By Julie Luther
Webster’s Dictionary defines balance as- an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. Often when riding, we are so busy thinking of what we want our horse to accomplish that our balance is the last thing on our mind, so having the ability to “naturally balance” is an asset. Being able to feel what muscles are in play to keep you balanced will help the core muscles to engage without conscious thought. The exercises below will help you slow down and feel your core muscles at work. I have found that concentrating on the lower half of the abdominal wall (that triangle of space between your hip bones and pubis) is the key to staying balanced on and off the horse. Add these exercises into your current regimen to increase your ability to balance naturally, without having to think about it so much.
|Weighted Birddog – right to left balance||On all 4’s with a neutral spine, keeping back level, fully extend the left arm directly out to your side, level with your shoulder, holding a 4 pound hand weight while extending you right leg straight out behind you parallel to the floor. Perform 10 reps. Then switch to the other side.||Hold position for a 3 count, keeping your back level and feeling what muscles are in play to hold you strong.|
|Fit Ball Walk – full body training||Place shoulders and upper back on a fit ball with feet on the floor and hips in the air, with your head balanced over your shoulders, with chin slightly tucked, and march your feet for 1 minute.||Focus on keeping your lower abs contracted.|
|Fit Ball Airplane- right to left balance||Place shoulders and upper back on a fit ball with feet on the floor and hips in the air, with your head balanced over your shoulders, with chin slightly tucked, extend arms parallel to floor and move left to right, keeping arms parallel to the floor.||Focus on keeping your entire body lined up to the ceiling.|
Julie Luther is an Exercise Physiologist, corrective exercise specialist, and dynamic flexibility certified personal trainer, as well as an equestrian. She owns PurEnergy fitness Center in Greensboro, NC, and has been helping folks reach their fitness goals since 1985. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her website at www.julieluther.com