Do planks make you run faster? I say this is debatable, but without a doubt working your core makes you a more injury proof runner.
I DO NOT believe that planks are the be all end of all of movements to work our core, they are a movement with a lot of benefits for runners.
While strength training forces you to engage the core and you should be thinking about it during a run, there’s something about getting abs to show that drives many of us to spend a little extra time working out core when we might otherwise skip it.
The plank seems to have gained legendary status as something to help with that.
Unfortunately when the plank became popular, everyone resorted to simply holding it for minutes on end. That’s a cool party trick I suppose, but not the most effective way to get your core engaged and of course improve your running as well.
Is a 5 minute plank good?
Sure it’s impressive, but usually a sign you’re not planking correctly.
In a true plank, you aren’t just holding the position, you are actively squeezing your core, your glutes, your quads and your shoulders.
Once you are CORRECTLY doing a plank the benefits run deep:
- Full body strength movement
- Can help to create flatter abs and eventually with definition
- Activating the transverse abdominal muscles for better posture and stability
- Can help with back pain as you build that complete core control
But why simply hold a static plank? We know that from a plank position you can do a LOT of movements which will help to target the obliques (for that whittled middle we hear about) and engage more of the hips and glutes to keep our runner knees happy.
We need to get dynamic to get the benefits in sport and life! Which is to say that you need to be able to activate your core WHILE RUNNING, so holding static position isn’t the best way to ingrain that in your brain.
It’s also decreases some of the plank benefits if you never utilize it as part of a movement. Imagine the additional benefits to grabbing something quickly off the floor and having your whole body be stable and ready for the movement.
Complete 3 rounds of 10 reps per side for each move, after an easy run.
All moves are described below and you might find many reminiscent of Pilates for Runners because that’s the kind of core control we’re after.
Plank Twist Kick
From plank position, kick left leg under your body to right side. Drop the foot and drop hip down, then raise back up and return to plank. Repeat on opposite side.
Downward Dog to Reverse
From downward dog roll forward in to a plank, put weight on left hand and move right leg to the left, flipping your body over and stretching out. Return to plank, then downdog.
Single Arm Plank
From a straight arm plank, pick up right arm and hold for 2 seconds, lower, then pick up left arm. Excellent if you have a friend to high five across from you!
Side plank crunch
From side plank position, put hand behind head and twist to the side. You should feel your hips pull up as you really engage the obliques.
From a kneeling position slightly lean back until you feel quads and core engage, then push hips forward to pull back up using core and not legs.
What’s your favorite dynamic ab move?
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