New runners should incorporate strengthening their cores to improve running posture, increase speed, and breathe deeper.

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Building a strong midsection entails so much more than getting a sculpted six-pack. Ben Greenfield, an Ironman triathlete, coach and the nutrition consultant for X2Performance, fills us in on why core work is key—especially for runners—and reveals his 6 top core exercises for beginning runners.

More: 3 Reasons Runners Should Perform Core Workouts

Why Beginners Need to Focus on Their Cores

So, what are the benefits of a strong core for a runner? “A strong core is crucial for power transfer of your midsection to your arms and legs,” says Greenfield. “It helps you maintain proper run posture, which improves efficiency and economy, and facilitates turnover through the hip flexors.” What’s more? If your core muscles are weak, you won’t be able to breathe as deeply, lift as heavily, or move as quickly.

The Core Is More Than Just Abs

Do you think that if you bang out 100 sit-ups…

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