Stronger abs = better runner

How a stronger core can make you a better runner

Most of us can agree that washboard abs are desirable. They’re also hard to achieve and sometimes completely genetic. That being said, as a runner, there are some pretty compelling reasons that you should start to isolate your core workouts. Mainly, strong abs can help make you a better runner.


Abdominal muscles support your torso, meaning that runners with strong abs have better posture, a more stable gait, and fewer low-back problems. Our abs also help move our legs, shift our hips and derive more power.  


As runners, we need core workouts that target the upper and lower abdominal muscles, along with the internal and external oblique muscles on either side of the abdomen. We also need to work in quick twitch ab movements that will help with speed—some people like to call these “circuit abs.”


Here are some of our favorite ab exercises (to be done post-run):


Straight leg kicks. Lie on your back, hands straight to your side, palms down against the floor. Keep your legs straight and raise feet 6” above the ground. Flutter your feet up and down for 30 seconds. Flutter your feed side to side for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.


V raises. Lie on your back, flat on the floor, legs extended long, arms extended above your head. Keep legs straight and lift up. Simultaneously lift your arms up, so your fingers meet your toes. Your body should fold to make a “V-like” shape. Complete 10 reps, 3 sets.


Superman. Lie face down on the floor with arms and legs extended. Raise your head, left arm, and right leg up 6” off the floor. Hold. Repeat opposite side. Complete 10 reps, each side, for 3 sets.


Side Plank. Lie on your right side, supporting your upper body on your right forearm, with your left arm at your left side. Lift your hips and, keeping your body weight supported on the forearm and the side of the right foot, extend your left arm above your shoulder. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Complete 3 sets.


30-60-90s. Lie on your back, legs extended. Raise your feet directly up to make a 90 degree angle with your body (torso & legs). Hold for 10 seconds. Lower your feet 30 degrees. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower your feet again, another 30 degrees. Hold for 10 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.


Bicycle. Lie on your back, legs bent at a tabletop position. Cross arms behind head with elbows extended. Raise head and neck off ground. Extend right leg long and crunch right shoulder to meet left knee. Switch to extend left leg long and crunch left shoulder to meet right knee. Speed up pace until burnout.