If you ever want to run faster in your next 5k, you might want to invest some extratime working on core exercises.  We all hate the intense burn and shake when we work our abs, but it is so well worth the burn for all the added benefits. Whether running for fun, fitness or to be fast, efficiency is key. Having a strong core plays an important part in translating the power of your legs to propel the entire body forward through space.  A strong core stabilizes your hips and pelvis when you run, enabling you to go faster and farther.    Your core is not only effects your speed but havinga weak core can also cause leg muscle fatigue to occur at a much faster rate. When the core is weak the body compensates by engaging others muscles to pick up the slack.   As a result it can lead to an increased risk of injury.

Some ofthe best core exercises are planks that engage your entire core, mountain climbers,bicycles and v-sit ups.  Due to ourmodern day sedentary lifestyles sitting for long hours at work causes weak abs to develop because our abs are not activated. In addition to adding more core exercises to your work outs there are other things you can do to activate your core during the day.

  • Sit up straight and put your hands on your lower ribs and inhale. Allow your ribs to expand and contract
  • Keep your low ribs wide when you exhale and pull into your navel to your spine. If you do yoga this is a similar breathing technique.
  • Continue to practice thesebreathing techniques and it will strengthen your deep abs and increase yourability to breathe deeply.

Runners—like all athletes—really should view the body as a functional unit composed of numerous sub-parts which work together and have roles to play in performing well and avoiding injury. The core is the body’s center of power and is deserving of serious attention. The next time you see all of the infomercials for ripped abs it should remind you to train your abs for efficient training. After all who doesn’t want a beautiful flat sculpted stomach? Try to incorporate core exercises two to three times a week for best results.

photo credit: Pooja's_Way