Five core exercises to transform yourself into a stronger rider



Five core exercises to transform yourself into a stronger rider

Developing core strength will make you a better rider in all three phases. Having strong core muscles betters your balance and posture in the saddle. It does not matter what level you are competing at, building a strong core will make a noticeable difference in your riding. These are the five core exercises I like to do on a regular basis to keep myself eventer fit:


1) Alternating superman: This exercise is dead simple and is great to work the smaller ab muscles that many core exercises do not.

  • Lie face down (I recommend doing so on an exercise mat, not a hard floor) with your arms stretched above your head (you will look like superman, hence the name of this exercise)
  • Raise your right arm and left leg approximately five to six inches off the ground (or however high you can comfortably).
  • Hold for five seconds. Relax for a bit.
  • Repeat with your left arm and right leg raised.

Make sure you remember to breath and do not bend your arm or leg when you are holding the exercise position because that’s cheating.

2) Lunging jacks – I love this exercise because it really gets my heart rate up so it doubles as some great cardio.

  • Stand with your left foot about two to three feet in front of your right foot.
  • Lower body into a split squat position.
  • Jump up and scissor-kick legs, landing with your right leg forward.
  • As soon as you land, lower your body back into a split squat position.
  • Keep repeating until you need to catch your breath.

Plyo Lunge

Remember to contract your abdominal muscles when you lower yourself into the squat.

3) Bird dog– Although this exercise has a funny name it is great for working your lower back strength and balance.

  • Position yourself on all fours (like a dog!).
  • Extend your right leg straight out behind you and your left arm straight out in front of you.
  • Hold for three seconds.
  • Bring your elbow to your knee and squeeze your ab muscles.
  • Repeat with your left leg and right arm.

How to Do the Bird Dog Exercise | Abs Workout
Make sure you do not rush through this exercise; you are not trying to see how many reps you can do in a minute. Take your time, control your leg and arm movements and feel the burn.

4) Imaginary rope climb: This exercise works your core without causing any strain on your back.

  • Sit with your legs extended out in front of and turn your feet out into a V position, with your toes pointed.
  • Contract those ab muscles and roll your spine into a C-curve.
  • Lift your arms straight up above your head and move them as if you were climbing a rope.
  • Twist slightly with each reach.
  • Keep climbing your phantom rope until you start to feel your ab muscles tiring.
Photo via

Photo via

Remember to breath during this exercise even though you are contracting your ab muscles. Breathing is important so a) you do not pass out and b) oxygen gets delivered to your muscles so they get stronger.

5) Plank push-ups: You will get a bonus arm workout with this killer exercise, which is great because you need strong arms to half-halt some horses effectively. And of course toned arms look great!

  • Position yourself in a standard plank position with your weight resting on your forearms and toes.
  • Press yourself up into a push-up position one arm at a time.
  • Make sure you maintain the perfect plank position through your body.
  • Lower yourself back into a standard plank position, one arm at a time.
  • Repeat until your arms are too shaky to move you from one position to another.

This exercise is seriously hard work but the results are definitely worth the effort! 


Start doing these five exercises today to give yourself a core of steel, which will make you a force in the saddle…

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