H&H’s 12 days of fitness: improve your upper body position

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  • A rider’s lack of flexibility, strength and fitness can severely limit their ability to perform, but by following the exercises in our fitness videos, a relatively small investment in time can have far reaching positive effects on your performance as a rider. Here’s how to improve your horse riding upper body position, thanks to some expert advice…

    You should warm up your muscles by taking a brisk walk, or similar, after riding before performing any of these exercises. If you suffer any ongoing physical issues, we recommend you speak to a health professional before you start.

    Each exercise is shown at three different levels of difficulty, so you can choose the version that is most suitable to your current physical condition and then progress through the levels as you improve.

    How to improve your horse riding upper body position

    Being able to maintain your upper body position during transitions, both between and within the pace, is key to enable your horse to perform at their best. These exercises are designed to strengthen your rhomboids, trapezius and deltoids, which are the key muscles needed for upper body strength and stability when riding.

    Exercise one: chin tucks

    A series of stretches to strengthen your deep neck flexors, enabling you to position your head correctly and consistently, leading to better weight distribution in the saddle. A poor head position from the rider can unbalance the horse.

    Exercise two: TYI

    By strengthening your shoulders and upper back, you can develop a more open chest and avoid those dreaded rounded shoulders. This will improve your posture and your ability to control your upper body while in the saddle.

    Exercise three: swan dive

    Free up any tightness in the upper back with these thoracic extension exercises to stablise the spine, trapezius and rhomboids. This will serve to improve your posture and weight distribution while riding.

    About Dee Holdsworth

    Dee is the founder of  Dynamic Sports Therapy. A keen rider, she has competed at national level and was part of the small stables team at the London 2012 Olympics. Dee works with some of the world’s leading horse and rider combinations, including some of those on track for Rio 2016.

    Dee is an equestrian sports science graduate from Hartpury College and went on to complete the International Therapy Examination Council Diploma in equine sports massage, delivered by veterinary chartered physiotherapist Mary Bromiley, and now stands as the ESMA Chairman.

    Dee is a level four sports massage therapist with the Sports Massage Association. She also holds certificates in human and equine kinesiology taping and muscle energy techniques, as well as using deep oscillation therapy.

    This video is brought to you in association with fitnesstroop.co.uk (Katie Brighton-Jones), shadowplay.co.uk (Philip E James) and performbetter.co.uk.

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