Keeping the muscles in your abdomen, back, and backside strong will help ensure you run with proper form, even when you're tired. And good form translates to a lower risk of running injuries! You don't have to spend hours slaving away in the gym to maintain your core strength. Doing a quick core workout a few times per week after your run is sufficient in most cases. Here are three simple exercises for your post-run core workout.
Body Weight Squats
Squats are a great all-around core exercise that helps strengthen your glutes, hips, back, and abdomen all at once. You don't need to squat with heavy weights as a runner; your body weight provides enough resistance. To do a good, effective squat, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Arch your back slightly, and hold your arms straight out in front of you. Then, bend at the knees while keeping your back straight. Keep your head upright, and keep looking forward. When your knees form a 90-degree angle, rise back up again. Start by doing two sets of 15 – 20 squats per session. As you grow stronger, you can add an extra set.
Another great all-around core exercise, planks really work your abs while also giving your glutes and the muscles in the back a light workout since you need to use these muscles for stability. If you're new to planks, start by performing them on your elbows. As your core grows stronger, start performing them on your hands for a bit more of a challenge. Get into the "pushup" position with your weight supported on your toes and on your hands/elbows. Keep your back as flat as possible. Hold this position for as long as you can. In the beginning, holding it for 30 seconds is a good goal. Do two or three planks per session, building to the point that you can hold each plank for 60 – 90 seconds.
This final exercise will really put your back muscles to the test! Lay flat on your back with your legs straight in front of you and your arms held at your sides. Lift both of your legs so that your heels are just a few inches off the ground. Hold this position to the count of 10, and then lower your legs again. If you can't hold for 10 seconds, start with 5 – this exercise can be pretty challenging! Aim for 10 reps at first. Later on, do 2 sets of 10 reps.
If you keep up with doing these exercises just two or three times per week, your core will be better able to support your running. For more information, contact companies like Associates In Orthopedics & Sports Medicine PC.