Core Strength Training Exercises
Q) Ask Ray!: Hi Ray, What Core Strength Training Exercises do you do? Is it possible to run like you do without doing core work? Thanks Ray! Dave
A) Hello Dave,
This question is not as straight forward as it might seem. What do I do for core strengthening? Well, the answer is nothing. But before you say “sweeeeet, I don’t need to do core work” let me explain my answer.
Your question sort of combines my last two articles that I wrote:Weight Lifting: Free Weights vs. Machines and Stretching and Flexibility: To Stretch or Not to Stretch.
I currently do not do any strengthening core work; however I do core work to maintain what I have. This is a very important point because I do not think I could run like I do if I did not have the core strength that I currently posses. Here is the story of how I came to gain my core strength.
Back in the days before I turned into an ultra trail runner I used to be a gym rat. I would love to spend hours in the gym lifting weights. At the same time I was also a road bike racer and I played a lot of ice hockey. I did a lot of exercises to build my core strength since cycling and ice hockey demand that your core be strong.
When I slowly made the transition into the world of ultra trail running my core was very strong. When I started running 50 mile ultra trail races my core was so strong that I was able to power my way to the finish line. However, I was having a lot of issues with shin pain. I mean the type of pain that was excruciating to even walk normally. That is when I headed to the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine to get things looked at. They gave me a few more core exercises to add to my routine that I found very interesting (see video). Back then I did not realize how interconnected the body is; and I would have never guessed that have a weak lower back would actually cause shin pain. Other exercises that I do to maintain my core are sit-ups and good-morning exercises (without weights).
Because I became hooked on running ultra trail races I needed to take care of my shin problems once and for all. That is when I decided to hire a running coach. When I first started working with her she could not believe how bad my running form was and she is the person who pointed out that my core strength was getting me to the finish lines. During this time I also was having professional massage work done too.
So, to run like I do; I started with a very strong core and have maintained it. I sought professional help to correct my running form to make me a more efficient runner, and I used massage therapy to help get my muscles and joints working properly again.