If you ever look at top riders they look solid in the torso, no wibbling around in the middle creating flailing arms and limbs!
It’s what most people would refer to as good core stability. The aim is to create equal strength at the front, the back and the sides of the body. This also translates as being sat equally front to back and left to right.
If you are able to hold a level of strength here you are firstly able to better absorb the movement of your horse underneath you ( see last week for some specific exercises on force absorption) but also better able to maintain control of your body and limbs which in turn makes you more able to give clear aids.
As the goal is strength whilst moving limbs and absorbing movement your standard crunch and static plank just aren’t going to cut it.
Starting with a basic exercise
Tap Back Planks.
Starting at 4 point in a neutral spine imagine pushing your front to your back and your back to your front. Keeping your neutral spine, hips as still as possible tap one foot back, leave it there and then again keeping everything as still as possible tap the other foot back to take you to a full plank position. Take each foot back down one by one and then repeat changing the leading leg each time.
Lifted Bird Dogs.
In a 4 point kneeling position and neutral spine, lift your knees just off the floor (about an inch will do as you don’t want to have to round your back) From here maintain neutral and lift opposite arms and legs away.
Now for some fun……
If you want to add in some force absorption, try standing on one leg, standing on a wobble board, kneeling on a gym whatever level you are at, then throw and catch a ball against a wall or have a friend throw it to you. That’s solid core, moving limbs and dealing with extra movement all in one go!
We do exercises like this in my Equestrian Fitness Classes every week. If you would like to join our group of like minded Equestrians all working towards improving their riding whilst having loads of fun and making friends hit reply and I can let you know which classes have space available.