This week I want to look at lateral and rotational movement. We had a little look at this last week by adding a little twist into the flow but I want to address it more directly now.
I want to look at lateral bending – that’s bending to the side; and your spinal rotation.
Why do we need it? Turning, circles, staying on a line and for keeping us even on straight lines.
For lateral bend I am going to make this really simple. In a mirror, start standing up straight with your hands by your sides and then slide your right arm down your right leg.
- How far does it go?
- Does your elbow reach your hip?
- Do you tip forward or back as you go?
Ideally your elbow should reach your hip and you should stay neutral as if you are between two panes of glass on your back and front.
Now lets’ look at your rotation. You will need a broom handle or similar for this-your schooling or lunging whip will do!
Sitting down with room around you to turn, put the pole over the back of your shoulders and hook your arms over the top. Now turn your torso to the right and then to the left.
First notice how it feels. Was it an effort one way more so than the other? Ideally you should be able to get about 35-45⁰ rotation. Do you think you managed that?
Also notice whether your hips tried to come with you as you turned, you should aim for them to stay neutral.
Also try lateral bend and rotation on your horse if it is safe to do so. Sitting in your saddle what happens when you bend to one side then the other? Can you feel what happens to your seat bones and/or hips?
Now try rotating just your rib cage and above to the left and then the right. Is one way easier than the other? Can you do it without taking your hips with you?
If you feel like you struggled with either/both of these the simple fix is to actually perform the test movements for repetition however make them nice and slow focusing on correct alignment even if this means the movement has to be smaller. Over time the movement will get easier and the range of movement will increase.