IF YOU’RE A serious runner, you’re probably not doing core workouts to better prepare your body to shoulder heavy weights or hone six-pack abs as your ultimate goal. Your aim is more likely to build up the rest of your body to support your high-mileage habit.
But you’re not going to be able to do that with some half-hearted situps and planks after you come in from your long run; you’ll need some more involved ab training to build the type of core you want. Men’s Health and Runner’s World have teamed up to give you the ultimate workout program, 20-Minute Functional Core (available through Men’s Health MVP Premium), which provides you with ab-training knowledge that borrows some weight room techniques so your cross-training can be as effective as possible.
Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. and Runner’s World coach Jess Movold lead you through the workouts—and they have a super effective movement you can use immediately to work your abs, lower back muscles, and obliques: the hollow hold.
The key to the hollow hold is bracing, a function of your core that helps to support the spine. “It’s going to make us that much better at all our lifts—and it’s going to make us that sturdier and that much more resilient when we’re running, too,” says Samuel.
You can work up to longer static holds in this position, giving your core a tough isometric challenge. Once you can hold for a minute with solid form, give these variations a try.
Perform each exercise for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for two to three total rounds.
This will train anti-rotation, another key function of the core.
As the name implies, this variation also hones anti-rotation. You’ll fight against gravity to keep your position from shifting.
Want more helpful ab training moves from Samuel and Movold? Check out the entire 20-Minute Functional Core program, available as part of Men’s Health MVP Premium.
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
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