From Abs to Pelvis: Comprehensive Standing Core Workouts for All

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

If you’re on the hunt for the crème de la crème of standing core exercises, you’ve just struck gold. Your core isn’t just about getting that beach-ready six-pack; it’s the powerhouse of your body, the unsung hero behind every move you make.

Why the fuss about core training, you ask?

Whether you’re chasing that dream midsection, leveling up your running game, or simply looking to enhance your athletic prowess, the core stands tall (pun intended!) as the linchpin.

When we say ‘core,’ we’re not just talking about abs. Dive deeper, and you have the lower back, hips, glutes, and even the pelvic floor. It’s like the Avengers of your body, each muscle playing its critical role.

But why core strength matters? Here are two reasons:

  • Running Powerhouse: Ever felt the burn in your lower back during a run or those glutes pushing you forward on those uphill climbs? That’s your core doing the heavy lifting. A robust core can be the difference between shaving minutes off your marathon time or stopping mid-race because of fatigue.
  • Injury Prevention: No one likes being sidelined due to injuries. A strengthened core can be your protective shield, ensuring you maintain form even as fatigue creeps in. It aligns your posture, supports your spine, and keeps injuries at bay.

Crunches are Baaaad

Let’s talk about a fan favorite – the age-old crunch. I bet you’ve done thousands over the years, right? Well, I’m here to drop a little truth bomb: it might be time to kick crunches to the curb.

Why the anti-crunch sentiment? Here’s the lowdown:

Surface-Level Training:

Crunches? More like superficial muscle ticklers! They tend to focus only on those top-layer abs, leaving the deep and essential core muscles neglected. We want all-around strength, not just a surface show!

Relevance Matters:

As runners, we need exercises tailored to our sport. Classic crunches and sit-ups? They’re not in tune with the unique demands of running. It’s like trying to become a master chef by just making toast. It won’t cut it!

Risk Over Reward:

Repeatedly crunching away can strain your back and neck, leading to potential injuries. Why risk it when there are countless effective and safe core exercises out there?

Standing Core Exercises enters the picture

Ever noticed how most core workouts have you lying down? But here’s a thought: Why not stand tall and challenge your core? That’s where standing core exercises waltz in, and let me tell you, they’re the real MVPs.

Here’s why I’m raving about them:

Hello, Stabilizers! Standing core moves are like a secret handshake with your stabilizer muscles. They engage these hidden heroes better than many traditional floor exercises. And when your stabilizers are strong, your entire body moves better.

The routine I’ll introduce doesn’t just tease your core; it flirts with EVERY muscle in that area. Think obliques, lower back, hip flexors – the whole gang’s here. Talk about efficiency!

As if working your core wasn’t enough, these exercises pull double duty. They’re total-body moves that also rev up your calorie burn. So, while you’re sculpting that midsection, you’re also giving your metabolism a little boost. Surprise! It’s not just an ab routine; it’s a calorie torcher.

Get ready to stand up (literally!) and take your core training to new heights. Let’s dive into this standing core extravaganza!

The Standing Core Workout Routine You Need

Here’s what you’re diving into:

  • Duration: A crisp 20 minutes. Perfect for squeezing in before a run, after work, or any ‘me-time’ you can grab.
  • Moves: A spicy mix of seven dynamic standing core exercises. Each move is crafted to challenge every nook and cranny of your midsection.
  • Repetitions: For optimal results, hit each move for 30 seconds to a full minute, making sure to cycle through them 2 or 3 times.
  • Flow: We’re going circuit-style! Keep the momentum and transition swiftly from one move to the next. Trust me; your heart rate will thank you!
  • Level Up: Feeling like a pro? Awesome! Integrate equipment like medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a cable to add resistance and elevate your workout intensity.

Standing Core Exercise – 1. Single Leg Reach

Muscles Targeted:

This move is like a mini superhero pose, targeting the entire core while also toning those hamstrings and quads. Plus, as a bonus, it sharpens your balance game!

Proper form

Plant and Pose: Start by firmly planting your right foot on the ground. As you establish your balance, raise your left arm in front of you, palm facing down.

Dip and Reach: As you breathe out, begin to hinge forward from your hips. Simultaneously, extend your left leg straight out behind you. Imagine you’re trying to form a straight line from your left fingertips all the way to your left heel.

Challenge Accepted: Feeling daring? Try to touch your right toes with your left hand. If you wobble a bit, no worries – it’s all part of the balance challenge.

Rise and Shine: Engage those hamstrings and glutes (think of giving them a good squeeze!) to pull yourself back to the starting position.

