How To Engage Your Lower Abdominals For Dressage Riders
Learning how to engage your lower abdominal muscles is crucial for a quiet and independent seat. Postural strength helps you form a strong framework and helps you remain balanced in your saddle. It also helps your horse soften and remain balanced beneath you.
Unfortunately, the lower abdominals are often the laziest muscles and they do need work to wake them up so you gain that true elastic strength that is required for dressage. In this short video, I’ll help you learn to engage and stabilize your core by completing a simple exercise.
Why the lower abdominals are important for dressage riders
For your seat bones to be still and your hips to become mobile there needs to be strength around the pelvis. It’s not about digging your knees in or cinching in the waist, both of which will make you appear stiff and tight. Instead, it’s about activating the correct muscles to help stabilize your midsection and remain stable in the saddle. This allows you greater control and influence on your horse.
When a rider has weak lower abdominals it shows up in their posture. Often the abdomen moves forward due to a shift forward of the pelvis or the rider creates a hollow back by leaning back without neutral spine. Another common issues is the rider’s shoulders appear on a lean as they compensate for the change in position of the pelvis. The rider’s legs may be positioned to forward or back as they try and compensate for the instability through their pelvis.
The movement of the horse is also affected by weak abdominals. The horse is more able to push the rider around with the direct the movement of each stride when the rider isn’t stable. This then can affect the horses balance and suppleness, not to mention expression within its paces.
Learning how to engage your lower abdominal muscles is vital for a quiet and independent seat. Postural strength helps you form a strong framework and helps you remain central in your saddle. It also helps your horse soften and move with you.
Unfortunately, the lower abdominals are often the laziest muscles and they do need work to wake them up so you gain that elastic strength and independent seat. In this short video, I’ll help you learn to engage and stabilise your core by completing a simple exercise.
Core exercises are going to help you take your riding to a new level
Improving your fitness is just as important as your horses if you wish to see progress in your dressage riding. The exercise in the video is going to help you develop a stronger, more stable core and improve your seat.
The key to perfecting this lower abdominal exercise is to concentrate on bracing your lower spine and activating your core muscles. For further stability in your legs, point your toes as lift each leg to table top position. Perfecting your technique from the get go is going help you see greater results.
Aim to do 20 repetitions of 10 raises per leg. Have a rest and then repeat the exercise again. If you’re prone to a weak core, it may help for you to do this exercise just before you ride as it will help isolate the right muscles in the saddle.
Consistency is vital in building up the strength in your lower abdominals. So, include this exercise into your workout at least 2-3 times per week. As you start to gain that control and feel your lower abdominals activate, you’ll be able to progress your training further and take on some more advanced moves.
If you put the effort into improving your riding technique as much as you do your horses, you’ll be able to become a stronger team and your riding will start to excel. For more exercises, stretches and workouts to help advance your riding and fitness, check out our online dressage rider training program. Here, you’ll find all the tools and specific dressage exercises you need to take your riding to a new level.