How Ab Workouts for Runners Work

Ab Workouts for Runners at the Gym

You need strong side and back muscles to counter the increasing strength in your stomach area.
You need strong side and back muscles to counter the increasing strength in your stomach area.

For runners, a complete gym is a candy land of choices that lead to better running performance. But there are so many workout options that you may not know where to begin. The following exercises use gym equipment to help you get stronger and faster:

Back extension maneuvers are very good for core conditioning. Start face down on a Roman chair with your legs wrapped securely and then lift your torso up until it's parallel to the ground. Be sure to keep your back straight. Arching your back greatly increases your chances of injury and reduces the effectiveness of this exercise. Hold for 45 seconds, and as you improve, up to three minutes.

Body curls are another highly recommend ab workout. Hang from a pull-up bar with the palms of your hands facing away from your body. Use your core and ab muscles to curl your body up until your knees are between your arms. When you've reached the best position you'll be nearly upside down. Hold this for a moment and then slowly carefully lower your body into your starting position. Begin with one to two reps, build to four, then add a second set, with a minute or so of rest between sets.

Next, find your gym's captain's chair. Start with your forearms supported on the padded arms of the chair, and your legs hanging straight down. Lift your knees toward your chest by contracting your abs. Lower your knees slowly. Do two sets of 10 reps.

Now try some erect lateral bends. With both hands, hold a free weight bar across your shoulders. With your knees bent a little, keep your weight on your heels and tip your body to your right side, moving the bar toward your ankle, but without bending forward at the waist. Repeat this move to your left side. Use about three seconds to move the bar down and about one second in raising the bar back to your original position. Do two to three sets of five reps on each side.

You can do Swiss hip extensions at the gym or at home. Sit straight up on a stability ball and walk your legs forward so the ball moves up your spine. Keep moving until the ball reaches your shoulder blades. With your arms extended outwards to your sides, lift your hips up until your torso is parallel to the floor. Lift one knee about 45 degrees, lower it, and then lower your hips toward the floor. Repeat these moves for the other side of your body. That will count as one rep. Plan to do three sets of five to seven reps, and for the best workout and optimum results, rest for a few minutes between sets.