Obviously, cardiovascular strength and endurance are important in running—but they're not the only things that are important. If you're logging miles without working on your core strength, you're neglecting an area that can majorly improve your performance and also prevent injury. That's because a strong core is essential for full-body stability and mobility, two things that Laurence Agenor, PT, DPT, a Pilates and barre instructor, says are critical for perfecting your running form.
Before you hit the mat and start banging out some sit-ups for the sake of hitting a PR, you'll want to keep in mind that your core is made up of a whole lot more muscles than just your abdominals. In fact, there are nearly a dozen of them—all of which contribute to keeping you stable as you run. Because of this, Dr. Agenor notes that you should really be thinking of your core as a "three-dimensional structure," and structuring your workouts to target it as such. "It includes your anterior abdominal wall, your spinal extensors, your obliques, as well as your glutes," she says.
Dr. Agenor also specifically calls out the importance of spinal mobility—the rotation in your upper thoracic spine and throughout your mid-back—"so you don't get stiff in certain areas, and then try to compensate in another way," she explains.
All's to say, it's critical to strengthen all of these areas for a strong core (and ultimately, a better running experience), which is exactly what you'll get from Agenor's Pilates-based workout in this episode of Trainer of the Month Club.
Ready to build core strength for running? Press play and get ready to hit all the spots you need.
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