The exercise goals for this month are to develop quiet but effective legs on a horse. For this training, I’m taking a page from the JOGA playbook. JOGA is a type of yoga geared for athletes and developed by my friend and colleague, Jana Webb. It combines dynamic and static stretching as opposed to traditional long holds, and is designed to improve athletic ability, agility, strength, and mobility.
These exercises combine mobility, static and dynamic stability, and balance – factors that help us strengthen from the core out so we can maintain a quiet leg and seat on a moving base of support. They improve nervous system adaptation to athletic demands and require discipline and control. They are as difficult as you choose to make them.
For more information about JOGA or training to prevent injuries and performance care, contact Jamie at [email protected].
Quiet legs require a solid core that can adapt dynamically, and both strength and mobility peripherally. The first exercise from JOGA is the hovering table. Core is at the heart of this exercise and it challenges mobility and strength through both the hips and shoulders.
Begin in a four-point kneeling position with hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Curl the toes under, drawing pubic bone in, tucking front ribs and lengthening through the chest. Press feet and hands into the floor and lift knees two inches off the floor (fig 1). Hold for 3-5 breaths. To increase the intensity, inhale and extend one leg straight back with ankle dorsiflexed (fig 2), keeping hips square (no tilting). Exhale, and bend the outstretched leg at the knee and squeeze the glute to lift the heel (fig 3). Maintain the hovering leg 2 inches above the floor. Repeat 3-5 breaths. Repeat other leg.
This exercise is part of the JOGA joint mobility and stability sequence, which trains core, glute, and hamstring stability while maintaining kinetic postural alignment.
Begin the exercise in a chair position with arms spread wide. Tuck pelvis, draw front ribs down and back, and lengthen through the torso. Dorsiflex left leg and lift it off the ground (fig 7). Exhale and sit lower into your right heel. Keeping hips square, press into standing and extend hovering leg (fig 8), shifting weight to the ball of the stance foot. Squeeze adductors and maintain core activation and level hips. As you exhale, bend into the stance leg slowly (fig 9), then inhale explosively and pop up, extending the stance leg. Repeat 3-5 times
The second exercise more closely mimics a stable position on a horse and incorporates thoracic mobility, breath, core, quadriceps strength, and ankle flexibility.
Start in a chair position with feet together, flexed at the hip and knee with torso upright (fig 4). Bring hands together at the bottom of the sternum, tuck pelvis, squeeze adductors together and lengthen through chest. Keeping hips square, sit deeper into the squat, exhale and rotate to one side (fig 5). Hold 3-5 breaths.
Coming out of this position, inhale and look forward, reaching arms overhead wider than shoulders. Keep the weight in your heels (sound familiar?) and stretch up to keep torso upright (fig 6). Hold for 5 breaths, then exhale and repeat exercise with rotation to opposite side.