Last Updated: November 6th, 2020

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As a runner, you may feel core exercises are not really required.

If you think so, then my friend, you are terribly wrong.

You may not want to flaunt your abs as a runner, but you surely need the correct form to keep you going.

Your core comprises –  abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, obliques, and glutes.

Core exercises help runners in many ways

  • Stronger abs help you run faster.
  • Strengthening the obliques gives you better running form
  • It improves your stability and reduces the chance of injury
  • Strengthening the lower back reduces the chances of back pain.

If you are a beginner, the core exercises may be a little difficult initially but with practice, you will definitely master them.

So, here in this post, I am sharing some of the common core exercises.

Related:

13 Best Hamstring And Glute Strengthening Exercises For Runners

20-minute Bodyweight Workout For Runners

Best Beginner Core Exercises for runners

21 Best Beginner Core Exercises for Runners

1. Crunches

Benefits

Abs strengthening

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Your hands should be stretched above the shoulders
  • Inhale and lift your body and try to touch your toes.
  • Exhale and go back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 2 sets of 10-15 counts each.
  • If you are able to do this easily, you can try the other advanced crunches too.

2. Toe Reach

Benefits:

Strengthen lower abs and back flexibility

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Raise your legs such that it is at 90 degrees to your upper body.
  • Inhale and lift your body and try to touch your toes.
  • Exhale and come back to the starting position.
  • Repeat is for 10-15 times, 2 sets.
  • To make it more challenging, hold a 1 lb or 2 lb dumbbell in your hand.
  • If you are finding it difficult to touch your toes, try touching your shin bone or ankles.

 

3. Leg Raise

Benefits:

Works on the abs and thighs

Steps

  • Lie on a mat on your back.
  • Your hands should be by the side.
  • Raise your legs to 90 degrees and bring it down slowly such that it does not touch the floor.
  • Keep your legs straight and knee should not be bent.
  • Repeat it 10-15 times, 2 sets.
  • Other variations could be raising the leg to 60 degrees or 45 degrees.
Want to build your core as a runner? Here are the best core work for runners to achieve great core strength. If you are struggling to develop your core strength, try these core workouts and see the results for yourself. These core exercises will not let your down as a runner.

Want to build your core as a runner? Here are the best core work for runners to achieve great core strength. If you are struggling to develop your core strength, try these core workouts and see the results for yourself. These core exercises will not let your down as a runner.

4. Leg Rotation

Benefits:

Abs strengthening

Steps

  • Lie on the floor on your back.
  • Keep your hands by your side.
  • Keep your legs together and lift it up 90 degrees to your body.
  • Rotate your legs anticlockwise to take one complete round.
  • Breathe normally while you rotate your legs.
  • Repeat 10 rounds anticlockwise and 10 clockwise.

5. Scissors

Benefits:

Abs strengthening

Steps

  • Lie down on the mat on your back and hands by your side.
  • Lift your right leg at 60 degrees and the left leg should be a little above the ground.
  • Bring your right leg down a little above ground and lift your left leg to 60 degrees.
  • Make sure you do not bend your knee.
  • Breathe normally.
  • Repeat this for 10-15 counts on each leg, 2 sets.

 

6. Ankle Touch

Benefits:

Works on the abs and oblique muscles

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Fold your knees and keep your feet on the floor.
  • Engage your core and lift up your shoulder plates and hands by your sides.
  • Bend your upper body to the left side from your waist and try to touch your left ankle with your left hand.
  • Come to the starting position.
  • Bend your upper body to the right side from your waist and try to touch your right ankle with your right hand.
  • Repeat by touching the ankles 10 times each side, 2 sets.

7. Bicycle Crunches

Benefits:

Works on the abs and oblique muscles

Steps

  • Lie flat on the mat on your back.
  • Put your hands under your head, your feet should be at the tabletop position and your shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Pull your right towards your chest and stretch your left leg at around 45 degrees.
  • Twist your upper body to the right side.
  • Make sure to turn your body from the ribcage and not just head.
  • Repeat the above steps by turning the opposite side.
  • Repeat 10 repetitions on each side and do 2 sets.
If you want to improve your core strength for running, here are some core strengthening exercises for runners. You will be able to improve your running speed and performance very easily.

If you want to improve your core strength for running, here are some core strengthening exercises for runners. You will be able to improve your running speed and performance very easily.

8. Bridge & Single Leg Bridge

Benefits:

Works on the abs, lower back, and glutes.

Steps

  • Lie down on the mat on your back and hands by your sides.
  • Keep your feet hip-distance apart and fold your knees, such that it’s off the ground.
  • Raise your hips such that your body from the shoulder to the knee is a straight line.
  • Your feet should be planted on the ground.
  • Hold in this position for 30 sec.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.
  • If you are able to this, raise one leg at 45 degrees, hold in this position.
  • Repeat this with the other leg.

9. Superman

Benefits:

Works on the abs and lower back

Steps

  • Lie on the mat with your face facing the ground.
  • Your hand should be outstretched in front of you.
  • Lift your hands and upper body and legs a few inches from the ground.
  • Hold in this position for 30 sec and return back to the starting position.
  • Repeat it 3-5 times.

10. Woodchopper

Benefits:

This is a multi-muscle workout. It works on shoulders, abs, obliques, glutes, upper back, lower back, quads, hamstring, and abductors.

Steps

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Hold a 2 lb or 4 lb dumbbell or a medicine ball with your hands.
  • Keep your core engaged straight back and bend your knee a little.
  • Bend and lower the dumbbell near the right leg calf muscle.
  • Move your hands across your body and outstretch your hands above your left shoulder.
  • Repeat is 10 times each side, 2 sets.
  • You can adjust the dumbbells according to your capability.

