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Best exercises for a noodle of a rider

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    Best exercises for a noodle of a rider

    So I rode for about 3.5-4 years before I stopped in May of 2019, and everyone would always tell me that I need to exercise, and especially work on my “riding muscles” so I can ride a horse properly and have proper cues... etc. I (for some, probably dumb) reason, have never done what many have told me to.

    I have made it a goal to do my best to start riding again Spring season 2021. Because I have time before then, I figured why not make it a point to get in shape for riding. I mean, I gotta get rid of my soggy noddle looking body sometime!

    I know I need lots of core exercises, things to build leg muscle, and balance exercises, but I figured the best place to turn is a place where people will (probably and hopefully) know what they are talking about!

    some things I’m having a hard time finding exercises for:

    I’ve been taught to use my thighs for things such as sitting trot, and can’t find much to improve this muscle group

    I have the balance of a newborn child. I mean. I’ve fallen off a horse because he slowed his trot the most insignificant amount. (I promise it’s gotten somewhat better since that lol)

    I have a core resembling a stack of cotton balls If you so much as look at me I crumple from the middle inwards. I’ve always struggled with proper posture in the saddle (only in a saddle) and can’t do a lot on a horse without struggle because my core just can’t handle it. Lol

    if anyone has any good exercises to help with any of the above, it just strength in general possibly more so geared toward riding, please share! When I go back to riding I want to be able to feel confident in my ability to ride properly without giving myself the workout of a lifetime!

    note: I do have an elliptical, so I am doing cardio on it!!

    #2
    Well, if you google you'll find a million links.

    I train with a strength trainer several times a week (not for riding but triathlon) and I do most of these here so they are pretty universal: https://dressageridertraining.com/bl...essage-riders/

    I would add a variety of squats and lunges because your core isn't the only thing that needs strengthening. Hips and glutes tend to be weak on most people, so throw in some side lunges or something else to get lateral strength. And I'd throw in some upper body as well for upper back into arm strength, which is also good for riding. Maybe a few sets of pushups (3-5 good ones several times a week. From your knees if you can't do a full pushup).

    Start slow and do everything carefully until you know how hard/easy they will be for you; and as soon as you start to lose your position - you stop. It may take time to build up to these sets - and you can hurt yourself even with exercises that don't look hard. I ended up in PT for several weeks from a back injury this spring...and I was not a beginner. Just did something too much, then lifted something heavy....and ouch.

    Balance and strength are different -- but connected. It doesn't hurt to work on both off the horse. E.g. you can do things like this for strength and balance (single leg RDL with or without weights: https://theprehabguys.com/single-leg-romanian-deadlift/)

    Comment


      #3
      Just another word of caution - in the exercises where you are lying on your stomach (e.g. Supermans) - the goal is not to achieve very much hyper-extension of your back. The position just helps to isolate the muscle group. So you should not try to lift your arms and legs very high, especially at first. It is totally ok if your arms and legs are just barely off the ground. More is not better. If that is, or becomes, so easy that you can't even feel it, there are ways to make those exercises harder with resistance bands, or changing to something different. Don't hyperextend your back thinking it is making you "stronger" - it might hurt you instead.

      Even the "horse stance pointer" (which is also called "bird dogs") - a flat back is the goal, not arched.

      Comment


        #4
        As with many things, this is multi-factorial. It is strength, symmetry and reflexes. It seems that your reflex is to assume the fetal position and let the core muscles go. Ideally, you would address all of these.

        Some things you might think about or do - buy Ekhard Meyers' books for riders exercises and getting cross functional strength and reflexes. This is one of his books and I have no idea why the price is so high https://www.amazon.com/Rider-Fitness.../dp/1570764824 This is also useful https://www.dressageextensions.com/m...iders/p/41622/ I have a set of spiral bound books Program for Better Riding.

        The on horse exercises, if you have a saint of a horse, or someone who will hold your horse, are great. Sit in saddle, reach up with one hand and touch the OTHER toe. Repeat. Sit and slowly windmill arms. Sit still and reach forward and touch horse's ears, and then tail, with one hand. Repeat at the walk, and then try trot (after you really get the walk. Post trot a circle, drop inside stirrup and keep posting. After a few circles, pick up stirrup and then drop the OTHER stirrup. Repeat in the other direction.

