Pilates to Improve Your Riding
· *Disclaimer – you do these exercises at your own risk, if you have any acute or recent back pain do not attempt these. Make sure when working out that you work within your limits.
1. Cat Stretches
This is a great warm up exercise and is a good way to find your neutral spine (the positon you need to be for the exercises). First you tuck your head down and at the same time round your back up. Next lift your head up and dip your back the other way. Repeat round 10 times moving slowly between each position. Your neutral spine is between these two positions.
2. Raise Alternate Arms and Legs
This is a great exercise for working on your balance and core. Staying in the neutral spine position from the previous exercise and making sure to engage your core. Raise your right arm and left leg off the mat and hold them straight. Make sure you keep your back flat and core engaged through out and that you move slowly. Repeat with the other side and continue until you have done 10 on each side.
This is a great exercise to work on your balance and getting your glutes engaged. Lie on your side with your lower arm extended and upper arm hand resting on your hip. Your legs should be bent at a 45 degree angle with both ankles touching. Lift your top leg, making sure to keep your hips stacked and core engaged, and then lower it back down again. Repeat 10 times on both sides.
4. One Leg Stretch
This exercise really works on control of your stomach muscles. Start in your neutral spine position with your knees bent and feet on the floor. One at a time lift your foot of the floor then extend your leg straight. Lower your leg back to the table top position and the back onto the floor. Make sure your core remains engaged throughout and you move slowly.
Another good exercise to work your core. Start on your back with your legs at 90 degrees, table top position. Make sure your stomach muscles are engaged. One at a time lower your leg to 45 degrees and then raise it back up. Make sure you only move one leg at a time to protect your back. If lowering to 45 degrees is too much, only go as far as you can.
6. Hip Twists
This is a good exercise to loosen off your back and improve mobility. Start lying with your feet on the floor and knees bent. Then keeping your feet on the floor lower your knees to the right, then back over to the left.
7. One Leg Circle
This exercise is really good for improving control and coordination. Start with your back on the floor, neutral spine and your knees bent. Lift one leg off the floor and draw circles clockwise with your toes, repeat ten times then switch direction, then do the same with the other leg. Really concentrate on the shape and size of the circles and make sure your core is engaged the whole time. If this is too easy you can make it harder by straightening your leg upwards and drawing the circles from there.
8. Oblique Prep
This exercise makes sure to work both sides of your abdominal muscles. Start on your back, arms bent behind your head and knees bent. Make sure your stomach muscles are engaged and you’re in neutral spine. Then lift your left shoulder off the ground across to your right hip, repeat with the other side. Make sure your lift comes from your core and not from your neck, it doesn’t matter how far you come off the ground.
9. Swimming – Arms Only
This exercise is good for engaging your shoulder blades. Lie face down with your arms by your side, make sure to engage your core. Lift your arms up by engaging your shoulder blades.
This exercise is really good for coordination and working your core. Start by lying on your front with your arms out in front of you, make sure your core is engaged. Lift your right arm and left leg off the floor and then repeat with the opposite pair.
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