As riders we have all heard that good flexibility can benefit our riding. But why? Flexibility is defined as the range of movement around a joint. Joint suppleness is included in this so let’s look at where and why flexibility is important for us horse riders!
In order to create more flexibility at the joints, we must work on not the bones themselves but the muscles that surround the joint, as these are usually what cause the restriction in flexibility.
Here are three stretches you can use to try and help to increase your flexibility for the areas highlighted above.
This is a brilliant stretch for horse riders and should be done often! It helps us as riders, as we often get tight hamstrings due to the position which we hold our leg in the saddle. So stretching out our hamstrings will enable us to keep our legs long and maintain a correct position. Tight hamstrings also have a strong association with lower back pain so if we can keep them loose and supple not only will it encourage us to maintain a good leg position in the saddle but it will also help us reduce the risk of injury.
- Sit on a mat and extend your right leg out to the side.
- Bend your left leg and place the foot against your inner right thigh.
- Lean forward from the hips and reach for your ankle as comfortably as you can. You should feel a slight pull in the hamstring.
- Hold the stretch and then repeat on the left leg.
Lower Back Stretch
Another great stretch for horse riders! Being flexible in this area mean that as a rider we can move freely with our horse and so keep good balance and a correct position.
- Kneel on a mat with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart.
- Pull your abs in, hunch your back up and flex your spine.
- Hold the stretch and then release to the starting position.
Hip Flexors Stretch
This stretch is linked to our hip joint. Again being flexible in this area enable us to move with our horses and not blocking their movement, so making it more comfortable for your horse. Its also a great stretch for the muscles used for getting on and off our horses which is obviously vital if we want to continue riding!
- While sitting on the floor with a straight back and tight core, bring each foot inward. Feet should be touching and your legs should make a diamond shape.
- Grab your feet with your hands. Place your elbows on the inside of your knees. Slowly lean forward from the hips. Once you feel the stretch in your hip flexors, hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Slowly rise and repeat.
Doing just these three stretches on a regular basis will benefit your riding and aid improvements on your position whilst in the saddle! So give it a go!
Check out Equi-Fit UK for more Rider Fitness tips and work outs.