If I asked you the last time you worked on your core, what would say? Maybe you’d remember a plank recently or hey some crunches as you waited for the microwave to ding.
For some reason, though we all want to run better we loathe spending time on a our core, a fundamental piece of the run faster, run farther, run injury free puzzle!
Previously, I’ve dove in to how to use the stability ball to engage the glutes or improve hip mobility, but today I want to dive in to why it’s such a great tool for a runner core workout. I’m sure you trust me just because I say it, but let’s talk science.
Why a Stability Ball Workout?
Can you do these moves without the ball? Of course!!
But most of you are ready for a bit more of a challenge and for the rewards that come with the added challenge. Running requires you to consistently move your body from foot to foot, (umm clearly) which you do without much thought. However, there’s a TON happening in your body to keep it tall, balanced and strong.
Whether you call it a stability ball or exercise ball, it’s the same thing…a big round inflated ball with a hard plastic grippy outside.
Here are a few benefits of stability ball exercises:
- improved spinal stability which reduces back pain
- engaging more muscles at once (saves time!)
- engages the full core from shoulders to glutes, rather than just your abs
- creates body awareness, you have to become more in control of your movements
- natural range of movements is safe and easy on the body
Also super important to get an exercise ball that is the right size for you:
- Small 55cm : Height between 5’0 – 5’5″
- Medium 65cm : Height between 5’6″ to 5’11”
- Large 75cm : Height between 6’0″ to 6’3″
A stronger core means:
- improved muscle endurance (which means you’re less likely to burn out during those last few miles of a race!)
- more controlled breathing
- stability as you move from 1 leg to the next
- better posture throughout the run which prevents injuries
It also means you can learn to do tricks like this to impress your friends, HAAAAA!!!
Stability Ball Workout
Let’s not waste any more time, here’s the workout!!! You can Pin this image to remember it for later or watch the video below to see the stability ball exercises demonstrated.
I know you have a ton of things to try and do in a week. Consider picking just a few of these to do prior to every run! That’s right do them BEFORE YOUR RUN. This will have your core engaged, which ensures you will be running with more power and good posture.
Engaging your core means you’re putting your body in the BEST position for running with good form.Beginner: 2 rounds x 10 reps per side
Advanced: 3 rounds x 20 reps per side
Grab a stool or chair to place in front of the ball to help with balance. Start on all fours, knees positioned under hips and palms resting on the ball just beneath the shoulders. Your shoulders, back, and butt should remain flat through the exercise.
Raise your opposite arm and leg straight out, keeping your abs braced, stomach in and your whole body in one straight line from head to foot. Hold the position for a few seconds, then smoothly lower your arm and leg back to their original position. Repeat with the other arm and leg.
Balance on the stability ball on your forearms in plank pose, keeping your legs extended. Once balanced, move the ball in a circle using your arms. Set yourself up with a stability ball sandwiched between your forearms and the ground, keeping your legs extended as usual. Once you’re balanced, slowly move the ball in a circle only using your arms. Keep your legs stable and your back flat as you perform the motion. Switch directions.
Lean on top of the stability ball with your upper back on the ball and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Hold your arms out straight in front of your chest, palms touching. Keep your feet on the ground and twist through your core and shoulders, rotating on to to one shoulder, then back straight, and rotate to the opposite side.
Begin on the floor with your back on the ground and feet on top of the ball. Raise your hips off the ground, flex your knees, and pull the ball in as close as you can. Push the ball back out and return to the starting position. Repeat.
Lie flat on your back. Hold the stability ball straight above your chest between your knees and your hands. Then you’re going to extend your opposite arm and leg out, keeping the ball balanced and focusing on your breath while doing it. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
What’s your favorite core workout move?
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