Although many core strength routines target abdominal muscles, the abs are only a one of the muscle groups that make up your core. Your core includes your abdominals, hips, torso, lower back, hip flexors, gluteal and other muscles located near your center of gravity. Many runners frequently target their abs, but may neglect strengthening the other muscles in their core that are essential to trail running. Listed below are my top recommended exercises for developing your core strength to help you run more efficiently and stay injury free.
Build a Solid Strength Foundation With Plank Variations
The following modified planks will improve strength and mobility in the hip joint and create a stable foundation through the torso. Start with 12 repetitions per side and increase as your strength develops. These exercises can be performed daily.
Plank With Leg Lift:
Side plank with Leg Lift:
Reverse Plank with Leg Lift:
[PRO TIP] Keep your raised leg straight in each of these plank variations. Raise your leg as high as you can.
Increase Your Stability With an Exercise Ball Routine
The following exercises are performed with an exercise ball to strengthen your stabilizer muscles in addition to larger muscle groups such as your glutes and hamstrings. You can look for exercise balls at your local gym or purchase one for a reasonable price. Your ball should be inflated to have some flexion under your body weight, but not sagging. Look to see if your ball gives specifications for its inflation.
Perform 12 repetitions per side and steadily increase as you get stronger. These exercises can also be performed daily.
Jackknife with Agility Ball:
Lower Back Extension:
Bridges with Leg Lift: