Quick 6-Minute Core Workout for Runners

While you may not feel it on the run, your core plays a crucial role in making sure each stride is efficient and powerful. Your core consists of the muscles around the spine that help stabilize your body as you run, making sure your hips don’t collapse, your knees don’t wobble and you don’t rotate—especially as you fatigue later into your run. While a strong core is imperative for running, running alone doesn’t sufficiently strengthen it. That’s why runners benefit from supplemental core and strength workouts. Try this 6-minute core workout and let us know how it helped you more efficiently, stave off common running injuries and nail that next PR.

Coach Nate leads us through a 6-minute core workout that you can easily do at home, at the gym or even at your office if no one is looking. No equipment is needed, and you can modify the exercises depending on where you’re at in your fitness journey to make them more or less challenging. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with a 30 second rest in between.

1. Happy Stars

  • Sit on the ground holding your knees towards your chest.
  • Lower your back onto the ground while extending your left leg, keeping your right leg bent.
  • Lift yourself back up into a sitting position using your core while bringing both knees back towards your chest.
  • Repeat and switch legs.
  • Your arms should be hanging relaxed at your sides.
  • For an added challenge, extend the opposite arm out behind you as you lower yourself to the ground (for example, extend your left arm behind you while your right leg is extended and vice versa), bringing both arms back up to your sides as you crunch upwards.
  • If you’re still not feeling enough of a burn, extend both arms out behind you and both legs out in front of you. Bring your right arm and your left leg up as you crunch upwards, repeating with the other side. This movement is where the exercise gets its “happy star” nickname!

2. Reverse Plank or Bridge Hold

  • Lay flat on your back with your feet on the ground and your legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Your arms should be flat on the ground.
  • Lift your hips upwards, bending your legs at a 90-degree angle. Your back should now be lifted off the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. You should feel a burn in your glutes and hamstrings.
  • If you’re not feeling the burn just yet, increase the intensity by placing only your heels and your palms, fingers facing your feet, on the ground. No other body part should be touching the ground.
  • Hold your body straight up by engaging your glutes and hamstrings.

3. Opposite Arm/Opposite Leg Extensions

  • Place your knees and palms on the ground, shoulder width apart.
  • Extend your right arm out in front of you and your left leg out behind you. Hold this pose for about one second.
  • Bring your arm and leg back to the ground, and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
  • Keep your hips stable and your back straight. Your core should be holding you steady as you complete the reps.

Once you’ve worked your way through this circuit, repeat each exercise once more with 30 seconds of activity and 30 seconds of rest. If you’re looking for a greater challenge, try doing a third round, choose a harder progression or do each exercise for 45 seconds and rest for 15. Congrats – you just completed your six-minute core workout!

Keep Reading