RUNNERS NEED MORE than just running to stay strong. You’ll be at your best when you take the time to train the rest of your body to handle the strain of your pavement-pounding, high-volume mileage—and your core is key to the type of functional strength you’re looking to build.
Just any bit of ab training won’t cut it. You’ll need more than a lackluster circuit of situps for effective core training that will translate into your other pursuits. The situp isn’t necessarily the issue—the classic movement works a key function of your core, spinal flexion—but it’s the way most people do them that presents a problem. Endless rounds of bodyweight reps (typically done as quickly as possible) won’t give you much chance for progressive overload. You’ll see the best results when your train your core just like you would any other muscle group: By adding a load for resistance.
That’s one key factor introduced by the 3-step getup, a core exercise that Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel C.S.C.S. calls a situp upgrade. He includes the move in the MH x Runner’s World 20-Minute Functional Core program, a new workout plan (available with a Men’s Health MVP Premium subscription) that includes four different 20-minute core sessions, each of which provides you with ab-training knowledge that blends weight room techniques with running-focused core moves, setting you up to dominate on the run and in the gym alike.
This particular exercise will be especially useful because it will give you more than just an ab blast. “It’s also going to attack your glutes, which is great for runners,” Samuel says. Jess Movold, Runner’s World coach and co-creator of the program, agrees. “This is going to help create that power from your glutes, postural awareness, and of course core strength, which is going to help with your overall efficiency while you’re on the run.”
The 3-step getup should be familiar to anyone who has performed the Turkish getup. Here, Samuel leads Movold through the motion to show you how it’s done.
How to Do the 3-Step Getup
- Start on the ground, lying down with a dumbbell in your left hand in a neutral grip. Extend your right arm out to the side with your palm flat on the floor. Press the weight up directly above your chest. Your left knee should be bent with your left foot flat on the floor; your right leg should be slightly out to the side from your torso. Keep your gaze fixed on the dumbbell.
- Drive your shoulders up off the ground using your core, so your weight is on your right elbow. Keep the dumbbell extended overhead.
- Drive your elbow off the floor, so that your weight is resting on your right hand.
- Squeeze your glutes to drive your hips up into hip extension. Pause, holding that squeeze and keeping tension in your core.
- Reverse the movement step-by-step.
Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side, or 2 to 3 sets of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off per side.
Want more helpful ab training moves from Samuel and Movold? Check out the entire 20-Minute Functional Core program, available as part of Men’s Health MVP Premium.
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
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