Welcome to part five of our six-part video series featuring exercises to improve your flexibility, strength and fitness for riding. This series is brought to you in association with Dee Holdsworth of Dynamic Sports Therapy
A rider’s lack of flexibility, strength and fitness can severely limit their ability to perform, but by following the exercises in our videos, a relatively small investment in time can have far reaching positive effects on your performance as a rider.
You should warm up your muscles by taking a brisk walk, or similar, after riding before performing any of these exercises. If you suffer any ongoing physical issues, we recommend you speak to a health professional before you start.
Each exercise is shown at different levels of difficulty, so you can choose the version that is most suitable to your current physical condition and then progress through the levels as you improve.
How to improve your abdominal strength
Your abdominal muscles are key to maintaining your position in the saddle, enabling you to be an effective rider. The following exercises will benefit riders of all standards. You can also test and work on improving the strength of your abdominals in the saddle by working without stirrups, particularlyby going from rising to sitting trot and by riding canter to trot transitions.
Exercise one: pullover This exercise works to stabilise your shoulder blades and improve abdominal strength, allowing your to improve your posture and seat in the saddle.
Exercise two: V sits This exercise will help you improve the strength of your hip flexors while working your abdominals and core muscles to improve your body awareness and control of your hips and lower back. Ultimately this will work to reduce unnecessary movement or bouncing in the saddle.
Exercise three: rollout on ball This exercise works to strengthen your core combined with extension of the hips allowing you to work on controlling your lower back. The combination of back strength with activation of the glutes will improve your seat and ability to lengthen your leg in the saddle.
About Dee Holdsworth
Dee is the founder of Dynamic Sports Therapy. A keen rider, she has competed at national level and was part of the small stables team at the London 2012 Olympics. Dee works with some of the world’s leading horse and rider combinations, including some of those on track for Rio 2016.
Dee is an equestrian sports science graduate from Hartpury College and went on to complete the International Therapy Examination Council Diploma in equine sports massage, delivered by veterinary chartered physiotherapist Mary Bromiley, and now stands as the ESMA Chairman.
Dee is a level four sports massage therapist with the Sports Massage Association. She also holds certificates in human and equine kinesiology taping and muscle energy techniques, as well as using deep oscillation therapy.