5 core exercises for runners with Pilates
You’ve read the running magazines; you’ve seen in your running groups that “Core exercises for runners” is something you should be doing to improve your running.
BUT where to start?
It’s a minefield, there is so much information out there, what is the right thing to do and how?
I’m going to add something else into the mix with Pilates and why you should be adding this to your running training.
But first, why are you even thinking about core exercises for runners?
Are you struggling with your running, pace, injury, or just getting older and feeling you need something else?
These are great reasons for starting to think about how you can supplement your running, and starting with core exercises is the perfect place to begin.
Imagine a tree and the trunk is the core, holding the tree upright and the branches are like your limbs, they can move freely as the trunk is strong, just like your arms and legs.
The benefits of this strong core for runners will: –
- Help stabilise your pelvis
- Protect your back
- Reduce your risk of injuries
Read the blog “Why do runners need a strong core” for more benefits
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on
- Core strength
- Flexibility & mobility
- Good posture
All the things you as a runner should be thinking about to improve your running.
Pilates is so easy to fit into your rest days or before or after your run in as little as 10-minutes at least 3 x a week.
5 core exercises for runners with Pilates
Below are 5 Core exercises for runners, using Pilates exercises for you to try at home.
These core exercises for runners are intermediate to advanced exercises for those used to Pilates, if you are new to Pilates then do check out the Beginners Pilates course, which takes you through the Pilates setup and basic moves to get you going. 10 videos all 10-minutes to work through at your own pace at home.
The Plank with leg lift
The plank is a great all-body workout working on core strength as well as shoulder & pelvis stabilisation. Adding a leg lift (if you are used to doing planks) will add more load onto the core to strengthen.
- Start on all fours in a neutral position
- Engage the glutes and core as you extend the legs into the Plank position
- You should not feel this in your back at all. If you do come out, reset or take it down a level
Start with 3 x leg lifts on each side and rest and slowly build up as you feel stronger and can maintain good technique.
The side bend/plank is a challenging Pilates exercise, working the core as well as the obliques, the muscles at the side of the core.
- Sit on your side with your arm slightly away from your shoulder.
- Make a diamond shape with your legs, ensuring the top leg has the sole flat on the floor.
- Start to push yourself with the top leg so you bring your shoulder over your hand and lengthen your legs, so you are in the side bend position.
- Slowly lower with control to the floor.
Start with 3 -5 on each side and increase as it becomes easier.
Double leg stretch
The double leg stretch is a strong exercise focusing on core strength and it’s great for runners as it mimics the muscles used in running.
- Set yourself in neutral
- Engage your core
- Lift legs to tabletop & extend ensuring you keep the core engaged.
- Then bring the legs back in before repeating
Start with 5 – 10 reps, again ensuing good technique.
Shoulder Bridge with a leg lift
The shoulder bridge is mainly a mobility exercise but as with most Pilates exercises, you need to use your core to perform the exercise. For runners, it’s great as it encourages pelvic stability a must for runners.
- Set up in your neutral position
- Slowly lower your spine into the ground and peel off until you come into the bridge position.
- Hold still at the top, engage your core, push one leg into the floor and slowly raise the other.
- Ensure your pelvis stays still as you lower the leg down before rolling back to the floor.
This is a great exercise to do before a run to wake up those running muscles.
Start with 5 – 10 reps.
Leg pull supine
The leg-pull supine will strengthen the core, improve running posture, stabilise the pelvis, and as well as working the glutes. All over runners body workout.
- Sit up tall, with legs bent and arms behind on the floor
- Exhale to lift your body
- To advance the move slowly extend one leg at a time.
- Bring the legs back in and lower
Start with 5 – 10 reps ensuring good technique.
Pilates is a great way to bring core exercises for runners into your workout, it’s progressive and effective for your running and easy to do at home without eating into your running time. Try this short video to show you how effective Pilates can be for you and you running.
These 5 core exercises for runners are only a small selection of how Pilates can help strengthen your core. The Pilates for Runners membership keeps you accountable with a mix of live weekly classes online as well as pre-recorded 10-minute videos to keep you going in between.