The Best Core Exercises for Runners over 40

Oh, great.

Core exercises.

Really. When is enough, enough? When will they stop with the core, the strength, the physio, the fruit, the vegetables, the juicing, the gluten-free?

Ever feel like that? Feeling it now? That “yeah, I know…”.

I am so with you. For me it’s an on-again off-again effort to keep up with core. I’ll get on it for a month and then forget for a time or two and then it gets to be hit and miss, then mostly miss and it’s gone.

So I’m not the one to lecture you on all the great things it does for runners like stabilizing the trunk, strengthening the glutes, tightening the abdominal wall, supporting the spine (especially the lower back), all of which keeps parts like the knees and hamstrings and quads and calfs and ankles and hips happy. I won’t, because we know that. And we know we know that but…


So I am going to give you the best way I’ve found to get that little chunk of work in.

Years ago my wife bought me Tony Horton’s Power 90 workout series. Tony has since updated the series, but the old version included an ab routine that was both quick and effective. He called it the TH-100. 10 exercises x 10 reps. Done in about 5 minutes. Three times a week. It was simple and most importantly short. He’s updated it now and I expect the new routine is over-the-top good and hard, but I like this one because it gets the job done with minimal fuss. It’s probably available on DVD at a garage sale near you, but short of that, I’ve put together a few quick pics (dog included) to show you generally what the exercises look like.

Here’s the workout.

  • 10 standard crunches – arms wide, eyes toward the ceiling, go only  this high (dog can be used for resistance)Crunch
  • 10 abdominal (left) crunches – same crunch, eyes on the ceiling, but legs bent and flopped over on the floor to the right side
  • 10 abdominal (right) crunches – same crunch, legs to the left side
  • 10 elbow-to-knee crunches – arms over head, legs crossed and elevated, bring elbows toward knees (you don’t have to touch your knees)Knees Up Pup on Head
  • 10 straight-legged pull-ups – feet in the air, reach up and try to touch them (I can’t)Legs Up Crunch
  • 10 leg raises – hands under the buttocks, lower the legs to just off the ground, then back up to about this high, you don’t need a big range of motionLeg Raises
  • 10 ins and outs – start in roughly this position, elbows should be wide, feet off the floor…Knees Up Prone…then pull the feet up toward your chest, keeping your elbows wide (unlike my dog-assisted effort here)Dog on Tummy
  • 10 hip rocks – sorry I don’t have a photo – feet together, knees bent but apart, elbows wide and behind your head, try to touch your knees to your elbows…you’ll see how rocking your hips slightly while you’re doing it helps
  • 10 bicycles – everybody’s favourite – each touch to a knee (or attempted touch – that’s as close as I get) counts as a half  Bicycle
  • 10 full body crunches – and you’re done – hands beside the ears to start, feet off the floor, bring your elbows down beside your chest as you bring your knees up over it (ideally) Full Body Crunch

No machines required. No workout clothes even. And the best part is you can do fit it in just about any time – at work on a break, at home before dinner, at the mall waiting for your friend who borrowed your car to go make a beer run. And you can feel like a saint for going beyond running to make yourself not just a better runner but, wait for it, a more solid person.






  1. Cheng

    I am going to try this workout. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Larry (Post author)

      Glad it helps Cheng.


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