Plenty of people believe the key to a good core is hundreds of sit ups and a six pack, but why is it really important to have a good core? It isn’t about getting a six pack, as plenty of us, me included, can’t get one no matter how hard we try, but instead the stability and strength it provides us when running. Core exercises help strengthen your core but so does running. I also ensure I incorporate a variation of core exercises, some dynamic and some static, not just crunches and sit ups, as this works all the different areas of your core.
Especially now we are in cross country season, having a strong core is extremely important for stability. When I am faced with deep mud and uneven surfaces I need to our upmost to stay balanced on my feet and not fall over. If I have a strong core I am more likely to be able to fight against stumbling and stay upright.
I find, having a strong core helps contribute to a good upright body position. Without noticing I find myself learning hunched over. Especially when studying or writing at a desk, it can be easy to adopt a poor body position. I find if I focus on my core and sit upright I am less likely to hunch over my desk.
For a long time now, I have always ensured I incorporate core into my training schedule. It is very easy to do and doesn’t take very long, but sometimes it is getting the motivation to do it that is a struggle. Sometimes going to the gym is the best option. If there are other people around you and you are in the gym where there are no distractions it is a lot easier to get on with a good core routine, get it done, and then head home. However, sometimes it is the effort of going to the gym just to do core that can be off putting. This is when it is so easy to do a core workout. You can simply do it in the comfort of your own home, in your room, outside in the summer, or in front of a good tv programme in the lounge. Whatever you find most relaxing and motivating to do core, do it! I personally prefer to do it at home as I can fit it in around other things, or as a break from working.
Here are a few of my favourite core exercises. I sometimes add a light weight to make them slightly harder.
1. Sideways Crunch
I actually learnt this exercise from a training camp in Lanzarote. You simply lie on your side, place your knees at a 90-degree ankle and crunch up towards the sky, bring your hands either side of your legs.
2. Standard plank raise/lower
Adopt a plank position with your elbows on the ground out in front of you and your legs extended out straight. Keep your bum nice and low to ensure you are working your core properly and not straining your back. Then push up onto your right hand, followed by your left, then down on your right and down on your left. Repeat this for your chosen length of time.
3. Rotating plank
Adopt the regular plank position, keeping your core strong and your back in a stable, flat position, slowly rotate your hips from one side to the other and repeat.
4. Mountain climber
Adopt a raised plank position with your arms extended fully. Bring your right knee round the side to your right elbow, then back to the plank leg position. Do the same on the left side and alternate for your chosen amount of time.
5. Weighted side plank
Go in to a side plank position, with your elbow under your arm and your feet resting sideways one on top of the other. Place a light weight on your side and hold for your chosen amount of time. Be sure to repeat it for the same amount of time on the other side.
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!