I was watching a talk by Ashleigh Wallace who is a physio on the Equestrian World Class Programme.
She discussed lack of mobility through the Thoracic Spine, in that she had reviewed 65 riders of varying levels and the majority lacked Thoracic mobility.
The Thoracic Spine is essentially your mid back and it forms part of your core stability. Core stability is the ability to absorb the force/movement of the horse underneath you, for that it needs both mobility and stability. The mobility is required to make tiny micro adjustments to dissipate the impact and the stability is all of the muscles working together to keep the spine aligned.
If there is too much mobility the spine moves around too much and you will be unbalanced. If there is too much stability without mobility the force does not dissipate and it becomes an impact to the spine-think whiplash.
This week let’s start with mobility of the Thoracic Spine.
Here are 3 of my favourite exercises to mobilise the Thoracic Spine.
Lying on the floor, knees and arms to one side stacked on top of one another. Open the top arm, sweep it out following with your head then bring it back. You can either take it straight up and out or sweep it over your head and round.
It is also useful to try and incorporate the breathing and breathe in to prepare and out to move the arm.
In a 4 point position, take one arm to the back of your head. Leading with the elbow open up and then close back down. Try to keep your hips still -they will try and sway away to gain more movement but that’s cheating!
Seated on a chair or I often do this with clients on a gym ball. Place a pole (your schooling whip will do) over the back of your shoulders, then add a ball or something between your knees to engage your core and help to stabilise your hips. Rotate the torso left to right, breathing out as you turn.