Best Core Strength Exercise for Runners


If you think crunches are a good way to build core strength, I urge you to reconsider.

As a Physical Therapist and running coach, I’m often asked to recommend core strength exercises.

While crunches can provide some benefit, there’s an exercise that’s far more valuable for runners.

The side plank.

Side planks are excellent for fixing the major imbalances that slow you down and cause injury.

Watch the video to learn more:

Why Do Side Planks?

Side planks develop the outside strength of your core, which is usually neglected.

That lateral strength provides a lot of stability and power through your pelvis and your legs.

It’s crucial to have outside core strength if you want to run injury-free and get the most out of your training.

A lot of runners do regular planks but avoid side planks because they find them too difficult.

If you struggle with side planks, it’s an indication that you’re weak in that area.

That’s exactly why you need to do them!

Getting Started

You can begin on your elbows and knees or do a full plank (elbows and toes).

I love to break it down into six planks, 10 seconds each, as a starting point.

As you get stronger, you can increase to 15 seconds, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds, then a full minute.

Once you can do a side plank on both sides for a minute, that’s a good place to be.

Having that core strength will translate into fixing a lot of imbalances that happen with running.

Key Takeaway

Side planks are one of the best exercises you can do to build core strength.

Focusing on the outside strength of your core is so important for running faster, more consistently, and injury-free.

At RunSmart, we work side planks into all of our strength training programs.

If you want this to be a great year of running, check out RunSmart!

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