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The Core: The Powerhouse of Running Mechanics

Updated: Feb 22

The Core:

The Powerhouse of Running Mechanics

This next couple weeks I am meeting with many of my local high school track teams with the goal of helping them have an amazing 2024 season.

In the past I have covered shin splints, mobility, and foot strength with them.

This year I decided to focus on Core Strength - it’s the powerhouse of running mechanics as it connects the moving arms to the moving legs while running & sprinting. I also know that track coaches only have so much time to cover all the things with their large teams and core exercises are something each athlete could easily do on their own.

For you distance runners looking to take your running performance to the next level . . . Whether you're a seasoned track athlete or a recreational runner, there's one crucial aspect of training that you simply can't afford to overlook: core strength. In this post, we'll explore why core strength is essential for runners & sprinters of all levels and share some key exercises to help you strengthen your core muscles. Hop on - push play - & follow along. Daily!

The core muscles, may be more than your first thought

Your core muscles play a pivotal role in maintaining stability, balance, and efficient movement while running. Here's a breakdown of the different core muscles and their role in running mechanics:

The Five Core Muscles

  1. Rectus Abdominis: Located in the front of your abdomen, the rectus abdominis helps stabilize your pelvis and spine, especially during the stance phase of running.

  2. Transverse Abdominis: This deep abdominal muscle acts like a natural corset, providing stability and support to your core and helping to maintain proper alignment during running.

  3. Obliques: The internal and external obliques, located on the sides of your abdomen, help rotate and stabilize your torso while running, particularly during twists and turns.

  4. Erector Spinae: These muscles run along your spine and help maintain an upright posture, preventing excessive forward or backward leaning during running.

  5. Multifidus: These small muscles along your spine provide stability and support, helping to maintain proper alignment and prevent injury while running.

(Image from Runners World; Nov 4, 2023)

Strengthening Your Core for Optimal Performance

Now that we understand the importance of core strength for runners, let's dive into some key exercises to target these muscles.

Check out the following videos for demonstrations of effective core exercises:

Planks are a classic core exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae. Try variations such as side planks or plank with shoulder taps to challenge your core from different angles.

Medicine ball exercises are another classic way to work the core. Here are a few of my favorites to do with my athletes.

Incorporating these core exercises into your regular training routine can help improve your running efficiency, reduce the risk of injury, and unlock your full potential as a runner. Remember to focus on proper form and technique, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your core workouts over time.


Don't underestimate the power of a strong core in your running journey. By prioritizing core strength training and incorporating targeted exercises into your routine, you can enhance your stability, balance, and overall performance on the track or the road. So lace up those shoes, engage your core, and let's unleash your full running potential!


Additional strategies include:

  • More on exercises for the core here.

  • Your running form is very connected to your core strength - Schedule a Running Assessment here. We will find out if your running form is helping your core strength.

  • Incorporating core strengthening and improve your power and reach those PRs.


Our next Masterclass will be on all things Running Form. If you have or have ever had running pains, or you have some good PR goals this year - you won't want to miss this! Save your seat here!


Want more help?

Join our Running Workshop here!


Learn how you can run more efficiently Running Assessment


Get your FREE Strength Assessment here!


Join our online 12-week strength program here!

I'll be posting more ideas this week on my IG & FB accounts

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