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March 25, 2013

Core Routine for Runners: The Dozen


I've historically been a low-intensity cross-trainer, but as I get older the ratio of rehab and "prehab" time to running time just gets bigger. I'm about 1:1 now...but it is still totally worth it to be able to run and train with my friends and Oisellistas! I had a pretty low intensity core set up until this winter: planks/side planks, touch-overs, and pushups (a lot of pushups before #totallytrials!). Then I was introduced to the "Dirty Dozen" this winter by my favorite Oregon HS coach and Oiselle fan. I quote: 

"Of course you realize that I didn't invent any of these exercises...only orchestrated the collection to be a balanced set of front/back/side core exercises with just enough arm work to encourage my high school runners to be both tougher and less injury prone. If you get busy they should take you about 15 minutes post run...a small investment of time that can pay big dividends to any runner."  



dirty dozen v2-1.jpg.png

The first time I tried the Dozen, I couldn't do 4 of them at all (side to side abs scissor, side plank leg raises, v-ups, and standing glute iso's)! Now, I can whip through the whole set (giving about 20-30 sec rest between exercises) in about 20 minutes. If I'm feeling super strong, I increase the time in the positions or suggested #'s of reps. Instead of the forward standing glute iso's I do a standing one leg balance like below, except with both hands on my front foot, keeping my face forward and shoulders flat. It's a great hammy/butt stretch, holding for 30 seconds. 


Before I started doing The Dozen, I had a little nagging left hip soreness...which has since totally disappeared. I have also noticed my sitting posture has improved. I try to do this routine at least 3x/week, with another 2 days of an abbreviated set: side plank leg raise, back bridges, and v-ups. I also throw in one-legged stair heel dips, hip dips, one legged bosu ball balances, and quad strengtheners at least 3x/week. And one day before abs-modeling, a spray tan :) Have questions? Hit me up on Twitter: @drlesko


d | November 24, 2013 at 3:57pm

Thanks for this! Is there a

Thanks for this! Is there a way to get more specific descriptions of these exercises?

Laura | May 11, 2014 at 3:59pm

Thank you!

Thanks Dr Lesko! Love these as I'm getting back into running from rehabbing a hammie since xc nationals!

Adrienne | July 9, 2014 at 8:29am

Strong runner

Started doing this routine this week and man I feel it! Getting stronger slowly! :)

Diane | June 29, 2015 at 5:19pm

The Dozen

Wish you could post videos of some of these. Not sure I'm doing them correctly!

Sarah | August 5, 2015 at 6:08pm

Hi Diane! We are working to

Hi Diane! We are working to get a video archive of these that we will post to youtube...keep your eye out for when we post it! Thanks! Sarah

Penny | September 16, 2015 at 6:33am


Until they get their video posted, Youtube is your friend when it comes to proper form in exercises :)

KC | September 16, 2015 at 1:37pm

Yes, please add video or

Yes, please add video or description. Not sure how to correctly do a few of these.

Sarah | September 28, 2015 at 3:12pm

the video is live!

the video is live!

Sarah | September 28, 2015 at 3:13pm

the video is live!

the video is live!

Laurie | January 16, 2016 at 7:02pm

question about pushups

What do you mean by "decreasing 10, 9, 8, 7..." for pushups? Does it mean do 10, then do 9 more, then 8 more, etc? I am just not understanding! Thanks!

Sarah | May 24, 2016 at 2:29pm

Decreasing sets of pushups

Yes! Do 10, then short rest, then 9, etc. etc.

tami | June 1, 2016 at 2:32pm

10 push ups

10 push ups rest 9 push ups rest 8 push ups rest etc etc