Improves your balance and stability in the saddle. Works your core muscles including
• your “glutes”—the three muscles that make up your buttocks (gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus and gluteus medius),
• your obliques—the muscles in your abdomen that run from your sides to your front (transverse abdominus) and
• the long extensors of your back (upper and mid back).
What You Need: Hay bale covered with a blanket. Optional: Salt block or light hand weight.
Step 1: Lie on your stomach on the hay bale with your knees at the edge and lower legs hanging off. Elevate your head and neck so your eyes are looking ahead.
Step 2: Extend your arms straight in front of you with your palms facing down (not shown).
Step 3: Arch your back slightly while tightening your glutes to lift your legs off the bale. Without holding, relax your back and glutes, bringing your legs back to the bale (keep your arms extended). Perform three sets of 15 repetitions, resting 30–60 seconds between each set.
Too Easy? Perform the exercise with a salt block or light hand weight placed between your legs, just below your knees.
Keith Hutcheson is the owner and fitness director of Middleburg Fitness Club in Middleburg, Virginia. He is a certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management consultant, and nutrition consultant and manager. For more information on fitness programs for equestrians or to find out about Keith’s new DVD, Fit2Ride, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The editors thank photo model Olympic eventer Mara Dean and the owners of Meredyth Farm. Note: Consult your health-care professional before starting any exercise program.
This article was originally published in the April 2008 issue of Practical Horseman.