Best Core Exercises for Runners

Coach Casey · September 7, 2021

As runners we’ve all been told at one time or another how important core strength is to athletic performance. Maybe a doctor or trainer spoke about injury prevention? Maybe a coach discussed the importance of core in mechanical efficiency? Or maybe a commercial for a fitness company simply mentioned the aesthetics of a strong core? No matter what, we’ve all heard it time and time again. Core strength matters! The question is though, how do you actually build that strength? What are the best core exercises for runners?

Adding core exercises into your daily or weekly training regime takes little added time and can produce great results. The best core exercises for runners can be completed daily, with little to no equipment, and in just about any available space. Remember that your core is much more than just your abdominals. Your core includes your obliques and lower back muscles as well. Having chiseled abs doesn’t necessarily mean you have a strong core, and in turn having a strong core may not produce washboard abs. That’s okay though! We’re here for performance and health benefits, whether we end up looking like Thor or not.

Start adding the core exercises below to your training routine, along with some other full-body strength, and enjoy all the performance benefits!

Core exercices are great for all runners!

7 Best Core Exercises for Runners

1. Bicycle Crunch

You may know these as “Twisting Crunches.” Bicycle crunches are particularly effective at strengthen your abdominal muscles and oblique muscles mores than a traditional crunch. If you’re getting a bit bored of normal crunches, give these a try. 

2. Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunches are one of the best core exercises for runners and are great for strengthening your lower abdominal muscles while also working your lower back. Simple to do, there are a number of variations to increase or decrease difficulty depending on your level of experience. 

3. Superman (Back Extensions)

This exercise will work your entire core (abdominals, obliques, and lower back) helping you stabilize your trunk 360 degrees around. Truly a full-body exercise engaging your arms and legs as well.

Add the best core exercises to your running routine!

4. Glute Bridges

Glute bridges will not only help you build core strength and stability but will also isolate and strengthen your glute/butt muscles. We know the importance of strong glutes as well as core when it comes to running. This give you both!

5. Front Plank/Side Plank

One of the absolutely most fundamental and best core exercises for runners. Front and side planks engage from shoulders to ankles and require core activation and stability in order to be done properly. Pay close attention to proper form while executing any planks.

6. Bird Dog

Also simply called the “Alternate Leg and Arm Raise” will help strengthen your abdominal muscles, your lower back, glutes and thighs. This exercise hits a variety of muscle groups while also requiring strong focus and attention to balance.

7. Push Ups

Push ups? Core exercise? Yes! One of the best core exercises for runners also engages and strengthen your chest, shoulders, and arms. Executing a proper push ups requires an engaged and stable core. One in turn will benefit the other!

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