If you’ve recently upgraded your core routine to include weights, congrats! But with that excitement may come a bit of confusion with how much weight to actually use. You want to get a good workout in, but you don’t want to go too heavy, since that could leave you feeling too sore to run the next day—or worse, lead to injury.
According to Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., CEO and founder of TS Fitness in New York City, choosing the right weight for your ability is based on how hard the exercise feels to you. On a 1 to 10 scale of your rate of perceived exertion (RPE)—1 being effortless and 10 being the hardest—Tamir suggests aiming for an RPE between 6 and 9, depending on your fitness level.
To break it down even further, Tamir suggests starting with a 2-5kg weight for a beginner, a 5-7kg weight for an intermediate, and a 7kg weight or higher for those who have been at strength training for a while.
'Using weighted ab exercises helps to stress the core beyond what you can do with body weight, making you even more resilient to stress requirements put on the body by [running] to maximise performance,' he says.
That’s why he put together a 20-minute workout that targets your obliques and deep core muscles to help you build running speed, efficiency, and power.
How to do it: Complete 3 rounds of these exercises, resting 20 seconds in between each exercise. The amount of reps for each exercise vary, so see below for specifics. Each exercise is demonstrated by Tamir so you can learn proper form.
Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flexed, arms extended toward the ceiling, holding a dumbbell in right hand. Engage your core and extend your left arm and right leg away from you. Return to starting position. Perform 10 reps, switch the dumbbell to your left hand, then perform 10 more reps on the other side (extending right arm and left leg).
Forearm Side Plank With Hip Lift
Start on your side with your left forearm on the ground. Lift hips into a plank, forming a straight line from your head to your feet, feet stacked on top of each other (your elbow or hand should be directly under your shoulder). Hold a dumbbell at your hip with your right hand. Lift hips as high as you can, then dip your hips and tap them on the ground. Return to starting position, then repeat for 10 reps. Flip over and repeat on the right side.
V-Up With Stacked Feet
Lie faceup in a hollow-hold position, legs extended, left foot stacked on top of right foot, and your arms reaching above your head —your biceps by your ears—holding a dumbbell horizontally with both hands. Lift your head, shoulders, and legs off the floor and into a V position—your hands and feet should meet as close together as they can. Return to starting position. Perform 8 reps, switch feet so right foot is stacked on top of left foot, then perform 8 more reps.
Hold one dumbbell in each hand, place the dumbbells on the floor, and get into high plank position with hands directly under shoulders and the legs straight out behind you a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull the right hand up to bring the dumbbell to ribs. Keep the elbow close to the rib cage. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor. Repeat, pulling the left hand up to bring the dumbbell to the chest. Continue alternating hands. Perform 8 reps on each side.
Half-Kneeling Lift and Chop
Start in a half-kneeling position with your right knee in front and left (back) knee on the ground, holding a dumbbell horizontally with both hands at your left hip. Then lift the dumbbell diagonally up to the right. Bring it back down to your left hip. Repeat. Perform 10 reps, then repeat on opposite side for 10 reps.
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart and arms down by sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Push your hips back and swing the dumbbells behind you, then thrust hips forward, swinging the dumbbells to just below eye level, and squeezing your glutes as you come to a full stand. Repeat. Perform 15 reps.