your thigh is parallel to the ground and your shin is perpendicular. Your knee should be bent at 90 degrees and your glute muscles activated. Hold for several seconds and switch sides.
5. Lateral Leg Raises:
Lie on your right side with a stretch band around your ankles. Lift your left leg to about 45 degrees in a controlled manner, then lower. I do 30 reps per side.
6. Hip Thrusts:
Lie on your back with your weight on your upper back. Your legs will be bent at the knee. Lift one leg so your weight is all on one leg and your back. Lower your butt almost to the ground and thrust upward by activating your glutes. This exercise is great for glute strength and hip stability. I do 25 reps on each leg.
With a theraband around your ankles and knees slightly bent, take 10 steps laterally. The band should be tight enough so it provides constant resistance during all steps. Still facing the same direction, take another 10 steps back to your starting position. That is one set. I like to do five sets. This exercise will look like a slow-motion version of a basketball “defense” drill.
8. Hip Hikes:
Stand on your right foot. With your pelvis in a neutral position, drop the left side so it is several inches below the right side of your pelvic bone. Activate your right hip muscle and lift your left side back to its neutral position. I do 20 reps per side.
9 Iron Cross:
This dynamic stretch will help you feel loose after the previous strength exercises. Lie on your back with your arms out at your sides and swing your right leg over your torso and up to your left hand. Repeat with your left leg; do 20 reps total.
Try to do these workouts every time you finish doing your running workout as these will help your muscles to cool down as well. Don’t forget strong core is the key to become faster and stronger runner, so do make these workouts part of your running routine.