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The importance of core exercises for runners

Running is an activity that requires much more strength thanpeople might be aware of. Its efficiency practically depends on the strength ofthe core (muscles of hips, abdomen, back, oblique and butt), which means that the runners with stronger core run with less effort and with greater ease, whichmeans that they can run faster and longer.

Exercises that strengthen the core

Abdominal crunches require the use of the body weight andthey can be performed on single station or multi-station machines. They aredone while lying on the floor or mat and with knees flexed and heels close tothe buttocks. The hands are crossed over the chest and the upper part of thebody then curls towards the knees slowly. The shoulder blades need to be liftedoff the floor and abdominal muscles strongly contracted.Double crunch is also done in a lying position, but the feetneed to be off of the floor and lower legs parallel to the floor. It is alsoimportant for the upper part of the legs to be at right angle to the floor. Theupper part of the body is curled towards the knees until the shoulder blades arelifted off the floor, and the abdominal muscles need to be contracted as stronglyas possible. Simultaneously, the lower abdominal muscles should be used to pushthe hips up from the floor, but it is necessary to avoid the rocking motion.Exercise ball abdominal crunch is another exercise that helpsin strengthening the core, and the ball is used here for lying on it in a wayto provide support to the lower back. Feet should be on the floor and handscrossed over the chest or used as a support to the head. Just like with normalabdominal crunches, the upper part of the body needs to be curled slowly upwardand abdominal muscles contracted. Before returning to the starting position,the achieved position needs to be held for a few seconds.Resisted abdominal crunches are done while sitting with theback flat against the bench. The resistance should be stabilized against thefront of the shoulders and then the upper body part should slowly be curledtowards the knees until the shoulder blades are lifted from the bench. Here aswell the abdominal muscles need to be contracted strongly and the position shouldbe held for a moment before returning to the initial one.

With all these exercises it is important to pay attention tobreathing and to breathe in on the downward portion and breathe out on theupward portion.

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