Top Ten Reasons to Perform Core Strength For Runners
By Rick Morris
When most athletes think of core strength training they envision hundreds of crunches or sit ups and wonder what good that’s doing for them, other than burning time. There are actually many reasons that core strength training will benefit all athletes, but especially distance runners. Here are our top ten reasons to perform core strength for runners.
Core strength for runners provides a powerful anchor for your hard working leg muscles. If those core muscles are weak , they will tire quickly and your stride will break down. On the other hand, strong core muscles will have much more endurance. They will provide a strong base for the duration of your training run or race.
The power and speed of your running stride all begins at your core. By strengthening your core muscles you will improve your speed and power. You will run faster and will be able to maintain that speed over longer distances.
We all want to run with a more economical stride. Core strength for runners will help give you that. Higher levels of running economy equals superior running performance. If your core is weak, your hips and torso will be unstable and so will your running stride. A wobbly, unstable stride wastes a lot of energy and your running economy suffers. Core strength training will keep your hips stable throughout your run and make huge improvements in your running economy.
Get a Six Pack
Who doesn’t want a six pack? Core strength for runners will give you just that. While the site of rippling abdominal muscles won’t, in itself, improve your running, the stronger core will make you a better runner. And that six pack will improve the look of those finish line photos.
Strong muscles in general will reduce your chances of suffering from a running injury. Stronger, more resilient muscles are way more injury resistant. This is especially true in the case of strong core muscles. A stronger core provides support for nearly every other muscle you use in running. If your core is weak, your other running muscles are placed at a disadvantage as they try to take up the slack.
Avoid the Gym
If you’re like most distance runners, you would rather be out running than spending time in the gym. That is one of the great things about core strength training. You don’t need any special equipment and you don’t need to go to the gym. All core strength training can be done at the park, the track or on the trail.
Function over Form
Core strength training is one of the most functional types of exercises you can do. Functional exercises are those the strengthen specific motions and movements that you use rather than targeting specific muscles or muscle size as most resistance training machines do. Your core strength training improves strength in movements and motions that you use in every training run or race.
Form over Function
OK, I just said that form over function is the way to go, and it is. But, it’s also nice to have a lean, toned body. Core training also does that for you. Core strength training will tone your hips, abs, back and upper legs. You will be fit and look fit.
Most body weight core strength exercises are multi functional. Each core strength exercise works multiple muscles and movements. This is a great use of time. You can achieve greater results while using up less time.
So far we have been talking about the benefits of core strength training as it pertains to distance runners. But the fitness you gain through core strength training isn’t just for running, it’s for all of your daily tasks. Those stronger core muscles will make every task you take on during the day, easier and more efficient.