Is your core strong enough to support your long distance training? Our expert, Khadi Madama, founder of MMA Yoga on the Mat, suggests using the following core strengthening exercise to simultaneously test your strength level and strengthen your core.
Learn how to put your core muscles to work for your run! Not only will you prevent injury, but you will notice increased endurance due to your improvement in form.
The Core Test: Stationary Leg Lifts
Lay on your back on a soft surface; barefoot.
Phase One: use your hands, palms down, placed under your hips for support. Place yourself where you can easily see a clock and lift your legs to a 45 degree angle (NOT straight up, so that your core STAYS fully engaged!) and hold them in place for 1 minute.
Phase Two: drop your legs to a 60 degree angle and hold for 1 minute.
Phase Three: drop your legs to a 90 degree angle, which is above the floor about 1-4 inches and hold for 1 minute. At the end of the test, lower your legs to the floor without dropping them.
Pull your knees to your chest, loosely, so that you can rock side to side to massage the lower spine. If you could do all three minutes without caving in, your core is pretty strong–stronger than most. However, the real test comes in stepping this up to being able to do the test with no hands under your hips and finally, the last test is to be able to do the three phases while lifting some light weights simultaneously throughout the test. When you get to this stage, you know that your core is truly strong.
If you can’t do phase one of the test, don’t be surprised. Just make it a point to practice once per week. Don’t try to build this up too fast. Once per week is just fine. You’ll see rapid progress just taking your time.
How do you fare? Will you commit to practicing this exercise once per week to strengthen your core?