Fitness

If Your Core Is Weak, Your Riding Will Be Weak: 4 Fave Core Exercises for Equestrians!

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“Shoulder blades”! A constant phrase that my trainer (kindly) yells at me. Squeezing your shoulder blades together and tightening your abdominal muscles while sitting a trot that is as bouncy as a tennis ball is not the easiest task. I always thought my flat, strong stomach was enough, but I could not have been more wrong. Your core is not limited to only your abs, it is also your chest and back. If your core is weak, your riding is not where it could be. Become a stronger, more confident rider by doing these core exercises 2-3 times per week. You will not be disappointed!

Your core is every muscle attached to your spine, so when I say “lift your pelvic floor” try to imagine that you are peeing and then all of a sudden stop. That is your pelvic floor. It is a strange example but try it, you will understand exactly what I am saying.

1) Seated Leg Lifts

LEG LIFT - Juliyana

Begin by sitting tall on the exercise ball with your shoulder blades “in your back pocket” (squeeze them together as much as you can). Feet and knees need to be hip width apart. Pull your belly button in, lift your pelvic floor, and slowly lift the right leg 10 times keeping your foot flexed. Repeat with the left leg. Imagine your belly is lifting your leg, not your thigh. To increase difficulty, extend arms to the side keeping your should blades “in your back pocket”. 3 sets of 10 per leg.

2) Calf Presses

CAlf1Calf -2 -Juliyana

Begin with your low back firmly planted on the ball, legs extended, hip width apart. Place a small ball or pillow between your calves. Extend arms so that your fingertips rest gently on the floor. Place your shoulder blades “in your back pocket”, pull your belly button to your spine, and lift your pelvic floor. Squeeze the calves to engage the ball or pillow and hold for one minute. Make sure to inhale and exhale.

3) Ball Push-Ups

Push Up 1 Push up 2

Begin with the ball above the knee, legs hip width apart. Roll into plank position with your hands under your shoulders (or wider). Draw your shoulder blades together, pull your belly button into your spine, and lift your pelvic floor. Inhale and as you exhale bend your elbows, lowering to your push up. As you inhale, lift yourself to the top of your pushup. Do 3 sets of 10 taking a break between each set. To increase difficulty, have the ball below the knee.

4) Plank

Plank4Begin on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders. Extend your right leg behind you, engage your glutes, and low belly. Pull your belly button to your spine and put your shoulder blades “in your back pocket”. Then extend your left leg hip width apart, engage your glutes, etc. Hold 30 seconds (don’t forget to breathe!). Work up to 1 minute, then 2, then 3!

  • All exercises were done with the supervision of a personal trainer.

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