Whether or not you’re in the saddle daily, there are so many ways to improve your riding! I love at-home exercises focusing on my core because it plays a huge part in my riding.
The stronger my core is, the better I perform in the saddle. My position gets so much more stable and I’m able to move with my horse better through both flatwork and jumping.
Here are a few core exercises to practice:
- Planks are great to strengthen both your abs and TVA muscle, which is the innermost abdominal muscle. Working on planks will help your posture in the saddle, so you’ll be able to sit up tall with your shoulders back!
- How to: Get in a push-up position with your arms straight underneath your shoulders. Hold there, and be sure your back is flat! There are tons of variations to the plank (ie. straight arms, weight on forearms, and side planks which are next!)
- Side Planks
- Side planks engage your obliques and lower back, helping to improve balance! Personally, I know I could always use more balance work. Not only does it help in everyday riding, but it keeps me in the saddle during an unexpected spook!
- How to: On your side, stack your feet and lift your body with your arm extended straight underneath your shoulder. You can modify by resting your forearm on the ground. Don’t let your hips sink towards the ground!
- Supermans improve core strength through the lower back and obliques. Having trouble moving between a seated position and half seat? Give this exercise a try!
- How to: Lay face down on a mat, and raise both your arms and legs at the same time so they’re a few inches off the mat. Hold briefly and then relax.
- Dead Bug
- The dead bug exercise targets the trunk muscles, which is everything from your spine to your abs. This exercise is all about stabilization, so it will helps keep your upper body still while riding.
- How to: Lay on your back, and bring your legs up to tabletop position (at a 90 degree angle) and your arms straight up in front of you. Reach one arm back by your eat while extending and lowering the opposite leg. Repeat!
- Leg Raises
- Leg raises are great for your abs, lower back and hip flexors. Try them for stability in the saddle and a better range of motion in your hips. Perfect sitting canter – here we come!
- How to: Lay flat on your back with your legs together. Slowly life and lower your legs, trying to keep your back flat on the floor.
- Reverse Crunch
- Reverse crunches work your deep lower abs. In the saddle, you’ll see improved posture and stability in all gaits.
- How to: Lay on your back with your arms by your sides. Bring your legs to a tabletop (90 degree angle) position. Contract your abs to bring your knees towards your chest. Repeat!
Core exercises are all about posture, stability, and flexibility. Who doesn’t need that in their riding?
I’ll definitely be practicing some extra core work at home, who’s with me?
If you’re having trouble figuring out any of these exercises, look them up on YouTube! There are a ton of great tutorials there!