3 Core Moves to Strengthen Your Running Form

With a stronger middle, you’ll have more power to push your run forward.

Lots of things – poor running mechanics, muscle imbalances and nagging injuries – can spring up because of a weak core.

That’s because a solid base is one of the most fundamental parts of what Dr. Jordan Metzl, a prominent running doctor, calls a strong “kinetic chain” – that interconnection of muscles and joints from your lower legs up through your core and all the way up to your shoulders. When one part of that chain is faulty or weak when you’re running, the rest will crumble.

But if you focus on keeping that foundation in your core strong, you’re setting yourself up for great benefits in your running, like staying upright when fatigue sets in (or form falters) and staying injury-free over the long haul.

That’s where this fast, effective core workout from Dr. Metzl comes in handy. Perform the following three moves for one minute each. That’s one set. Rest for one minute before repeating the set, aiming for three complete sets. Do it on off or easy days and you’ll begin to notice the benefits when you run.

Side Plank Reach Through


Photo: Matt Rainey

Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your abs to form a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Now raise your right arm straight above you so that it’s perpendicular to the floor. Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, and then lift your arm back up to the starting position. (Add a light weight to the hand you reach with to make the move harder.) That’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can for one minute, then switch sides and repeat.

Legs Down with Scissors

Photo: Matt Rainey

Lie face up on the floor, arms at your sides, and extend both legs up toward the ceiling, toes slightly pointed. Brace your core, and start lowering your legs to the floor, crossing one leg over the other until your feet almost touch the floor. Do the same thing when lifting your legs back up to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can for one minute.

Mountain Climbers

Photo: Matt Rainey

Get into a pushup position. Bring your right knee up to your chest, inside your elbow, then return it back to the starting position. Do the same on the left, moving as quickly as possible; that’s one rep. Do as many reps as you can for one minute.


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