Runners…Is Your Core Strengthening Program a Waste of Time?
If you search the internet for the best core exercises for runners you will likely see variations of crunches and planks. These aren’t “bad exercises” and can be a good place to start. However, if your goal is to improve your athleticism and running performance you should progress your core program to more dynamic exercises. Most core exercises isolate your abdominal and/or back muscles. The problem with this is your core muscles do not work in isolation when you run. They need to work with many other muscles very quickly and precisely to optimize your run performance. It is important to remember this when you decide which exercises you should include in your strengthening program.
Specificity is a key exercise principle to remember when you are developing your exercise program. This means the exercise you choose should be similar to the activity or sport you want to improve. Squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings are great exercises that not only strengthen your hip and leg muscles, but are great core exercises as well. However, if you are a runner with limited time to spend on strength training you will get the most benefit from exercises that train your muscles to work dynamically together. This is what needs to happen when you run. Watch the video below to learn more.
Dr. Terry Gebhardt is a physical therapist and Certified Pose Running Technique Specialist