Science of the core: 3 of the best core exercises for female runners

Think core and most people think of it as just the rippling (or not) six pack muscles. Or if you’ve done some Pilates, maybe you’ll have heard about the TVA – the transverse abdominal muscle, which helps to create a corset-like affect and helps to protect your back.

But the core is much more than this, it’s your internal and external obliques, your back muscles, pelvic floor, TVA,  six pack, and even your butt. 

The best way to think of the core and why it’s so important, according to the American College of Sports Medicine is to think of it as ‘Sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body.’

Whether you’re cycling, running, swimming, or even picking up a shopping bag, the movement originates in the core. But if there is a weakness in this central link, it impairs the legs and arms affecting movement, which is bad news if you’re a runner or triathlete.

What do we mean by weak? This can mean either that your muscles are not working or that some muscles are overtrained, causing inflexibility which prevents other from working correctly.

So, which are the top core exercises for busy women who want to improve their performance by working the deep core muscles AND which have the added bonus of creating amazing looking abs? 

According to research, which measured muscle activation using electromyography (EMG) while doing core exercises, these are some of the best.  

The Pilates Roll Up

Research by the Auburn Montgomery University showed that the roll up activated the TA and external obliques 103% more than the usual crunch. 

Dynamic Side Bridge

EMG showed this scored well on the deep core muscles (128% compared to 100% crunch). While it doesn’t do as well on the ‘look’ muscles, it does work the gluteal medius muscles, those all-important stabilising muscles which help prevent knee problems. So, we love this one. 

Yoga Boat Pose

This activates 111% of rectus abdominus (the ones that make you look great) and 154% of the obliques and TVA. Impressive. But you have to make sure you’re doing it right.

If you want to gain a lean, strong core, don’t miss our 30 Day Core Challenge Online Challenge launching 16th September 2019. Ten minutes per day, do it anytime, anywhere.