CT strengthens an athlete’s stomach, hip, lower back and bottom muscles that sometimes do not develop in line with other muscles used in 5K running. CT can mean anything from running a tough cross country run with lots of turns, to a specific gym session working individual muscle groups.
CT works by strengthening an athlete’s trunk to hold their body firm as their legs move. This becomes increasingly important at the end of the race, as athletes with weak core strength will lose their running form as the race goes on.
CT should be used by athletes between 1-3 times a week depending on how much core strength the athlete does naturally in their running training. Below are 4 main CT exercises where no gym is needed:
Plank: The athlete lies on the ground with their body firm supported by their forearms (shoulder width apart) and their toes. The rest of the athlete’s body is held off the ground in a firm position with their stomach facing the ground. The athlete’s body should then be held straight with their head in line with their spine. This should be held for 10 seconds.
Flat Plank: The athlete lies with their stomach on the floor and their arms outstretched in front of them. The athlete should then lift their chest off the floor while looking at the ground. This position should be held for 2 seconds.
Abdominal Curls: The athlete lies on the ground with their legs bent and their hands linked behind their head. The athlete then lifts their head and shoulders off the ground and curls their trunk towards their knees.
Side Dips: The athlete lies on their side with their elbow and bottom foot supporting their weight. With their feet together the athlete then lifts their hip off the ground and holds it for 10 seconds.