A strong core is critically important for runners, providing stability and foundational strength, which is why ab workouts with planks and other stabilising, strengthening moves are always a solid choice. As a runner myself, I’ve done done an ab workout either before or after my runs for years. Those extra few minutes gave me the satisfying feeling of a good, full-body workout. Who doesn’t love to feel that burn in your abs?
But for runners, having a strong core goes beyond that, said exercise physiologist and marathoner Tom Holland, MS, CSCS. “Whether you are a sprinter or marathon runner, beginner or advanced, having a strong core will maximise your running performance as well as enjoyment,” he told POPSUGAR. “It can help prevent running-related injuries as well.”
Tom’s favourite core workout for runners takes just three minutes, but don’t let that fool you. “It’s extremely effective and challenging, utilising the plank exercise that works both the front and back of the core at the same time,” Tom said. In fact, it’s 100 percent planking: four different variations that combine to make a “full 360-degree core strengthening workout,” Tom told POPSUGAR.
3-Minute Ab Workout For Runners
Directions: Hold each of the following planks for 30 seconds.
- Elbow plank
- Elbow plank with leg lift
- Side plank on the left
- Side plank on the right
- Elbow plank
- Spider-Man plank (aka creepy crawler)
Keep reading for a description of each move. Then grab a timer, try the workout for yourself, and head out on a run when you’re finished. (Try this outdoor interval workout to get started.)