Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Soleus and Gastroc Stretches: Good for Riders!

by Mary Gallagher, with Kenny Hall, fitness coach

I asked Kenny Hall, our Riders Fitness coach to give us some tips on maintaining great equitation by helping riders lower their center of gravity, utilizing the shock absorbing abilities in their ankles. Here is a summary of our exchange by email and during workouts. -MG

Mary Gallagher: Kenny, we coach riders in correct posture and center of gravity, supported by flexible, strong ankles. Can you give us some insight about that, and any exercise tips?

Kenny Hall: Sounds like you could focus on a commonly tight muscle in the body in the calf called the soleus. The soleus muscle helps us maintain good posture and keeps us from falling forward. Also, a flexible soleus muscle will act as a shock absorber for any athlete or rider, helping them to withstand impact while keeping a correct posture. Keeping this muscle toned and flexible is a must for a correct riding position.

MG: Sounds good! Can you give us some exercises that we can do at home or at the barn to help?

KH: I've got two for you:

Soleus Stretch
Gastroc Stretch
Gastrocnemius (or 'gastroc') Stretch: place hands on a wall with one leg stretched out behind you. Straighten your back leg as you keep your heel on the ground and lean forward with the front leg.

Soleus Stretch: same position as the gastrocnemius stretch, but bend the back knee and let the heel come off of the ground. 

MG:  Wow, a stretch you can do off your horse that will help you stay balanced on your horse, and even better, help you stay out of your horse's way. Nice!

Gotta say, this reminds me of my own saying:  “Don’t ride to get fit, get fit to ride.” These stretches are definitely part of the program!

Thanks, Kenny! We really appreciate your help and wisdom.

KH: Thanks Mary! And you're welcome.

Be sure to click on the "rider fitness" link to the right of this blog to see many more articles on rider fitness! And we'd love to see you at one of our rider workouts with Kenny at Anytime Fitness. No gym membership needed! -MG

 More about Kenny Hall:

Coach Kenny Hall, B.Sc., CSCS
Fitness Director and Fitness Coach at Anytime Fitness, Sequim

B.Sc. in Exercise Physiology from Central Washington University
Minor in Athletic Training from Central Washington University
NSCA: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Training for Warriors Certified Level 1 & 2
Titleist Performance Institute: Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
TRX: Suspension Trainer Certified
Tabata Bootcamp Certified

Facebook: Anytime Fitness Sequim
Cell: 360-477-9463
Email: kenny.anytimefitness@gmail.com
10131 Old Olympic Hwy
Sequim, WA 98382

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