Lauren started dressage last year following her love for riding and caring for horses. Dressage is a term taken from french and translates to “training” – and what is key for dressage riders is good posture and a strong core: two elements also essential to anyone wanting to take their strength and fitness to the next level. Hence why I thought it would be great for Lauren to share her training secrets with you all!
Why is good posture important to training?
Good posture enables good alignment i.e. all your bones stack on top of each other the way they were designed to. This means that there is no added strain to the joints, and the muscles don’t have to work overtime to support the balance and stability of the body. Poor posture means that your bones do not stack properly and therefore different muscles are under strain when you do certain movements.
Why is having strong core muscles foundational to strength training?
Your core muscles include your stomach muscles, back muscles, muscles around your shoulder girdle and your hips too. The muscles around your hips and stomach support those in your lower back. If these are not strong, then too much stress is placed on your lower back which will inevitably lead to discomfort and potential injury. These muscles are the foundations on which everything else can be achieved 🙂
3 exercises for you…
These exercises are currently used by Lauren in order to improve her stature and prowess on the horse. Dressage, like strength training, has endless possibility for learning and improving. As usual, these exercises allow you to start small and then increase the difficulty as you feel more confident to do so.
For this exercise, start by trying to hold the shape where the knees are inline with the shoulders. From there, you can start with very small movements opening the body and then returning to that hold. As you get more confident, you can make the movements as big as the ones Lauren demonstrates in this video. Make sure your feet and shoulders never touch the floor!
The stronger the band, the harder this exercise will be, so start lighter than you think you can do! Make sure that one arm is totally still whilst you move the other and check yourself in the mirror to make sure you are doing the movements equally on both sides. Engage your bum and keep your hips steady and stomach pulled in throughout 🙂
The same goes for this exercise, the stronger the band – the harder the work, but better to aim for perfect form with a lighter band than compromised form with a stronger band! Keep your pelvis in neutral (make sure it isn’t tipping backwards with your lower back rounding), your chest lifted and the front of your thighs and stomach active. Feel free to do a few extra on your weaker side!
These exercises do not need to involve going to the gym or having lots of equipment. All you need is a simple set of elastic bands (most of them range from lighter to stronger ones). You can either include them in your workouts or do them after a long walk – just make sure that your body is warm and that you’ve circled all your joints prior to starting them.
Train safely and most importantly… have fun!