Favorite Core Exercise For Sprinters

Dr. John demonstrating his new core exercise for sprinters

As a sprinter or runner many of us are looking to improve our speed.  We can relate because some of our staff are training for the 400m dash.  We found ourselves thinking, how can we take ourselves to the next level?  Our focus went straight to “how can we improve our turnover?”  Needless to say, we decided to get a little crazy!  After trying some different exercises we created one of our own.   Core activation is key, so our new core exercise for sprinters is a must do before any speed work.  Before that, let’s go over some reasons that core strength is so important for sprinters and why timing is everything!

Why is Core Strength Important For Sprinting?

Running at top speeds requires a lot of activation, strength, and energy from your core.  A weak one can’t keep up!  If your core isn’t strong enough you’ll see running form break down, and loss of power in your stride.  Not only do you feel like you’re working harder than you ever have before while going nowhere… your risk of injury increases due to poor form!  A strong, activated core keeps you upright, balanced, and primed for each step!

Dr.'s John G and Jon S. working on their 400m dash

Timing Is Everything

You’re probably thinking, timing of what?  The answer is actually a question.  Are your abs activating with the proper timing for your hip flexors?  That’s right – your abdominals don’t work alone, but are part of a bigger picture.  A common misconception is that your core is just absHowever, your core is a combination of many muscle groups including muscles in your back, the hip flexors, and more.  In order to have a smooth fast turnover your abs and hip flexors need to work together.  If they’re not, you’re going to be missing out on power and speed.

Our Favorite Core Exercise For Sprinters

This brings us to our new favorite exercise to re-integrate and improve the timing of your core activating while moving your legs.  To start you’re going to need some bands or a cable machine.  Once you’ve attached your bands to something sturdy ( please make sure they’re not going to go flying) you’re ready to go.  We’ll break this down into 2 parts!

Step 1:

Dr. John demonstrating with his arms infront of him how to stand up tall with shoulders back before pulling to engage the core
Standing up tall, shoulders back
Dr. John with arms by his sides with the bands in his hands to engage his core for his favorite core exercise for sprinters
Elbows locked out, abs engaged

Back away from the anchor so you have slight tension in both hands.  Now, with your shoulders back, chest up, and elbows locked out, pull the bands so your hands are by your sides.  Just by doing this you should instantly feel your abs engage.  If you don’t, try releasing, stepping a little further away from your anchor, and try again.  

Step 2:

Now that our abs are engaged you want to keep your arms strong by your sides.  You can re-integrate your hip flexors in a few ways:

The first is to quickly bring your knee straight up and then back down.  Do this 10 times on both sides before gently releasing your arms.

Dr. John demonstrating variation 1 where you bring your knee straight up and down as a core exercise for sprinters

If that seems a little too easy, here is our Mobility-Doc original twist!  Try getting into the same 1st position with your abs engaged.  Now instead of just coming straight up and down, do a B skip or clawing motion.  This motion will mimic your stride and your abs are already working hard!  Do this 10 times on both sides before gently releasing your arms.

Dr. John demonstrating variation 1 where you bring your knee straight up and down as a core exercise for sprinters
Dr. John doing a B skip/clawing motion for his core exercise
Dr. John with his core engaged, moving his free foot down and back completing the B skip movement for his core exercise for sprinters

By doing a clawing or B skip motion with your abs engaged, it’s teaching your brain and your body that both your hip flexors and abs should be working when you lift your leg up and down while you’re running.   

Watch our How To Video about our favorite core exercise for sprinters!

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When To Do This?

This exercise will give you the best results when incorporated into your dynamic warm up.  You want to masterfully place this after your stretches but before your warm up drills.  It’s easy to find a fence or pole to attach your bands to if you’re on site!

Regardless of the variation, our favorite core exercise for sprinters should be in every runner’s toolbox. It develops the core-hip connection with a similarity to running like no other exercise.  After a few sessions you’ll feel the difference and see your turnover improve.  Next time you hit the track, skip the crunches and grab your bands!

Support Your Running

Make big impacts in less time?  Isn’t that everyones dream!  What if it could be a reality.  You don’t have to waste hours in the gym.   With MDFit Essentials you can take the guesswork out of your cross training and know you’re giving your body what it needs.  It’s the perfect addition to your running routine because it keeps you balanced and strong all season.  In just three 20 minute sessions a week you’ll systematically improve your entire foundation.  Stop wasting time doing things that aren’t helping you be a better runner.  Start your free trail of MDFit today.  

Chloe running in Italy before her calf injury

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