Running Tips

This Core Workout for Runners Is a Good Reminder To Pay Attention to More Than Just Your Abs When Training Your Center

Erin Bunch

A strong core is mission-critical for athletes of all stripes, and runners are no exception; if you're simply pounding the pavement without spending time focusing on your core strength, you're likely sabotaging efforts to actually improve your performance. Fortunately, on the latest episode of Good Moves, Nike master trainer Traci Copeland offers a 17-minute, comprehensive core workout for runners (or any athlete) that also serves as a reminder that when doing core work, it's essential to pay attention to more than just the abs.

"Today we're gonna focus on core strength," she says. "Core strength is essential to everything that we do, so whether you're doing cardio, HIIT, a strength workout, you're a runner, or you like to take spin classes, this workout is for you."

As Copeland notes, core strength is important for everyone, but it specifically improves running performance because your stride extends from your core, and a weak core can cause key muscles to become overworked while inhibiting others, like your glutes. This results in a less powerful run, and it can also lead to abdominal cramping and back pain that can also hinder performance.

To attack your core muscles, Copeland runs through a series of movements including plank walkouts, bear crawls, reverse crunches, side plank walks, and more. But she also ensures you're working an often neglected muscle group that is core (ahem) to properly working the core: your back muscles. To do this, she relies on the (somewhat uncomfortable, IMO, but effective!) Superman position, wherein you lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs up to the ceiling while maintaining a neutral spine.

The end result of this routine is a sore-but-strengthened core that will help power your next sweat sesh, whether it takes place on a mat or at the track. Press play to begin cross-training your abs and back for optimal performance, stat.

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