Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oblique Exercises for the Runner

To the surprise of many, running is about 50% upper-body and 50% lower body. Most people thinks it's more like 80% lower and 20% upper. With out solid muscular endurance of the core and upper-body, a runner will not be able to hold good running form, especially on those longer runs. Once your running form starts to wane, and you get out of alignment, it's pretty much down hill from there. Fatigue will soon set and and no matter how much GU or Gatorade you pump in it's hard to recover and bounce back.

So, I highly recommend adding two or three core workouts to your weekly workout regimen. You can mix core exercises into your other workouts or you can have separate core-specific workouts. It's all good. Remember, the core refers to the entire torso (front, sides, and back). So, mix it up. Don't do just crunches. Just doing crunches can actually cause an imbalance in your torso. It can even pull you forward if you over develop the abs.

My friend and fellow blogger from Down Under, Amelia Burton has put together a great core/oblique workout. It's perfect for runners. One thing many runners lack is muscular endurance in their lateral muscles (upper and lower-body). Increasing the muscular endurance of your obliques (the muscles along the sides of your torso) along with other lateral stabilizer muscles in the lower body will not only help with stability and posture, it will also help your body react more quickly if you trip or stumble and get out of your normal forward movement pattern. That means you'll be more apt to rebound and prevent a fall or lessen its severity.

So, check out Amelia's awesome workout and WORK THAT CORE!

Don't you just love how she calls Russian Twists "Twisties." Love that!
For another core workout hitting all areas of your core, check out 
RunnerDude's 10 x 10 Core Workout.


P.J. Murphy said...

Count me as one of the people who thought running was 80% lower body and 20% upper. You can also count me as someone who bonked badly in his last marathon - most likely due to lack of core strength!

Thanks for posting this. It looks like I have something to incorporate into my weekly running routine.

Half Crazed Runner said...

I always do abs during night time TV watching - great advice! No couch potato here!

Greg Strosaker said...

I'd be interested in knowing the source of the 50/50 claim. While I don't debate that the upper body is important and core work is helpful (for injury prevention if nothing else), I'm dubious about that claim. Please substantiate.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Greg,
The 50/50 refers more to equal importance. Of course you have larger muscles groups in the legs (hamstrings, quads, calves) so based on pure muscle activation, you're going to have a higher percentage in the legs. My post was referring more to "equal importance." Many runners do nothing with thier upper-body, especially as they get older. I have runners coming to me all the time in their 50s who are slowing and contribute it to age. I get them on a core/upper-body routine and soon their getting their speed back. I got one runner in his mid 50s back under a 20-min 5K mainly just from core and upper-body work along with his regular running workouts. Upper-body muscluar endurance helps keep that good running form which not only benefits endurance especially on long runs, but also helps maintain optimum lung capacity. As you lose form, you decrease lung capactiy with decreases the amount of oxygen-rich blood down to the legs. Chi-Running is my main source for the 50/50 claim, but in reality, it more of my personal experience with runners. No dubiousness intended. LOL!!

Unknown said...

I used to think that running was all about the lower body.
Then I started working with a Personal Trainer and learned otherwise. He had me doing weight training and core training.