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Lockdown fitness – week two: improve flexibility plus hip and pelvis control *H&H Plus*

In the second of this five-part fitness series, chartered physio Sarah Claridge targets flexibility to help you bend with your horse on a circle, and build control of your hips and pelvis

Most of us had great intentions to boost our fitness levels at the start of the shut-down, but chances are our motivation is now waning. In the second of this five-part series on “lockdown fitness”, here are three more rider-focused exercises – stretching, cardio and strength/endurance – to help keep those riding muscles in gear. Remember to start at a level you feel comfortable with before moving up to more advanced techniques.

Take care: With any new form of exercise, your body needs to build up gradually to avoid strain. Seek the advice of a chartered physiotherapist if you are unsure if you should do any exercises due to underlying health conditions.

Particular caution applies if you have any cartilage injuries in your knees or joint replacements; avoid the cardiovascular exercises if you have any unstable cardiac health problems, acute disc bulges/prolapses or referred leg pain, pins and needles, numbness, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, gynaecological conditions – or if you are pregnant or undergoing cancer treatment.

Stretching

Arm openers (10 secs, 6 reps 3 sets): Lie on your side with your head supported on a pillow and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Reach your arms out in front of you, with your hands together.

Rotate the upper arm upwards and outwards from your trunk. Try to rotate as far as you can, without forcing the shoulder.