Ab Workouts for Runners

Ab Workouts For Runners

You’re a runner, right? You’ve got the stamina, the speed, and the willpower. But let’s talk about your core. It’s not just about having a six-pack for the beach. A strong core can significantly boost your running performance.

Ab workouts for runners aren’t your typical crunches and sit-ups. They’re more specialized, focusing on the muscles that’ll help you maintain good form even when fatigue sets in. Ready to take your running to the next level? Let’s dive into the world of ab workouts specifically designed for runners.

Importance of Core Strength for Runners

Core strength’s role in running is often undervalued. But it’s critical, and here’s why. The core is a collection of muscles that stabilize and power the pelvis, spine, and shoulders. It forms the foundation for all your body’s movements, including running.

Without strong core muscles, you’re likely to suffer from poor form, inefficiency, and fatigue. Fatigue, especially, has a bad habit of ruining good running form. As you tire, you’ll start to slouch or lean, which can lead to injuries or strain. Improving core strength can prevent these issues making it an essential area of focus for runners.

In running, much of your power comes from your midsection. A robust core helps maintain your upright posture and maximizes the power you get from each stride. It’s not merely about aesthetic abs; it’s about delivering more power to your steps, making your running more efficient in the long run!

To illustrate it’s importance, consider trying to run through water. Without a solid core to keep you streamlined, you’d struggle and tire quickly. That’s essentially what’s happening when you’re running with a weak core. You’re working harder than you need to.

How do you start bolstering that all-important core? Studies have shown that incorporating a regular, run-specific ab workout into your training regimen can significantly benefit your running form and speed.

Study TypeParticipantsAb Workout FrequencyOutcome
Observational study20 amateur runners2x a week for 6 weeksSignificant improvements in run speed and form

Remember, the best ab workout for runners is one that strengthens the entire core. That means working not only your abs but also your obliques, lower back, and even your glutes. This leads on to the next section: Ab workouts designed specifically for runners.

So, get pumped and ready as you dive into the fundamental principles and the most effective core exercises that’ll power your run towards the speeding success you envision.

Key Muscles to Target

As a runner, it’s essential to understand that your core is not just your six-pack. There’s a whole range of muscle groups you need to target to improve your efficiency and speed. Here’s a breakdown of the key muscles to focus on.

Rectus Abdominis: Better known as the abs, the rectus abdominis is the muscle group that everybody loves to show off. But it’s more than just for glamour shots — a strengthened rectus abdominis keeps your torso stable during your runs, crucial for maintaining proper form.

Obliques: Situated at the sides of your abdomen, the obliques assist in maintaining balance, crucial for the running motion where your weight constantly shifts. Focus on exercises that work both your internal and external obliques to reap the benefits of a stabilized, symmetrical run.

Lower Back: Often overlooked in ab workouts but of equal importance, keeping your lower back strong is vital to maintain form and prevent unwanted imbalances or strain during running. Include exercises targeting the erector spinae, the muscle group responsible for supporting the spine.

Glutes: Your glutes are integral to propelling you forward and maintaining an upright position while running. Strengthening your glutes will lend power to each stride and protect the lower back from strain.

Here’s a table with these key muscles and their functions in running:

Key MuscleFunction
Rectus AbdominisKeep torso stable
ObliquesMaintain balance
Lower BackSupport the spine
GlutesPropel forward and maintain upright position

Next, let’s dive into specific exercises tailored to these key muscle groups that will contribute to more effective running.

Dynamic Plank Variations

The plank is a powerhouse move that targets not only your abs but also your back, shoulders, and glutes. It provides a full-body workout, not mentioning it’s an excellent exercise to make running more effective. For runners, hitting a normal plank just won’t cut it. That’s where dynamic planks come in.

Placing your body in a traditional static plank is great – but we can mix it up to make it more vigorous. By adding movement, dynamic planks ensure you work your muscles from multiple angles, providing diverse benefits and making your exercise routine more interesting.

If you’ve never tried planking before, consider starting with the basic version first. Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Position yourself in a push-up position, keeping your elbows under your shoulders.
  2. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your toes. Remember, your back should stay flat like a board.

As you advance, you can incorporate these variations to get more out of your planks:

Plank to Push-up

Ready for a challenge? Begin in a normal plank position then shift to a push-up stance. It strengthens your arms, abs, lower back, and shoulders. Keep alternating for best results.

Side Plank

Engage your oblique muscles. Start in a traditional plank, twist towards one side and stack your feet, ensuring one arm supports your body. Hold the position and alternate sides.

