Core Strengthening Exercises Support Your Distance Training

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core-crunchesWhen training for a long distance race it is important that we work to maintain a strong core throughout our training.  A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects our back.

Our expert, Charla McMillian, chief instructor at Fitboot, has provided us with the following list of core strengthening exercises that will support our bodies during our long distance training.

Strengthening and Conditioning Your Core

The Plank

Start with :15 to :30 and gradually increase your time until you can comfortably hold it for more than a minute. The key in this drill and the next is to ensure you inhale high in the chest, allow the shoulders to roll back and breathe in a relaxed fashion, do not tense up the neck or shoulders

Side Plank

Rest on the bent forearm and ensure good alignment all the way down (my cue,” one clean line from your shoulders through your hips to your heels”)

Superman – (lower back)

Lying face down with arms extended straight out past your head and legs extended, smoothly arch up your torso and both legs, lower and repeat. Do not jerk or snap your back up at any time. Get 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

Tilt-ups – (knees bent)

Lie on your back with backs of hands under the lower back/top of the hips, forming a lumbar support. Bend the knees to raise both legs, cross feet at the ankles. Inhale high in the chest to expand it and keep the ab wall flat. Focus on flexing down low on the ab wall to raise the hips just slightly upward off your hands. Do not roll the knees backward toward your face or bounce or pop your hips off your hands. Exhale as you flex and raise the hips upward, keep them up for just a couple seconds, lower and repeat. Get 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

Legs up crunches

Lying on your back with knees raised and feet crossed at the ankles. Ensure you’re lying completely flat, not a space at all at the lower back. Inhale high in your chest and exhale (from the diaphragm, belly should deflate) as you curl your torso and shoulders toward your knees. Do not snap or pop up at any time. Lower and repeat. Get 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

Supine Bicycle

Ensuring entire lower back remains in contact with the ground, lie down with one knee bent and the other leg extended out straight at a comfortable distance from the ground that does not cause the back to arch. Hands at outside edges of your head, curl the torso up into a partial crunch ensuring that happens with an an wall flex, no neck jerk. Extend the legs one at a time twisting the torso aiming the outside shoulder at the incoming knee with each opposite leg knee bend. Keep it at slow to moderate speed, ensure full leg extension after each knee comes in, and keep breathing relaxed. Get 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

Charla McMillian, President/Chief Instructor, FitBoot – Basic Training for Professsionals, LLC

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