Our core is the engine that powers our movements. It is the center and starting point for all of the work that we do as runners or triathletes. Every movement you make and every goal you have is supported by your core.
- Want to have a strong finish? Build a strong core.
- What to prevent injury? Build a strong core.
- Want to improve your strength, stability and balance? Build a strong core.
- Want to make your form more efficient–especially as you fatigue? Build a strong core.
- Want to have hot 6-back abs and a booty you can bounce a quarter off of? Yup, you guessed it: build a strong core.
But, what exactly constitutes our core?
Many people may think of abdominals exercises when they think of their core. And, to be sure, our abdominal muscles are an important part of our core muscle system – but they aren’t the only part. Also included here are our glutes, hips, and lower back.
So, if you are only doing crunches, you aren’t working your entire core.
Despite the overwhelming evidence about the importance of a strong core, with time-crunched schedules and hectic lifestyles, core work is frequently the first thing dropped off of an athlete’s training schedule. This is a big mistake!
So, we developed a series of 15 minute core workouts that our athletes do as either warm-ups or cool downs to their main swim, bike or run sessions of the day. These workouts can be completed in 15 – 25 minutes, and can be incorporated into your routine 3 to 7 times a week.
We have hundreds of exercises in our Training Peaks library. So, we thought we share some of them to help you design your own 15 minute core workout. We’ve created a playlist of 22 core exercises, that cover the abs, the glutes, the hips and the low back. You’ll notice that most of these exercises are not the most obvious ones – and that’s on purpose because we wanted to offer you some new ideas to add to what you already do.
To complete the routine, we recommend selecting 5 – 7 different exercises (from this list or your own) and completing this session as a circuit. We offer three different levels to help get you started.
Beginners: Start with 10 repetitions of each exercise, and move quickly from one exercise to the next without any rest. (In the case of any exercises where you hold the effort, such as plank, work on 30-60 seconds of holding.) After you have done 1 set of each exercise, you have completed 1 round of the circuit. Complete a total of 3 rounds. You may take 30-60 seconds rest between each round.
Beginner to Intermediate: Continue with the repetition-based circuit approach, but add repetitions up to 30 per exercise as you get stronger. Complete 3 rounds. You may take 30-60 seconds rest between each round.
Advanced: Do as many repetitions as you can in a minute. This segments are not about speed or total quantity, but about solid, consistent form throughout each minute-long set. Move quickly from one exercise to the next. After you have completed 1 minute for each exercise, you will have completed 1 round. Do a total of 3 rounds. No rest between rounds.
No matter what your level, only do as many repetitions as you can while keeping good form. If you compromise your form, then you will not be working the correct muscles. There is absolutely no point in doing a lot of repetitions if they are all performed with crappy form.
Take note of what you are able to complete, and chart your progress as evidence of your building strength. Progress is a wonderful motivator!
How do you incorporate core in your training schedule?
If you try our workouts, please let us know how you like them! We’d love your feedback.
Do you have questions about how to include core and strength training into your routine? Contact us!