A strong core will greatly benefit your running. Increasing stability in your core improves your posture allowing you to navigate trails more easily and build muscle along the way — plus, core stability is a huge factor in injury prevention for runners
Core work doesn’t have to mean long hours in the gym, either: the best core work tends to be done with bodyweight, and you can get a full workout in just a few minutes. Here are five easy-to-do moves to add to your routine. Start with one set of each and build up from there. Before you know it you will be doing multiple sets and feeling the benefit as your feet hit the pavement.
Try holding plank for a full song while changing position every 30-45 seconds. Alternate between high plank, side-plank on your right forearm, back to high plank and then to side-plank on your left forearm. This can be a total-body move, but make sure you’re concentrating on your core: When done correctly, it should feel the hardest on your stomach muscles, not your shoulders.
SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT
The Single Leg Deadlift challenges your core strength because it forces you to balance while moving forward with your weight entirely on one foot. Start by standing straight, with your core muscles actively engaged. Shift your weight to your left foot, and, keeping your hips square, slowly raise your right leg straight behind you while folding at the hips, creating a straight line from your head to your right toe in a T-shape. Keep your core muscles engaged to stay balanced as you slowly come back up. Your arms can be out to the sides or dropped toward the ground. Repeat 10 times per side and focus on going up and down slowly.
This move is considered an essential core-stability and gluteal-strengthening exercise. Lie on your back on the floor with your feet on the ground and knees bent. Using your core and glutes, lift your back off the floor, forming a bridge. Hold that for 30–60 seconds. Add more challenge by lifting one foot off the ground, straightening your leg for a few seconds, while holding your bridge straight and stable, then lowering and repeating with the other leg. Do that for 3 repetitions before lowering to the ground
For runners, the best core work can be found in more dynamic movements, like a walking lunge. Simply start at one end of the room and lunge forward with one leg, then the other. Your front foot should be flat on the floor with the front knee bent at a 90-degree angle, while your back leg should be balanced on the ball of your foot with a bent knee. Come up, step through with the back leg and repeat the process. Cross the room back and forth for at least 1 minute. Add weights for more challenge.
The trick to this move is to step up and down with measured, smooth motions. Focus on keeping your legs lifting straight up with pelvis squared, versus rotating your hips to increase your range of motion. Rotating the hips cheats you out of the strength aspect of the movement. Do 12 on each side. Adding weights can make this move more challenging, but focus on being slow and steady first, making sure your core is balanced.