Posted on August 05 2019
A strong core is critically important for runners in providing stability and foundational strength, which is why ab workouts with planks and other stabilizing pr strengthening moves are always a solid choice. As a runner myself, I've done an ab workout either before or after my runs for years. Those extra few minutes gave me the satisfying feeling of a good full-body workout. Who doesn't love to feel that burn in your abs?
But for runners, having a strong core goes beyond that, said exercise physiologist and marathoner Tom H., MS, CSCS. "Whether you are a sprinter or marathon runner, beginner or advanced, having a strong core will maximize your running performance as well as enjoyment," he told us. "It can help prevent running-related injuries as well."
Tom's favorite core workout for runners takes just three minutes, but don't let that fool you. "It's extremely effective and challenging, utilizing the plank exercise that works both the front and back of the core at the same time," Tom said. In fact, it's 100-percent planking: four different variations that combine to make a "full 360-degree core strengthening workout," Tom told us.
3-Minute Ab Workout For Runners
Directions: Hold each of the following planks for 30 seconds.
- Elbow plank
- Elbow plank with leg lift
- Side plank on the left
- Side plank on the right
- Elbow plank
- Spider-Man plank (aka creepy crawler)
Keep reading for a description of each move. Then grab a timer, try the workout for yourself, and head out on a run when you're finished.
- Start on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
- Step your feet out one at a time, coming into a plank position.
- Contract your abs to prevent your booty from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor, with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
Elbow Plank With Leg Lift
- Start in an elbow plank. Lift your left foot about six inches off the ground, keeping your pelvis parallel to the floor. Hold for five seconds, then lower the leg.
- Try the lift with your right leg.
- This completes one rep. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.
- Balance on your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot, with your body in one straight line. To modify, stagger your feet and bring your top leg forward.
- Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
Spiderman Plank (aka Creepy Crawler)
- In plank, bring your knee to your elbow and then alternate sides. If this is too challenging, just lift your leg open to the side.
- Continue alternating for 30 seconds.