Core Strength and obstacle course racing go hand in hand. A strong core is necessary to complete many of the obstacles we encounter during a race and it even plays a role in our running form. By improving our core strength we can improve our race day performance and decrease our risk of injury.
There are four main abdominal muscles. The transversus abdominis, the rectus abdominis and the internal and external obliques. Below you will find four OCR specific core exercises that will help to develop these four muscles.
Dead Hang with Knees to Chest
Improves core and grip strength.
Find a pull up bar or monkey bars. Start in a dead hang position and slowly bring your right knee to your chest, as you lower your right leg back to the starting position, raise your left leg to your chest. Next, bring both knees to your chest. Avoid swinging. Complete this series 5 times and repeat for 3 sets.
Overhead Oblique Reach
Improves oblique, core and shoulder stability.
Take a light to medium weighted plate, kettle bell or free weight. Hold over your head, pull your shoulders down and back into your shoulder blades. Slowly bend laterally to the right, hold for 2-3 seconds and come back to center. Repeat on the other side. Complete 3×10.
Improves balance, posture, and full-body coordination.
Balance on your right leg with a soft bend in your knee. Hinge forward and lift your left leg toward the wall behind you. Keep your back flat and your core engaged. Reach your arms straight out toward the wall in front of you. Create a straight line from the bottom of your lifted heel to the end of your finger tips. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds and return to a single leg stance. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Improves lower back strength and flexibility. Stretches and strengthens your chest, shoulders, arms, legs, and glutes.
Lie face down. Hold an alternate leg and arm off the ground at the same time. Next, lift both arms up at one time. Finally, lift both legs at one time. The most advanced version is holding both arms and legs off the ground at one time. Hold each of these poses for 20 to 30 seconds, relax, and repeat.
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