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4229 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Sep 5, 2008 10:02 PM by Back in the Saddle
survived99 Amateur 50 posts since
Dec 14, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 5, 2007 10:00 PM

Core strength

I think that I have very low "core" strength and I am looking for ideas on how to improve it so that I can run for longer periods. Here is some more info:

I have been running for 2 years - I am trying to build myself up for a half-marathon next year. I am 49 and have not been athletic AT ALL my whole life. But I just love running. I'm at the 10-12 km long run once/week and 2 or 3 7km runs each week stage.

I had a stress fracture last year and am having some difficulties with my piriformis now - everything happens on my left side. A physiotherapist said that my gluteus medias (sp?) is weak on that side. I have been given some exercises but they don't relate to my core, just this muscle.

I want to be able to run until I'm 80    and I wonder if there is a way to improve my core strength.

Thanks!
Ruth

  • jansd Amateur 410 posts since
    Jun 8, 2003
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 5, 2007 10:17 PM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    Sign up for Pilates classes. I think a good Pilates class is the best, most complete, and hardest core workout you can get and it's ideal for running. And you'll work all your gluteals too.

  • melistic Amateur 777 posts since
    Oct 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jul 6, 2007 11:17 AM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    core work is easy and can be done anywhere w/ little to no equipment.
    I'd start w/ some planks which will give you a good idea of how strong you are or how far you have to go.
    A plank is in effect like a push up w/o the push up. assume the position hands shoulder width apart, wrist under shoulders, up on your toes. Your body should be straight like a plank. Do not stick your butt in the air or let your hips sag below the line.
    Do one of these on your hands. 30 second (or less) rest.
    Do one on your elbows (elbows under shoulders) 30 sec. rest
    Repeat.
    Time yourself. Hold each as long as you can. Fully engage all muscles from your thighs & calves to your shoulders.
    If you find one is much easier than the other that would point to specific core imbalances. (I can help further from there)
    v-sits, crunches, full sit-up's (actually hip flexors) side planks, leg lifts, back extensions, stars, hip dips...
    *it is important to work your back muscles whenever you work your stomach muscles to stay balanced*

    any chance you have a swiss ball?

    Mel

  • nocknee Rookie 127 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jul 6, 2007 9:32 PM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    melistic: which of these exercises (if any), work the back muscles?

  • melistic Amateur 777 posts since
    Oct 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Dec 22, 2007 12:36 PM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    yes, Ruth, if your left side is noticeably weaker you should focus attention there.  Be sure that is an issue of left side core imbalance rather than left arm/shoulder strength. Or as predominantly right sided, you can start all exercise to the left, most pilates instructors will always start to the right, but they will have no problem with you starting from the left. This lets the left side get a fresh start and the right side can 'take over' when fatigued. When running, as you run thru your mental check list, core tight, leading from hips, shoulder's relaxed, what have you, take a moment now and then to connect mentally w/ the left side to make sure it's carrying it's weight. Don't however neglect the right side, this will only lead to more imbalances elsewhere. I have a daily set a Pilates/ Yoga/ Core moves. Takes about 10 minutes, kinda like the stretch, never leave home without it!

    nocknee:
    many of those exercises will work your back. Specifically the planks, leg lifts& holds (lower back), try adding a leg lift to your plank and double your money. Back extensions and superman's (lay face down, contact your core then lift your arms and legs off the ground & hold) or 'swimming' (essentially the same but use flutter kicks and arm movements) Old school sit up's are great for runners, while they miss the CORE muscles they do hit hip flexors and lower back musculature. Try getting on all 4's and lifting your right leg and left arm, then switch .And hip dips, which are hard to explain in person, let alone in type, will work both obliques and mid-back range. Plank on your elbows, twist from your center aiming your right hip to hit the floor, then the left, do them till you feet fall out from under you, then do 'em again...off the top of my head push up's will hit lats, imbalanced push up even better, if you own hand weights (cheap and easy) we can add rows and such to hit the higher portions

    *I feel the need to mention correct crunch, leg lift...posture. You need to be sure to posterior-ly tilt your pelvis, aim your low back for the ground before you begin. If you cannot hold this posture while completing said exercise, you need to start there. You will do more harm than good doing any type of crunch, V or extension improperly*

    Mel

    [http://This message has been edited by melistic (edited Jul-06-2007).|http://This message has been edited by melistic (edited Jul-06-2007).]

  • Kevin E. Stroud Rookie 511 posts since
    Oct 27, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jul 6, 2007 10:51 PM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    melistic,

    I'm a long time runner and just started doing some planks for core strength - very good explanations there, and I'm learning from your descriptions.

    Are you an instructor or just a very good student?! !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|border=0!

    kestrou

  • tuscaloosarunner Rookie 726 posts since
    Apr 7, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jul 7, 2007 5:29 AM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    quote:


    Originally posted by melistic:


    any chance you have a swiss ball?

    Mel


     



    Some other core work I've found that's helpful w/ swiss ball:

    1) One leg push-ups on top of swiss ball.
    2) Single leg bridge extensions.

    One leg works the balance.

    Also, sans swiss: single leg squats work nicely too...

  • Tafter Rookie 12 posts since
    Nov 14, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jul 7, 2007 9:44 AM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    I picked up a copy of Mark Verstegen's "Core Performance" book after a friend recommended it to me.  Great exercises to help with core stability/mobility.  He also released a Core Performance for Endurance Athletes book that I picked up a couple of months ago that has more movements and exercises to help with injury prevention for people who are logging lots of miles and for multi-sport athletes.

    Both are well worth a read.

  • melistic Amateur 777 posts since
    Oct 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Dec 22, 2007 12:36 PM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

    quote:


    Originally posted by kestrou:

    melistic,

    I'm a long time runner and just started doing some planks for core strength - very good explanations there, and I'm learning from your descriptions.

    Are you an instructor or just a very good student?! !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/biggrin.gif|border=0!

    kestrou


     



    Both I'd like to think.

    Mel

    [http://This message has been edited by melistic (edited Jul-08-2007).|http://This message has been edited by melistic (edited Jul-08-2007).]

  • Back in the Saddle Amateur 45 posts since
    Dec 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 5, 2008 10:02 PM (in response to survived99)
    Re: Core strength

     

    Look at www.crossfit.com It does wonders for your core strength and is awesome for runners. They have workouts daily, plus a whole slew of suggestions, and they have video of each exercise. The best part- you can do almost everything with a few basic pieces of exercise equipment. 

     

     

    We have a CrossFit gym nearby (I like to go just to see if anyone is going to puke- it's that awesome!) If you want to train by yourself with gym equipment, it's easy to do. If you want to join a CrossFit gym, they usually (?) have Ladies times so you don't get drowned in testosterone.

     

     

    Several personal trainers that I know do CrossFit on their "off" days- I personally only do it once a week for strength and flexibility training. You could also just start every day with a series of core strength exercises. My b/f had me doing this every day for weeks, and just falling out of bed and doing them before anything else really improved my core and run times.

     

     

    Hope these suggestions help!

     

     





    We have nothing to fear but fear itself. -FDR

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