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One weak rider leg...how to strengthen?

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  • One weak rider leg...how to strengthen?

    My left leg is markedly weaker than the right, PLUS, I collapse my right rib cage so everything shifts over to the left. I need some ideas for strengthening that left leg (and yes, the right one is a bit longer). THX!!!!
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

  • #2
    First off make sure you are even from the seat bones up, then get used to using your strong leg no stronger than your weak one, and if necessary adjust stirrup leather so you have equal bend in all your shock absorbers both sides, and not have one leg more compressed than the other.
    Then get a pair of crutches and pretend that your strong leg is broken and use that weak leg more, sure worked for me, when I broke an ankle on my stronger leg, and the weak one had to catch up.
    Over using the leg is a mistake, your horse should be light to the leg


    • #3
      I think we're twins RunForIt. I was just thinking the same thing this morning about how weak my left leg is and how my stronger right leg "hooking" around the horse is probably contributing to my collapsed right hip.

      I really noticed the disparity in strength between my legs during a yoga class. The one-legged poses were so much more balanced and easier to hold on my right leg vs my left leg.

      I'm planning on continuing with yoga classes and also doing more lunges and squats etc. Does anyone know if it's advisable to do more reps of poses/exercises for my left leg vs my right? Or should I keep the # of reps even for both legs?


      • Original Poster

        [QUOTE=Karosel;6747669]I think we're twins RunForIt. I was just thinking the same thing this morning about how weak my left leg is and how my stronger right leg "hooking" around the horse is probably contributing to my collapsed right hip.

        The italics and red print are from me, but that's an eye opener for me - my own stronger right leg is likely part of the reason my right rib cage and hip collapse. Today I shortened my right leather a hole and boy did it help things...THX Karosel!
        ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


        • #5
          Easiest way to stop collapsing through the hip is to take the stirrup away from the dominant leg. You will either fall off or straighten up.

          Long term having had a knee reconstruction and built up my leg from scratch is to work in the gym using weights, get a wobble board and a gym ball for home. The gym ball will help even out the asymmetry in the pelvis/core with work, the wobble board builds up the right muscles to strengthen through the core as well as the leg. Think about things all the time like which is your lead leg going up stairs and make sure you use the weak one more.

          Naturally you will always be weaker one side - I recently went to a very interesting lecture about it and here are my notes if you are interested.
          The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.


          • #6
            I have the exact same problem (among about a bazillion others....but I digress....) I have been taking some long overdue lunge lessons recently and my instructor said something counterintuitive to me. She suggested practicing riding with only one stirrup AND the weak leg is the one that keeps the stirrup. These lessons have been super embarrassing but VERY helpful. I am seeing some improvement so plan to keep at it.


            • #7
              As I think everyone else has eluded to. Riding correctly will ultimately strengthen you. Itll take a long time. but it'll work


              • #8
                +1 on dropping the stirrup from your strong leg.

                I think the key is first figuring out how to stop collapsing the hip. That's a major reason why one leg is weaker--it is a symptom not the primary problem. The hip collapse is a straightness and probably a core issue.

                In general I've been doing balance and core work in the gym that seems to be helping me. Specifically, using a bosu ball with the ball half on the floor and standing/balancing on the flat side. Once I'm on the bosu and balanced 1) using a medicine ball with arms extended making small circles in both directions, then 2) long diagonal movements with arms extended on both sides 3) squats (oh joy!) then 4) squats that I catch a ball that is dropped by a trainer/helper right in front of me from shoulder height. (double oh joy!)