As dressage riders, our adductor strength plays an integral role in our seat. The adductor muscles, located in our inner thighs, can often be tight and weak or long and weak at the same time affecting how stable and balanced we are in the saddle.
It’s common for our adductors to be neglected, which is unfortunate as they’re so important for us to gain strength and stability in the saddle. It’s also about endurance strength so we can hold ourselves stable in the position for longer.
This doesn’t mean we’re gripping on for dear life with our inner thighs, but we need to have enough strength in these muscles so when activated, we’re not sliding around in our seat. Instead, we want to remain connected with our horse and move freely with them throughout our entire ride. This will ultimately help to become more confident in the saddle.
In this video, I want to share with you a few exercises that will help strength and loosen up your adductor muscles. The more you practice these exercises, the greater improvement you’ll experience.
Starting with your legs wide apart and your feet facing forward, soften your knees and fold forward. Tilt your tail bone up until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs and the inner thighs. The wider your legs, the greater the stretch you’ll feel.
To intensify the stretch to one side, bend one leg and let yourself drop down as you straighten the other leg. You’ll feel a deep stretch in the inside of your straight leg, targeting your adductors. Hold this stretch before taking it across to the other side.
Hold the forward fold for at least 30 secs, aiming for a minute.
Now you’ve loosened up your adductors, try the adductor pulses to strengthen the muscles. Lying down, bring yourself side on supported by your elbow and forearm. Bend one leg out in front, keeping the other leg stretched out with the foot flexed.
Lift your straight leg up off the ground in little pulses. The muscle on the inside of your leg is activated and helping you raise the leg at each pulse. If you have shoulder problems, you can try lying straight on the ground while you perform the pulses.
With dressage, it is all about endurance. So, try and perform 20 reps on each leg before switching over to the other side.
By combining these two exercises, you’re going to help loosen and strengthen your adductor muscles. This is going to translate into your riding by helping you relax and sit into the saddle, as well as helping you maintain your stability so you can move freely with your horse.
For more exercises, stretches and workouts to take your riding to the next level check out our dressage rider training online program. You’ll discover all the tools to help you improve your fitness and strength for riding. These specific dressage exercises are designed to help you take your dressage to a new level.