An often overlooked but vitally important key to successful running is having a strong core. Whether you're a beginning runner or a seasoned runner, having a strong core will support good running form, delay the onset of fatigue, and produce more energy output for your legs.
When "core" is mentioned, abdominal muscles are usually what come to mind along with the image of airbrushed Calvin Klein models. Pretty rippled ab muscles aren't what we're shooting for here. Now, if you get them in the process, that's a bonus, but I'm talking more about strengthening all the muscles in and around your torso—obliques, lats, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, as well as the rectus abdominis (the abs).
Crunches are often what come to mind when core exercises are mentioned. While the trunk flexion motion of a crunch may produce pretty surface abdominal muscles, it doesn't do a lot to provide for a strong core, mainly because the movement is not a very natural movement. How many times a day to you bring your head up to your knees? Probably not very often. But, how often to you reach up, reach diagonally, turn from side-to-side, reach down, reach down diagonally? My guess would be hundreds of times. To build a strong core you need to move your core through a wide-range of natural movements, moving through all the planes of motion.
Below is a 10-exercise workout that includes a variety of simple core-strengthening exercises using a medicine ball. The workout is designed as a circuit. A circuit is a series of exercises that you complete consecutively with no rest in between. This circuit is a 10 x 10, meaning that there are 10 exercises for which you each complete 10 repetitions. If you don't have a medicine ball, no worries. A light dumbbell will do or even a laundry detergent bottle! Take a look, try it out and let me know what you think.
Your Vote of Support for the Blog is greatly appreciated! Click here to cast your vote. Thanks!