It’s not a secret, that better and faster runners dominate the sport of OCR. This is in the end an endurance sport, and lifting weights is only supplementary training.
So what makes the top OCR athletes achieve high levels of performance? Smart, periodised training on top of years spent jacking up the mitochondria, are just some of the parts to the puzzle. Another critical piece is form and core strength. In fact, you can’t have one without the other.
This weeks WOD highlight is the solution to maintaining and improving core strength.
Before we dive into technical details, there are a few caveats to cover:
- Core > Abs. Think of core as every body part which isn’t a limb. If you think six pack is essential for performance, this post (and blog) is not for you.
- Crunches or sit-ups are going to make you really good at crunching. In any endurance sport, what we are trying to achieve is strong core that is capable of sustaining prolonged amounts of effort without collapsing. So a clear thing to do is to focus on hold movements, e.g. planks.
- The weaker your core, the sooner you will become wacky inflatable man:
Athletes tend to be pretty good at maintaining proper form during extensive runs. What I notice though, is that the moment their core starts to give in, their pelvic muscles let go, which leads in upright running and all sorts of other problems. It is another reason why planking is a go-to exercise for any OCR athlete.
10-15mins, non-stop of:
- Planks. 45s-1min. Advanced: Planks with elevated leg (switch legs halfway through).
- Side planks. 45s-1min. Advanced: Side planks with elevated leg.
- Supine planks. 45s-1min. Advanced: Supine planks with elevated leg (switch legs halfway through).
- Bridge. 45s-1min. Advanced: Bridge with elevated leg (witch legs halfway through).
- Hanging knee raises. 30s-45s. Grab a medicine ball, sandbag etc. (choose weight that suits you) and hold it tight between your knees/thighs. Then start from full hanging extension and bring your knees towards your chest. Slowly bring knees back down into a full extension and repeat.
This type of workout should be combined with your other strength workouts, e.g. leg work. For most athletes this results in 2-3 workouts a week. Knowing that it only lasts 10-15mins, it can be slotted pretty well on top of other work you’d normally do. Better yet, it can be done anywhere and on the move without extra equipment.
It’s not going to make you a better OCR athlete overnight, but it will forge a good foundation for improvements.