Exercise to improve a runners core strength

I get asked a lot if runners should be doing core work and if so what type?

Well yes to the first bit. and to begin with, any core related work should be fine, especially if you are new to the idea.

But if we want to engage our core more effectively during running we do have to, at some point, be more running specifically in our exercise choices.

One exercise I like to use both as an assessment and a strengthening exercise is the Running Core Twist.

Many recreational and club runners have a poor anterior core and short of the dreaded sit up many are unsure of how to rectify this.

One thing we don’t really need for running is a six pack so hundreds of sit-ups is probably not worth the pain anyway.

Have a look at the pic of Laura Muir (thanks to the IAAF website) and note the cross body engagement of her front core muscles.

Much like a golf swing or a pitcher in baseball we have to engage the muscle track from one to the opposite shoulder / arm to develop and use power. Runners need it for efficient / economic motion rather than explosive power so it should be part of our routine.

One example of this crossbody core work that I use can be seen at

I would begin with 2 sets of 5 reps on each side to engage the muscles and then try to keep these muscles engaged as you perform a 50 to 100m run at an easy pace.

repeating this 2 set followed by run circuit 6 – 8 times will improve not only your core engagement but also the ability to use the core in your running. Finish the session with a 20 min easy run and you have a great core session and recovery run done for the days after your harder training sessions

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