Wan’t Rider Strong Legs? When you are on top of your horse, you adopt your normal comfortable position and concentrate on your horse. Think about your normal comfortable positions: mine are head down and out, shoulders rounded, right leg crossed over right.
When I am in the gym, I notice my steps ups are weaker on my right leg, single leg deadlifts cause a hip rotation, my left arm is stronger, my right arm more controlled. The aim is to equal these imbalances caused from life and of course from riding itself.
Haven’t you ever had that moment when your cantering around on a 20m circle on the left rein and you might as well be waving at someone to your right? Hips wrong way shoulders wrong way the only thing going left is your head!! So you compensate with your reins and the horse then does the same thing – basically cantering with nothing but its head going the right way! If you get that glorified moment where you manage to align and your horse becomes balanced beneath you – whoop and then out the door you go again.
The stronger and more symmetrical you are off your horse, the better the transfer to your skill set in the saddle.
Here are a few exercises you could include into your fit rider routine!
Stability Ball Leg Lift with Trunk Twist
Looks easier than it is – very concentrative and requires a lot of sensory processing. Be sure to do the same amount on each side.
Cable Pull Through
I am sorry to say this but lots of riders have extremely under developed glutes and as a result instability in the pelvis. The cable pull through looks odd but make sure to really squeeze the glutes and the top of the movement to get maximal effect from this exercise. You can also do this with a band.
You will likely find one side easier than the other. Make sure to focus on glute activation in both cheeks and look at yourself in the mirror try not to allow any hip hiking or hip rotation. If you find this wobbly do this with no weight and ensure you knees don’t wobble too much. Focus on slow movements downwards at first.
This can be done unweighted and first and then weighted using dumbells, kettlebells or a barbell. It can be useful to those who have just started squatting to improve exercise technique.
GLUTE HAM BRIDGE
Start with body weight and then start to increase weight using a barbel with a pad over the hip area. This exercise is great for the lower back, hamstring and of course those glutes!
Single Leg Deadlift
A super hard exercise that requires balance and focus. At first you may wish to perform these on a smith machine as it will help with balance. Try to make sure you hinge from the hip and don’t bend the knee too much or else you will not feel this in the hamstring. Start with bodyweight and work up to dumbells, kettlebells and barbells!
Banded Crab Walk
Another glute isolator – are you getting my obsession with glutes yet? This exercise can be a great warm up before you get in the saddle.
So these are just a few examples of some exercises you could incorporate to your leg strengthening sessions. Of course there are many many more!
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