Improve Rider Symmetry: The Turkish Get Up
People and horses are usually stronger on one side of their body than the other, that’s why most of us are right or left handed. It’s OK, unevenness is natural and no one is perfect. But it’s important for all athletes, especially riders to be aware of which muscles are weaker or aren’t firing correctly, because every ounce of the body is felt by the horse. Work on strengthening weaker muscle groups and making them symmetrical and you will see a difference in the communication with your horse.
Simple moves like getting up off the floor holding a weight high above the head is a great exercise for highlighting imbalances and can really help improve muscle symmetry and internal stability. Most people don’t think anything about getting up off the floor, yet it’s when we do the simplest of movements that we seem to hurt ourselves. Doing an exercise like the “Turkish Get-Up” can help prevent thoughtless injuries and increase fundamental awareness of your body’s mechanics.
- Start by laying down on the mat gripping a free weight with your right hand, with knees bent and feet on ground.
- Raise the free weight up to the sky or ceiling with a slight bend in the elbow. Your left hand should be on the floor. Sit up, keeping the left hand grounded for back support.
- Tuck the left leg under the right knee to stabilize the body while lifting your left hand off the floor. Push yourself up off the ground to stand up. Keep looking at the weight and observe the position of the weight. Bring both feet together as you stand straight up.
- Now you must lower your back into the starting position on the floor. Take your left leg back under the knee and slowly place your left hand on the floor. Now carefully drop back onto the floor, placing your feet together as the core engages, all the while keeping the weight pointed straight up to the ceiling/sky.