Core strength / stability are very important for riders, it isn’t that well researched but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that a strong functional core will give you better limb independence and control of energy throughout your body. Everyone should be training core, not just riders!
A strong well developed core, including the abdominals, lower back, hips and pelvic floor will keep a neutral spine and help create a harmony with your horse. When you ride, the movement at the core is predominantly isometric, meaning that there is tension in your abdominals but limited range of movement.
Planks are GREAT for riding and I include a follow along video here that targets all types of planks for you to work on!
There is a place for dynamic movement or partially dynamic movement – where the core is static but there are periods of intensity changes in the activity of the muscles, here’s why!
The following image is a EMG (electromyograph) trace of the thigh and abdominals (see bottom two traces) during jumping, there is some very interesting info here re the legs but lets focus on the core for now… The red vertical lines indicate a jump, so what we can see with the core is that we gets bouts of low and high amplitude isometric work. This means when training we need to combine isometric work like planks but also incorporate a reactive situation where riders train themselves with an abdominal bracing move.
Exercises such as battle ropes, plyometrics and jumping movements, Kettlebell swings will all place high core reliance and at the right point within a riders training programme can be great for developing core strength and functional control, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and seek guidance if you are not sure!
Battle ropes really get the core burning
When I train riders we work on progressions in exercises CORE included, the body needs variety and functional training. If Online rider fitness coaching is something you are interested in please read more about it here!
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