Core exercises help build strong core muscles and provides you a base for running and other sports activities. Strengthening the core muscles is very essential to improve your running economy, speed and power. Core exercises for runners help them run faster with lesser efforts. Performing these core exercises for running better will increase your strength to the point at which your body can handle the extreme stress of running without getting tired. Here are some basic core exercises for runners that target those muscles and movements which are most important in improving your running performance.
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Best Core Exercises for Runners
Abdominal Curl To perform abdominal crunch exercise, lie flat and face up on a mat. Contract your knees and bring your heels close to your buttocks. Tuck your chin in your chest and rest your hands over your chest. Now slowly curl your upper body towards your knees until your shoulder is off the floor, do not lift your lower back. Also make sure your neck is not strained. You must focus on contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for five seconds and allow your upper body to curl back to the floor.
Double Crunch To perform this abdominal exercise, lie face up on a mat. Lift your legs so that your lower leg is parallel to the floor and your upper leg is perpendicular to the floor. Rest your arms over your chest. Now, slowly curl your upper body towards your knees until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Make sure you are not straining the neck. Now contract your abdominal muscles while you perform this exercise. Also, your lower back should remain on the floor. Slowly allow your hips and upper body to curl back to the floor and come back to the initial position. While performing this exercise, use a controlled curling motion. This is one of the best core exercises for runners and will add interest to your exercise program.
Extended Arm Crunch To perform this exercise, you have to lie flat and face up on a mat. Flexing your knees, bring your heels close to your buttocks. Now, keep your chin tucked into the chest. Extend the arms straight out behind the head with your hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears and straight. Contract the abs and slowly curl your upper body towards your knees until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Avoid straining the neck, in case you have neck pain. Take one hand behind the head while keeping the other arm extended. Hold this position for a moment and slowly curl back your upper body to the floor. This is another best body weight exercise for runners that will strengthen the core muscles.
Raised Leg Crunch Lie face up and flat on a mat. Take your feet off the floor so that your lower leg is parallel to the floor and your upper leg perpendicular to the floor, forming a 90 degrees angle. Now strongly contract your abdominal muscles and start curling your upper body towards your knees. Curl your body until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Hold this position for a moment before you curl back to the initial position. This is also amongst the best core exercises for runners. Read more on core exercises for back pain.
Core Stabilization This is one of the best strength training and core exercises for runners. To start with this exercise, lie face down on a mat. Remember, throughout the exercise you must keep your hips tightly tucked, lower back should not arch or curl and your body should be very straight. Lift your body and support your body weight with your feet and forearms touching the floor. Holding this position, lift your left arm and stay in this position for 20 seconds. Now return the left arm to the mat for the support position and lift your right arm, hold this position for 20 seconds. Return the right arm to the support position and lift your left foot off the mat, holding it in air for 20 seconds. Return the left foot to the mat and lift the right foot and hold it for 20 seconds. Return your right foot to the mat, now you are in the initial position. Now this exercise becomes more interesting. Lift your right arm and left foot off the mat at the same time and hold this position for 20 seconds. Now you are supporting your body weight with your left forearm and your right foot. Now bring your forearm and foot to the initial position. Lift your left forearm and right foot and hold them in same position for 20 seconds. Isn’t it one of the most interesting core exercises for runners? Try it to get great results.
You must follow some basic breathing techniques while performing the entire exercise. While doing each of the core exercises for runners, exhale on the upward portions and inhale on the downward portion. Also perform 15-20 reps and 2 sets of each exercise. Core muscle workouts will definitely help improve balance and coordination to become a better runner.