Strengthen your core and improve your run performance with these four exercises

A strong core could improve your running—try these exercises to boost your speed

Happy runner
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's no secret that having a stronger core can improve your running form. Working on your mid-body muscles can help your posture, boost your running efficiency and even protect you from injuries. But if you want to strengthen these muscles, you need to do some core-strengthening exercises alongside your usual runs. 

Fitness coach Kim Miller has put together a quick core workout specifically designed to help runners. In her video below, she's taken the time to demonstrate each move slowly, so you can easily copy her technique. 

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How to do Kim's workout

To do the workout, perform the four moves for the suggested number of repetitions (reps) as listed in the video. Move slowly through each exercise at first, to make sure you're performing each one correctly, and keep your core engaged throughout.

All you need to do the workout is a set of dumbbells, but you can use a full water bottle or a heavy book for the weighted exercises. You can also adjust the routine to suit your fitness levels; increase the reps and pick a heavier weight if you want a challenge, or ditch the weights and decrease the reps if you need an easier option. 

Benefits of a strong core for runners

Research in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning found that runners who performed a strength and conditioning program two to three times a week for 8-12 weeks improved their body's efficiency at converting oxygen into forward motion, or their "running economy". Another study published in PLOS ONE found that just eight weeks of core training could increase core endurance and running economy—so it's well worth trying to build muscle in this area if you want to improve your run times. 

Core stability is also important for good running posture and it can take pressure off other areas of the body. So while it might seem like a lot of hassle to perfect your running form, it could reduce your risk of injury in the long term. 

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Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.