Core work

Hello image

I'm bored of my core workout routine. Which I dont really have.
Can't get to a routine actually. Bored of every move. No time to do it. Gladly skip it when I'm busy.
Yet I know its important. And I have noticed a huge difference when I've not done it as much as a used to. Negative difference (lower back pain etc)

I just wanted to know whats your core workout routine.
I.e. How often. How long for. What do you do. How many reps etc.
Do you do pilates type things? Fitball? Go to class?
I need some ideas to boost mine.

Thanks image


  • Hi Eli - core to my mind core work is essential.  I don't mean every day for an hour - but maybe twice a week for half an hour just to keep things working.

    For me it became a real problem. 2 years ago I was out running and swallowed a fly! I coughed involuntarily (as you would) and popped a disc in my spine.  Agony!!  Anyway over about 3 weeks it got better and I started running again but always had lower back pain. Not bad enough to stop me but over the next 2 years it got gradually worse.  I saw physios, chiropractors, sports therapists, podiatrists - no one could get to the bottom of it.  My disc was fine and no problem with my spine.  This year I went to the physio for what i said would be the last time.  Though whether i ran or not my back hurt.  It wasn't running causing it.  What he discovered was i had no core strength at all.  When I hurt my back all the supporting muscles "turned off" to the injured area.  This is what happens when you injure any area and as you heal they "turn on" again.  because i'd started running too soon mine never turned on so other muscles took up the job that my core should do.  So I was constantly plagued by tight glutes, ITB, hamstrings etc. I was biomechanically a mess and needed to completely re-train my core.

    None of us is biomechanically perfect.  We all run a tightrope that when everything is OK we can run without a problem even though we might not be as strong in some areas as we should be or bits of us are tighter than they should be.  However, if we become injured that can kick off a chain reaction that takes time and a great deal of effort to correct.  That is why your core is so important - it's the mainstay of successful running and running injury free.

    If you are running OK a pilates class once a week, or a fitball class plus half an hour at home should keep you strong.  We don't need a core like Jessica Ennis (though that would be nice!) to keep running but a little maintenance goes a long way to protecting yourself.  Just be aware though that "core" doesn't mean "abs". Its not a six pack you're after but the supporting muscles deep inside that you're after.... though a sixpack does look good as well!

    Now I'm much better I do a pilates class or fitball once a week and one half hour at home.  I generally do about 30 reps of about 6 different excersises.

  • Thanks for the reply.

    Well I currently try to do stuff at home 2-3 times a week but I can't even keep up to that. No chance to get time for any Pilates classes as I work 2 jobs so im facing to keep doing this stuff at home.
    The thing is that I don't really know many moves apart from crunches which I do on fit ball, planks and bridges. I want to do a bit of weights or press ups too as I want to keep my arms toned.
    Not sure if I should work on my legs too. Squats and lunges to keep my knees in place. The thing is I want to do all this because I know there is a benefit but I just find it boring and having a busy lifestyle, I just can't be bothered.

    I think if I could have some structured exercises I would probably keep up with it more.

    I wish I had time to do classes. I did yoga few years ago and I've never felt stronger.
  • The problem with squats and lunges is that you could end up doing more harm than good if your core strength isn't there.

    You can do core excersises anywhere.  Sitting at your desk - sit up straight,  suck in your belly and just turn on your trans abs as hard as you can and hold for 1 minute then just repeat (not ALL day LOL image), or whilst your walking to the bus or driving the car.  It all helps.  Plank is good and side plank, "tilt and bridge" on a ball, Google for core strength excersises or look on You tube - there's loads.  As I said, it's just "maintenance" not world championship type strength!  We runners are a funny bunch - we want to run (we can be bothered doing that!) but tend to only stretch/strengthen when we're injured!  if i were you I'd go for a couple of pilates classes just to get an idea of the excersises - or get a DVD?  They''re not expensive. And if you already have lower back pain - there could be something already not quite right?

  • I'd love to go to pilates classes. Unfortunately the only times I can fit anything in are monday and friday morning before work or sunday night and there arent any classes anywhere those times!

