Alberta Dressage Coaches Forum. Pilates for riders.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Thursday, March 13, 2008 09:12 AM
Pilates is a system of lengthening and strengthening the body designed to make you supple and strong and move with balance and grace.
Heidi Schaepsmeier. Pilates Instructor.
The Pilates session was fun because we were doing the exercises and instructor was explaining how to do them correctly and why. Most of the theory I already knew. I'm not going to repeat it here You can read it on my website about importance of the correct breathing, core strength, flexibility of the hips joints, importance of thigh muscles and so on. I'm going to share with you a few exercises that I found interesting and I don't have them on my Exercise pages.
Caution: Some of the following exercises are quite advance. They presume you already have good core strength and body control. Use them with caution if you are not familiar with Pilates.
  • Full Scissors -Bring your arms and legs up together stretching them into the ceiling, they need to be straight and perpendicular to the floor. Engage your core while exhaling. On inhale lower one leg and both arms down to the floor in opposite directions. On exhale bring the leg up and arms up together and curl your upper body up trying to reach with your arms as high as you can. Now inhale and lower your other leg and arms at the same time. Repeat 3 to 8 times depending on your fitness level. Execute exercise slow and in control. Do not let go of your core engagement and do not let your leg drop on the floor. Upper body curl is an advanced version, you can start with just arms without the curl.
  • Sitting Rotations - This exercise is for core and oblique muscles. Sit straight with your legs together, knees bent, feet together on the floor. Keeping your spine straight exhale, engage your core and lean backwards about 45 degrees. Keeping your arms straight rotate your upper body left and then right. Legs gently pushing in opposite direction during rotation. Keep breathing throughout the exercise. For advance version you can slightly lift your feet off the floor.
  • Series of exercises for lateral rotators of the hip joint - Lay on your side. Bend your hips and your knees 90 degrees. Engage your core. Lift your upper leg for a few degrees. Keep your pelvis stable. If it starts to move you are lifting too much. You can put your upper hand on your pelvis to feel the movement. Try to lift as far as possible without pelvis losing it's position. Keep lifting for 1-2 minutes. Change sides. Variant to target deep lateral rotators (Pyriformis, Obturator muscles) - Lay on your side. Knees slightly bent, feet and torso inline. Lift only upper knee, keeping feet together. Your knee will only go up a few degrees without pelvis moving. Do not let the pelvis move. Keep lifting for 1-2 minutes. Change sides. Do not forget to breathe properly.
  • Hamstrings - Lay on the floor. Bend your knees. Put a small ball (about 15 cm in diameter) between your knees and keep it there. Without losing the ball straighten one knee. Lift your hips off the floor until your body and thighs make a straight line. Slowly lower them down. Repeat 4-8 times. Change legs.
  • Scapula mobility - This one is quite cool. Stand on your knees and hands. Arms straight and vertical. Body and thighs make a straight line. Engage your core. Now, without bending your arms or your torso let your scapulas (shoulder blades) slide up and down. When they go up they meet and touch, when they go down they move away from each other on either side of your ribcage. Repeat for 1 minute.
  • Stretching the hip joint - Use an elastic band for this exercise. Lay on your back. Bring your right leg up. Rap the band around your foot and make it tight in your hands. Keep the leg straight and do not let your pelvis rise off the floor. This is hamstrings stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Take the band in the right hand. Slowly let your leg fall to the right. Try to keep your pelvis level and stretch your left leg. Hold for 30 seconds. This is adductors stretch. Bring the right leg back, change hands and now lower it to the left. Your pelvis will rotate, but try to keep your shoulders down. Hold for 30 seconds. This is ilio-tibial band stretch. Repeat with other leg. Breathing correctly is very important during stretching.
Happy riding...
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