Tempo runs and lengthy days on the road will keep your running well, but a set of strong abs will only get you running sharper. Working your core not only improves your running economy, but it keep your pelvis in place and makes you more solid when you hit the ground.
Getting a ab workout in three or four times per week will payoff big time in the end. Follow the ab workout below and you’ll find yourself running better.
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Depending on your initial core strength, you might not be able to hold all of the exercises below for very long. Stay in them as long as you can (expect some shaking) and then stop when you feel your form breaking down. Stick with each exercise week after week until you can hold each one sturdy for a full 60 seconds.
Take 15 second breaks between each exercise. After you’ve completed all of your ab exercises, take a three minute break and start again.
● Lie on your stomach as if you are going to do a push up.
● Lift yourself up so that the only body parts touching the ground are your toes and the radial side of your forearm from your elbow to the side of your hand.
● Stabilize yourself in this position, keeping your back flat and the rest of your body from your toes to the top of your head, in a straight line.
● Think about keeping your abs and butt muscles tight but relax the rest of your body as much as you can.
● If this is difficult, try the modified plank. Instead of keeping a straight line between your toes, rest on your knees and work from there.
The Side Plank
● Lie on your right side with your left foot resting on top of your right foot, and your right elbow under your shoulder, forearm perpendicular to your body.
● Press down on your forearm until your body lifts off the ground.
● Stabilize your body in a straight line, keeping your core muscles straight.
● Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the left side.
● Lie on your back as if you are going to do a sit up. Put your feet flat on the ground slightly beyond your knees and lock your hands lightly behind your head.
● Press down on your feet to lift your torso and upper legs until they form a straight line from your face to the tops of your knees.
● Balance your weight between your shoulders and feet.
● Extend your right leg by straightening your knee, keeping your core stable and in the same position. Hold for 4 seconds.
● Return to your starting position and then do the same with the right leg.
Repetition Ab Exercises
Start each set with the intent of doing 12-16 reps. Incorporate each of these exercises into your workout, giving yourself a 15 second break between each exercise.
● Lie flat on your back, making sure that your entire back is touching the ground.
● Put your hands beside or behind your head, making sure not to use them to pull yourself up in any way.
● Bring your right knee up until it’s perpendicular to the ground and move through a bicycle pedal motion.
● Rotate your torso toward the right until your left elbow touches your right knee.
● Return to the starting position and do the same with the opposite leg and elbow.
Vertical Leg Crunch
● Lie on the floor with your legs straight up in the air and your hands either behind your head or flat on the floor by your hips for support.
● Contract your abs and lift your shoulder blades off the ground, as if you were reaching your chest towards your feet.
● Keep your legs fixed, and keeping your abs as tight as you can (think belly button toward your spine).
● Return back to your starting position and repeat.
● Lie flat on the ground with your legs straight up in the air and your arms flat on the ground beside your waist.
● Use your abdominal muscles to raise your hips off the floor toward your rib cage, twisting your hips to the right.
● Return to your starting position (without completely resting on the floor) and repeat the exercise to the other side.