while increasing upper back support for sitting tall
Muscles highlighted support a riders upper body and the riders connection to their horse.
To be simple, your upper back muscles are responsible for the upper body support and the connection to your horses bit. A weak muscle group stops working for you. What a rider typical does when they have a weak upper back muscles is use their shoulders and chest muscles instead.
In the picture, you can see how these muscles can get confused and start to compensate for one another. Imagine what these groups of muscles would look like when one side is dominate. Your shoulder muscles need to help the upper back muscles to stay even so they can properly support the top of your core, so you can sit tall. If the shoulders start to work for core support you will start pulling on the horses reins.
Have you had to muck a horses stall or racked the arena for a week straight? You know those muscles between your shoulders and how bad it hurt? Those muscles are highlighted and lay underneath the first layer of upper core support muscles. When you work these muscles hard, they hurt and it can be days before life is pleasant again.
So never work these muscle out? Wrong!
You have to condition these muscles so they can work while you are in the saddle. The nice things about these muscles are that simple exercises can target and strengthen them without causing major muscle spasms. You can do the plank daily to improve upper back and shoulder strength.
One main component of proper upper back training is mobility. Every person needs to make sure this area of the body can move. Shoulder rotations, trapezius isolation and latissimus strength balancing are part of the entire core support system. Adding these components into your training can help condition your upper back muscles. Doing nothing will leave you stiff and disconnected to your horses mouth.
The object is to do simple, less impact exercises. Once you have this fundamental support system, add the heavier resistance to increase upper back strength.
My goal is to be stronger when I ride, not sore and tired. Fatiguing your upper back muscles can lead to days off because of over working the small and sensitive muscle groups in the upper back . There’s just too many creative attachment points along your spine for these muscles to not work when you’re riding a horse.
Do as many shoulder presses to the number of rowing exercises to ensure you don’t gain the strength that pulls on the reins. To not pull is to have muscular control between the shoulder, chest and upper back; to have effective and balanced connection.
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