        At the walk, THINK about your core and keeping your body stacked. Return to this thought as often as possible, so you replace the reflex to collapse with the reflex to strengthen. Visualize a spook, and do NOT let yourself imagine yourself collapsing. Imagine riding through the spook with a strong, straight core!

        Do Pilates core strengthening. Do this test - lie on a stability ball on your back, knees bent at 90 degrees angle. Raise hands to sky. Slowly lift one leg, slowly put it down. Repeat with the other leg.

        Visit a physical therapist for core strengthening exercises, discuss what you have discovered about your body from trying the exercises listed above. DO the exercises the PT gives you.

        Good luck!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by TheChristianEquestrian View Post
          .....

          I have the balance of a newborn child. I mean. I’ve fallen off a horse because he slowed his trot the most insignificant amount. (I promise it’s gotten somewhat better since that lol)
          This is your answer.....you need to work on balance.

          Riding horses is not about strength per se, but about having balance under a moving, shifting platform. While re-balancing takes muscle tone, it is the ability to respond to change that creates an independent seat.

          I suggest seeking out a vaulting group.....or a gymnastics studio if no vaulting is around......to help with balance exercises.

          Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
          Alfred A. Montapert

          Comment


            #6
            When doing exercises geared for a specific task like riding, considering how to do them is important.

            Example, when windmilling arms, do twice as many backwards, as it opens your chest and straightens your back, what we want for much we do riding, compared with forward windmilling, that may tend to close your front and hunch your shoulders.

            Going slow until you learn what routine and how much effort is right for you, that will change as you get fitter, as S1969 explains, is critical to gain fitness without under or over doing it.

            Exercising is not just something to get it done any one way and move on with our day.

            Consider exercising being an artist sculpting your body for the task at hand.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Wicky View Post

              Visit a physical therapist for core strengthening exercises, discuss what you have discovered about your body from trying the exercises listed above. DO the exercises the PT gives you.

              Good luck!
              While I love my PT and value physical therapy in general, I don't think it is necessary to see a PT to safely do core strengthening exercises. Most people are weak in the core. It is unlikely that anyone wouldn't benefit from basic core exercises at home, and if you don't do anything crazy, they are unlikely to hurt you. (By crazy = if it hurts, stops. If you lose form, stop. Don't add weight until you can do them without weight, etc.)

              Obviously if the OP feels that they are unusually weak in the core, or have some particular weakness that is unexplained, a consult with a physical therapist is a good idea.

              Comment


                #8
                With as weak as it sounds like your core is, I would focus more on balance exercises. Just standing on one leg and working up the time you can balance would be a good start. I really like doing exercises standing on a Bosu ball because it's an unstable surface and I can stand with my feet on the edges similar to where they would be in the stirrups. I've worked up to doing all kinds of exercises on the Bosu, but just being able to stand on it is a good first step, and these balance exercises do work your core if you're not strong.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I bought a cheap pilates reformer off Amazon. I think it cost like $150. I love it.
                  • It doesn't take up too much room.
                  • It's easy to move or store.
                  • It's really helped my core, upper thigh strength and calves.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Jennifer Kroes total body workout is all done lying on a mat.

                    Whole body means whole body, not just core, legs and arms, but also lungs, eyes, fingertips and toes.
                    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Debbie Rodriguez (USEF S dressage judge) has a dvd series called "Success in the Saddle" that several of my friends and I have found very helpful in building strength and flexibility.

                      Each workout is 20 minutes, and you don't need any equipment except a mat if you have hard floors. There are 3 dvds in the set and a fourth is available to add on.

                      There are 3 (I think) workouts on each dvd, so you don't get bored. Each session focuses more on one area, but works all parts of your body a bit. Since they're tailored to the strengths and suppleness needed for riding specifically, I'm a big fan!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsDUzKoVLzA This is Taylor Campbell, who has a series that unfortunately was too much for me, but I'm 62 and last year I was hospitalized and had to learn how to walk again. When I was 50 I would have done these and really benefitted.

