Hi Eli - core to my mind core work is essential. I don't mean every day for an hour - but maybe twice a week for half an hour just to keep things working.
For me it became a real problem. 2 years ago I was out running and swallowed a fly! I coughed involuntarily (as you would) and popped a disc in my spine. Agony!! Anyway over about 3 weeks it got better and I started running again but always had lower back pain. Not bad enough to stop me but over the next 2 years it got gradually worse. I saw physios, chiropractors, sports therapists, podiatrists - no one could get to the bottom of it. My disc was fine and no problem with my spine. This year I went to the physio for what i said would be the last time. Though whether i ran or not my back hurt. It wasn't running causing it. What he discovered was i had no core strength at all. When I hurt my back all the supporting muscles "turned off" to the injured area. This is what happens when you injure any area and as you heal they "turn on" again. because i'd started running too soon mine never turned on so other muscles took up the job that my core should do. So I was constantly plagued by tight glutes, ITB, hamstrings etc. I was biomechanically a mess and needed to completely re-train my core.
None of us is biomechanically perfect. We all run a tightrope that when everything is OK we can run without a problem even though we might not be as strong in some areas as we should be or bits of us are tighter than they should be. However, if we become injured that can kick off a chain reaction that takes time and a great deal of effort to correct. That is why your core is so important - it's the mainstay of successful running and running injury free.
If you are running OK a pilates class once a week, or a fitball class plus half an hour at home should keep you strong. We don't need a core like Jessica Ennis (though that would be nice!) to keep running but a little maintenance goes a long way to protecting yourself. Just be aware though that "core" doesn't mean "abs". Its not a six pack you're after but the supporting muscles deep inside that you're after.... though a sixpack does look good as well!
Now I'm much better I do a pilates class or fitball once a week and one half hour at home. I generally do about 30 reps of about 6 different excersises.
The problem with squats and lunges is that you could end up doing more harm than good if your core strength isn't there.
You can do core excersises anywhere. Sitting at your desk - sit up straight, suck in your belly and just turn on your trans abs as hard as you can and hold for 1 minute then just repeat (not ALL day LOL ), or whilst your walking to the bus or driving the car. It all helps. Plank is good and side plank, "tilt and bridge" on a ball, Google for core strength excersises or look on You tube - there's loads. As I said, it's just "maintenance" not world championship type strength! We runners are a funny bunch - we want to run (we can be bothered doing that!) but tend to only stretch/strengthen when we're injured! if i were you I'd go for a couple of pilates classes just to get an idea of the excersises - or get a DVD? They''re not expensive. And if you already have lower back pain - there could be something already not quite right?
I do this three times a week:
Keeps coach happy and makes my abs hurt
Wow Curley - that is pretty advanced stuff! Hyper back with scissor legs & butterfly arms???? I'd be in a knot after 10 secs - a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time . Still all good stuff even if you're doing 20 or 30 sec reps. Made a note of the web address and may start to incorporate some of the easier moves .
That poor girl.....
I have had quite a few lower back issues this last year and have been given a core routine to do - this was initially 5 times a week but is now down to 2 as I've improved a lot with it.
- 1 minute/90 seconds lunges on each leg(5kg dumbell each hand) - including pulsing and exaggerated lunges followed by the dynamic lunges you do quickly
- Squats by 15 plus 15 pulses by 2. single leg squats by 20 each leg
- Step ups by 20 leading each leg with 20kg barbell
- Bridge - 2 legged then into 10 second holds each leg, only drop down after 3 sets per leg x 3
- Superman back raises
- Press ups x 15 x 2
-Plank x 45 seconds x 2
- side plank twists x 8 x 2
- calf raises x 20 x 2
- Balance board stuff too and proproception.
I had a sore back till I did the above so my motivation is that I will get a sore back unless I do it!!
Mix it up a bit and try circuit classes etc.
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