Progressive Core Strengthing Exercises for Endurance Athletes

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Cyclist, runners, and triathletes have all been told the benefits of strengthening our core. But having a strong core does not mean doing endless crunches, nor does it just mean a ripped 6 pack. Instead, when designing a core workout routine, it is important that the exercises you do are functional, target multiple muscles groups, and (like any training program) are progressive–we can’t expect to do the same thing over and over again and get different results.

With this approach in mind, we put together a blog post that covers three levels of some of our favorite core exercises that you can do at home in conjunction with your existing biking, running, and swimming. Add in three to four days of these exercises to your program and you will have more power during your workouts and be finishing those workouts stronger.

Start with a progress program of the level 1 exercises. Once you are able to achieve optimal form and are no longer challenged by these workouts progress to the next level (for most each level should be 3-4 weeks). Do each exercises in the level, then rest, then repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Level I

1.) Plank

Start with 30 seconds and progress up to a full 60sec with solid form. After you have mastered a full 60 seconds, try to raise one of your legs at a time for 10-20sec while keeping hips level.

2.) Side Plank

Start with 20 seconds each side and progress up to 45 seconds on each side. Once 30 – 45 seconds become sustainable, try raising the top leg without letting you hips drop.

3.) Bicycle Crunches

Start with 10 reps (5 each side) and progress up to 20 reps total. Try not to rush through the reps, instead stay smooth and in control.

Level II

1.) Timbers

Start with doing 12 reps (6 each side) and progressing up to 20 reps total. The key with this exercise is being in control the entire time. Don’t let gravity pull the leg down. Bring it down, then up ┬ánice and slow.

2.) Pillar of Strength

Start with 10 reps (5 each side) and progress to 20 reps total. The key to knowing you are ready to progress to more reps is when you can complete the current reps without letting your hips drop as you lift your arms.

3.) Thread Throughs

Start with 7 reps each side and progress to 15 reps total.

Level III (stability ball needed)

1.) Stability Ball Crunches

Start with 10 reps and progress up to 20 reps total. Do not rush through the exercises.

2.) Prone Cobra

Start with 10 reps and progress up to 20 reps total.

3.) Knees to Chest

Start with 7 reps and progress up to 20 reps total.

For more information on correct form and what progression might be best for you given your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, please contact us at Upper Echelon Fitness and Rehabilitation.

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