SEPTEMBER 2016 I HORSEillustrated.com
“You can feel when your core
Having that shoulder-hip alignment
gives,” says Braden-Olson. “I think
that’s where people get in trouble
when it comes to chores: Their core
isn’t fully engaged and doesn’t have
the endurance to sustain engagement
under strenuous movements or
When lifting heavy things, such as
a hay bale, Braden-Olson says you
should think about stacking your
body in a straight line: your shoulders
should be stacked over your hips and
your hips stacked over your heels.
with a straight spine and a strong
core will give you more strength than
by using your arms alone.
Do barn chores without
breaking your back.
Equestrians know that riding horses is just a small part of what we do. That’s our vacation from the grind of back-breaking chores around the farm: mucking stalls, stacking hay bales, carrying bags of grain and sweeping aisles. While that’s a work- out in itself, you still need to prepare your body for the onslaught of abuse it will
take in a typical week.
“There are a lot of things I think we do in the barn that
just wreck your body, and we don’t even think twice about
it,” says Bridget Braden-Olson, owner of BioRider Fitness.
“The best thing you can do for your body is to prepare it for
the work you’ll do, and that’s with strength training.”
Proper Form Protects
When it comes to lifting heavy things, you always hear “bend your knees, not
your back.” A strong core is important for your daily life, in and out of the barn.
“Think about lifting a bale of hay,” says Braden-Olson. “You’re doing a basic
deadlift, but you want to keep your shoulders back and your back flat so the
spine stays straight for natural core engagement. Doing those three things
allows you to bend at the hips and pick up the bale of hay.”
One way to check the longevity of your core engagement by performing a
Lie on your back with your spine smoothly touching the ground and your
knees bent or straight. Draw your belly button into your spine without arching
your back or lifting your spine off the ground. Try to hold that for 30 seconds,
continuing to breathe evenly while keeping your core engaged.
Being fit and
strong will make
barn chores easier
and less likely to
BY MEGAN ARSZMAN
PHOTOS BY GINA CIOLI/LUMINA MEDIA