Do This Core-Plus-Sprints Workout For Better Form

Do this core-plus-sprints workout to maintain proper run form off the bike.

Poor core strength causes poor running form, so it’s important to build functional strength in order to maintain your form when you’re tired from the bike leg. This workout, which I named the “Syracuse Strides” in honor of the 2015 Men’s NCAA Division I Cross Country Champions, works to build your core and leg strength with 50-meter sprints between exercises.

Focus on maintaining perfect form during the sprints: run tall, lean your hips, chest and shoulders forward together in a straight line; run on your forefeet instead of your heels and practice quick leg turnover.

To ease into the routine, start with only the core exercises for a week, then introduce only one set followed by sprints. When you’re ready, do the full thing: a set of one exercise followed by a 50-meter sprint. You should always do the Syracuse Strides immediately post-run, working up to two sets, twice a week.

Roll-ups (15 legs open, 15 legs closed)

Use your core to roll up from your back and try to touch your toes. After lying back down, open your legs, and on the next roll up, reach for the open space between your feet.

Hamstring curls (15 each leg):

Driving your left foot into the ground, push your hips and right leg high into the air (use the leg on the ground, not your core). Change legs after 15 reps. You should feel this in your hamstrings and glutes.

Bird Dogs (15 each side)

Hold this pose for 5 seconds, then quickly switch to opposite arm and leg. The idea is to make the switch smooth and fast. That wobbling you feel at first after switching? That’s core weakness.

Flutter kicks (15 each leg)

Alternate kicking your legs up and down to a maximum height of two feet. Never bend your knees, never let your heels touch the ground and keep your core tight with a flat back against the ground.

Burpees (15 total)

The focus on this version is not the push-up, but the fast, single motion of bringing your knees under your chest and jumping up for maximum height. Focus on good form and speed on the sprint that follows; it’ll be the toughest one.

Bicycles (15 each leg)

Lift your shoulder blades off the ground and reach the opposite elbow to your bent knee while the other leg remains straight, a foot above the ground. Switch quickly.

Supermans (30 total)

On your stomach, raise and lower your chest and legs in unison, never letting your hands and feet touch the ground. You should feel this in your back.

Plank (1 min.)

Keep your back flat, butt down, and hold your core tight.

Illustrations by Oliver Baker