Horse Riding Exercises: Core Strength

The benefits of trunk training exercises

Wellness ball exercise 1The ‘Core’ also known as the ‘Trunk’ is identified as a complex muscle group, which includes: pelvic floor muscles, Transversus Abdominis, Multifidus, internal and external Oblique’s, Rectus Abdominis, Erector Spinae and the Diaphragm. It is well known that training the core improves balance and consequently sports performance providing a greater strength production in both the upper and lower extremities. Most sport performances depend on significant core strength. In particular, Jockeys have to develop their core strength due to the necessary stability when riding to optimize performance. The regularity of jockeys having to perform a circle or finding rhythm within the race are typical examples that require necessary core strength and stability.

How to improve core stability and performance

There are many useful exercises that Jockeys can perform to improve core stability and performance. Free weight exercises performed while standing on a stable or unstable surface are recommended to improve core strength and power during preseason. Dumbbell side bend is a typical example, a standard but useful exercise that improves Oblique’s and Abdominal strength.

Reproducing riding stimuli

Wellness ball exercise 2However, there are many specific exercises that Jockeys can perform that reproduce riding stimuli. The Wellness Ball by Technogym plays a key role in this sense. In fact, this device can provide an unstable surface, forcing core muscles contraction, similar to riding a horse. On the Wellness Ball Active Sitting Jockeys can perform three fundamental exercises that reproduce a racing position.

  1. The first is the simplest, and consists of staying seated on the ball and rising the knees to the chest, alternating.
  2. The second exercise being "the prone cobra”, which stimulates the abdominal muscle structure in a similar manner to when a Jockey is in a forward bend positon when riding.
  3. The third exercise is the knee tuck on Wellness ball. This exercise can appear more challenging than it really is, involving rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and the lower back therefore also useful for injury preventative measures.


  • Willardson JM. Core stability training: applications to sports conditioning programs. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Aug;21(3):979-85. Review. PubMed PMID: 17685697.



  • The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research