Improving Your Dressage Mobility With Full FREE Video Routine
Maintaining a healthy range of movement throughout our entire body is one of the key’s to aging well. Improving your mobility and suppleness will reward you in more ways than being able to easily touch your toes or bend into challenging positions on your yoga mat. To me keeping my body healthy and supple is ultimately about helping to improve my riding and to help me continue to be able to ride as long as I choose.
It’s about keeping my body feeling supple and maintaining my range of motion. By putting the time into this today I know it will aid in preventing injuries that can occur as I do normal day-to-day activities around the stables and help improve my alignment from to much time at my desk all while at the same time helping my riding.
How to improve your mobility and suppleness
It doesn’t take much to start seeing improvements in your movement and flexibility once you get started. You don’t need to be able to move into a split or perform any crazy stretches either. Motion is lotion and the key is to keep your body moving.
That means, you don’t need to spend a great deal of time in order to improve your body’s flexibility and mobility, but you do need to do it regularly and as the saying goes “consistency is key”.
If you’re new to stretching, begin with just 10 minutes a day focusing on areas you find tight. You can choose just a few of these stretches from this video or do the whole routine. You can break it up into upper body and lower body to ensure all areas are looked after or just pick and choose.
Learn to listen to your body and bring stretches into your day that maintain your feeling of balance. Listen to those niggles and tight areas and stretch them out. Make sure you pay particular attention to areas of your body that are tense, like your lower back if you sit in a chair for long periods of a time, or your shoulders if your hunched at your computer. Learn to rebalance your body through movement verses ignoring all symptoms.
Mobility Routine For Dressage Riders
This routine I have put together to help you bring full mobility through your body. Do this before you ride or at the end of a long day to help you unwind and rebalance. If you find a couple of the stretches particularly useful, hold for longer and do them more often during your week.
Here is a break down of each of the movements in the video above with options that you can adjust too if needed. (The full video routine is at the top of the page)
This is as much about getting yourself into the right frame of mind as it is about your breathing. First, we want to ensure we are breathing deep into our belly. Allowing 2/3rds of your breathe to fill your belly and 1/3rd your ribs and chest. Using this time to focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your nose to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Focus on maintaining your awareness onro your breathe and letting yourself let go of your distracted mind.
Bring your knees in towards your chest and give them a hug. Gently rock from side to side on your back and allow your back to soften while maintaining your soft focus on your breathing and staying in the present moment.
Supine Scissor Twists
Lay on your back and allow both your knees to fall to one side while both your shoulders remain on the ground. Stay here if this is enough, but if you want more open your legs like scissors and point your toes. This requires leg and core strength while you twist and open your spine and lower back. The more bent your legs are the easier this will be. Adjust to suit you and use your core to keep your back happy.
Horse Stance Mid Back Rotations
On all fours bring your right hand to your right ear. Then lift your elbow up to the sky while your other hand remains anchored onto the ground. Then lower your elbow down towards the opposite arm. Try connecting this movement to your breath and allow your eyes to follow your elbow to really open up through the chest and mid back.
Childs Pose and Childs Pose Reach
Come over so you are on all fours facing the floor, then sit your bottom back onto your heels with your knees nice and wide and your toes point in towards each other. Reach both arms out in front onto the floor and allow your chest to drop towards the ground. Stay here if this is enough or add in the side twist by reaching your hand under your armpit to open up your lower back. Think of reaching your hands in opposite directions to really get the stretch through the upper back.
Place one knee onto the ground and if you need you can place a cushion or folded towel under your knees to soften the pressure. Then think of tucking your tail underneath you and really squeezing your bottom. As you do this, reach both hands over your head and lean back just a touch to get a stretch through your thigh and into your hip. The more you tuck your tail the deeper the stretch will be in your hips.
Single Hamstring Stretch
With your front foot flat on the floor allow your front leg to bend as much as you need to begin with. Then lower your torso down over your front leg while you think of pushing your hips back and pressing through your front foot. Gradually try to straighten your leg to get more stretch through your hamstring.
Coming up to your feet, have your feet so they are hip distance apart and soften your knees as you tip forward from your hips over your legs. Then tuck your hands under you toes. Keep your knees bent as much as you need and gradually think of straightening them more to get a deeper stretch into your hamstrings.
Keeping your feet hip distance apart, squat down as far as you can and reach your hands up to the sky. If its to much to go all the way down, sit down onto a chair or step and open up your torso while seated.
Sitting back onto both your seat bones start with both your legs out in front at a 90 degree bend in both. Then allow your knees to drop to one side trying to maintain both seat bones on the ground. To make this easier. Take your hands behind you and lean back as you drop your legs from one side to the next.
Come over so you are on all fours again and lift one leg up and keep the leg at a 90 degree bend with your knee. Then think of drawing big circles with your knee cap in both directions. The smaller your circles the easier this will be and you can draw your circles closer to the floor if you need.
Sitting on both seat bones straighten one leg out in front while the other crosses over it. Then sit up super tall and hug your knee. Then turn your torso in towards your knee to get a stretch through your bottom and lower back. To make this more challenging reach the opposite arm out in front and you generate more of a twist.
Lay on your tummy with both legs long behind you and your arms out wide onto the ground. Then bend you right leg and tap your right toe over to your left side while keeping your upper body facing the ground. Feel this stretch through the entire spine. Its ok if you can’t reach the floor when you tap, just think of taking foot in this direction.
I hope you found this routine useful and it really helps you with your riding and your general sense of well being. Enjoy it and let me know how you get on. I love being able to help you enjoy your riding even more.
If you want more, take a look at these articles that are of a similar topic.
4 Stretches To Help With Hip Mobility
5 Stretches Every Dressage Rider Should Do
Improve Your Hip Mobility With These Stretches
Stretches To Help With Heel Position
How To Stretch Your Piriformis And Why Its Important For Riders
Upper Back Stretches For Riders
Exercises To Help With Toe Position
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