Apr 2016

Core Myths

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To have a strong core you need to strengthen your 6 pack
Yes your core is made up of your 6 pack (rectus abdominus), however it is just one muscle of many. They work togther to function as your core. As riders, our 6 pack is not of high importance - it is a power muscle, which is not relevant most of the time when riding. However it does provides a support function, so needs to be as strong as the other muscles.

When trying to engage your deep core muscles, you must press your back into the floor
No no no, please don't do this! Your spine, as we have learnt, is an 'S' shape, so by pressing the back into the floor, we are stretching out the curves and flattening, so the vertebrae that make up your spine are no longer in alignment. Instead think about keeping your spine in neutral - where the pelvis is parallel, and not tilted forwards or backwards, and the spine has its natural curves.

When trying to use your core, we should brace and suck in our stomachs
Yes we do need to engage our TrA, but gently so that it is activated, but not so much that we are engaging everything so that our core becomes tense and immobile, we restrict our breathing and we lock down the pelvis. When your core is on correctly, you should feel it working but should still be able to breathe easily, move naturally and easily move the pelvis. This does take practice though

Lots of Ab Curls, Sit Ups and Planks will give me a strong core for riding
Yes these exercises do strengthen your core, but as riders, we need more functional exercises. When we are riding, our core is working whilst we are in a seated position - holding our body up, and allowing our pelvis to move. The other exercises are working with gravity in a different way and don not require the same pelvic control. A good core programme will incorporate a range of exercises that will function your core in a variety of positions

The Swissball is the best way to start strengthening our core
Yes the swissball is a great tool for working your core, but ONLY once the basics have been grasped. If you hop on a swissball before you can fire up your core properly, keep the spine in neutral and the pelvis controlled, you will just reinforce old habits. Start with the basic floor lying exercises and progress on to the ball once the basics are well established.

Confidence Tips for the Eventing Season Ahead

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The Eventing season has begun again, maybe this is your first season or you are aiming to qualify for your first two star** event, or perhaps your focus is on 4****…. .  The winter has passed and you have done all your physical training for your horses, looked after their nutrition and well being and the yard is ready to go.  Yet, you have a few doubts or niggles in your mind that are affecting your confidence.  This is normal when something really matters, it’s normal to get nerves and doubts based on experiences & thoughts, yet the disproportionate amount is what is not helpful potentially.  
So what can you do to train you brain for optimal performance? How can you overcome the ‘fear’, complete the best dressage, cross country and show jumping rounds possible on the day, and enjoy it? How can you cope on the ‘bad’ days and learn to relax, adapt and still take some good things.  How can you believe that you can actually do it and bring the best out of your horse? It take’s practise, commitment and focus. 

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What Is All The Fuss About 10,000 Steps A Day

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Fitness watches, smart watches and apps are all the rage at the moment with new ones appearing on the market all the time.  Most of you may know that the recommended daily number of steps is 10,000, but why should you brave the weather, get out of your chair and stride those pavements, just to hit that 10k target?
Health Benefits To reduce your risk of a stroke, getting diabetes or heart disease, it is recommended that we all do 150 accumulative minutes of moderate exercise a week, which equates to 30 minutes each week day.  10,000 steps a day has been calculated to equate to 30 minutes moderate exercise a day, helping you to hit your target

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