even more core engagement to ensure stability during
the rotation.” The muscular engagement you get when
doing the lateral twisting plank is similar to what
needed for riding.
You can do the lateral twisting plank on a bench,
step, hay bale, or BOSU ball for extra di;culty. (A
BOSU Ball consists of an inflated rubber hemisphere
attached to a hard plastic platform, so it’s like a stability
ball cut in half.)
Another total-body movement, the bridge will work
your hamstrings and glutes, as well as your lower
abdominals. To start with the basic position, lie on the
floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
Engage your core, glutes, and hamstrings as you lift
your pelvis toward the sky and hold for 10 to 15 seconds,
then slowly release. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
To add di;culty to the bridge, rest your heels on a
stability ball. Start by again lifting your pelvis in the air
and holding. You can add hammy curls by rolling the
ball toward your buttocks and then back to your heels.
“By adding the curling motion with the hamstrings,
the lower core is under stress to keep the hips elevated
while rolling the ball to and from the body,” says
Braden-Olson. “At this point, your hips will start
to collapse and you must engage your lower core to
support the pelvis and keep it up. The hammy curls are
one of the best exercises for a horseback rider because
doing them;increases pelvic balance;and;strength for a
better overall core stability in the saddle.”
There are multiple variations of this exercise, making
it great for all levels. The most basic position is to start
by sitting in a “V” position on the floor with your back
straight, hands behind your head, and your legs bent
at 90 degrees. Next, lift your legs up and tap your toes,
one at a time, on the floor (like a scissor move). You can
twist your upper body so your right elbow touches your
left knee, and vice versa, to add a twist to the movement.
Add di;culty by doing toe taps on a BOSU Ball.
“The activity in the legs engages the lower
abdominal muscles and muscles connecting into the
quadriceps,” says Braden-Olson. “Doing these releases
any tension that occurs naturally from riding in the hip
flexors and lower back, increasing lower core mobility.
Increase your core;stamina while ensuring you keep an
even range of motion in the hips.” HI
MEGAN ARSZMAN is a freelance writer based in Indiana,
where she’s learning to balance motherhood with horses, dogs
The side-plank engages your obliques while you
balance on one hand or elbow.
The bridge will work your hamstrings, glutes and
The basic starting position for toe taps is to sit in a “V”
position with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle.
To increase difficulty, tap your toes one at a time,
adding an upper body twist if desired.