Runner's World Core Conditioning Feb 2008 (Read 1017 times)

    The magazine give the workout that Meb, Ryan Hall, Josh Cox, and Dan Browne did up in Cali for the Olympic Trials. I did the workout yesterday (and I'm feeling those effects today in soreness). Was wondering if anyone else has experimented with this type of workout, and if so what effects has it had on your running? Also, nowhere in the article does it really say how many sets and reps for each, so if someone could list how they use those workouts, it'd be great.
    Mile Collector

    Abs of Flabs

      My physical therapist prescribed a subset of those exercises for me to do to strengthen my core strength so I can only attest to those. The goal of these exercises is to target the tiny muscles that hold all my joints in the proper place when I run. They were out of alignment before and were causing all kinds of aches of pains for which I went into physical therapy to correct. They allowed me to get back into running so I say they're doing something. For non-injured runners, I think they are good for preventing injuries. Here are the sets and reps I was instructed to do by my PT: plank / side plank / reverse plank (which wasn't listed in the magazine) 5 sets of 30 seconds each. These are best done in front of a mirror because your trunk should be comnpletely straight. The pictures in the magazine showed a slight arch in both positions which is not desired. Remember to suck in your stomach at the belly button while you're doing it, which will activate your core muscles better. bird dog 2 sets of 30 reps. My physical therapist asked me to sag my lower back while I was on all fours. Then she placed a magazine in the dip formed in my lower back and then I went into the bird dog position. The key is to keep that magazine on my back, which requires lots of slow and balanced movements from all your muscles. The magazine fell many times before I learned to controll all the tiny muscles that keep my body stabilized. Swiss hip extension I was instructed to lift my feet up only an inch or two. The key is to move slowly and in a smooth and balanced motion. Again, suck in your stomach at the belly button as you're doing this. If it gets easy, then strap on a 5 lb weight arond each ankle. I did 2 sets of 30 each. What I learned was that it's the quality rather than quality that matters. There is such a thing as over doing it. I was told that these are small muscles and do not require a lot of reps to strengthen. They're not like your calf or quad muscles. They will not get super large because you did many reps, and doing too many will hurt rather than help them.

        ^^^ That's three great exercises right there and some great advice to boot! I'll only add that you could take one two approaches to a core workout. You could do the straight up sets (2-5 sets) of repetitions (8-20 reps) with a 60 second rest between sets or run through them in a circuit -- go from one to the next without a break -- then rest between rounds. One example may be 5 rounds with 5-8 repetitions for each exercise with a 60 second rest between rounds. Experiment to see what you like more. Just keep in mind that if your form is breaking down, your done with that exercise. Edit: I should've mentioned that these are two possibilities. It's certainly not the only two options you have...
          I saw that article as well and I started doing those excercises about 2 - 3 weeks ago. I do them every night and though my running has not improved my perpetual lower back soreness/stiffness seems to have gotten much better. I'll keep doing them to see if the improvements are long-term.