A strong core is key to achieving running success and remaining injury-free. Your core keeps your pelvis, hips and lower back in line, which are all crucial for proper movement and mobility. Jessica O’Connell is a 2016 Olympian in the 5,000m and a trainer at GRIT athletic coaching who firmly believes in working on overall strength – especially in your core. Below is a five-minute routine that will help keep runners healthy and powerful. All you need is a mini band and foam roller, along with a Swiss ball if you’re looking to kick it up a notch.
Foam roller bicycle
Place a foam roller under your pelvis and pedal legs forward and backward like you’re biking. This exercise will engage your core and hip flexors, two areas that are crucial for strong running form.
Dead bug with ball
Using a stability ball, lay on the ground with your arms lifted over your head and your legs bent at 90 degrees. From there, lower one arm and the opposite leg, keeping your back pressed into the ground the entire time. Do this 15 times on each side. Start without the stability ball and work your way up to using it.
Swiss ball mountain climbers
The Swiss ball makes this exercise a little more challenging. Like the dead bug, start without the ball and incorporate it when you’ve got the form down. Focus on keeping your hips level and core engaged.
Plank with rotation
The plank with t-rotation is great for stability and spine mobility. Keep your core engaged and try to complete 10 repetitions on each side.
Plank shoulder taps
In a plank position, lift one arm at a time and tap your opposite shoulder. Again, keep your hips level and back straight. Tap each shoulder 20 times.
Knee drive with mini band
While this exercise may feel like it targets hip and quad strength, if done correctly, it should work your entire core. Drive one knee up toward your chest and pause for a second, hovering the other leg about an inch above the ground. Return to starting and repeat with other leg. For an extra challenge, do this with a mini band around your ankles for added resistance.
Be sure to press your lower back into the ground and try to engage your obliques while lifting each leg.