So following on from last week, how many of you have been stretching your chest out???
Good, now we have to work on strengthening those back muscles particularly those that hold your shoulder blades back-The Rhomboids and The Serratus Anterior.
The rhomboid major (there is also a minor) helps to hold the scapula (and therefore arm) onto the ribcage. This means it helps you to keep a good upper back posture. Also involved in this are the serratus anterior and the pectoralis minor* (*this is what we stretched out last week).
Both major and minor rhomboids retract the scapula, pulling it towards the spine. If your Scapula is not held towards your spine, your elbows will stick out when you ride– think chicken wings!
The Serratus Anterior Muscle help us to move our arms multi dimensionally. Think of these as the muscles that help you to give and take with the reins. They originate in the upper ribs and insert into the scapula. As they are attached to the ribs they are also used when we breathe, enabling the ribs to open out fully to draw in more oxygen.
So as you can see if these muscles are not activating correctly, you will struggle to keep your shoulders back, your elbows may stick out and you will find it more difficult to communicate down the reins to your horse’s mouth. You may also be breathing more shallow and taking in less oxygen. Oxygen powers your brain, muscles, organs e.t.c and I’m sure many of you know that your breathing rate has a huge effect on your horse too-Shallow Breathing =Tense Horse.
So now let’s get them activating!
The Shoulder Drops Exercise.
Lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Put your arms straight up in the air, palms facing each other. Reach your right arm up as high as you can, and then let it drop. Repeat on the other side. Do 10-20 reps each side. This really helps to loosen off the shoulder blades.
Now to activate them. Up and Out
Standing up straight, take your arms up in front of you and then out to the side. Whilst doing this try to keep your shoulders relaxed. Do 10 – 20 reps
On all fours, try to press down between your shoulder blades, this will make your shoulder blades pop up. This can also be done against a wall. Do 10-20 reps.
Let me know how you get on!