5 Core Stability Exercises for Stronger Running
Improve your endurance running with these stability exercises.
The main function of the core is to stabilise the spine through a range of movements. When training the core, we want to think about the movements the body makes and how we can manipulate exercise selection to meet these demands. For running specifically, the aim is to maintain favourable pelvic and torso positions in order to maximise propulsive forces and aid injury prevention. In this article, we will talk about core stability exercises for stronger running.
The core is made up of 29 pairs of muscles with the function of maintaining spinal positioning while the limbs exert external force. It is a complex topic. The focus of training should be on the actions associated with sports performance rather than specific musculature. The actions we want to train include bracing, rotation, anti-rotation, flexion, extension and anti-flexion.
THE VIDEO: 5 Core Stability Exercises for Stronger Running
With that being said, here are 5 exercises you can implement into your training to help stay injury free and improve your long-distance running.
Bridges aim to improve your pelvic control helping your body maintain favourable mechanics through every stride. Lack of pelvic control can lead to all sorts of problems so make sure you are performing these in your warm up routines and in daily injury prevention. Push your hips through a controlled and braced extension while maintaining lumbar positioning. As well as working the core, use a band around the knees to increase Gluteus Medius activation to improve your ability to cope with repeated landings.
Performing planks works the entire body from head to toe working a combination of core musculature to maintain a braced position with a neutral spine. Planks will help improve your posture, making you strong on impact while, also, aiding propulsion with effective transfer of force from the upper body to ground contact.
The Pallof press is an anti-rotation exercise which, can improve transfer of force from the upper body to lower body. Training the Pallof press enhances postural alignment while a rotational force is exerted on the body and helps to promote favourable movement mechanics, resultant of improved core stabilisation, pelvic control and reduced lumbar extension.
The aim of this unilateral exercise is to improve lumbar and pelvic stability. With every stride the aim is to ensure normal gait is maintained to challenge core musculature to maintain favourable mechanics. We want to limit rotation of the torso through the stride and avoid “tight-roping”. Training this movement will transfer to fatigued situations creating dominant movement patterns of favourable biomechanics for running. This exercise also works the stabilising muscles around the hip as each step is a unilateral repetition.
This exercise, works lumbar and pelvic control and reinforces correct alignment of the hips and spine through core co-activation. The bird-dog elicits a contralateral movement pattern, increasing the specificity to running (opposite arm, opposite leg movement). We want to limit extension of the spine, maintaining a neutral position through the full range of movement.
The common emphasis with these core exercise is that we are training the body to deal with different movements associated with running. There is a common aim of pelvic control and lumbar positioning. These exercises all affect these two aspects of the core despite working different mechanisms. We aren’t focussing on specific muscles and instead are enhancing the bodies ability to maintain spinal alignment and favourable movement mechanics, stride after stride. You should be including these in your warm ups and as part of your integrated core workouts as well as during your injury prevention programme.