Count ‘Em Up: That was one! Go for eight of these on your right leg, then switch over and give the left leg its turn in the spotlight.

Sets: Aim to complete this sequence three times on each side.

Standing Core Exercise – 2. Single Leg Squat

Muscles Targeted:

The Single Leg Squat works the entire core.

Plus it improves mobility and balance throughout the pelvis and lower body.

The Single Leg Squat isn’t just another squat—it’s the superhero among squats! Not only does it sculpt your core, but it also promotes impeccable balance and mobility, especially in your pelvis and lower regions.

Proper Form

Stand Proud: Start with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Now, claim your balance on your right leg, making sure it’s firmly planted.

Begin the Descent: Initiate the squat. Think of it as an imaginary chair behind you that you’re trying to sit on. As you bend your knee, let your hips travel back.

Stay Tall: Ensure your spine remains straight. Imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head.

90-Degree Challenge: Descend until your right knee forms about a 90-degree angle.

Rise with Flair: Power up by straightening your right leg. The trick? Keep your left foot elevated throughout. Think of it as a little dance move.

Need Some Support? If balance is a challenge or you’re still working on your mobility, use a chair or bench as a trusty sidekick. Always remember: Safety and proper form are paramount.

Switcheroo: Once you’ve nailed 8 reps on the right, switch to the left and let it have its turn to shine.

Sets: Shoot for three rounds on each leg.

Standing Core Exercise – 3. Medicine-Ball Slams

Muscles Targeted:

The Medicine-ball Slam is a  great full-body and multi-joint exercise that increases strength and endurance in the core, and it also builds strength in the legs as you drive the ball back up overhead.

Looking for dynamism and power? The Medicine-Ball Slam is your answer! This movement is a delightful mix of strength, speed, and stamina, working wonders for your core and legs. It’s like a mini-explosion of energy every time you slam!

Proper Form

Stand Strong: Your foundation is crucial. Position yourself with a slight bend in the knees, feeling grounded and balanced

Grasp and Guard: Hold the medicine ball securely, positioning it at chest level. It’s your weapon of choice for this workout.

Sky’s the Limit: With all your might, press the ball overhead. Reach high, aiming to fully extend your arms.

Slam Time: Channel all your energy and powerfully drive the ball straight down to the floor. It’s like an emphatic exclamation point!

Retrieve with Poise: As the ball bounces back, transition into a deep squat. Ensure your chest remains uplifted, your glutes are low, and your head stays up. It’s a blend of agility and strength.

Rise and Repeat: Grab the ball, shoot up, and press it overhead once again. The more explosive you are, the better!

Standing Core Exercise – 4. Torso Rotation with Cable

Muscles Targeted:

While using the cable, the torso rotation hits and sculpts the abs and the obliques.

The Torso Rotation with Cable emphasizes a dynamic twist, particularly tuning the abs and obliques. It’s like putting your core on a swivel for some intense sculpting!

Proper Form

Positioning is Key: Stand sideways to a cable pulley station. The handle should be set around elbow height.

Grip and Guard: With both hands, firmly grasp the cable handle. This is your starting point.

Anchor and Engage: Before you begin, root your feet into the ground and tighten your core muscles. Imagine trying to touch your belly button to your spine.

Twist it Out: Maintaining a controlled motion, pull the cable away from the machine by rotating your shoulders outwards. It’s a dance of strength and grace.

Pause and Reflect: Reach your end range and hold for a beat. Feel that deep burn in your obliques? That’s your muscles carving out definition!

Return Home: Slowly, with control, rotate back to your starting position. That’s one rep down!

Repeat and Switch: Complete your set on one side, then turn around and sculpt the other side.

Standing Core Exercise – 5. Knee Cross Crunch

Muscle engaged:

Crunches without lying down? Yes, please! The Knee Cross Crunch targets the entire core, emphasizing those often-elusive obliques. Plus, with its added balance challenge, it’s an all-rounder that boosts stability.

Proper Form:

Steady Start: Begin in a standing position, knees slightly bent, and arms close to your sides.

Weight Shift: Distribute your body weight onto your left foot. Let your right foot touch the ground lightly with its toes.

Engage and Elevate: Tighten your core muscles. As you do, lift your right knee upwards, directing it towards your left elbow.

Crunch Time: As your right knee rises, twist your torso to the left, bringing your left elbow towards the knee. Try to get them to meet on a diagonal line for that deep oblique engagement.

Steady Return: Gently bring your right foot back to its starting position, focusing on stability and control.

Reps and Sets: Aim for 15 reps on one leg, and then switch. That’s one set. Challenge yourself to complete three full sets.

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