Which Core exercises will improve my running and reduce injuries?

by Graeme Hilditch

The Core - it's complicated

The difficulty in answering this question is that there is more than one answer.

The core is a very complex part of the body and comprises different parts and levels, with the main abdominal muscles – the rectus abdominus (better known visually as the “six pack musculature) being perhaps the area which most people associate with “the core.”

The thing is, the core is so much more than the “six pack” muscle and core conscious people up and down the Country waste countless hours every week focusing far too heavily on training and developing their “six pack” musculature in the false belief that it will make their core stronger.

Sure, it’ll make your abs hard and strong, but core strength and function requires a lot more training than hundreds of stomach crunches.

Start from within

The good news, is that one of the most important core exercises you should do, can be performed anywhere you like, be it in the car, at work or watching TV. The deep stomach muscles, known as Transversus Abdominus, are the fundamental part of the inner unit of the core and should be the starting point for anyone new to core training. So how do you train it? Simple really, but it takes practice. Here is how to get started:

  • Take a deep diaphragmatic “belly” breath (your stomach should fill and protrude)
  • As you breathe out, draw in your belly button and pull it towards your spine. In short suck your stomach in as far as you can but in a controlled manner)
  • Once you have exhaled, repeat the process.

The tricky part of this is breathing out whilst you draw in your stomach, because your instinct is to do the opposite.

Work on it though and over time you’ll find that it not only gets easier, but you’ll discover that as the deep muscles get stronger you’ll be able to draw your stomach in further making your stomach nice and concave.

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