05 May 5 Stretches That Every Dressage Rider Should Do
When it comes to stretching to often I see people just doing token stretches here and there and that sort of stretching might make you feel a little better mentally but its not actually making to big an impact on your ligaments. Just as there are many different ways to workout, there are also many different ways to stretch. So when I get asked about stretching there isn’t always a black or white answer because it depends on who is asking.
When it comes to rider biomechanics and improving certain imbalances and correcting alignment these sort of stretches need time. Often riders don’t realise what impact their imbalances can have on the horse. When ligaments get tight and stiff they loose range of motion, get all matted and glued together and effect the way your body moves. So in order for them to really let go and free up you need to hold for a decent period of time. This can take a minimum of 2 minutes per stretch.
Then when it comes to improving your riding and if you really want to improve biomechanics and imbalances this is where really specific stretching comes to play. Where you really hold key stretches to improve the bodies range of motion. These sort of stretches aren’t necessarily pleasant either, infact some when I havn’t done in ages are simply nasty, but my body always responds and I always ride and move better afterwards.
So if you are wanting to improve your riding or just your general posture try these specific 5 stretches out and notice how it makes you feel. Do them all daily before you head of to bed or before you go for a ride and notice your rider biomechanics improving with time.
This stretch is one of the most beneficial stretches you can do and if you were to do just one, I would suggest this one. Start with your back foot on the ground and if you need place a cushion under your knee. Then as you get better place your back foot up on a couch, chair or table each. Be sure to tuck your pelvis and brace your core so you aren’t arching through your back. Hold for a minimum of 2 minutes each side.
This stretch is amazing not just for mobility through the joints but also for your digestion and detoxification pathways. Often runners don’t put there limbs through full ranges of motion and that can cause achlilles to get tights as well as hamstrings and lower back. Its important to ensure your body keeps its full range of motion to help improve your running. If you can’t get down low, hold onto a table edge. Then do it daily for at least 2-5 minutes and notice how you improve.
Internal Hip Stretch
These muscles get incredibly tight from sitting down and play a crucial role when we are running and in keeping every aligned. If you are tight with the hindu squat this will help improve that also. You may notice to one side tighter than the other. Start by keeping your foot flat on the floor and push your knee out and your hips down. As you improve let your foot move onto its side and you can come down onto your elbows and hold.
Most runners will know where there ITB is because this is often a problem area and can affect knee alignment and often leads to knee and problems when it gets to tight. The knee is to affectively stretch it. That means going through a little bit of discomfort to get to the changes. Hold this stretch for 2 minutes each side and notice how it frees up the knee as well as the hips.
This is also great for getting into your ITB as well as your hips. More gentler than the one above, so begin here if need be. Great to help loosen up the glutes and bring more mobility through your hips and lower back to.
Hold for 2 minutes at least each side.
Want to get access to our complete exercise library along with more rider specific exercises and stretches? Then check out our dressage rider training program. Learn more here.