Core Conditioning

Steven has asked about supplementing his running with some resistance training, my suggestion is too start with core conditioning. You ask what is core conditioning? The following is something I wrote in response to Steven’s question.

Recently programs emphasizing balance of the trunk (lower back) and abdominals have been developed. These programs concentrate on the central portions of the body. The muscles of the core are those that stabilize the spine and torso and extend over the entire length of the torso. The muscles involved are varied and include the abdominals (rectus abdominus and external obliques), and the erector spinae and multifudus of the lower back to mention some of the major muscles of the trunk. Also included are the hip flexors and the gluteal group of the hip and upper thigh. These core stability exercise programs been developed to protect the back and encourage low back health.

References for core training;

Examples of core conditioning exercises include the crunch, crunch with a twist, and lower trunk stability or plank exercises, such as the bird dog, supine plank, prone plank and side plank. The abdominal exercises mentioned  such as the crunch could be done with sets of 10 reps. As fitness improves increase the reps to 15 then add more sets.
The Ron Jones site above has many pictures of core exercises.
My on line book has array of  pictures of good core exercises and a program for their use. If you want a copy of my book, just ask.

CORE CONDITIONING FOR RUNNERS, Selected exercises for the core;

  • the Crunch,
  • the Crunch with a twist,
  • supine and prone bridges,
  • the bird dog, and the side plank.

Some examples of core exercises follow:

The Prone Bridge.
The Side Bridge
Advance to the Prone bridge with one arm

Start these with 5-10 seconds of hold with a 5 second rest, progress to 15-20 seconds hold with 5 seconds rest. Do a variety of exercises including the side bridge and supine bridge; a total of  up to 10 sets. Flash has asked, how many days a week of core conditioning.great question! Try two days a week to start, progress to every other day, if you do flexibility at the end of the day, you could include some crunches and some plank work.

These core exercises could be incorporated into a circuit with sprints:

  1.  run a 30-60m sprint,
  2. then  do  the prone bridge for 10-20 seconds
  3. followed by a 30-60m sprint and then rest to recovery before starting another set.

Also a circuit could use core exercises, followed by kettle bell shoulder presses or medicine ball throws,

  1. sprint 60m,  do the prone bridge for 10 seconds, do medicine ball throws for 6 seconds,   rest 10 seconds,
  2. run 60m, do a side bridge for 10 seconds, do a set of kettle bell shoulder presses for 6 seconds,
  3. rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat. After weeks of conditioning you could do 3 – 6 sets of the above..




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2 Responses to Core Conditioning

  1. Core conditioning is essential, both for people practicing sports, as well as for those who don’t.

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