After the last two weeks discussion on the core I want us to look at the often forgotten core muscles…..the obliques!
These are the muscles at the side of your waist. They help you to rotate and bend as well as being an integral part of a spinal stability.
When you are riding (or carriage driving in fact) they are the muscles that help you to maintain your position on turns and circles and maintain straightness in lateral work. As you turn your body you firstly need the strength to make the turn but also the strength to keep your spine stable. This is what a strong set of oblique’s can do for you.
I can tell you this not only from a Biomechanics Coach point of view but also from a rider view having spent a fair bit of time recently doing Canter Circles adding a leg yield to spiral in and out-my oblique’s are now made of steel! (Thanks Amanda!)
To be honest this sounds crazy but if your horse falls out through his shoulder try thinking about switching on your waist muscles on that side and see if that helps to correct it…………………….
Now onto to creating your own obliques of steel.
Sitting on your seat bones with feet flat on the floor. Engage your abdominals and lean back to about 45⁰ if you can. Your spine must stay straight, and not curve as you do this. Take your hands to shoulder height in front of you and make a “Charlies Angels Gun” (it doesn’t work if you don’t…….). Keeping your spine straight and your feet and knees still, rotate your rib cage to the left and then the right. If this is too easy try lifting your feet off the floor-don’t let them rotate away as you turn.
This will be like no Oblique crunch you have done before. It is way more subtle than that. Lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Take your hands at the back of your head – do not pull at your head though just support it and keep your elbows out at all times. Now recruit your abdominals, breathe in and as you breathe out and imagine you are taking your left bottom rib towards your right hip, breathe in and repeat on the other side.
This one requires a resistance band or if you are a member of a gym then a cable machine.
Standing with feet hip width apart, side on to the band/cable so that your arm furthest away just reaches the band at a partial stretch. Bend your knees slightly so you are a half squat. Take the band in both hands and start rotated towards the band. Recruit your abdominals and pull the band across your body to rotate the opposite way. Repeat on the other side.
As always I love to receive your emails, and I am also taking names for people interested in small group Equestrian Focused Fitness Classes when my studio opens at WN8 9QP. Just drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred dates and times.