Focused on CORE. No phenomenon but a sophisticated system!
What is the Core?
The Nucleus is the muscular set that encompasses the most important stabilizing muscles of our body, in addition to being very important for the production and cushioning of forces. They are scattered across the abdomen, lower back and hips.
- In the abdomen: the straight abdomen, the transverse abdomen and the outer and inner obliques.
- In the back: the spinal erector, the psoas-iliac, the lumbar musculature, etc.
- In the hip: a set of more than 29 muscles involved within the Core, according to Paul Goodman in his article "Connecting the Core".
Without the help of these muscles, the body would not stand. Therefore, without strengthening this great muscle group we can never get our full potential or running, or pedaling on a bicycle, or doing squats, etc.
The Core allows runners to have that stability, necessary when changing direction, to run downhill or get up from the starting position; that strength, necessary to sprint or beat slopes; and that resistance, without which it is impossible to maintain these benefits at every step you take.
We see runners as athletes who only use their legs...but they really couldn't do it without that stability provided by the Core! In addition, many of the injuries suffered by runners come from having a weak Core.
In short: a stronger core allows you to run more efficiently and at the same time prevents injury!
How not to strengthen your Core
When we think about strengthening our abdomen, what exercise do we instinctively think about? Shrinkages (in the language of walking around the house: abdominals). Evil!Evil, evil and three times wrong!
But why?, according to trainer Greg McMillan: "The biggest mistake runners tend to make is to perform fitness workout exercises like shrinks." The activation provided by shrinkages in the internal musculature are practically nil.
Have you ever had to make that move while running? never! Your abdomen and back are always kept as straight as possible, in continuous tension. So why wouldn't you have to train those muscles the same way.
How To Strengthen Your Core
Among the principles of athletic performance is the "Principle of Specialty", according to which improvements in athletic performance are achieved through a training that simulates that sport for which you train.
If when you run your Core is straight and in tension, you must train it in those conditions.
Exercises to strengthen your Core
It won't take you more than 15 minutes a day to do these exercises, and the benefit in the long run will be great, both for injury prevention and for your athletic performance.
Plank or iron
- Lie face down on the ground resting on your knees and forearms. Your elbows rest on the ground just below your shoulders. The feet together and supported on the tips.
- Take your knees off the ground, resting solely on your forearms and feet. Keep your abs in tension so that your body does not curve, forming a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- It holds 30-60". Repeat 3 times.
- Lie face down on the ground, arms outstretched above your head (like the posture Superman used to fly).
- Raise your arms up as much as you can, leaving your body in the shape of an arch. Hold this position for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Do 2 sets of 6 repetitions
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent.
- Lift your hips while keeping your feet, shoulders, arms and legs resting on the ground. Hold this position as much as you can.
- Repeat 3 times.
Plank with one arm
- Perform a plank with a foot spacing somewhat greater than your hip width. When you're in the holding posture, lift one of your arms off the ground to your shoulder height. This arm should remain straight at all times, slightly diagonally out.
- Hold for 2 seconds. He then returns to the plank position and repeats the same with the other arm.
- Do 2 sets of 6 repetitions per arm.
- It is performed the same as the plank but being supported on a single foot and a single arm. The line joining the shoulders has to be as perpendicular as possible to the ground.
- Perform a Superman, but this time in addition to raising your arms, also raise your legs at once. Your body will form an arc. Hold this position for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.
- During this exercise always keep your back low in tension. Do 2 sets of 6 repetitions.
Bridge with kick
- He bridges a book between both knees.
- Extend one of the knees until the leg is completely straight. Do not let the book fall and hold the posture for 2 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and perform the extension with the other leg. Do 2 sets of 6 repetitions per side.
For at this level only if you master the intermediate level and novice level exercises, they are much more demanding.
Side plank with gear
- Perform a lateral plank but with the following variations: the foot furthest from the ground starts resting laterally on the ground. Raise your lower knee to your chest (until your femur formed 90º with your trunk) and hold the position for 2 seconds.
- Take your foot closest to the ground to form a straight line with your body, leaning against the ground. Now raise your sueperior knee to your chest and hold the position for 2 seconds.
- Do 2 sets of 5-6 repetitions per side.
- Same as the intermediate version, but this time keeping the position for 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. Do 4 sets of 3 repetitions.
- Take the bridge position.
- Bring your hands to both sides of your head and push against the ground to raise your torso and form a complete bridge. Hold out as much as you can in that position.
- Do 4 series.
If your flexibility is reduced, make bridges with kick.
In a future article I will talk about the "Dragon Flags" and the "Human Flags", the two definitive exercises that are only achievable with a very strong Core. Stay tuned!
Involvement of the core muscles in the race
As you widen stride or accelerate the speed of your feet when you're trying to pick up your rhythm, the lower abs -- including the transverse abdomen and rectum abdomen -- and the lower back come into play. The stronger and more stable these muscles are, the more strength and speed you can generate as you propel yourself from the ground.
The buttocks and lower abdominals support the pelvis, which connects to the leg muscles needed to ascend. If the Core is strong, the legs will have a stable plane from which to push, for a more powerful ascent. When you swing your leg forward, the flexor muscles of the hip (such as the femoral rectum) are pushed from the pelvis. When pushing to ascend, the buttocks and ugly ones work hard.
When you're descending a slope, you need strong buttocks to help absorb the impact and counteract the urge to move forward. As fun as it can be to do this descent, without the help of a strong Core to control your movement, it can be harmful to your quadriceps and knee joints that will take away the extra bumps of your body weight, which can lead to fatigue, pain, and even injury.
When you're nearing the end of a race, a solid Core helps you maintain the proper shape and run efficiently, even despite fatigue. With strong lower abdominal muscles and lower back, such as the erector of the spine, it is easier to stand.
If your Core is weak, you can end up dragging your feet or hunching over, putting too much stress on your hips, knees and pimples.
Whenever you have to suddenly move to the side, to turn the corner on a track, dodge a bump, or run through undulating terrain, the obliques provide stability and help keep you upright. If your Core is weak, then you may end up losing verticality, which can put excessive weight and strain on the joints of your legs and feet.