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The core of a fast and strong runner

If you want to become a better runner, it seems obvious to run more and run faster. But the real secret to strong, speedy success just may be in your midsection.

“Core stability is the most important component for any movement,” says Diana Mitrea, certified personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur based in New York City. “Every functional movement we do, including running, starts from the core, so strengthening it will help everything else we do.” Here are three balance-specific exercises Mitrea recommends.

1. Hollow Rock & Hold

Lie on your back and thinking about making a “banana” position with your body. Place your hands over your head, keeping your shoulders away from your ears and your feet slightly off the ground. The key to this move – and where most people go wrong – is the lower back. It needs to be 100% pressed into the ground. This allows the activation of the upper and lower abs. Think about bringing your bottom rib and your hipbone together. You can either hold this movement for several seconds before resting and repeating, or, for a more challenging option, rock back and forth.

2. Bird Dog

This move specifically targets the lower back muscles. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Bring your knees 1 inch off the ground and hold. Slowly, without moving anything else, bring your opposite arm and leg up and straighten them out to your body level. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side, alternating for 60 seconds.

3. Plank

Being in a push-up position with the hands directly under the shoulders or on your forearms. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds before resting and repeating. “Don’t ever forget the basics,” Mitrea says. “People want to do fancy ab movements, but the best ones are the ones you probably already know.”

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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