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Lower Ab Exercise Variation

One of the common challenges to efficient and injury-free running in a strong, aligned core. The benefits of this were discussed here: ChiRunning Common Challenges Core. The key to this is engaged lower abdominals to stabilize (and level if necessary) the pelvis which also stabilizes an aligned posture. Here is an online presentation on this Key to Posture. In that presentation an important Lower Abdominal Exercise is described. The purpose of that exercise is to body sense isolating the lower abdominals from the lower back, glutes and upper abdominals. Then you can use this and other exercises (including running and walking) to focus on strengthening the isolated lower abdominals. Below is a variation of this exercise that you can add to your core strength toolbox.

1. Lie on your back and bring your feet up close to your torso; rest your feet on your toes as shown.

Press your Lower Back flat to the ground using only the Lower Ab to move your pubic bone towards your head as shown. Your can use your hands (thumb in the belly button and four fingers to Lower Ab) to guide the front of the pelvis up towards your chin.

2. Sense effort in the Lower Ab only to hold the Lower Back flat on the ground. At first this will be enough to sense isolated effort in the Lower Ab.

3. Next slowly lift your toes off the ground as shown. Hold this position and notice additional effort. Only move to this step if you can keep the effort isolated to the Lower Ab. Hold as long as you can, say 30-60+ seconds, keeping your lower back flat to the ground.

4. As you are ready over repetitions, days, weeks, months … you can lift your toes/lower legs higher and higher to add more stress to develop more strength. Again, the key is to keep the effort isolated to the Lower Ab while holding your lower back flat to the ground.

Engaging just the lower ab is one of the harder ChiRunning focuses to “get”. But it is also one of the most important concepts to allow you to develop increasing levels of efficiency, distance and speed. The exercise is stationary to initially isolate; so that the body sense is there to help develop the same ability while in motion.

As I said at the end of the referenced blog post (ChiRunning Common Challenges Core) … consider avoiding what I did early on. Do not neglect the core …


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David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach – and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor.  For more information on David, please see his About MeContact page or his website at

ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.


Posted on Monday, Sep. 26th 2011 11:28 AM | by echifitness | in All, ChiRunning, ChiWalking, Fitness | No Comments »

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