Last week we looked at recruiting your deep core muscles whilst riding.
Hopefully you have been practicing the recruitment pattern and have a good grasp of how to activate your deep core muscles.
Did you try it out whilst riding?
Today we are going to try keeping that activation and move some limbs at the same time. Obviously when we are riding we need to maintain a strong middle whilst giving leg and rein aids. For example If you can’t move your leg back lightly to give a leg aid without unbalancing your seat you are also going to unbalance your horse-pretty sure that won’t be the aid you were intending!
Now in order to keep this simple I have used simple, no equipment floor exercises. However there are some great versions that can be done on a gym ball that I guess would be considered more riding specific and I will cover these another time. (Probably when the studio is ready!)
So, we are going to challenge our core with moving limbs 3 ways.
Standing – Lying-4 point
This covers the basic positions you will need to progress the challenge of the exercise.
First we will find neutral spine.
Neutral Spine is the natural position of the spine when it has all of its natural curves at the neck, middle and lumbar region. This creates the strongest position for the spine.
To find neutral spine I find whether standing or lying, tilt the pelvis back so your seat bone go up, then tilt it forward so that the seat bones go down. Now find the mid-way point between these-your seat bone should be pointing down-this is your neutral spine position.
Stand feet hip width apart. Establish neutral spine, the knees should be soft. Use the abdominal recruitment patter from last week. Draw in from the waist and up from the pelvic floor, breathe in to prepare and as you breathe out bend your right knee and lift the foot off the floor to hip height. Breathe in to return it to the floor. Repeat on the other side. Once you have mastered this add in an opposite arm lift too. So as you lift your right leg your left arm floats up to level with your ears. Ensure you maintain your neutral spine throughout. Got it-now try it all with your eyes closed!
We are essentially going to do the same exercise as above but this time lying down. So begin lying on your back, knees bent feet flat on the floor. Establish Neutral spine. Recruit the core muscles, breathe in and as you breathe out float one leg up to 90⁰. Breathe in and repeat on the other side. Once you have established this pattern, do it in reverse. Start with both legs at 90⁰ and drop alternate feet to the floor. If you still need an extra challenge add in the opposite arm, so right leg drops, left arm floats over the head to the floor maintaining neutral spine throughout. If you struggle with this make the movement smaller- maintaining alignment is more important than range of motion on these exercises.
Starting on all fours. Find neutral spine. This time as you breathe out take your right leg behind you as if to tap your foot on the floor. Repeat with the other leg. Now once you have established that take your opposite arm forward in line with your ear. Maintain neutral spine throughout.
I’d love to know if you try these out how you get on.