The Stay-in-Place Core Workout Runners Can Do Anywhere

by Molly Hurford
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The Stay-in-Place Core Workout Runners Can Do Anywhere

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, travel brings some sort of disruption to your running routine. For most of us, packing our running gear is a given, but even if it’s not, you’ve got options. Options like doing a little core work in your hotel room. As runners, we have the tendency to neglect anything above the waist, but since you’re trapped in a hotel room, you might as well make the most of it. If you only have a small, yoga mat-sized spot next to the bed and even just a pair of pajamas in lieu of activewear, you can make a decent circuit happen.

Chiropractor Greg Wright swears by planks for athletes as one of the most functional ways we can train our core. For bodyweight exercises, they’re hard to beat. This routine incorporates a lot of the strength-building exercises found in yoga practices since the movements don’t require weights or big movements.

Try these moves, done in a circuit for anywhere from 10–30 minutes, depending on how much free time you have.

SUN SALUTATIONS

Whether you’re used to a bootcamp class or a vinyasa flow yoga session, you know this exercise. It’s a great way to start each set, since you get a gentle stretch while starting to move. Remember to spend a breath or two in each position as you move through.

The move: Begin standing and bring your arms overhead. Hinge forward and fold at the waist into a forward fold, letting your arms hang down. Straighten your spine and look forward. Plant your hands on the ground, and step back into your first plank for the day, holding for an extra breath or two. Lower like you’re doing a pushup, but instead of popping all the way back up, gently press your hands into the ground and push your head and chest up into a cobra pose, getting a great stretch in your back. Then, pull your butt up so you’re in a downward dog, creating a triangle shape with your body and the floor. Stay here for a breath, then walk back to a forward fold, and start all over again. Repeat three times.

MODIFIED MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

Just because we’re focusing on strength doesn’t mean we’re skipping cardio altogether.

The move: From plank position, with your arms straight and your body in a straight line, bring one leg in toward your chest and then the other. Try to switch legs as fast as you can without losing the plank posture or falling over (like your legs are running). Do this for 30 seconds, as quickly as you can.

LUNGES

The walking lunge is a runner favorite and a staple for almost every strength-training routine for endurance athletes, according to coach Jacques DeVore.

The move: Lunge forward with your right foot, then step the right foot back to the starting point and repeat. Do these slowly, and work into your hips to open them up, especially if you’ve been traveling or in meetings all day. Alternate sides and focus on staying controlled and balanced, not speeding through. (Pro tip: If you want extra ‘oomf’ to this exercise, weigh your lunge with anything from a water bottle to a suitcase, but try to have relatively equal weight on each side.) Do 10–15 per side.

AIR SQUATS

Using your bodyweight while moving quickly is the name of the game for air squats.

The move: Air squats are done quickly and explosively: Stand straight, then come down into a squat. Now, explode up with a hop, and come back down into a squat. Keep repeating.

Do this for 30 seconds, as quickly as you can.


READ MORE > THE 5-MOVE CORE WORKOUT FOR RUNNERS


PLANK TO SIDE PLANK

Start in a normal plank, on your hands or forearms. Hold as firmly as possible for 15 seconds, then shift onto your right side so your right leg is stacked on your left leg and your right hand rotates up and into the air so you’re entirely on your left hand and foot. Hold for 15 seconds, then return to center for 15 before switching to the right side for the last 15 seconds. Do two sets, taking a 30–60 second break between sets.

If you have access to a hotel gym with a treadmill — but hate treadmills for full workouts — do each circuit, then add 5–10 minutes of easy running between sets for up to an hour. Then, hop in the conveniently-right-there shower and get on with the day!


GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT

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  • Margie English

    The Walking lunge as shown here is a little awkward. Isn’t the knee supposed to stay behind the tips of the foot?

    • Cabel Gray

      Yes, yes it is. I noticed that, too. 🙂

      • Get Active

        No, you don’t need to keep your knee behind your toes. It’s a natural, functional movement but commonly given as an incorrect teaching point.