Tag Archives: core workout

Five Favorite Stability Ball Workouts

As much as I love to just run, I know my aging body needs a balance of running and core strength work.  Right now, I am enjoying some easy miles a few times a week and adding in more core and strength workouts before I start rebuilding my base mileage for early spring 10ks and half marathons. Honestly, it is a mental challenge at times to commit to consistent, daily and weekly workouts that strengthen my core, improve my balance and my flexibility.  However, I know how important all those pieces are to my continued running success.


Stability Ball-Perfect for Balance and Strength

Lately, the stability ball has kept me focused, engaged and motivated to incorporate core strength workouts into my weekly running schedule.  I have a few “Go-to” Stability Ball Exercises that I rounded up from this SITE

  1. Wall Squat-Great for strengthening back and quads- 5 Reps, 1 minute each
  2. Bridge-Focus on the Hips- 5 Reps, 1 minute each
  3. Pike-Love this SITE for proper form and technique
  4. Ball Leg Lifts- Great video HERE
  5. Reverse Lunge- Check out this VIDEO  for proper form and technique

Finally, this is a good set of exercises with the Stability Ball that I have kept me engaged and motivated to be more consistent with core and strength training!

How do you fit in core strength to your weekly running routine?  What is your “must have” piece of equipment for core and strength training?  


Friday Fitness: Favorite Exercise Equipment


Training Update and a Focus on Core Fitness and Strength Training-  The month of April {four weeks}, I spent focusing on building in more base mileage.  The goal was to reestablish a strong base and increase aerobic endurance.  In the aerobic phase, it is all about increasing stamina and endurance.  My mileage increased, but I was keeping my pace in the “low heart rate zone.”   I ran easy miles each week, focusing on 6 to 7 miles, three times a week, as well as a long run of 10 miles.  Typical weekly mileage right now is around 27-30 miles a week.

Towards the beginning of May, I reevaluated the amount of time I was spending on my core and strength training.  I must admit, I am not always great about making core and strength training a priority.  In order to finish strong, you must train strong!

Two weeks ago, I met with a personal fitness trainer.  Through working with her, I have learned some great core and strength exercises that utilize minimal equipment.  We focused on sets of exercises that targeted many areas at once, called compound exercises.  I really enjoyed my sessions with this local, personal fitness trainer.  However, weekly sessions can  be a bit expensive for my budget.  So, I am adding some key equipment to my personal home gym.  



 Equipment Favorites: Core and Strength Training 

Stability Ball stability ball

  • 8 Stability Ball Exercises– The stability ball is a great addition to planks and push -ups.  I have found these challenging, but know that these are key exercises to strengthening my core! Be sure to check out the stability ball exercises link above!  There are so many ways to incorporate the stability ball into any core strength exercise routine!


Bosu Stability Ball

  • Check Out These Bosu Exercises for Runners–  The Bosu Ball is another versatile piece of exercise equipment.  Standing Leg workouts and bridges are just a few key strength exercises for the legs and glutes!  This piece of equipment is currently on my Wish List!!

bosu ball


Resistance Bands

  • Strength Training with Resistance Bands–  I love using resistance bands to complete exercises like the “Monster Walks” which help to strengthen the glutes!  Check out the above link for various exercises to do with resistance bands!  These resistance bands are also great for doing “Side Clam Shells” to increase hip/glute strength.

resistance bands


Neoprene Dumbell

  • Lifting weights has never really been my thing!  However, at my session last week with my fitness trainer, I worked on using dumbbells as part of the strength training routine.  Here is another great link for workouts to do with dumbbells– I typically use two ten pound dumbbells.


Importance of Core and Strength Training- A strong core leads to better running performance.  When runners have a strong core-form and cadence improve.  Overall, spending time each week on core and strength will lead to stronger and faster running.  

  • Twice a week, after a shorter, easy run- I incorporate core and strength training.  I rotate between using the above pieces of equipment.  I don’t do everything each time.

What is your favorite piece of equipment that you have at home for core and strength training?  How often do you incorporate strength training into your weekly running schedule?  

Six “Go-To” Core and Strength Exercises 



I wish I knew ten years ago, what I know now about the importance of core and strength fitness for runners.  In my teens, twenties and even thirties, I just concentrated on getting the miles run! Of course, being sidelined from running due to injuries over the last year has increased my awareness and need for core fitness and strength training! Now, even though I am not injured, I make these exercises a priority 2-3 times a week! 

  • Core and strength exercises are important for building balance and strength in your muscles.
  • Running performance and efficiency improve when muscles are activated in multiple ways.

Six Key Execises:  These are my “go-to” exercises for anywhere and anytime! 

  1. Kettle Bell Swings- I complete one set of ten with my right arm and then my left arm. This exercise really works the muscles in your shoulders to build upper body strength! Watch this Video Here for proper movements.

2. Burpees- This is a great full body exercise that engages all the muscles and    raises your heart rate.   I complete three sets of ten for a total of thirty burpees! 

Watch this Video Here for proper form


3. Jack Knife Crunches-  Hello abs! This exercise aims to engage and work the lower abdominal muscles, along with the lower back muscles. Three sets of ten with 20 second rest in between is what works for me! Here is a Video to watch for proper form and a few variations! 


4. Squats- Love or Hate’m this exercise really targets all the muscles from the waist down! I break up squats into five sets of ten! Squats build up the quads, hamstrings and calve muscles. 


Photo Source
5. Side Clam Shells with Resistance Band-  This exercise is great for targeting and engaging the glute muscles. As runners, it is important to strengthen and stabilize the hip muscles. Strong hips and glutes help to support all the other muscles that are used in running. Watch this Video Here for proper form and technique. 

6. Push-Ups- This exercise targets and engages muscles in the upper arms and shoulders. The abdominal and glute muscles can also be targeted and engaged as well! The diagram below is a great visual! 


Photo Source

  • Back in the spring, when I was working with my PT, I was reminded of how important it is to condition and strengthen the core muscles! 
  • These are six of my favorite core exercises because they don’t require much equipment or space! 

How often do you incorporate core and strength exercises into your weekly fitness and running schedule?