"The Core-ageous Competitor" - Exercises To Improve Your Balance and Seat - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By ~*~anebel~*~
  • 1 Post By bsms
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-31-2012, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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"The Core-ageous Competitor" - Exercises To Improve Your Balance and Seat

I came across this article on my Facebook newsfeed today and after reading it I really like the idea and exercises. It's based on a barrel racer's physical needs but I think all disciplines could benefit from it, plus it's a neat read. I'm one to work out, not a lot but enough to keep my body "toned" and in shape.. I think it's really important for a rider to have good balance and a good seat, my opinion on this is that riders, especially the really hard disciplines, should have a nice core. The more "in shape" your core is the better balance and seat you'll have. We all know that a good seat is a very important part when it comes to riding. Having a good core can also lead to less physical pain and/or injuries. Even if you have no idea where to start this article is a great way to get you started.. Anyway, thought I'd share!

The Core-ageous Competitor

"As a barrel horse jockey, I’d always assumed that the exercises involved with training and caring for horses were enough to keep me physically fit. However, I was proven wrong when I joined the local gym. Since then, my balance, strength and overall riding skills have greatly improved.
While upper and lower body strength is important, it is our core that affects our balance the most. The core consists of the abdominal muscles—where all of our movement originates. By strengthening our core, we decrease our chances of back injury and enhance our balance in the saddle.

I’ve teamed up with Ellwood City Athletic Club owner and trainer Jeff Smiley to demonstrate some basic core strengthening with the use of a stability ball and a medicine ball. These exercises can be done anywhere. "
- Sue Bologna

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post #2 of 4 Old 08-31-2012, 01:15 PM
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Those are all fairly basic core exercises that IMO do little for stability and balance.

I do all the strength training I can on a BOSU ball and find way more use for one of those than an exercise ball. Also doing yoga or Pilates and incorporating movement into your core exercises is far more beneficial than sitting and doing crunches. You can use core strength in just about any kind of exercise if you are doing it properly. In lunges, use weights and with the opposite arm of the front leg, extend the arm up and out when lowering in the lunge to fire up the core. Burpees, mountain climbers and jump rope also use core in a more effective way than sit ups. Movement based and combo/full body exercises are going to be more beneficial to core strength and balance than doing a bunch of crunches. Good running posture during a 30 minute jog is going to do more for your stability than 100 sit ups, IMO.
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-31-2012, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
...Good running posture during a 30 minute jog is going to do more for your stability than 100 sit ups, IMO.
Love jogging...and would as soon be emasculated as do endless sit-ups. I have no idea if you are right, but I sure want to think you are!

On a serious note: I've got an exercise physiology text somewhere that says muscles train for about 30 deg of motion. Think of a bicep curl. According to the text, the muscle fibers used during the first 30 deg of motion are different than the muscle fibers used during the last 30 deg of motion. I suspect this is true based on my experience back in the days where I went to a gym and lifted weights.

If true, then for riding purposes I suspect the value of a crunch would be the first 20-30 deg of motion. I also suspect a lot of what we need in riding is lateral balance and stability, and those come from a side-to-side motion. Looking at the exercises, I'd guess the Floor Bridge and Russian Twists might be the most helpful, but they wouldn't require extremes of motion.

Me? I've been working with my exercise partners Mr Pick and Mr Shovel to break up rocky soil and place railroad ties in it to slow erosion.

Is it helping?

Well, I'm reminded of when I was in college. My roommate said he was told once that snorting a pinch of cayenne pepper would stop sneezing. "Did it work?", I asked. "Well", he said, "I was crying so hard from the pain that I forgot about sneezing, so I guess it did..."
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-31-2012, 05:06 PM
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As a barrel racer I have to say those 100 situps are going to help me more with my powerful horse than jogging...Although, I think the best option is going to be all of the above. :)

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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