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Core Exercises

Core Exercises

The top photo is a "V-UP". Lie flat on your back to start, legs fully extended, hands at your side. In one motion, sit all the way up and pull your knees to your chest, pause and then return to the starting position. That's one rep. This exercise works the hip flexors quite a bit, which is a great running muscle, plus the upper and lower abs. The first few times, don't overdo it by doing too many reps. Maybe start with 20 the first day and add 5 each time you do it until you can easily do 50. By the time you are in mid-season form, you should be able to do 100 nonstop.

 I call this the "modified plank". Once you can easily hold a plank position, which is on your elbows and toes with body perfectly straight, no bend in the waist for at least 60 seconds, you will be ready to try the above exercise.
Begin by utilizing perfect form in the plank exercise which means flat back, tight stomach. Now very slowly lift your left heel straight up. Do not turn or twist your body at all or else you stop and start over. This will take some practice so be patient. Once your left heel is up a few inches, then raise your right arm straight out in front of you. Now you have the above position. The goal is to hold 30 seconds on each side. Next, start again but this time raise your right heel, left arm and hold 30 seconds as your goal.
 You will see that your entire core gets worked by doing the above movement. Don't forget what the "core" actually is. It is a band of muscles that wraps around the entire middle part of your body starting at your spine on one side, encompassing the oblique muscles, then the "abs", the obliques again and then attaching on the opposite side of your spine. So now you can see why just doing crunches or only working the front of your abs is not enough.

 

  

 

 This is a straight leg "V-up". Begin lying prone with arms over head. Swing arms forward and raise legs together at the same time without bending the legs. Touch your toes and resume the start position. That's one rep. 10 reps is good. This exercise works a) hip flexors b) lower abs c) upper abs. All of these muscles are important in running. The hip flexors help raise your thigh to running position along with lower abs stabilizing your hip girdle.
Every exercise you will see on this website specifically applies to runners, sprinters and jumpers becoming strong enough to hold your proper body position in the art of running.


First photo is an advanced full body letdown from a vertical position. Begin by firmly holding bench and inverting your body into a vertical, legs up position. From here, keeping core muscles fully engaged and without bending at the waist, keep your body straight from the shoulders to the feet and let yourself down to the bench slowly, under control. Five to ten seconds from the legs up position until legs and back are on the bench. This is one of the toughest core exercises in existence. 
Bottom photo: This is the modified plank exercise viewed straight on. Note that the back is flat, hips down, body balanced. Have someone watch you or take a photo to make sure you are not twisting your back or raising your hips. If you are doing this, stop immediately and try again because this "compensation" means you are not quite strong enough yet to hold your body in correct position and the exercise is not going to help you yet.

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