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Core strengthening for runners

Wouldn’t it be great if you could become a better, faster and stronger runner without increasing the amount you run?  Well, actually you can. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘core strength’ used a lot and the benefits of strengthening your core have shown to have a number of significant benefits for runners.

Your core muscles lie deep within the abdomen and connect to the spine, pelvis, and shoulders. Strengthening them will improve your ability to control both muscles and movements, enabling you to maintain good posture and balance, whilst also improving your running form and efficiency. The improved stability can also help significantly reduce the chances of picking up an injury from the unfortunate overuse problems that can be associated with running.

The good news is that the exercises that will help can be done at home and with limited equipment. This means there a no excuses not to get conditioned! There are loads of exercises you can do, but here are a few to get you started.


Side plank

This exercise will help to improve the stability of your spine, pelvis, and hips when running.

  • Lie on your side with your legs straight and your ankles together
  • prop your torso up with your upper arm
  • lift your hips upward until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your neck
  • hold this position for 30 seconds, making sure that your hips don’t drop towards the floor
  • if you can, check out your body position in a mirror to make sure that you’re not allowing your hips to sag
  • switch to the other side and repeat the exercise.


Glute bridges

This is a great exercise to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor
  • squeeze your glutes and lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your neck to your knees
  • hold this position for five to ten seconds, remembering to keep your glutes switched on
  • return to the start position and repeat for up to ten repetitions.


The superman

This is a great exercise for strengthening your back and core muscles to help improve the stability of your spine, pelvis and hips when you run.

  • Start on all fours
  • squeezing your glute and keeping your core muscles switched on, slowly extend one leg and the opposite arm
  • keep the back and the hips level
  • return to the starting position with control and repeat using the other arm and leg
  • aim for five to ten repetitions on each side.


If you are struggling with technique then there a number of videos online that you can watch.

A good starting point to all things strength and mobility is, my colleague, Nick Collin’s YouTube channel.

Also, if you are a member of a gym, then speak with a gym instructor or personal trainer and get them to help with your technique and to advise on any progressive exercises.