11. Russian Twist

Benefits:

Works on the abs and oblique muscles

Steps

  • Sit on the mat with your knee bent and feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Your upper body should be bent such that it makes a “V” with your thighs.
  • Hold a 2lb or 4 lb dumbbells in your hand.
  • Breathe in and twist your torso to the right side of your body and fist near your waist.
  • Breathe out and come back to the starting position.
  • Repeat it by turning your torso to the left side.
  • Repeat it for 10 counts on each side, 2 sets
  • If it is difficult to do with dumbbells, just ditch it or adjust the weights.

12. Plank

Benefits:

This is one of the best core exercises and works on your abs, lower back, and glutes.

Steps

  •  Lie on the mat facing the ground.
  • Your upper arm should be perpendicular to the ground with your elbow right below your shoulders.
  • Your wrist should be in line with your elbow.
  • Engage your core, squeeze your butt and front thigh and lift your body.
  • Your body should maintain a straight line from head to heel and the back should not be bumped.
  • Breathe normally and hold this position for 30 sec.
  • Repeat it 2-3 times.
  • You can adjust the time as required.

13. Side Plank

Benefits:

Works on the abs, lower back, and oblique muscles

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your left sides.
  • Keep tour legs together, your left elbow should be under your left shoulder and right hand on your waist.
  • Engage your core and lift your body such that your body is in a straight line from head to heel.
  • Hold in this position for 15 sec or more.
  • Repeat the steps lying on your right side.

14. Reverse Plank

Benefits:

Works on the abs, back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Steps

  • Sit on the mat with your legs stretched forward.
  • Your hands should be next to the hips and palms touching the ground.
  • Engage your core, squeeze your butt, and lift your hips with the support of your hands and legs.
  • Keep your heels fixed on the floor.
  • Your body should be in a straight line from shoulder to heel.
  • Stay in this position for 15 sec or more.
  • Repeat the steps 2-3 times.

 

15. Metronome

Benefits:

Works on the abs, back,  and obliques.

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Your legs your be in the table-top position.
  • Stretch your hands to both sides of the shoulders.
  • Rotate your legs to the right side and try to bring the knee close to the ground.
  • Go back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the same while rotating your legs on the left side.
  • Repeat the 10 times each side, 2 sets.

16. Obliques

Benefits:

Works on the abs and obliques

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your mat.
  • Keep your hands under your head.
  • Keep your knee bent and feet planted firmly on the floor.
  • Keep your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Exhale and lift your head a few inches above the ground and inhale to maintain this position. (This is the starting position)
  • Engage your core, exhale, and rotate your head and upper body to the right.
  • Inhale and come to the starting position.
  • Repeat steps on your right side.
  • Repeat the steps 10 times each side, 2 sets.
  • If you are comfortable doing this, you can make it challenging by keeping your legs at the tabletop position.
Core exercises for runners are an essential part of your strength training. If you don't have a strong core, you will not have the required stamina for running. Having a strong core will help you to achieve more. These core strengthening exercises will help you to become a better runner.

Core exercises for runners are an essential part of your strength training. If you don’t have a strong core, you will not have the required stamina for running. Having a strong core will help you to achieve more. These core strengthening exercises will help you to become a better runner.

17. Mountain Climbers

Benefits:

A multi-muscle exercise that works abs, obliques, biceps, triceps, chest, quad, hamstrings, and hip abductors

Steps

  • Put both hands and knees on the floor.
  • Keep your right knee near your right hand and extend your left leg backward.
  • In one smooth motion switch your left leg forward and right leg backward.
  • Repeat the same by moving each leg forward 10-15 times.
  • Perform 2 sets.

18. Single Leg Stretch

Benefits:

Works on the abs

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your mat.
  • Keep your legs at the table-top position and hands by the knees.
  • Exhale and lift your head and shoulder plates above the ground.
  • Inhale to maintain this position (starting position).
  • Keep your core engaged, exhale, and extend your right leg.
  • Inhale and switch the leg.
  • Repeat it by extending each leg 10 times, 2 sets.
  • If you are able to do this, you can increase the challenge by extending your leg lower.

19. Single leg circle

Benefits:

Works on your abs and hip flexors.

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Keep your hands by the sides and legs in the table-top position
  • Extend left leg starting and make sure your knee is not bent.
  • Take small circles with your toe clockwise
  • Make 5 circles clockwise and 5 circles anticlockwise.
  • Repeat the same with the right leg.
  • Perform 2 sets.
  • Ensure to keep your core engaged and breathe normally.

20. Lemon Squeezers

Benefits:

Works on your abs and glutes.

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Keep your hands extended over your shoulders.
  • Lift your hands and legs a little above the ground(this is the starting position).
  • Crunch and bring your knees close to your chest and bring your hands to hold the calves.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times, 2 sets.

21. Alternate Arms Toe Touch

Benefits:

Works on your abs and obliques

Steps

  • Lie on the mat on your back.
  • Keep your hands by the sides
  • In a single motion lift your left leg to 60 degrees and try to touch with the right hand.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise with alternate arm and leg.
  • Repeat 10 times with each alternate arm -leg, 2 sets
Best core exercises for runners. These exercises will help you to develop a stronger core and will improve your speed and endurance as a runner.

Best core exercises for runners. These exercises will help you to develop a stronger core and will improve your speed and endurance as a runner.

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