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  1. #1
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    Question UPDATED - My lower back gets tired from doing 2-point:

    This post is somewhat related to one I created recently around building flexibility in my body and strength in my core.
    '
    Over the last few 1-2 months, I'm feeling much better about my ability to have a strong leg position without getting tired. The stretching and tightness I used to feel in my legs and hamstrings is now almost a thing of the past. Yay!!

    The next thing I need to work on is my lower back. I can ride until I'm blue in the face in my dressage tack with almost no problem. I can do the same in my jump tack. I can do gymnastic exercises, do courses, etc. almost indefinitely if I'm trotting in. However, when doing exercises at a canter in 2-point like the "circle of death", I know I have a certain amount of loops I can do before my back gets tight and I need to take a break. It's not that I can't continue because I can. What happens is when I start to get tired my lower back gets tight and my sensitive mare feels it and starts to fuss a bit. I usually find that a walk break helps immensely.

    I'd like to build up my endurance so I can go a full lesson (~1 hour or so) without having to take breaks or get tight in my lower back.

    What would be the most effective way of strengthening my lower back so it doesn't get tight when I'm spending a lot of time in 2-point? I think part of what I'm feeling is residual fatigue from some very intense private pilates classes I've taken recently. I think I have to back off on those and just do 15-20 min. on my own per day to start.

    What exercises would be good for helping my lower back stay supple and not get so tired in 2-point?
    Last edited by SnicklefritzG; Feb. 1, 2013 at 10:20 PM. Reason: updates



  2. #2
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    I used to have this problem (both and after spine surgery unrelated to riding), and it has gone down recently. The only big lifestyle changes are switching barns to trainers who really watch me and nitpick little things like how arched my back it, lap swimming, a 'body sculpt' (read: torture) class), and riding my bike more.



  3. #3
    SnicklefritzG is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    What sorts of exercises are you doing in the "body sculpting" class that you found helpful for riding?



  4. #4
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    usually the tight back means that your abs are weak. To stay in that position for an extended period of time requires a lot of core strength and if your abs aren't doing all they should, your back starts compensating. So when I'm going around in two point for an extended period of time, I always make sure to focus on keeping my abs tight, back relaxed to keep my torso up.

    If you're already doing Pilates, that should definitely help with the ab strength. Maybe ask your instructor if you can focus on that area in your sessions. And there is nothing wrong with taking a small walk break if it helps! I know off horse I am pretty physically fit, yet depending on what we're doing in a lesson I still get tired and will take a break if needed. Its good for me and my horse


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  5. #5
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    Adding to what KateKat just said (100%!!), you can lay off the edge of your bed (or something with an "edge") and do reverse sit ups.... lay on your belly and lift up so essentially your back arches backwards. This will strengthen your back muscles quite a bit.

    Sit on the floor with legs out and pull on big rubber bands (attached to feet)...much like the back motion when rowing a boat.

    You can also do squats in a replicated "2 point" positioning while watching tv. When your legs are super strong (added to super strong abs).... well, yeah, everything comes together easier

    And definitely take the walks! But push through 4 more strides (for example) when you start feeling tight. The breaks will be fewer and further between if you just keep after it



  6. #6
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    Plank exercises with strengthen the applicable core muscles that should be doing the work of supporting your upper body rather than your lower back.

    Putting athletic tape in an "X" on your core while riding can help remind you to use your core rather than your lower back just by adding sensation to your core. the lower back is inherently weak and easy to damage. People with lordosis are particularly at risk of allowing their lower back to do the work the core needs to do.


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  7. #7
    SnicklefritzG is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Thanks for all the great responses so far!

    @KateKat: I think you are totally right. I told my Pilates instructor that I needed to have a strong core, so she's really been working that. However, what she has me do is so intense that the next day it hurts to laugh.

    I think my abs are so tired that in my next lesson my back ends up carrying the load based on what you are saying.


    What should I feel, or rather, what is the proper way to engage my core while riding? I'm wondering if maybe I am tensing my lower back too while tightening my abs. What would be an effective way to engage my core but still keep my back flexible?



  8. #8
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    I'm not going to be tons of help because think two-point is more about balance than it is about strength. I could ride in two point all day long with no problem. Are you sure your doing your two-point correctly (or maybe it's me who is not )? IMO, if you are working that hard in two-point, you are doing something wrong.
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


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  9. #9
    SnicklefritzG is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    I've talked to my trainer who says my balance is fine and that I'm sitting correct. I think I'm overdoing it in the gym and going to my riding lessons sore and tired from the Pilates. I didn't have trouble with 2-point earlier this year...the trouble seemed to correspond with overloading in the gym these last two weeks...hence the original post about trying to strengthen my core more gradually through a few relevant exercises rather than the killer pilates (at least in the beginning)



  10. #10
    SnicklefritzG is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    HAPPY UPDATES!!!


    I bought an inexpensive pilates reformer at the beginning of January and have been working out on it 4-5 times per week for about 45-60 minutes. It seems like a lot, but I do the exercises slowly and have built up gradually over the past several weeks.

    The difference I feel in my riding is amazing! My lower back soreness is virtually gone and I can make it through an entire one hour jumping lesson without needing to take any breaks. This helps immensely in other ways too, considering my horse is a sensitive TB mare who can definitely feel it when I get tired and/or tense.


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  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    HAPPY UPDATES!!!


    I bought an inexpensive pilates reformer at the beginning of January and have been working out on it 4-5 times per week for about 45-60 minutes. It seems like a lot, but I do the exercises slowly and have built up gradually over the past several weeks.

    The difference I feel in my riding is amazing! My lower back soreness is virtually gone and I can make it through an entire one hour jumping lesson without needing to take any breaks. This helps immensely in other ways too, considering my horse is a sensitive TB mare who can definitely feel it when I get tired and/or tense.
    So glad you're seeing such great changes! What video did you buy?



  13. #13
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    Where did you get your pilates reformer? There's a pilates studio near me but its sooo expensive



  14. #14
    SnicklefritzG is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    @overthemoon:


    I bought one of these: http://www.staminaproducts.com/produ...0D&cat=Pilates

    Except refurbished so it only cost $300. It came with a poster that describes basic exercises that you can do with it. I also use the DVD's that came with it, except they are exclusively for the reformer, not stuff you can do on a mat.

    If you are curious about how the reformers work and what my routine is, I can send you a PM/


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  15. #15
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    Very cool, glad you're feeling better! I need to get back into doing pilates again, it was so great but you're right that sometimes sessions were just brutal and if I had a riding lesson the next day I would be just exhausted.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KateKat View Post
    usually the tight back means that your abs are weak. To stay in that position for an extended period of time requires a lot of core strength and if your abs aren't doing all they should, your back starts compensating. So when I'm going around in two point for an extended period of time, I always make sure to focus on keeping my abs tight, back relaxed to keep my torso up.

    If you're already doing Pilates, that should definitely help with the ab strength. Maybe ask your instructor if you can focus on that area in your sessions. And there is nothing wrong with taking a small walk break if it helps! I know off horse I am pretty physically fit, yet depending on what we're doing in a lesson I still get tired and will take a break if needed. Its good for me and my horse
    This.^^^^

    Google "6 min abs synergism"... They have exercises that are great for abs, require no equipment and really work. You'll see a difference in about a week and a half.



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