Let’s go beyond squat and plank with these unilateral functional core and glute exercises for runners–because while those are great for you, runners also need to work each side individually. Link up with Running Coaches Corner, and find out more about my awesome Pins To Kill leggings.
Best Unilateral Functional Core and Glute Exercises for Runners
Yes, the plank and squat and deadlift are great exercises for runners as they built dynamic and static strength and stability in key running muscles as well as improve neuromuscular efficiency and activation (basically, how your muscles and brain communication with each other). However, you don’t run with both of your legs striding and kicking in unison, and totally independent of your torso, do you?
Didn’t think so.
Thus, it is imperative that runners also work on each side independently and in a functional manner that strengthens, stabilizes, and activates the main running muscles as a system. As an added benefit, working on each side independently will help you identify muscle imbalances that you might not otherwise know about!
Here are five of my favorite unilateral core and glute exercises for runners to increase functional strength and neuromuscular efficiency.
One of the best glute exercises, Donkey Kicks dynamically work the Hamstrings and Glutes while also engaging the stabilizers in your core. Make sure to keep hips and shoulders parallel to floor. Donkey kicks don’t necessitate going through the full range of motion–instead, concentrate on moving your knee a few inches above parallel using your glues and hamstrings.
The Pallof Press is an amazing stabilization move for the core. Make sure that you keep your body from twisting at all, and the resistance should be hard enough that you can feel the pull in your obliques, but not so hard that you cannot support the weight with your arms. This move is not about your arms!! Bring your hands in and out with control.
I demonstrated spider planks as part of the BOSU challenge last year, and if you are competent at doing them on the floor, the BOSU is a great progression. These will help your core and hip flexors learn to work together while also engaging your core as a tradition plank would. For more information, check out this post. Make sure to minimize twisting!
The curtsy lunge is one of the best exercises for runners because it works the entire glute complex as well as the abductors and adductors and even core stabilizers. Plus, you get the stretch in your outer glute which many neglect! Think about moving laterally, rather than backwards, and pretend you are doing a big ol’ debutante curtsy.
Hip Hikes (Glute Drops)
One of my absolute favorite exercises, and a great option for your cool down! There are a few different ways to go about hip hikes, which are sometimes called glute drops. You can change the focus by changing how you lift your hip–whether you are focusing on the lower aspect of the move or the upper aspect of the move. Focusing on the lower will work more on your glutes, the upper more on your obliques. Trying to keep torso as still as possible and keep your belly button in the same place!No regular planks here! Check out this unilateral core + glute workout! #runchat #fitfluential #sweatpink Click To Tweet
Pins to Kill Custom Leggings
If you have read the blog or followed me on social media for any amount of time, you know that one of my little phrases is #Idontdoquiet. Life, in my opinion, is best lived in color! Pins to Kill is a company that shares my belief.
According to the Pins to Kill website, “Based in Melbourne, Australia, Pins to Kill is a customised online clothing website developing personalised garments, specialising in leggings. We encourage our customers to upload their own design, photo or artwork to create their own custom leggings, which they wear with pride and confidence. In addition, customers can also order from our range of funky leggings, including bold animal prints and geometric patterns.”
Yup, that means you CAN CREATE CUSTOM LEGGINGS. Prints, pictures, and words! Or you can opt for one of their awesome house prints/patterns, as I did. (I am wearing the Indie Geo). The fabric is sleek, silky, and comfortable to the extreme, and perfect for everything from yoga to ballet/barre to strength training. Runners, these will become your go-to’s when you are out of your running shorts and tights. I know that I am living in mine!How cute are these @pinstokill leggings?! Perfect for doing my #running prehab! #pinstokill Click To Tweet
Check out the Pins to Kill site and create or pick your own pair of these awesome custom leggings, and then start following Pins to Kill on Instagram–one of the most breathtaking accounts that I follow.
Pins to Kill provided me with a pair of their leggings for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own!
I am also linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for Friday Five. and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday,