There is undeniable evidence that a strong core is key to an injury-free, endurance athlete’s body. It’s also important to note that “core” means all the muscles of the lower trunk and pelvis, not just your abdominal area and back but also your hips, glutes, adductors and abductors too. There have been several studies showing how improving your core, as we have defined it, can prevent injury as well as help you recover from one.
One of the most effective and often used training moves is the plank. For many, it is an abdominal default exercise of sorts, and for good reason. You can do it anywhere, it does not take special coordination or equipment, and there are almost countless ways to vary it.
For maximum benefit, hold each of the following plank exercises for 30 seconds to one minute (or as noted), and repeat up to three times, four to five days a week. As your core strength improves, add time and frequency. Before you know it, you will feel the effects of a more stable and powerful core.
Allie Burdick is an ACE certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. She has been running and competing her entire life and was recently part of Team USA in duathlon and will be competing at triathlon nationals in 2016. Her writing has appeared in Runner’s World, Women’s Running and ESPNW. She blogs about triathlon and marathon training at VitaTrain4Life.com.