Bali is Bad in the Balimo clinic – excessive details on exercises

I had a fun clinic this weekend. Balimo, or BALance In MOtion, an exercise system developed by a German guy Eckart Meyners. There is a lot of stretching in movement, not ballistic stretching, but also not static stretching. And a lot of changing the movement around, and working to make the movement smooth, not jerky. There is a chair/stool that some use (although I did not use it in the clinic), it has a top that wobbles around on a spindle.

The stool is pretty nifty, as it lets you move around easily and really get the full range of motion in your hips, sacroiliac joint and lower back. I sat on it outside of my lessons. But, apart from the stool, you actually do a lot of rolling around on the ground, looking ridiculous, and then get back up on your horse and see if things are better, unchanged, or worse. You then do this over and over during the course of the lesson.

As you can surmise from the title, I took Bali. Bali was a tad too appreciative of the perfect footing after 3 weeks of slippery snow, ice, and mud. We went in and since I was not sure what we’d be doing, I left the whip & spurs off. Hmmph, she certainly didn’t need them for forward, but she need a whip for a smackdown. She was in Tigger-wannabe mode.

Bouncy bouncy bouncy.

But, we warmed up, and I opted to be “putty” in Dawn Jenson’s hands, let her see where I am tight/stiff and give me exercises.

I should have written this down last night, but this is a close approximation of our lesson.

After a bit of bucking bronco, I hopped off and laid on my back, held my knees and rocked up and down my spine. After a few rocks, then you add in turning around, while rocking back and forth. So your like the minute hand on a clock going about 5 minutes per rock. Then, you rock around the other direction, then a few times straight, then you get back on your horse. This is to loosen up the sacroiliac region, and get things moving. I hopped back on, and it was ok, but nothing earth shattering in terms of change.

Next, I got back on the mat again, and this time there was rotation. Bend the knees and let them fall left, then right, smoothly, and lifting back up smoothly. Faster, slower, not all the way down, then add in the arms going the opposite way, head looking to the arms. Same thing. Back on Bali, and a bit looser.

Next, another round of rotation, but with one knee up and a pool noodle under your back. You end up scooching down the mat as you go, so the pool noodle goes down the spine adding a bit of stretch. I’m afraid that my SI said no more as we got to the third round, pesky back. So that was all for SI/Low back for me. But, back on the horse, ride around, feeling a bit looser. It was still hard to say how much improvement there was with Tigger. Everything needed flair and bucking.

Then, I did a hamstring thing. This is to teach yourself to use just the hamstring for a forward aid, and not tighten up the other leg muscles or pelvis and to keep things loose and relaxed and the heel down. First, I laid on my stomach and lifted my heel up, keeping my glutes and thighs relaxed, but activating just the hamstring. Dawn spotted me and then provided resistance to it, and then I was to make a smooth lift motion with my heel..and then double time it. Hard one there. Next, I laid on my back with my heel on the mounting block and did some hip lifts, first both legs, then one leg at a time. Back on the horse, and test it out. We had forward! This one I need to practice more.

Last for Saturday was laying on my stomach, arms out to the side, with palm down, forearms vertical, fingers forward, and then lift the hand. Just the hand, and using what she called the scapula, but really, engaging the rhomboids, and focusing on NOT using the delts or biceps at all. Oh, no using the hips. Then, do 5 or 6 on each side, oh, do a few looking the other way as well, then rotate the hands in, repeat, then I cannot remember if we rotated a third way, but I definitely needed a spotter when looking the other way and my elbow would drift back and I’d “cheat” if I was not looking at it. This one had the best results…and suddenly my leg was looser in a good way.

The lateral work was getting easier with each of these, which ties in nicely to what Todd Flettrich had noticed last fall. I tend to lock my hips/legs when I do the laterals and then we lose impulsion. Keeping a looser leg combined with the hamstring for forward will probably do a lot of good in the long run.

It is now late, so Sunday’s write up will have to wait. My reminder list of exercises are: hands on wobble pads doing a side to side wave with one shoulder down, hands all directions. Rolling over head, knees in, back, in shoulder in…and others that I’m failing to recall at near midnight. We did get the most gorgeous change today. After that perfect one, I did not ask for anymore.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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