The Ultimate Core Exercise For Dressage Riders

Core strength is vital for dressage riders to remain balanced and connected with the horse. It’s not the type of core strength that comes with doing 100 crunches each day. It’s the type of core strength that enables you to maintain a neutral spine with a balanced pelvis, creating the illusion of stillness when you’re riding.

Our core is the central part of your body including the internal muscles that help stabilise your spine, your obliques and the rectus abdominis which are the muscles located along the front of your abdomen. The rectus abdominis are the muscles you target when doing crunches to gain a six-pack.

As dressage riders, we want to ensure we gain strength in our entire core; front, top, back, inside and out. This will help keep our body strong and function to create the illusion of stillness when you’re riding. It’s not all about having a six-pack!


The ultimate exercise to build dressage rider core strength

Isometric and static core exercises are what’s going to help you develop your core strength, improving your balance and mobility. In this video, I demonstrate the plank. This is one of my favourite exercises to activate all the core muscles needed when riding.

Getting your form right when holding a plank is essential. A common mistake people make when doing a plank is raising their bottom’s too high or allowing their abdomen to sag. To achieve the correct planking posture, start at table top position and drop down to your elbows.

Starting with your arms, you want to fully contract your all your muscles. With your elbows in line with your shoulders, lift yourself up into your shoulder blades and push through your forearms. Brace your belly to remain strong and solid with your entire body streamlined.

Hold the plank position for as long as possible, increasing it each time you attempt the exercise. If you’re looking for a further challenge, come up onto your toes squeezing your thigh muscles and remaining in line.

Every single muscle should be activated in the plank position as you attempt to remain strong and hold the form.

The plank is the ideal exercise to really strengthen your entire core, rather than just targeting one muscle. As you practice this exercise, you’ll notice your strength develop and you’ll be able to hold the form for a longer period of time.
Injuries occur when you don’t regularly use these muscles and have poor form, so getting it right from the start and practicing this exercise regularly is essential.

After working on strengthening your core, you should notice how much more stable you’re becoming in the saddle and that’s what dressage rider training is all about.

For more exercises, stretches and workouts to take your riding to the next level checkout 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.


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