Simple Exercises to Strengthen The Core and Improve Performance for Equestrian Riders
If you love to ride you'll love these quick and easy exercises for strength and flexibility. Serious equestrian understand the importance of exercise for better performance. The core strength is important and can not to be underestimate no matter what riding discipline you practice. Whether you participate in dressage, jumping, eventing, or trail riding, possessing a strong core is crucial, not only to your own performance, but to your horse’s performance as well.
Strength and flexibility in the ‘core’ muscles are particularly critical for superior posture, alignment, awareness, strength, and endurance under saddle. More
specifically, when your movement emanates from a strong and flexible core, your stability and balance in the saddle is unparalleled, and your communication with yourhorse using the movement of your torso and legs is clear and strong.
Riders must specifically target, and train, their core muscles to improve their balance, and ultimately their performance. Balance, a motor skill, is the ability for the body to maintain equilibrium when standing, walking or performing daily activities. It also plays a role in maintaining one’s center of gravity while riding. Without good balance, proper execution of seat/leg aids will be impossible, as well as, maintaining steady hands and basic control of the horse. This can be quite challenging to an unfit individual, with weak torso muscles. These individuals are easily recognizable because they cannot sit the trot, often grip the saddle with their knees/thighs, bounce on their horse’s back, thus impeding forward movement, lean too far forward, too far back, or from side to side. They frequently disturb their horse’s natural rhythm because they never develop an independent seat. A horse’s movement often acts as a reflection of its rider’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if the rider is unbalanced, stiff and/or inflexible, their horse becomes a mirror image, lacking suppleness, rhythm and relaxation in its own body. The better balanced the rider, the more comfortable it is for the horse. A fit rider, with a strong core, good body control and an independent seat permits the horse to balance itself laterally, from front to back, as well as, allowing the rider to move naturally with their horse.
Strengthening your Core Muscles
There are three components to an abdominal workout. Alternating between the following three exercises will achieve the best results. The basic curl up has been shown to activate the greatest number of muscle fibers, and, when executed correctly, prevents the hip flexors from pulling oneself up. Bringing your heels together and dropping your knees to the side, will also eliminate the use of the hip flexors. The abdominal muscles can be worked everyday for 10 minutes. You can think of them as elastic bands. It is best to rotate through all three exercises during the ten minutes, alternating periodically. Beginners can take breaks as often as they like until they develop the strength to perform the exercises for a full 10 minutes. Remember that “quality is more important than quantity!”
There is no need to count how many curl ups you perform. Aim for proper form and execution!
- Curl up
- Oblique Curl up
- Reverse Curl up
- Abdominal Stretch
PilatesLessons.org just published quick and easy Pilates exercises focusing on the specific core needs of equestrians. In particular, these exercises create strength and flexibility in the 'core,' the most important area for the equestrian whether one rides for leisure or competition.
Strength and flexibility in the ‘core’ muscles are critical for superior posture, alignment, awareness, strength, and endurance under saddle. When movement emanates from a strong and flexible core, stability and balance in the saddle is unparalleled, and communication with the horse via torso and legs is clear and strong.
Pilates is the most popular method of exercise worldwide, and is endorsed by physical therapists and elite athletes. Pilates is widely recognized as the best exercise for strengthening the core.
This book presents 18 exercises in brief step-by-step lessons which can be done at home or during work breaks. They are part of the original mat program developed byJoseph Pilates nearly 100 years ago. They do not require equipment or a gym. The instructor is an advanced certified Pilates mat teacher for over 35 years and author of several popular Pilates books and videos.
"Equestrian Pilates" is available at Amazon.
or you can Download the Basic Equestrian Pilates Ebook HERE
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