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As a runner, you understand the importance of maintaining a strong and stable core for optimal performance, injury prevention, and running efficiency. In your pursuit of a stronger core, the humble yoga ball emerges as a powerful tool. Here are 4 core exercises shared by physical therapist Dr Rebecca Smith, PT, DPT using a yoga ball that will help you develop a solid core and propel your running game to new heights.
1) Stir the Pot:
The “Stir the Pot” exercise is an excellent way to engage your entire core while challenging your stability. Start by assuming a plank position on your elbows with the yoga ball beneath your forearms. Now, begin moving your arms up and down, as well as in circular motions, both clockwise and counterclockwise. This exercise activates your deep core muscles and improves your core endurance, which is crucial for maintaining proper form during long-distance runs.
2) Knees to Elbows:
To target your lower abs and strengthen your hip flexors, try the “Knees to Elbows” exercise using the yoga ball. Start in a plank position with your feet resting on the ball. Engage your core and slowly draw your knees towards your chest while keeping your back straight. Feel the contraction in your abdominal muscles as you bring your knees in. This exercise enhances your core stability, balance, and control, all of which are essential for efficient running.
The “Jackknife” exercise takes the intensity up a notch by challenging your core strength and stability. Begin in a plank position with your feet on the yoga ball. Engage your core muscles and slowly pull your feet towards your upper body while maintaining straight knees. This movement creates a dynamic pike position, activating your entire core, including your lower abs, hip flexors, and lower back. The jackknife exercise enhances your core control and builds resilience, allowing you to maintain proper running mechanics even during longer runs.
To target your deep core muscles, including your transverse abdominis and obliques, incorporate the “Deadbugs” exercise into your routine. Lie on your back with your feet elevated and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place the yoga ball between your hands and knees. Now, press the ball with gentle pressure as you simultaneously extend one arm and the opposite leg away from your body. Alternate sides while maintaining a stable and engaged core. Deadbugs improve your core stability and coordination, translating to better running posture and overall performance.
Be sure to check out Dr. Rebecca Smith’s video below on how to perform these exercises!
A strong core is the foundation for optimal running performance. By incorporating these yoga ball exercises into your training routine, you’ll target your core muscles in a challenging yet effective way. Remember, a strong core not only helps propel you forward during runs but also aids in injury prevention and stability during strength training exercises. So, grab that yoga ball and get ready to unlock your full running potential by strengthening your core!
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting any new exercise routine to ensure it suits your individual needs and abilities.