Welcome to the latest edition of "workout Wednesday" when each week I share a new running or strength training for runners workout.
Core stability is important for runners so that we can maintain proper running form, especially once we start to feel fatigued. Runners need core work that builds strength and stability in all planes of motion. That means forget about doing 100 crunches a day, there are much more effective core strengthening exercises that will benefit runners.
In this circuit, you will flow through each position for about two to four seconds. Don't rush through the movements, hold each one for a couple of seconds before moving to the next without rest. Once you complete the circuit, rest for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat up to eight times, or as many as you can while maintaining proper form.
RUNNER'S PLANK CIRCUIT
1. STRAIGHT ARM PLANK
Start in straight-arm high plank position. Position your shoulders directly over your wrists. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Don't allow your hips to drop or raise up in the air. (Keep that butt down!) Engage your abs and breathe normally.
2. PLANK WITH LEG LIFTS
Without shifting your body weight, lift your left leg in the air, then lower to the ground, then lift your right leg in the air and lower.
From the straight arm plank position, twist up into a side plank and reach your arm to the ceiling. Your shoulder should be stacked directly over your wrists.
4. SIDE PLANK WITH LEG LIFT
While in the side plank position, lift your top leg in a hip abduction movement, away from the body. Return to straight arm plank position, check your hip positioning that your hips are not raised or sagging, then repeat the side plank and a leg lift on the other side.
5. ELBOW PLANK
From the straight arm plank, you will transition from a high plank to a low plank elbow position. Lower your right arm, then your left arm until you are in an elbow plank position. (Next time through the circuit, lower your left arm first and alternate with each new circuit.) Here are some additional pointers for proper plank position.
6. PLANK KNEES TO ELBOW
While in the low plank position, bring your knee out to the side and move as close to your elbow as your flexibility will allow. Be careful not to sink your hips low or raise your butt in the air. Do one rep on each side and return to low plank position.
REST AND REPEAT
Rest for 30 seconds to one minute and repeat the circuit up to eight times or as many times as you can with perfect form. If your form starts to break down, make note of how many full circuits you completed and make an effort to do the same number plus one more with perfect form next time.
Give it a try as part of your warm-up before your next run or as part of your core strengthening workout. Let me know how it goes...and keep that butt out of the air!
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