Everyone wants a nicely defined six-pack right? Not only is a nice stomach good-looking, its also imperative to building a strong runner. My coach has us do 20minutes of core strengthening exercises three times a week and 10 minutes of abs the other 3 days (the 7th day is our day off).
First off, toned muscles are much more noticeable when body fat percentage is low. You can be crazy strong and even have rock solid abs, but if you have a high body fat %, you won't be able to see them. Cardio/Aerobic exercise is the best way to trim this down. Honestly I have the best abs when I am running a ton of miles, but not necessarily when I am doing a ton of crunches. Swimming is also really good.
Next: exercises to do. Crunches are better than sit-ups (I'm still not exactly sure why, but they are). But don't sit there and do endless crunches all day long. You have to mix it up. I usually do about 8 minutes of straight abs starting with crunches.
Some of the exercises I like to do include:
Bicycle: touch your elbow to your opposite knee, while pumping your legs like you are on a bike. Most people do this really fast, it is more beneficial to do it slow and steady
Touch your toes: Lift your legs straight above you (as straight as you can) and reach for your toes, opposite hand to opposite foot
Leg Lifts: With your hands under your butt for stabilization, lift your legs up and down. The straighter they are the harder it is
Envelope: This is like a double crunch. As you are bringing your torso up for a crunch, bring your legs into your body. When your torso goes down, your legs go down and straighten out, but do not touch the ground. So at the top point you are just balancing on your bum
That's a very select few of the exercises I like to do.
Some other great exercises to strengthen your core and make you a better runner are balance drills.
This one is so good for you. I do each leg for about a minute, but I started with 30 seconds on each side. This chick is really good at it, its okay if you arent as straight as she is. When you tighten your abs and your butt, it makes balancing easier.
This is also a great one to strengthen a ton of different muscles at once. Start with about 20 seconds each side and work your way up from there! Right now I can only do 30-45 seconds :) We call this star plank. You can also make it a little easier by going down onto your elbow instead of being up on your hand like he is.
So there's a few tips for getting hot abs like this:
(Not gonna lie, this is my favorite part of this post)
Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.