We will cover some anatomy basics:
Muscles – stabilise to mobilise
Stabilisers are deep, small and thin – for endurance and longer stamina
Mobilisers are near the surface, hamsrings, biceps femoris, biceps brachii, biceps - these tire easily
After injury or poor posture stabilisers become weak and mobilisers take over causing a muscle imbalance
Transversus abdominus – connects front of the body to the back we need to recruit this when riding by switching it on about 30% = neutral pelvis
Pull belly button towards spine (100%) – relax half way and a little bit more = 30% this is what you need to feel when you ride
Pelvic floor links with multifidus muscle; engaging pelvic floor innervates the multifidus (length of spine)
Imagine/go for a wee & then stop; this is your pelvic floor
Sitting on a Gymball/large Pilates ball works the multifidus without you even noticing these muscles are working - sit on one whilst eating dinner, watching TV or in your garden.
If your horse drops out on left shoulder or out of a circle, the rider will invariably be weak through the left obliques and tight in the lower back or quadratus lumborum muscles on the right hand side.
When this happens just take your elbow into your side/waist (the side the horse is falling out on) will engage your latissimus dorsi muscles (your large angel wings!) & obliques; MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO PERFORMANCE
Latissimus dorsi = acts as stabiliser too - to activate, squeeze the shoulders back and elbows down.
Do this after driving car too.
Hip flexors – big link between these & the diaphragm. We use the diaphragm when we breath. There are fibres in your hip flexors attached to your diaphragm, so if you hold your breath when riding, you raise your buttocks off the horse and lose contact with your seat, therefore you lose contact with your horse.
Buttocks: Glutes medius, maximus, minimus control & rotate hip in saddle, & are a strong influence in leg stability
Good exercise for these is called the clam; we will cover this in class and during the course running from September 2017
Piriformis, this connects hip to femur (head of the leg bone), the sciatic nerve passes through this muscle, if in spasm it will squeeze sciatic nerve & you will present with sciatica symptoms
Stronger core & better alignment, better at staying on horse and in saddle
It takes 3 weeks to re educate muscle memory that have developed from bad habits. Pilates works on recruiting the muscles in the correct sequence, from the deep inside muscles to the more superficial ones.
Your body can bounce back in about 6 weeks, your mind can take a little longer!
Many people today suffer with forward head carriage and a tight Thoracic area, as there are many desk jobs, working on computers or laptops, driving, sitting for long periods of time. The body wasn't designed to sit and be sedentary.
We will work on these areas in Pilates class
Takes time to strengthen your muscles – you’ll be thankful when your horse mucks around, your core will lock in and hold you in place. You won't be going anywhere but staying in the saddle :-)