Back and Core Workout for Runners

Try the following exercises for posture-perfect performance

Back and core strength is the key to efficient running. A strong back and core will keep your hips properly aligned, allowing for better running form and improved running economy. This workout focuses on strengthening the muscles in your back and core to keep you running at your best.

Reps and sets:
Perform the exercises as a circuit. Complete 1min of each exercise before moving onto the next. Repeat the entire circuit three times.

stability ball back extension

Stability ball back extension

Muscles: Lower back, abs
Why do it?
To strengthen and improve mobility in your lower back
– Lie so your midsection rests on the ball
– Straighten your legs out behind you so that your body forms a straight line from head to feet
– Place your hands on your head
– Lower your head and torso over the ball
– Use your lower back muscles to lift yourself back up to the starting position
Top tip:
To avoid over-straining your lower back, don’t go past the starting position

stability ball russian twist

Stability ball Russian twist

Muscles: Abs, glutes, hamstrings, hips, lower back
Why do it?
To create a strong, stabilising core
– Lie with your shoulder blades on the ball
– Raise your arms straight in the air
– Rotate your shoulders to the side until your arms are parallel to the floor
– Pause for one second and repeat on the other side
Top tip:
Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to keep your hips elevated

side plank

Side plank

Muscles: Obliques, quads, shoulders, forearms
Why do it?
Strong obliques (side abs) will help you to maintain an upright posture even when fatigued
– Place your left foot on top of your right
– Position your right elbow directly under your right shoulder, with your forearm at a 90° angle to your torso
– Contract your core and lift your hips and knees off the floor so that your body forms a straight line
– Repeat on the other side
Top tip:
If you can’t manage the whole minute, hold for 10 seconds and rest for five

glute bridge

Glute bridge

Muscles: Glutes, abs
Why do it?
To prevent your hamstrings from having to overcompensate for weak glutes
– Lie on your back with knees bent
– Engage your abs and lift your hips off the floor
– Press your heels into the floor for stability
– Lower with control back to the starting position
Top tip:
Don’t push your hips too high up, as that can cause arching in your lower back

side-lying clamshell

Side-lying clamshell

Muscles: Hips, glutes
Why do it?
To create balance between your leg and hip muscles
– Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45° angle
– Rest your head on your lower arm
– Engage your core to stabilise your spine and pelvis
– Raise your upper knee as high as you can with your feet touching
– Keep your lower leg in contact with the floor
Top tip:
Rotate from the hips, not the lower back


Isaac Williams

Written by Isaac Williams | 88 articles | View profile

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