Inner thighs our doorway to a strong balanced seat
Our inner thighs are immensely important in our seat and how effective we are as riders. It is extremely important to have to proper leg position no matter what discipline you practice. Without this correct positioning we are unable to give the specific aids we need and to effectively communicate to our horses. This can take a while to attain in of itself, every horse is a little different and reacts a little differently to our aids. I see a lot of times with my rider clients that although they have developed "strong" inner thigh muscles they often don't know how to effectively use them. Most times most riders are griping with them instead of using them and releasing them. They are unaware of how they are effecting their core connection and from there their stability in their seat.
The inner thigh group is a massive amount of muscles and ligaments that when weak and imbalanced through off our pelvic stability, and from there our spinal alignment. Conversely when they are to tight and short they do the same thing. So what do we do about this?
Specifically for riders it is often more about lengthening and teaching the muscles to be as effective in their length as they are when they are contracted. Most horses tend to lean on one leg more than another. So over time as riders when get one leg that gets a little more work than the other. The more horses you ride the more balanced you become because you experience among many things involves more diversity between both sides of the body. We also have a dominate leg just like we have a dominate hand. So this leg tends to be a bit stronger, with the effect that the muscles tend to be slightly tighter.
So this is a lot of background on what's going on. What do we do about it? I suggest a number of things to my clients based on the individual, but to start I am going to go over foam rolling of this region.
Foam rolling on the cylinder. HAAA everyone hates this because it hurts. Ok yes it does a bit but the rewards so outweigh the short bit of pain. This is a great way to get in touch with this region and how the blockages are effecting other parts of your body. Remember spend no more than 5 seconds on a blocked point, so one inhale and exhale. Pay close attention to these pain points and notice if the refer to another place in your body. Also try to use different foot positions on the quads. Try Pilates stance, try pigeon toe as well this changes the angles and allows neglected areas to get some much needed attention.
Here are some of the benefits:
Helps keep your knees healthy
Helps with imbalances in the pelvis.
Releases tension held in from stress
Instead of writing this all out I created a video here's the link:
(From here I do the other side then the side of the other thigh, fun point often times the first side is much more uncomfortable. The releases you get on the first side can sympathetically release the other so by the time you do the other side, it's not as intense and experience)
Next week I will be continuing with the inner thigh and the exercises I do to help strengthen these muscles. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.