Friday, January 24, 2014

CORE 5 Workout For Runners Video

Like many of you ... when people find out that you try to stay in shape and do a lot of running - plus if you blog about  it - you get a lot of email, and real life questions about what works for you.  I like it when folks phrase it like that "What works for you?".   Because unlike many of you ... I'm not an expert in this stuff.  I'm not a trainer, coach, nutritionist, or anything like that.  But I do spend most of my spare time trying to learn more, and get better at running and fitness. 

So I decided to make a second workout video, this time about core fitness , called my CORE 5 Workout For Runners.  It accompanies my first video Hip Strengthening For Runners, that I made last year.  Michael got me a new camera and video editing equipment for my birthday, so I've been going a little "production crazy".  (My audio skills really needs work -sorry.  PLUS, I TRIED TO PROOF IT FEW TIMES, BUT IF YOU SEE A TEXT TYPE, PLEASE EMAIL ME AND LET ME KNOW - THANK YOU)

I hate, hate, hate, hate, core work.  But I have to admit, one of the key components to running over 3,000 miles the last few years has been increased core strength.  It has simply made those late miles in a long run much easier when I'm not fighting stomach or back pain, and still holding good running form.  Yeah, as much as I hate it, I force myself to do it ... because it works.

So, a few years ago, I developed what I call my CORE 5 workout that I do it almost every weekday before my run.   It takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on how much I do that day.  It consists of 5 groups of core exercises that have really made a difference in my endurance and just my overall strength and conditioning.  

Here is why  I like it and why it works for me ... it's like a daily salad bar of core exercises.  I pick and chose what I want to do each day.  By dividing some of my favorite core exercises into different target groups, I ensure that a core muscle group doesn't get neglected.  Knowing that I can change up the workout each day has kept me interested, and worked different muscles so I'm not just doing the same repetitive motions day after day.  Here is what it basically consists of ...

Group 1 ... Hip

The hip bridge builds glute, hamstring, some quads and lower back strength.  Typically I do two sets of 1-2 minutes each.  This was one of the key exercises that helped get my upper hamstring and lower glute tendinitis better so I'm a huge believer in hip bridges.  Group 1 also includes Squats, 100 Ups, Banded Shuffles, and Donkey Kicks.

Group 2 ... Crunches

From left to right, top to bottom: Crunch good for upper abs, Knee Raises - isolates lower abs, Bicycle Crunches - upper and lower abs, Ab Wheel - works total core including arms, shoulders, abs, glutes, hips, and hamstrings,Superman Pose - isolates lower back and glutes, Side Crunch - works the obliques 

Like I say in the video, not everything in Group 2 is an actual crunch.  Plus, I don't spend a ton of time on actual crunches - they are good for a 6-pack beach effect - but there are better exercises that work that the total core for runners.  I'll do 100 reps of a combination of this group.  For example, I'll typically do 30-40 crunches, 30-40 knee raises, 30-40 bicycle crunches ... and then focus on the obliques and lower back with Supermans, and finish with side crunches.  I have several of my favorites to chose from in this group, so it varies quite a bit - but I usually try to do 100 crunch reps, plus lower back and oblique stuff.

Group 3 ... Planks

From left to right: Side Plank, Front Plank, Reverse Plank.  This is BY FAR the single best core exercise for me.  In my opinion, if a runner can only do one core exercise ... it should be planks. 

When I started doing planks, I could only do about 15-20 seconds of each of these.  But since it's such a great complete exercise, I tried to make it a goal that my butt never touched the floor during my sets of planks.  I will start on my left side with 1:00-1:15, then go right into a front plank without stopping or my butt touching the ground.  Front plank for 1:00-1:15, then the right side - same thing, no touching, followed up with a reverse plank for 1:00-1:15.  This totals 4-5 minutes without stopping.  That's the first set.  I always do two sets, no rest in between for 8-10 minutes.  Some days I'll do three sets ... all without my butt ever touching the ground.  My record is 20 continuous minutes.  Some days I'll add variations like mountain climbers or flutter kicks, or even the stability ball.  But mostly it's just like this.

Group 4 ... Chest & Shoulders

Nothing glamorous with this one ... mostly just do these so I don't look like a total Ethiopian ... no offense to the Ethiopian community of course!  But having a strong chest and shoulders actually does help with running form stability.  Typically I do two sets of 30-40 push ups, and then random shoulder work, mostly with resistance bands. but sometimes very, very, very, light weight.
Group 5 ... Arms
This mostly a vanity exercise to try to keep my arms with some sort of shape as I get older, but honestly, it's getting tougher and tougher to keep the old man skin from hanging around.  Usually I'll do 2 sets of 40-50 bicep curls and then add some tricep work.

So that's it ... my CORE 5 Workout as I call it.  If you don't incorporate core work into your normal routine, I would really encourage it ... it has made a huge difference for me and kept me much healthier.  Have a great weekend!
... be great today!


  1. My favorite exercise in here is fast hands. I think if I incorporate that one daily I will get much faster! :) On a serious note, great video! You did a wonderful job babe!

  2. Great videao. I was watching it at 3:30am before a run so had to watch it without the sound so I have no idea what you were saying. With my expert ability in lip-reading I'm pretty sure you were really funny though. Loved the joke about the priest and the rabbi.

  3. Loved the video and learned quite a few more exercises that look like fun and most important, doable. I am going to share it with my hubbs, he is trying to start a more complete routine like yours. We're both far from being this fit though!
    There is only one thing that I didn't like about the video, it was the scrolling text at the bottom. I find that I can only concentrate on two things at once, the movements in the video and your voice. I could not follow the scrolling text and when I tried I could no longer hear the voice. My brain is definitely not able to multitask. Other than that, it looks very pro!

  4. Thank you for the feedback Ririnette, I had that same problem when I was trying to "proof" it for mistakes - there was just too much going on and I just about didn't include the scroll, I might end up removing - I really appreciate you taking the time to watch it - have a great weekend!


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