Plank Jacks

Think of jumping jacks in a plank position! Start in a plank, and jump your feet out and back like a jumping jack. Engage your core as you move for balance and boost stability.

Leg Raise Progressions

As a runner, strengthening your core goes far beyond just working your abs. So let’s mix things up a bit. Apart from dynamic planks, Leg Raise Progressions are another excellent way to take your core strengthening to the next level. They target not just your abs, but also your hip flexors and lower back – all crucial areas for maintaining proper running form and preventing injuries.

Leg raises have the unique ability to work your lower abs – a spot that most runners find difficult to target. How you ask? Well, the secret lies in the progression. You start from a basic leg raise and gradually increase intensity by adding more challenging variations.

Think back to when you first started with planks. Similar to that, start with a simple Lying Leg Raise. Lie flat on your back and lift your legs slowly without lifting your lower back off the ground. This is your basic move. Once you are comfortable with this move, add a ‘lift’ by pushing your hips up each time you raise your legs.

Next comes the Hanging Leg Raise. While it’s a little more advanced, it’s worth the extra effort. This exercise engages your entire core and works your grip strength. You hang from a bar and lift your legs to your chest while keeping your legs and back straight.

When you’ve mastered the hanging leg raise, it’s time for the Windshield Wipers. This variation adds a rotational element which works your obliques along with the lower abs and hip flexors.

Remember, while transitioning from one level of leg raise to another, consistency and quality of movement are key. It’s important to do each movement carefully, rather than rushing to the next level. Take time to feel the burn in each targeted area. You’re training for strength and stability, not speed. Soon enough, you’ll notice the difference running up those hills or pushing through the last mile.

So keep those legs moving and remember – a strong core equals a strong runner. There’re yet more exercises to delve into, so let’s keep the momentum going on your runner-core strengthening journey.

The following table presents a progression of leg raises and their benefits:

Leg Raise VariationsTargeted Areas
Lying Leg RaiseLower abs
Lying Leg Raise with LiftLower abs, lower back
Hanging Leg RaiseEntire core, grip strength

Implementing Ab Workouts into Your Running Routine

Having grasped the concept of Leg Raise Progressions and the benefits they offer to runners, it’s time to incorporate them into your routine. Don’t just throw them randomly into your week. Make your moves intentional and concerted to get the best results.

It’s best to add these workouts on non-running days or after your run. Keep in mind that you may need to rest your legs on running days. So it makes sense to complement them with different exercises that do not heavily involve your legs. You can do these workouts 2-3 times a week and make sure each session lasts around 20-30 minutes.

Here’s a summary of your updated routine:









Ab Workout




Ab Workout






Ab Workout

Feel free to shift the workout days according to your schedule. It’s not set in stone.

However, do remember that overdoing it could lead to injuries and may not yield the best results. It’s not necessarily about the intensity of your ab workout session but the consistency and quality of the exercises. Each exercise needs to be done correctly to engage the right muscles in the core.

Now we get to hydration and nutrition. It’s crucial to fuel your body properly to reap the best rewards of your exercises. A well-hydrated body performs better than a dehydrated one. Also, you’ll recover faster after your runs and workouts if you’re consuming a balanced diet. A mix of protein and carbs after running or working out can offer optimal recovery.


So, you’ve got the scoop on how to level up your running game with ab workouts. Remember, it’s all about balance and consistency. Incorporate these exercises into your routine 2-3 times a week for optimal results. Don’t forget, it’s not about pushing yourself to the limit – quality over intensity is key to prevent injuries. On top of that, don’t overlook the power of hydration, good nutrition, and proper recovery. They’re vital for maximizing the benefits of your workouts. With these elements in place, you’re on your way to becoming a stronger, more efficient runner. Now, it’s time to hit the ground running!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to incorporate Ab Workouts into a running routine?

You can add the Ab workouts on the days when you are not running, or after your running sessions. This allows your body to rest and recover adequately.

What is the recommended frequency for Ab Workouts?

The prescribed frequency is 2-3 times per week. Each session should last for about 20-30 minutes.

What are the tips for an effective Ab Workout routine?

Consistency and quality of your workout sessions are crucial. It is better to emphasize these rather than the intensity of the workout in order to prevent injuries and maximize results.

Why are hydration, nutrition, and post-workout recovery important?

These factors are essential for optimal performance and benefits from the exercises. Hydration and nutrition provide the energy required for the workout and post-workout recovery helps the muscles repair and strengthen.

Can you provide a sample weekly routine for Ab Workouts?

The article provides a sample weekly routine. However, remember that the routine may need to be adjusted based on individual capabilities and goals.