Strong Abs = Faster Running Times

Drei junge, sportliche Frauen die laufen.

Do you want to improve your running times? Besides endurance and well-trained legs, a solid core is extremely important for your running performance. Many runners, however, are unaware of how much they can benefit from having strong abs and back muscles.

Improve your running performance

Running basically consists of constantly shifting your weight and changing support from one leg to the other. Stable posture, which is necessary for running efficiently, is provided, on the one hand, by the skeleton and, on the other, by the muscles that connect the spine with the shoulder girdle and the pelvis. The most important muscles for stabilizing your trunk are your abs and your back muscles.

Young man doing a plank

What happens if your core muscles are weak? You will make unnecessary movements when you run, thus decreasing your forward propulsion. A stable upper body ensures an efficient transfer of force directly to the ground. The more economical your running technique is, the less energy you will waste and the faster you will be.

Plus: Besides improving your running performance, well-trained abs and back muscles also help protect you against the impacts associated with running.

Prevent overuse injuries and other running-related injuries

When you run, your body is subjected to forces 3 to 4 times your own body weight. Studies have shown that many of the back problems reported after running are due to underdeveloped core muscles.

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Did you know that marathon runners are up to three centimeters shorter when they cross the finish line than they were before the race? This curious phenomenon is due to the many small impacts to the spine during the race, which cause the intervertebral discs to lose fluid and thus shrink. This also reduces the discs ability to absorb shocks. But don’t worry! As you sleep, the intervertebral discs recover, fill back up with fluid and expand to their original size.

On a much smaller scale, this process takes place during each of your running sessions. Well-developed abs and back muscles support your spine and protect you from overuse. The more conditioned your core muscles are, the longer you will benefit from their stabilizing effect.

Woman is doing a plank

Faster running times through bodyweight training

Complex total body exercises like planks, push-ups and burpees are great for working your stabilizing pelvic, abdominal and back muscles. Have you tried out our bodyweight training app? Runtastic Results builds up your core strength and gives your running performance an extra kick.

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Our tip:
These types of sports are also particularly good for strengthening your core muscles:
In winter: skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating
In summer: climbing, rowing, kayaking, stand up paddling

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Herwig Natmessnig As a former professional athlete (whitewater slalom), Herwig lives for fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a challenge. View all posts by Herwig Natmessnig »

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