I Went to Strength Class: Core at the NYRR RUNCENTER and This Is What I Learned

A core strength class in progress at the NYRR Run Center

For our NYRR RUNCENTER series, NYRR’s Katie Manzi is going to a different class each month to see what’s on offer for runners and non-runners alike. Check out the last post here and learn more about HIIT!


No matter what type of athlete you are, your core is one of the most important areas of your body for overall wellness and fitness. Strengthening your core improves all physical ability, from running on the roads to maintaining good posture while sitting at your desk all day. A strong core improves balance, posture, and power. On the flip side, a weak core can lead to fatigue, instability throughout your body, and even injury.

No matter what season, it is important to work on this crucial group of muscles to maintain fitness. During the winter when you might be scaling back your outdoor activities, or not running outside at all, staying inside and building your core strength can be a great way to spend the dark and chilly months so that when spring returns, you are ready to hit the pavement again.

A core strength class in progress at the NYRR Run Center

That was my goal for going to Strength Class: Core at the RUNCENTER after work on a brisk Tuesday evening. I hate the cold and find motivating myself to run during winter to be deeply challenging, but in the warmth of the RUNCENTER I felt ready to go.

Instructor Allison Gould, a physical therapist by trade, created a friendly and engaged atmosphere throughout the class. When the music kicked in, she started us out with a quick warmup before the real workout began.

The setup was easy to follow. Gould demonstrated three or four exercises. Then we would do each one for 20-30 seconds in a sequence, take a short break, and repeat the sequence again. Not all of the exercises were what you might expect from a core class. Instead of focusing on just the core muscles, Gould chose exercises that not only engaged and worked the core, but also worked with the surrounding muscles for a more balanced workout.

The exercises were varied. Some were extremely common and basic like lunges, and others were things I’ve never seen before and never would have thought to try. One exercise really challenged me, even though at first glance it seemed simple and easy. While seated, bend one leg and hug it to your chest, keeping the other leg straight out in front of you; then lift the straightened leg into the air while maintaining a straight back, moving slowly and deliberately, and maintaining control the entire time. It is much harder than it sounds!

A core strength class in progress at the NYRR Run Center
Managing your movements was the main takeaway from this class. Moving quickly is not the name of the game when working the core. Maintaining absolute control and moving slowly produces better results for core exercises than speed and completing a high number of reps.

Overall the class was not too strenuous, and many participants joined the group run leaving from the RUNCENTER right after the class. It works as either an add-on to a workout or on its own. This class is a great way to work on your core and learn simple exercises you can do at home.

There are plenty of options available each month for attending Strength Class: Core. Check out the NYRR event calendar to find out when the next class is happening and register!

Author: Katie Manzi

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