                        I work with a small studio owner who tailors his classes to the levels of his clients and I'm in the Senior class with the 80 year old who can kick my butt. My balance has improved considerably and in another month or so I might give this series another shot.
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Ceffyl_Dwr View Post
                          I bought a cheap pilates reformer off Amazon. I think it cost like $150. I love it.
                          • It doesn't take up too much room.
                          • It's easy to move or store.
                          • It's really helped my core, upper thigh strength and calves.
                          Any chance you can share the model you bought? I've been thinking about buying one but there are so. many. choices at a variety of price points. I'd rather spend my money on my horse, so this price range sounds right up my alley!

                          Originally posted by Hej View Post
                          Debbie Rodriguez (USEF S dressage judge) has a dvd series called "Success in the Saddle" that several of my friends and I have found very helpful in building strength and flexibility.

                          Each workout is 20 minutes, and you don't need any equipment except a mat if you have hard floors. There are 3 dvds in the set and a fourth is available to add on.

                          There are 3 (I think) workouts on each dvd, so you don't get bored. Each session focuses more on one area, but works all parts of your body a bit. Since they're tailored to the strengths and suppleness needed for riding specifically, I'm a big fan!
                          I second this series - I think it's six 20 min workouts, so you can easily do one before work in the mornings and have 1 day off per week. It's harder than I expected (and I consider myself a relatively fit 30-something year old). Excellent quick, full-body, core-focused workout.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Hej View Post
                            Debbie Rodriguez (USEF S dressage judge) has a dvd series called "Success in the Saddle" that several of my friends and I have found very helpful in building strength and flexibility.

                            Each workout is 20 minutes, and you don't need any equipment except a mat if you have hard floors. There are 3 dvds in the set and a fourth is available to add on.

                            There are 3 (I think) workouts on each dvd, so you don't get bored. Each session focuses more on one area, but works all parts of your body a bit. Since they're tailored to the strengths and suppleness needed for riding specifically, I'm a big fan!
                            Just took a quick look at the youtube ad for this - it looks good. Definitely not easy from the look of it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQIo_qzJksc

                            In general, I think good core programs are very similar; I do most of these in some form with or without weights or resistance. But this is a nice bite-sized workout at 20 minutes/day. And looks like they provide options (weights) if you find it too easy or need/want more.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              was just prescribed this exercise by my awesome PT to help with my riding:

                              https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitn...ed-bear-plank/

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                                Just took a quick look at the youtube ad for this - it looks good. Definitely not easy from the look of it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQIo_qzJksc

                                In general, I think good core programs are very similar; I do most of these in some form with or without weights or resistance. But this is a nice bite-sized workout at 20 minutes/day. And looks like they provide options (weights) if you find it too easy or need/want more.
                                Yup, not easy!

                                But as D.R. leads each session , there are two women beside her, one doing a harder version and one an easier version of each exercise. You can follow the version that suits you.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  [QUOTE=Feathered_Feet;n10711326]

                                  Any chance you can share the model you bought? I've been thinking about buying one but there are so. many. choices at a variety of price points. I'd rather spend my money on my horse, so this price range sounds right up my alley!


                                  https://us.amazon.com/Pilates-Power-.../dp/B009CG7HNQ

                                  I've probably had mine for six years now and it's still going.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Everyone's given you really good advice here - core and strength are the things to work on.

                                    But can I ask what your instructor is doing to help?

                                    If I had a rider who was coming back to the sport, and she was a self-described 'noodle,' I'd be working you on the lunge line almost exclusively, working on your position and core. No reins, just you, the saddle, and a bucking strap to grab if you need to. It really doesn't sound like you've had much work on this aspect of riding yet. The windmill and other exercises mentioned upthread can be done on the lunge line, while the horse is standing or walking. Learning the proper seat is best done on the lunge (it's why the German riding schools make their students spend years on the lunge, even when they've advanced - we tend to get lazy and this makes us go back to where we should be).

                                    If your instructor isn't doing this, or doesn't know how, find one who does.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Alex and Bodie's Mom View Post
                                      Everyone's given you really good advice here - core and strength are the things to work on.

                                      But can I ask what your instructor is doing to help?
                                      She says she is going to return to riding in Spring 2021, so I took that as she is not riding at all right now. So I assumed no trainer

                                      Comment

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