Your core muscles, which include your abs, glutes, hips and lower back, work together to hold your torso solid when you run. They also keep energy from being wasted, prevent a litany of injuries and power your stride.

One of the best ways to strengthen your core is by performing plank exercises.

The Form

Having good technique is not just the best way to plank, it’s the only way to plank, if you want the full benefits of your effort and to avoid injury.

Use these best practices as you work through the plank variations below:

  • Squeeze your glutes to stabilize the bottom half of your body.
  • Avoid locking your knees by keeping them slightly bent.
  • Avoid collapsing your lower back.
  • Actively contract your shoulder blades (latissimus muscles) to pack the shoulders down in relation to your torso.
  • Tighten your abdominals by drawing your belly button toward your spine.
  • Lengthen your spine by lifting your head away from your shoulders.
  • Position your feet at least hip-width apart, unless otherwise stated.
  • Perform planks with your knees on the floor for easier variations.

Planks can be performed before, during and after your run or in the middle of the aisle of a busy supermarket (use your judgment!). There’s no reason not to get them in. They are quick and effective and will help you become the best runner you can be.

Here are seven different variations to add to your weekly training:

Basic Plank
Basic Plank With a Leg Raise
Two-Point Plank
Up and Down Plank
Rocking Plank
Spiderman Plank
Side Plank With a Twist

About the Author:

Lisa Hamilton is a 1:16 half marathoner, 2:43 marathoner and the heart and soul behind the site The Conscious Runner ( With a focus on conscious running, Lisa helps runners meet their goals and feel great while doing it.