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Core Strength exercises for runners

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Supercharge your running with strength exercises

Use these 3 simple and quick exercise sessions here to become a stronger runner:

Session 1:  Core strength for runners

Session 2:  Strength exercises using your body weight

Session 3:  Tips to use  your ITB Roller.

Each section has a Runtalk Video with Doug James (physiotherapist and podiatrist) and Steve Manning (podiatrist and running footwear specialist) from intraining Running Centre.  

Safety Tips:  

              • Make sure you take the time to work through the stages of progression in each exercise.   
              • Do not attempt the harder exercises before being comfortable with the first ones.  
              • If you are not sure,  come and see us at intraining for the correct technique.  

SESSION 1: Core strength exercises

Exercise 1: Bridges

core bridge itb 1 edit


Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 


Raise your hips off the floor and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. 

Week 1:   3 sets of 6 lifts, 

Week 2:  3 sets of 8 lifts

Week 3:  3 sets of 10 lifts.


Bridge with foam roller under your feet.

Repeat the set sequence.


Slowly roll the foam roller away from you with your feet. 

Keep your hips in the air for 10 seconds and aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Exercise 2: Table Tops

core Itb table top 2 edit


Lay on your back with your feet on the floor.


Raise your knees up until your thigh is 90° to your hip and your knees are bent 90°. 

Hold this position for 10 seconds then lower your feet to the floor.

Week 1:  Repeat for 6

Week 2:  Repeat for 8

Week 3:  Repeat for 10


For a slightly harder challenge alternate raising and lowering each leg during each repetition.


Table Top on full length foam roller. (see image) 


Lay with your back and head on the foam roller. 

Keep your hands on the floor, lift your legs up to the tabletop position as above. 

Your goal…  to maintain your balance while reducing the amount of contact you have with the ground.


Move from hands to fingertips, to one finger only on the ground. 

If you’re well balanced try not to touch the ground at all. 

Try to balance on the roller for 3 sets of 30 seconds (it still counts even if you fall off).

Exercise 3 – Prone Planks.

core plank itb 3 edit


Face the floor with your elbows under your shoulders and resting either on your knees or toes. Your body should make a straight line from your shoulders to knees or ankles.


Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.


Plank with foam roller under the mid part of your forearms.  


Try to hold a plank position while moving your arms slowly and smoothly backwards and forwards on the foam roller.

Ultimate Challenge: 

Try this while balancing on one arm only!!



        • Start with fewer reps
        • Move-in a small range of movement to start
        • Progress the exercises as you feel able by increasing the number of repetitions, difficulty and/or hold time.
        • Stop if you feel sore
        • Need extra help?

If you would like to progress with more challenging exercises or feel that you can not manage the exercises without discomfort or difficulty book in to our team at intraining Running Injury Clinic.  We are runners who specialise in running injuries and biomechanics.

HEAR more from Doug in Runtalk #29 – How to use our ITB Roller for core strength exercises.

SESSION 2: Exercises using your body weight​

Exercise 1:  Squats


Begin with your feet hip-width apart and angled slightly outwards.

Ex 1 squats edit square scaled


Slowly lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. 

Focus on keeping most of your weight on your heels. 

Return to your starting position. 

Repeat 12 times for 3 sets. 


Single leg squats


Stand with a stable chair positioned just behind you. 

Lift one foot off the ground in front of you and slowly lower your backside down towards the chair. 

Return to starting position just before you make contact with the chair. 

Keep your knee steady during this exercise (minimise any sideways movement).

Repeat 12 times for 3 sets. 


Exercise 2:  Double Leg Calf Raises


Stand with your feet at hip-width apart.

ActionEx 2 progression single leg calf raise portrait 2 scaled

Slowly raise onto tiptoes. 

Take two seconds to raise, and two to lower.   

Repeat:  2 sets 10


Single leg calf raises

As per the double leg version, perform this on single let only, using the wall or a table to help with balance. 

Keep an even rhythm throughout the exercise

Tip:  If you’re unable to complete 12 in a row on one leg, continue the rest of the exercise on two legs.

Exercise 3:  Lunges


Be careful with this exercise if you are prone to patella (knee cap) pain.


Stand with your hands on your hips.

Ex 3 lunge edit squareAction

Take a long step forward and bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground.

Keep your front shin vertical and your front knee over your ankle instead of your toes.

Check your knee is pointing forwards rather than inwards.

Step forward with the other leg

Repeat 10 times on each leg. Aim for 3 sets.

Progression: Split squat jump

Alternate jumping and switching your lead leg.

Focus on glute contraction to maintain stable hips at landing.  

You need strong glutes and core for this one!!

Week 1:   2 set of 6 jumps

Week 2:  3 sets of 6 jumps

Week 3:  2 sets 8 jumps

Week 4:  3 sets 10 jumps

SESSION 3: How to use your ITB roller for recovery

Your ITB Roller is a very handy accessory to have at home. 

It helps with:

      • Massaging your legs between runs
      •  A tool to help manage ITB niggles and injuries
      • Strength exercises (as seen in session 1)

Using your ITB roller can be uncomfortable at first, but once you do this a few times, your body adapts.


Lie your thigh across the roller.

Rest your feet on the ground

Balance with your arms


Roll your thigh across the roller using your arms to move.

For more pressure on your thigh, lift you feet off the ground.  

Roll for 5 – 10 mins , 3 – 5 times a week. 

WATCH how Doug James, physiotherapist and podiatrist, uses the ITB Roller for ITB, quad and calf massage.    


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