Are you a runner who’s looking to get better at the next race? The Protima Tiwary has a few fitness tips on how you can work your core.
What if we told you that all the strength in your legs would build up if you concentrated on building a strong core? That is right! A strong core will help you run better and faster because it will improve your posture and speed. The core sets a solid foundation for the strength of your entire body. So if you want to ace that next run, it’s time to start working on the core!
A huge misconception is that doing crunches is the only way to build the core. Before we begin, let understand what “core” stands for.
The “abs” consist of the rectus abdominis, obliques and transverse abdominis.
- Rectus abdominis : starts at the pelvis and ends at the lower chest.
- Obliques: these run down the sides of the stomach diagonally.
- Transverse abdominis is an internal muscle (gets activated when you suck your stomach in)
When you run, all three muscles work together to provide strength to your legs.
Noted below are a few exercises that will work your core, and come highly recommended by trainers and coaches around the world.
Planking builds isometric strength and sculpts your core. It is also one of the most convenient exercises to do! All you need is an empty patch, and be it at work, home or the gym, a 1 minute plank is enough to get those core muscles activated. Include planks in your routine daily. To increase the effectiveness, place your legs on a higher surface (like a bedside stool or the stairs) and then plank on your elbows. Another variation would be to do a side plank.
2. Lying down bicycle
This too could be done at home or at the gym, depending upon your convenience. Lie down on your back, hold your legs 3-4 inches off the ground, and start cycling in the air. Make sure your legs don’t touch the floor. You can use your hand to support your lower back so that your legs stay in the air.
Doing this daily comes highly recommended.
Another convenient exercise, this helps build strength in your lower back as well as your core. Lie down with your feet flat on the floor, and lift your hips so that they are in a straight line with your shoulders and knees. Hold this for 10 counts. Make sure your hips don’t dip. Include 5-6 reps of this in your this daily.
4. Lateral leg raises
Lie down on your side, and lift your leg to around 45 degrees. Make sure this is a controlled movement. Do 30-40 reps per side. This exercise not only works on your core, but also the calves, hamstrings and glutes!
5. Modified bird dog
Get down on all fours. Lift your right arm so that it is parallel to the ground. At the same time lift your left leg so that your thigh is now parallel to the ground. Your knees should be at 90 degrees. This will activate your glute muscles too. Hold for 10 counts, then switch sides.
The best part about these exercises is that they can be done anywhere, and not necessarily at the gym. Include these basic exercises to your daily routine, and you will see how your performance improves.