Benefits of Core Strength
What Is Core Strength?
In basic terms, the core refers to the muscles around your trunk and pelvis – the abdominal wall, hips, lower back and diaphragm. More specifically, it includes the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, pelvic floor muscles, and the internal and external obliques; the muscles provide overall support during work, rest and play. This is where power and strength come from.
Benefits of improving your core strength:
1. Improved Performance: You’d be hard-pressed to find a sport that doesn’t rely on core strength for performance. The core helps anchor and support all the other working muscles in your body.
For example, eventors have the strength to be able to aid the horse moving into and over the jump, think quickly and act with quick responses, jockey’s will have more balance and strength in their core to then ride closer to the horse encouraging it to move forward.
Dressage riders can use their seat more effectively and so on. Any activity that requires coordination of movement between your upper and lower body will benefit core stability, increase the efficiency of movement and potentially boosting performance.
2. Back pain relief and reduced risk of injury: Strong core muscles that stabilise the spine can help reduce the risk of back injury. A sturdy core will ensure that movements are strong and pain-free, and will cushion the muscles around your spinal cord, keeping it better-protected and reducing stress to this critical body part. Many riders experience back pain at least once in their riding careers, increasing core stability will reduce this pain factor.
3. Improves Riding Posture: Strong core muscles can promote good posture and prevent slouching, reducing pressure on the lower back, decreasing the risk of disc herniation and vertebrae degeneration. Good core strength can also help to maintain pelvic alignment, allowing you to sit strong and tall.
4. Improves riders balance: Strong core muscles are vital for good balance, providing stability when you are both stationary and moving. Studies have shown that dynamic balance improves as core strength increases. If your core is strong and stable, it’s likely the rest of your body will be stable as well.
5. Safer everyday movement: Daily tasks such as mucking out stables, carrying feed buckets and the day to day chores of a horse owner – are easier and less likely to result in injury when your core is strong. Not only do you have better control of your muscles, but also you can more easily find your centre if you’re caught off balance.
For example. if your horse stops suddenly in front of a jump. In addition, being able to rely on a strong core will make it less likely that you’ll overtax on other muscles.
Whether you’re a serious competitor or a pleasure rider, core strength is vital. Take the steps outlined here to improve your core strength.