    I think all I'm after is some structured plan, which is why I was nosing about other peoples routines.
  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    I do this three times a week:

    Keeps coach happy and makes my abs hurt image

  • Wow Curley - that is pretty advanced stuff! Hyper back with scissor legs & butterfly arms???? I'd be in a knot after 10 secs - a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time image.  Still all good stuff even if you're doing 20 or 30 sec reps.  Made a note of the web address and may start to incorporate some of the easier moves image image.

    That poor girl.....

  • Blimey, fantastic six pack!!!

    No seriously, that looks pretty impressive, and its the kind of thing I was looking for!
    Thank you for posting this!
    Might be sensible to start off each exercise from 20-30 seconds and increase as you improve!
  • Elli you mention that you want to do a bit of weights as well to tone your arms up... kill 2 birds with one stone... use the fit ball as you would a bench in the gym... sit on it for shoulder press, bicep curls,  kneel on it for bent over row, roll down so your head/shoulders are resting on it for chest press/flyes just bear in mind that whilst doing any of the exercises keep your back straight & core tight.  When you roll down to do the chest press make sure you don't let your bottom sag... in theory it should be a straight line from your hips all the way through.  Basically any exercise you can do on a bench you can do on the ball.  The closer together you have your feet the more you have to work your core to stabilise yourself.
  • I have had quite a few lower back issues this last year and have been given a core routine to do - this was initially 5 times a week but is now down to 2 as I've improved a lot with it.

    Routine is:

    - 1 minute/90 seconds lunges on each leg(5kg dumbell each hand) - including pulsing and exaggerated lunges followed by the dynamic lunges you do quickly

    - Squats by 15 plus 15 pulses by 2. single leg squats by 20 each leg

    - Step ups by 20 leading each leg with 20kg barbell

    -  Bridge - 2 legged then into 10 second holds each leg, only drop down after 3 sets per leg x 3

    - Superman back raises

    - Press ups x 15 x 2

    -Plank x 45 seconds x 2

    - side plank twists x 8 x 2

    - calf raises x 20 x 2

    - Balance board stuff too and proproception.

    I had a sore back till I did the above so my motivation is that I will get a sore back unless I do it!! 

    Mix it up a bit and try circuit classes etc.

  • Thanks guys!

    Good ones there. I used to do quite a lot of all this stuff mentioned, about 2 years ago when I was lucky enough to have just one job. I remember feeling pretty solid and strong. I did my PB back then in both 10k and HM.
    I think I have just "forgotten" most of it, if that's at all possible.

    I used to do a box fit class once a week, but they shut the gym where I used to go (at work so it was really handy).

    OK keep the ideas coming, I'm creating a plan in my head as I read on image

  • Never did anything, find it too boring. But I know I need to, it makes a difference, reading all this, I'm starting from tomorrow.
  • Thanks for the link Curly. Will be trying this tomorrow afternoon.

    Edit: spelling.
  • Good post by curly. click to see all of that coachs videos too

    Ellie I do lots of circuit and body weight classes and I'd find those challenging to the point of collapse even !
    Start gently. Tommy guns are pretty good to get you going, then try the more advanced.

    No boot camps you can find nearby ? For example, at least 5 nearby to me or work varying from £2 to £4 a session. I find classes get me motivated a lot easier.

    Definitely worth doing, a class is great if you can find one, in gym if not.

    These have kept me injury free and in great shape all year... Whilst others pulled up with injuries or found hills tough in a marathon, I kept on running like a duracell bunny image
  • Yeah it all sound good and I've wanted to try all sorts ... it's just that I can't get to classes...
  • I hope you don't mind me jumping in on this thread, but I was wondering when you do these core workouts in relation to your runs. I can never work out when to schedule things like this in!
  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭
    Leigh - always do them AFTER your runs (especially the first few times), so I get back and have a swig of water and then do it while I am still in kit. If I run twice in a day, I do it after the second run. I try not to do it on a quality day because that running V sit gives me sore quads and quality work does too, so if I do both I am in for it the next day image
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