Core Training for Improved Performance

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core-crunchesThe first thing I learned when I started running was that a strong core is absolutely necessary to maintain a prolonged running routine.  Engaging your core muscles while you run relieves some of the pressure from your hip, knee, and ankle joints, preventing injuries of all kinds.  Shortly after I began running I learned through a nagging back injury that I needed to reassess my workout routine and add some core training to the mix.

Our experts have provided us with some valuable information about strengthening our core.  Learn how often a good core workout should take place, the main differences in core exercises, and a few types to choose from to get you started.

Tighten and Tone Your Core

There are literally hundreds of excellent ab/core exercises to trim your waistline.

Time:  You should exercise your abs 5-7 days a week for an intense 20 minutes daily. 3-4 days a week should be core stabilization exercises, 3-4 days should be dynamic core strengthening.

Variation: You want to do many different exercises to target and challenge all your core muscles. These may include exercises on a ball, push ups, pull ups, pilates, certain yoga poses and traditional mat core exercises, among many more.

Understand the Difference: Stabilization exercises generally are exercises in which you move your lower extremities while using all your core muscles to hold your pelvis in a neutral position. Pilates uses many core stabilization exercises. With core stabilization exercises its all about postural control, not speed. Dynamic core strengthening is usually faster paced and more repitious. Generally the trunk moves into flexion which causes the core muscles to contract. Traditional sit ups/ oblique ups are a good example of a dynamic core strengthening exercises.

Breath: Whether dynamic or stabilization the breath should always be coordinated with the exercise because the abdominals are accessory respiratory muscles. For example, when you do a crunch, you should exhale as you come up which draws the navel towards the spine.

To Thine Ownself Be True: When you see a picture of a gorgeous person and a phrase that reads something like, ” 3 exercises that will give you a 6 pac in 6 weeks”, listen to your gut- it is too good to be true! To strut truly gorgeous washboard abs, a strict diet and a wide variety of challenging core exercises that are consistently performed correctly is absolutely neccessary.

Jane Foody, Yoga Teacher, Physical Therapist

Straight to the Core

From Sternum to pubic bone, from the back of your neck to the top of your rear end and the entire circumference of your torso is your CORE.

Multiple sets of side bridge, low bridge and back bridge should be performed 3 times a week.

Make good use of a BOSU or stability ball for diagonal crunches, supermans, Ab Pyramids, back extensions and side to side crunches. If you can do 20 or more reps you probably need to slow down, add more range of motion, or add some weights to the workout.

Adding dynamic exercises that work multiple bodyparts usually involve the core which is a great idea too.

Train Smarter.Live Better – Daniel FitzSimons, Owner/Personal Trainer, Bodyfitz Personal Training & Group Fitness 

How often do you work out your core?

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