Shoulders get tight, that’s a fact. Some people suffer from a frozen shoulder while others just naturally lose mobility as the years go by. The lack of movement seems to be the easiest way to create future restriction around the joints.
As a dressage rider for over 20 years, my shoulders have been stiff and tight. For me, I need to do my mobility exercises weekly to make sure my neck doesn’t lock up. It’s the steady position in the saddle that cause the tension; trying to be effective yet independent with the arms. I created the “mobility for tight shoulders” workout for equestrians to use weekly. Help insure proper movement in the shoulder joint itself with these exercises. (total # of ex. 7)
No matter how much you try to connect the mind to operate the body correctly, it’s the physical connection of doing the movement that the brain registers.
The arm of a rider is one of the first things your eyes catch when you watch the rider. Arms affect the shoulders and can alter the positioning of the riders’ core. A client was rounding her middle, upper back when she rode. After a number of exercises, I could see that she was flexing and holding her wrist extremely tight. The arms were rarely moving during functional exercises. Instead the shoulders were doing all the work.
The clients number #1 struggle in the saddle at the moment was her connection to the horse with the arms. To keep the arms quiet while being able to gain contact with her horse.
The middle back rounding is just an example of problems that occur when there’s a mobility issue in the shoulders.
Resolution: Learn to engage the Rhomboid Muscles to support the shoulder position and flat back.