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Stir-Crazy Challenge with Alysia Montaño: Core Strength

Your core is going to be wiped after this!

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This Stir-Crazy workout challenge is all about enjoying movement no matter what might be keeping you cooped up. Every workout is designed to support your running success, focusing on run-specific movements and drills, high-rep endurance exercises, and mobility work. These particular moves are focused on building core strength, because shoring up your center is a crucial step for all runners.

Core Strength Circuits

Perform 3 to 4 rounds of each circuit, completing 12 to 16 reps of each exercise and resting for 30 seconds between rounds. Rest for 1 minute between circuits if performing them back-to-back. Resist the urge to skip your rest intervals. You’re going to need that rest to perform effective, and safe, reps. Check off both circuits by the end of the day.

Circuit 1

Lateral Bear Crawl

Alysia Montano demonstrating a lateral bear crawl
Photo: Jeff Clark

Come to your hands and the balls of your feet, and step to the side with one hand and the adjacent foot; then follow with the opposing hand and foot. Keep your core engaged, back flat, and butt down. Halfway through the reps, move back in the opposite direction.

Twisting Superwoman

Alysia Montano in a twisting superwoman pose
Photo: Jeff Clark

Place your hands behind your head and engage your trunk muscles to lift and twist your torso from side to side with control. Back off the lift slightly if you feel the load in your low back.

Reverse Plank with Lateral Extension

Reverse plank
Photo: Jeff Clark

Lean back on your elbows and lift your body into plank position. Engage your core as you lift one leg out and in. Alternate sides.

Heel Touch

Alysia Montano demonstrating heel touches
Photo: Jeff Clark

Engage your core just enough to lift your shoulders off the ground, and hold that position as you reach for your heel. Alternate side to side.

Circuit 2


Alysia Montano in a V-up
Photo: Jeff Clark

Extend your arms overhead and engage your core as you lift your legs and reach up and forward, toward your feet. Come back down with control. Keep your arms, legs, and back as straight as possible.

Hip Lift

Alysia Montano in a hip lift
Photo: Jeff Clark

Use your core to push your hips and reach your feet upward. Come back down with control.

Lying Scissor Kick

Alysia Montano demonstrating a lying scissor kick
Photo: Jeff Clark

Engage your core holding your shoulders and legs just off the ground as you “scissor” your legs up, then back down. Keep your low back flat on the ground.

Dead Bug

Alysia Montano demonstrating a dead bug exercise
Photo: Jeff Clark

Get set with your low back flat on the ground, arms extended up, knees bent. Now move your opposing arm and leg to reach long while you move the opposite hand toward your knee. Keep alternating the movement, slow and controlled.


Day 1: Total-Body Cardio

Day 2: Total-Body Muscle Endurance

Days 3 & 7: Flexibility + Mobility

Days 4 & 6: Plyometric Running Drills

BONUS: Running Drills

Republished from Feel Good Fitness: Fun Workout Challenges to Inspire Your Fitness Streak by Alysia Montaño with permission of VeloPress.