Noble Life

The Holy Grail of Rider Fitness: Core Strength (Part II)

Core strength is a critical piece to a rider’s stability and effectiveness in the saddle.

In part two of this two-part series, we’re still taking you beyond that basic crunch like we did in Part I. Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to get out of your rut and back at the gym. Taking care of your core is extra important if you’re in the saddle. Here are more of our favorite core exercises:

The Mountain Climber 
Begin in a push-up position with straight arms and place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Lift your right good off the floor and raise your right knee to your chest, keeping your back straight. Bring you left back to its starting position and alternate legs from here. The goal is to alternate your legs as quickly and as controlled as possible for 30-second intervals.

Mountain climbers actively engage the core and the goal is to go as quickly as possible, but still retain full control.

Mountain climbers actively engage the core and the goal is to go as quickly as possible but still retain full control.

The Windshield Wiper
Lie on your back and keep your legs raised at a 90-degree angle. Your arms will be lying straight out by your sides to help stabilize. Rotate your legs (keeping them together) to one side, for as far as they will extend but stopping before they touch the floor. Rotate to the other side. Repeat for a total of 20 times.

The Scale
Sit cross-legged with your hands placed next to either hip. Push into the mat or floor with your hands and lift your lower body up. Hold for 2 breaths and then slowly and in a controlled manner, lower yourself back down. This is definitely a more advanced move, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not able to lift your lower half. Instead, you can just lift as much as possible while your feet remain on the floor.

More challenging than perhaps some of the other core exercises, the scale is a great exercise to incorporate into your routine as you start to get more and more fit.

More challenging than perhaps some of the other core exercises, the scale is a great exercise to incorporate into your routine as you start to get more and more fit.

Posture…Posture…and More Posture
Exercising tires your abdominal muscles and it can be easy to slouch at work at your desk or even in the saddle. Maintaining good posture is one of the simplest ways to keep your core engaged and supporting your lower back. With practice, this will become more natural feeling. It’s especially challenging for those with longer torsos – but don’t give up! Even 5 minutes at a time of good posture will help keep you on track. These four exercises are great to end a cardio workout with or on their own! Up next – some ways to help develop great balance!

 

Remember when you were admonished to always sit up straight at the table? Well, now’s the time! Good posture can keep you out of a lot of back and core trouble.

Remember when you were admonished to always sit up straight at the table? Well, now’s the time! Good posture can keep you out of a lot of back and core trouble.

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Based in Lexington, KY, Katie Shoultz's lifelong passion for horses and farm life inspired her to open the doors of Isidore Farm, a premier hunter/jumper facility in the Bluegrass. She is involved in several equine organizations and usually has a cup of coffee and dog by her side.

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