Do you muck out regularly and therefore spend extended periods bent forward? Alternatively, do you work in an office and find yourself leaning over your screen to concentrate and read the computer screen?
Do you find that by the end of a long, stressful working day your shoulders clunky and feel like they are held up around your ears somewhere?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it will inevitably negatively impact upon your riding. However, don’t despair, because these simple, yet hugely effective exercises can be performed anytime, anywhere and will help counteract the impact of repetitive tasks at work.
Stand with your back and legs flat against a wall. Stretch your arms out to shoulder height and bend your elbows bent against the wall, so that your hands are at the same height as your head, and slowly straighten the arms away from your body, until they are totally straight. Bend your elbows, bringing your hands back to the start. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions with a 60 second rest in between...
You should feel a nice stretch along your chest muscles (pectorals), and hopefully will be working the muscles that support your shoulder blades, to help keep your shoulders back. The result will be a more elegant and effective riding position.
Stand tall, with your core muscles engaged to protect your lower back. Take your arms behind you as far back as they will go and clasp your hands together. Hold for 15 seconds, repeat three times. You should feel a nice stretch along your chest, which helps counteract the postural impact of slumping over a computer or mucking out.
Slow shoulder roll
Sit or stand and take a few deep breaths. Lift your shoulders as high as you can to your ears for a few seconds. Then, take them back as far as you can for a few seconds before you drop and relax them. Your shoulders should have visibly moved back an inch or two. Repeat three times, and try and keep this new enhanced posture when you are back at your desk.
We hope you find these exercises useful, and ride with a taller, proud posture as a result! Are there any others you know of that can help improve riders? Please share in the comments below!
Lucy Field-Richards : Lucy owns Ride Fit Equestrian, and is from Nottinghamshire.
Qualifications : First class BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Science (Equestrian Psychology), BHSAI, Diploma in Equine Sports Massage Therapy
Lucy is a lecturer in Equine Science at Nottingham Trent University.
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