One area of the body a lot of runners tend to overlook is their core strength. The core of your body is where you generate strength for everything you do in life acting as the center of your body and helping you utilize every other part of your body to maximum efficiency. Think about it, your core gives you good posture, alleviates back pain, and overall makes you better. Core muscles are vital and they don’t always get worked enough with just running.
While it’s easy to hit the gym and perform your usual cardio or strength-training routine, neglecting your core can have adverse effects on your everyday activities not including running. A weak core causes you to slouch at your desk and give you a higher risk for some type of back pain. If you don’t have hours to spend in the gym it’s always best to focus on core muscle (not limited to abs) because the back muscles are just as important yet often ignored.
The core consists of three-dimensional depth and functional movement in all three planes of motion that allow you to bend, extend and rotate with ease. The muscles that make up the core include different groups from different areas of the body: the rectus abdominis (abs), the erector spinae (muscles along the spine that star at the lower back to your skull), obliques, and transverse abdominus (TVA is a horizontal muscle around your abdominal cavity).
Now it’s time to discuss how to strengthen your core. First off, standard crunches are out of the equation so let’s get that out of your head. Secondly, the purpose of strengthening your core isn’t for getting six-pack abs. There are a variety of exercises for you to do that will hit your core but I am going to keep it with simple exercises that require no weights and can be done practically anywhere.
The plank is a simple but effective core exercise because you are tensing up numerous muscles at one time for more than a minute which may sound easy, but 30 seconds in your entire body will begin to shake as you struggle to hold a strong position. Add a weight to your back or set your elbows out further in front of you for an even more intense plank. A variation of the plank is the side plank which targets your oblique’s by resting your whole body weight on one elbow while you keep your hips up as high as possible. Place a dumbbell in your free hand and raise it up to add difficulty. We can’t forget the importance of a strong lower back so try the superman and other variations out to get a full core workout while you watch tv.
You can now imagine why the core is such an important aspect of good fitness and health. The core of your body is where you generate strength for everything you do in life acting as the center of your body and helping you utilize every other part of your body to maximum efficiency.
Let us know what is you favorite core workout and feel free to send us training-recovery questions.