I went to a Pilates course a while ago and when I told the instructor that I am a runner, she said ‘I will help you run with your abs’. My first thought was: ‘Um, I run with my legs, not my abs!’ Needless to say, I did not go back. A terrible mistake I have since learned. The more I read about running and strength, the more I realise that strong abs actually DO allow you to hold a faster pace and run better.
Here are 5 great ab workouts that will make you a better runner:
1. Leg Raises
• Lie flat on the floor with your arms at your sides and legs stretched out next to each other. Raise your legs, keeping them as straight as possible, and lift them until they are pointing at the ceiling, or as near as you can get. Make sure your toes are pointed.
• Lower your legs until they are hovering just above the ground, and then raise them again. Be careful to keep your movements measured. Aim for three sets of 10 reps, or simply do as many raises as you can.
2. The Plank
• Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up onto your toes and elbows with feet slightly apart. Your toes should be about hip distance apart with the elbows resting on the ground in a straight line under shoulders.
• You’ll start feeling this after 30 seconds, trust me!
3. Side Plank
• Lie on your side, supporting your upper body on your forearms, while holding your arm at the side, and your feet stacked on top of each other. Keep a straight line from your head to your feet.
4. Glute Bridge with Marching
• Lie with your right foot on the ground and your left leg extended out. Lift your hips and left leg up. Hold for two seconds. Then, while keeping your hips up in the air, switch legs. Alternate sides for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Bicycle Crunches
• Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Clasp your fingers behind your head or cup the back of your head.
• Contract your abdominal muscles and alternate pulling each elbow to the opposite knee. Concentrate on curling your torso forward with each rep.
So, if you are serious about improving your performance and staying injury free for the long haul, then building strong abs is of utmost importance. You’ll also feel better overall. Now isn’t that a goal worth striving for!