Improve your sitting trot with this valuable Pilates exercise.

Spine Curls or Pelvic Curls as they are sometimes known are a wonderful pre-pilates foundation exercise that are often used as a warm up to prepare for more advanced exercises in a Pilates class or as a complete exercise within themselves. They can range from beginner level to advanced and the addition of props in the form of bands, weights and balls can both support – in the form of force closure for greater stability through the pelvis, or challenge, by placing your legs or feet on a foam roller or ball for example, and can also be performed on various Pilates equipment.

What makes the Spine Curl such a valuable exercise for riders to improve their sitting trot?

There are many elements in regard to both horse and rider that contribute to a successful sitting trot, this Blog post will address some of the needs of the rider. A successful sitting trot requires a functionally and dynamically stabilised torso supported by free flowing breath, a supple spine with no blockages or rigidity, a pelvis that is both dynamically stable and three dimensionally mobile with open absorbing hip joints. Along with the joints of the ankles and knees, the hips are absorbing the horses movement coming from underneath.

Spine Curls mobilise and supple the spine, work and strengthen the gluteal and hamstring muscles whilst stretching the quadriceps and opening the front of the hips. All whilst working the stabilising muscles of the spine, pelvis and torso. They make a fantastic addition to your weekly stretching or fitness regime, or if you are time poor, as a stand alone daily exercise where the results they yield far outweigh the small amount of time it takes to practice them.

 

Clockwise from top left:

Foundation

  • Lie on your back in a neutral/natural spine with your feet hip bone width apart.
  • Inhale to prepare for movement, exhale as you tilt your pelvis and sequentially peel your spine off the mat until you reach the tips of your shoulder blades.
  • Inhale at the top of the movement, exhale to sequentially roll your spine back to the start position.
  • Focus on the lengthened articulation of your spine and the continuous flow of your breath.
  • To add some variation to this exercise and movement to mobilise the ankles ‘walk on the spot’ at the top of the movement for 4-6 repetitions for each spine curl. This will further challenge your ability to stabilise your pelvis, so be mindful that the pelvis must stay stable, the only movement will be at the ankle, knee and hip joints.

Advanced

  • Lie on your back in a neutral/natural spine with you feet on top of a fit ball.
  • Inhale to prepare for movement, exhale as you tilt your pelvis and sequentially peel your spine off the mat until you reach the tips of your shoulder blades.
  • Inhale at the top of the movement, exhale to sequentially roll your spine back to the start position.
  • To challenge this exercise complete the movement with your arms to the ceiling, this decreases your base of support and makes it considerably harder.
  • To add variation to this exercise instead of peeling the spine up to the top of the movement, lift it straight up, then sequentially roll the spine down.

 

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